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.
A couple of work related trips brought me to Europe for a few weeks. When I wasn’t working, I rented a car and hit the autobahn, travelling around Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, and Romania.
Throughout the over 14 day trip I had my phone with me the entire time, booking hostels, getting directions, finding good restaurants: everything you use for you phone for at home in the States, just in Europe. And all included in my T-Mobile Simple Choice Plan. Free.
T-Mobile Free International Data and Texting
I previously wrote about my experience with T-Mobile in Germany
After spending over two weeks in Europe on T-Mobile’s international plan, I would say that all but the most data addicted traveler will find the Simple Choice Plan to be more than perfect for overseas trips where you don’t want to buy a local sim card (probably any trip less than 6 months). As you know, European nations are packed tightly together. Sometimes you’ll cross a border and not even realize it until the next town! You don’t want to have to buy a new SIM card in every country you hit or overpay for a “world phone.”
Every time I crossed a border, my Galaxy S4 was quick to pick up another cell network and send me a text: “Welcome to the Czech Republic. “Welcome to Germany.” “Belgium.” “Romania.” Each time I was reminded that “Unlimited web and text included as part of your global coverage.” Such a nice feature to have. I can’t understand why anyone would stay with Verizon or AT&T, paying more per month, paying international roaming charges, or not getting to use their phone at all when they’re overseas.
If you travel to Europe or any of the other nations in T-Mobile’s Global Coverage, whether for work for fun (or both!), you owe it to yourself and your wallet to switch to T-Mobile. Whether you’re a road warrior or going to Canada is an international exotic adventure, you’ll save money at home and abroad. What’s not to love?
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.