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.
I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made since graduating in 2010. It’s been a long road to this point and I’m still not half way done. It’s easy to get discouraged sometimes, but I have got to remember that staying focused on killing this debt is going to be extremely liberating in 3 years.
How I’m Paying off my Student Loans
I’m currently making 50% more than the minimum required payments, which will pay the debt off 5 years earlier than originally scheduled, saving me over $4000 in interest payments. Once the debt is paid off, a quarter of my monthly cash flow will be freed up, allowing me to start building up the savings it will require to be financially independent by the age of 40.
While I’m aggressively attacking my student loan debt, I’m also maxing out my Roth IRA this year, saving for some vacations (Australia maybe?!), paying myself (and wife!) first, and enjoying life. I think it’s easy to get burned out when you have an all consuming goal, like paying down tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt. I’d rather enjoy life a little but still make extra payments. I accept the fact that debt repayment is a marathon, not a sprint.
How about you? How do you approach debt repayment, especially when you known that even if you making double payments it’s still going to take years to pay off your debt?
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.