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.
Happy Black Friday! Your turkey should be fully digested by now and your food coma over. If you’re waking up early to score that cheap TV from Wal-Mart, good luck! I’m currently 7000 miles away from the nearest Wal-Mart so no early morning shopping for me. Plus, I find that you can usually get the best deals online from Amazon. And, you don’t have to fight the crowds, drive to the store, or deal with the insanity of Black Friday!
If you want an extra $20 to go towards your Black Friday/Cyber Monday purchases on Amazon, Personal Capital is offering the first 1000 customers who sign up and link one account a free $20 Amazon gift card. The next 3000 new customers will receive a $10 Amazon gift card.
Even if they weren’t offering a free gift card to sign up, I would still recommend creating an account with PC. This gift card is just icing on the cake. A cake made of money, sound investing advice, and beautiful graphs that make you smarter about your income, expenses, savings, and investments.
How To Get Your Free $20 Amazon Gift Card from Personal Capital in 4 Steps
- Go to this link: Claim your $20 Amazon Gift Card
- Sign up for Personal Capital (it’s free, secure, and takes about one minute).
- Connect one of your financial accounts to your new Personal Capital account (takes about 30 seconds). I recommend connecting all of your accounts as this will give you a better financial snapshot and allow you to take advantage of all PC has to offer. Connect your TSP, 401k, investment, savings, house value, mortgage, etc. to see your whole net worth.
- In 72 hours your $20 ($10 if you’re late) Amazon gift card will be delivered to the email address you signed with! While you wait for your cash, explore all the great features on PC.
Here’s $20 to Start Saving you Thousands
Personal Capital is the best online financial advisory service I have tried yet. When you first sign up for an account with PC, you’ll be given the option to link your investment accounts, 401k, TSP, banking accounts, and any property you own. Now, instead of logging into Vanguard, TSP, Schwab, USAA, and the dozens of other financial accounts I have, I can see everything in one place. This allows me to track my income, expenses, net worth, investments, and home value.
I used to use Mint.com to aggregate all my accounts but I grew frustrated with it’s ability to update my accounts, how it calculated (or didn’t calculate) investment performance, and lots of other bugs. PC fixes all those problems for me. Now I get my net worth calculated accurately and quickly, I can see my asset allocation across all my accounts, and I can track my investment performance against any number of indices.
Since I have access to the TSP I know I have the lowest cost funds available in the world. But some of you may not be so lucky and may be stuck paying high 401k fees. Personal Capital offers an excellent 401k fee analyzer that can save you thousands of dollars. It’s incredible to see how much a 1% difference in expense ratios/asset management fees can add up over 20, 30, or 50 years! If you can reduce your fees from 1.5% to .5%, you’ll save tens of thousands of dollars over the course of your life. PC is basically paying you $20 to save yourself thousands.
Personal Capital was also recently featured in a UCLA study that tracked users discretionary spending habits. The behavioral economists found that users who downloaded the PC app to their mobile devices resulted in a 15% reduction in discretionary spending. If you spend $50,000 per year, that’s $7500 of savings that you can invest! The researchers said that having the Personal Capital app in your pocket acts like a scale for a person dieting: when you know where you’re at and how much you’re spending, you tend to save and invest more rather than blow it on trivialities.
USAA Trusts Personal Capital
USAA is by far the biggest and best military friendly bank out there. When they invest money in a financial startup company, I pay attention. USAA recently invested millions of dollars into Personal Capital in their Series D funding.’
This investment reflects PC’s growing influence and respectability in the investment management industry. The company is closing in on $1 billion in assets under management, a tremendous achievement that was enabled by their low costs, focus on unbiased advice, and mixture of both professional human advice and computer models.
Why I Use Personal Capital
As a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) investor, I don’t use Personal Capital’s excellent wealth management service, which charges much less than the industry standard (only .79% on the first million). However, I do use the free online tracking software to:
- Keep track of my income
- Watch my expenses
- See my net worth growing in real time (see the image)
- Watch my investment performance
- Ensure that my asset allocation is correct across all my accounts (This is a big one, as I used to have to maintain Excel spreadsheets and do the math myself. So much easier now!)
Score $20 in free Amazon gift cards and set yourself up for a life of easy, simple, and free wealth management when you sign up for Personal Capital in the next 72 hours! Let me know if you signed up in the comments and how you like the site.
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.