DFA Approved – Tools for Financial Success

Personal Finance Software

A list of financial tools I use or recommend – use them to get out of debt, save, give, and live your mission.  I receive a commission from some purchases, but only endorse what I research, believe in, and often use personally. I’ll approve more tools as I discover them.


Consolidate high interest debt with Lending Club – I did.

Take control with Lending ClubBack when we were first starting our Debt Free Adventure we were carrying a balance on 4 credit cards and had one auto loan.  We used Lending Club to secure a peer to peer loan at a rate that beat the rates of each of our other five loans, so we consolidated the debt and paid it off in record speed.

If you have several high interest debts that you can consolidate into one, lower interest debt… it’s a no-brainer.  In fact, if this is the case then you’re not really borrowing money at all, you’re simply being smarter about how the money is leveraged and putting yourself in a better situation to win.  Dealing with credit cards and big banks is no fun, and peer to peer lending cuts through the red tape and helps facilitate your debt free adventure – it did mine!

For more info about my experience read my full Lending Club review… or use this link to see if consolidating through Lending Club is right for you.


$25 Bonus to invest with Betterment. No minimums – No Transaction Fees.

Betterment $25 BonusMany of us are either too busy to design, manage, and maintain our own portfolio, or we’re simply unsure of how to best do it.  Should we have a Traditional or Roth IRA?  Should we invest in stocks, bonds, index funds, ETFs?  Which discount broker should we use?  Heck… what exactly is a discount broker? These are just a few of the questions many of us either don’t know, or don’t have time to deal with.  Enter Betterment

Betterment has found an awesome way to help us save and invest simply and effectively.  They allow you to easily diversify your portfolio – and – save for your goals.  They reinvest gains and rebalance your portfolio automatically based on your personal risk assessment, which you can set up and change with a few clicks of your mouse.  Open an account today and receive a $25 bonus – it’s free to open, there are no minimums, and transactions are free.  Read my Betterment Review for more info.


Why I use TurboTax to file our taxes…

TurboTax Online - Choose EasyA few years back TurboTax made their software available in a browser, allowing us to use it without having to download or install any software.  I quickly fell in love and have been using the Online version of TurboTax ever since!

This is the 5th year we have used TurboTax Online to file our tax returns.  My experience has been very positive and I have nothing but good things to say about filing online.

If you want to know more about my experience, read my full TurboTax Online review.  Or you can begin using TurboTax Online now.


I bank with Capital One 360 for both checking and savings because…

Capital One 360 Capital One 360 checking accountChecking – Capital One 360 is my first choice when it comes to banking – hands down – and their interest bearing checking account rocks.  Our entire family budget runs through Capital One 360, and they’re one of only a very few banks that I actually enjoy dealing with.  Capital One 360 checking accounts earn interest and have no fees or hidden costs.  They provide up to $1,000 of overdraft protection at no charge – with no fees for overdrafts.  Instead of fees they simply charge you interest on your overdraft amount at a rate based on your credit – mine is around 7%, although I never use it.  The also offer free online bill pay, free paper checks, and free mailing of those checks.

Use this link to open a checking account with Capital One 360 now.

Capital One 360 savings accountSavings – We use the Capital One 360 savings account platform to fund all our savings goals.  Capital One 360 simplifies the process of goal structured saving and also pay solid interest rates that compete with CDs yet offer 100% liquidity (meaning you can withdrawal the funds at anytime, unlike a CD.)  Capital One 360 allows us to easily create multiple savings accounts to match our goals… and their automatic savings plan makes contributing to those accounts easy and automated.  You can also link external accounts from other financial institutions to fund your savings.  Betsy and I sit down together about once a month to review our savings goals and and make sure the structure of our Capital One 360 savings accounts matches.  Cool stuff.

You can find more about our experience on our Capital One 360 review… or use this link to start saving with Capital One 360 now.


Other products I trust

Taxes

  • H & R Block – I do not use H & R Block, but I trust their software.

Get out of debt

  • Prosper – Another peer-to-peer lending site that is as reputable and experienced as Lending Club that I trust.
  • YNAB – A great alternative to Quicken that allows you to track both your personal and business finances.
  • Debt Goal – An awesome online service that helps you pay off debt faster by paying off debt smarter.
  • Mint.com (FREE) – A great online budgeting software that is free to use.  That’s right… free.

Banking

  • Ally Bank – I used to bank with Ally back when they were GMAC bank… I was very happy with their service.
  • SmartyPig – Their savings program is great for setting goals and equipping you with the tools to promote your goals and accept donations.  Pretty cool.

Credit Card Alternatives

  • PerkStreet – A trustworthy debit card solution as an alternative to credit cards.  PerkStreet offers 5% cash back on your holiday purchases and 2% on everything else.

Investing

  • Lending Club – I have been investing through Lending Club’s peer-to-peer investing platform for 2+ years now and am earning better than an 8% return on my investment.  This is a great hedge against traditional investments in the stock market.
  • Prosper – Another trustworthy option for peer-to-peer investing.
  • Betterment$25 bonus to open an account with no minimums and free transactions. The best solution I have seen to make low-cost investing as simple as possible.  I highly recommend saving and investing with Betterment.

Entrepreneurship

  • Unconventional Guides – Written and created by Chris Guillebeau (pronounced gill-a-bow) of Art of Non-Conformity fame.  Hugely powerful guides for starting and running successful small businesses.
  • Thesis – This is the incredibly powerful WordPress theme that I finally found after years of searching for the perfect theme.  A must have for WordPress sites.
  • Aweber – Email list software that I use to gain, keep, and interact with readers of all my websites.
  • MediaTemple – After years of searching for a website hosting company that didn’t make my blood boil… I finally found MediaTemple.  Now all my sites are hosted with them.”
  • WordPress – This is the awesome free content management platform all my websites run on.

I am continually updating this page with the best stuff I can find, so bookmark it and check back often.