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.
Written by an active duty US Air Force officer, The Intelligent Military Investor (available as a DRM-free PDF or on Amazon Kindle) is a high-impact, to-the-point manual that targets the financial issues facing cadets, midshipman, commissioned officers, enlisted personnel and all branches of the military.
Military servicemembers are highly-educated and extensively trained at making difficult split-second decisions and performing highly technical procedures. However, they receive little to no training in personal finance, investing, insurance, taxes, budgeting, and achieving financial independence.
This book fills in the gaps and will teach you to use your military income to escape from your debts, provide for your family, build wealth, and stop getting ripped off by unscrupulous financial professionals.
Straight talk and clear explanations allow the book to be easily digested by a novice to the subject matter yet the book also contains advanced concepts specific to military personnel you won’t find in other financial books.
You Can Earn Financial Independence While Serving
This book will teach you:
- If you should take out the USAA Career Starter Loan or similar “cadet loans”
- What to look in for your first car (the “lieutenant-mobile”)
- Whether you should buy, rent, or live on base
- Why the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is the best investment vehicle for financial independence
- How to automatically invest in simple, low-cost, and diversified investments that will grow your net worth rapidly
- Whether you should invest in Roth or Traditional TSP and IRA
- What kind of life, auto, and home insurance you should purchase
- How to calculate exactly how much you need for financial independence or early retirement
See why other servicemembers are rating the book five stars on Amazon!
Since 2008 I studied personal finance and investing by reading hundreds of blogs, books, and articles. I have invested over 4000 hours studying and writing on this blog, Military Money Manual. By using the principles and ideas that I learned over 8 years of studying personal finance and serving for 6 years in the Air Force, I have been able to:
- Pay off all of my student and auto loans, a $120,000 debt off my back
- Buy and sell a condo at a 15% profit in 3 years
- Increase my net worth from the negative six figures to the positive six figures in 4 years
- Earn thousands of dollars worth of free travel and hotel stays through credit card reward programs
Save yourself the time and effort. Buy my book and get the most important information you need to set yourself up for financial freedom in an hour.
A total plan to go from newly commissioned or enlisted to a wealthy investor, The Intelligent Military Investor will give you the knowledge to achieve financial independence. You can buy the DRM-free PDF through the link before or the Kindle version on Amazon.
2 Websites I Use to Achieve Financial Independence Faster
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.
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.