After the TSP, I invest my money in Betterment and Vanguard. I track all of my investments with Personal Capital. I also wrote a short, 2 hour book summarizing this site. You can buy it here.
Well, I guess I’m an actual bonafide blogger now. USAA invited me to attend their 2016 USAA Digital Military Experience (DigitalMilEx) conference in San Antonio, where USAA is headquartered. The military friendly bank hosts the conference annually. It presents an opportunity for bloggers to interact with USAA executives and other team members and ask questions about their products and services.
I have been a USAA member since Air Force ROTC in 2008. I opened my first checking account with them and took out the $25,000 Career Starter Loan soon after. Today, I have over a dozen checking and savings accounts with them, a few credit cards, renters insurance, and auto insurance. I also had home owners insurance with them back when I was a home owner.
USAA is one of the best if not the best military friendly bank. Every servicemember should bank with a bank that does not charge BS fees. USAA refunds ATM fees, has no account maintenance fees, and offers extra SCRA benefits to servicemembers. Their mobile app is a joy to use. Their mobile check cashing and instant money sending feature means I have not needed to walk into a physical bank for the last 8 years and I can quickly settle bar tabs with friends.
My 2016 USAA DigitalMilEx Experience
I took a week of leave to visit some old friends in the local area before the conference kicks off. I started my Air Force career in Texas in 2010-2012. I spent quite a few weekends on the San Antonio River Walk, Austin, and other locales in Texas, so it’s good to be back.
I’m excited to finally meet Doug Nordman and Ryan Guina in person, two other military financial bloggers who I have been in contact with for years. I’m also excited to learn about new products and services USAA has to offer. It’s going to be great connecting with the hundreds of other bloggers, media, podcasters, entrepreneurs, and military community members who will be at the conference.
If you have any questions, ideas to pass on, or gripes to raise with USAA, please email me, use the contact me form, or leave a comment. I’ll share my experience in a future post here on the blog.
2 Websites I Use to Achieve Financial Independence
The best way I know to achieve financial independence is to keep your investments simple, diversified, automatic, and low-cost. Costs eat into your returns like you wouldn't believe! A 1% difference in expense ratios can mean $100,000s lost to fees over a lifetime of investing.
Even if you're a DIY (do-it-yourself) investor like I am, you need to check out Betterment. You can read my full review here, but the bottom line is for only $250 per $100,000 invested (0.25% expense ratio) you get simple, diversified, and automated investing. In addition every account now gets free Tax Loss Harvesting+ features, which should increase returns for the average investor more than the minuscule management fee.
If you're not a DIY investor or are just getting started with investing, then you definitely need to check out Betterment. It's what I recommend to my family and friends who aren't strong investors or don't care to learn about asset allocations, diversification, or rebalancing.
I have investment accounts all over the place. To keep track of all of them in one place I use Personal Capital. It combines all of my accounts, shows me where I may be overpaying in fees, and provides beautiful charts showing my overall asset allocation and performance.
I use Personal Capital to track my Roth and Traditional TSP, Vanguard IRAs, banking accounts, SDP, and my Betterment taxable account, all in one place. It's free, secure and presents me with a one-stop dashboard so I can see all my money on one site.
Read my full review of Personal Capital and see how easy it can be to manage your investments in one place. Trust me, once you try it, you'll love it.
P.S. - If you have over $100,000 of assets and a 401k, you really need to run the Personal Capital 401k Fee Analyzer.