It isn’t easy to know where to start when it comes to organizing your finances and investing. The goal is to begin with a budget that focuses more on investing and less on bad debt. Your energy needs to be focused on consistently investing and learning on building; not paying bills or organizing your finances. If you don’t have a handle of your personal finances it is extremely hard to invest.
The way it will look for you should be different than it would for me or other people. This template is a framework or guideline that should compel you to track things in a Financial Management app. It isn’t written in stone. This is something that you need to turn in to your own. You need to have it all laid out in front of you so that you can reduce any financial surprises. Be honest with yourself. This spreadsheet is one of the best ways to have a discussion with a significant other when you are planning on getting married or if you already are and plan on making a big change like switching jobs, making a big purchase, or having another child.
Financial Management App - Mint.com
Mint.com has been around for a long time and is one of the best. All you need to do is securely login to your various bank accounts, credit card accounts, Retirement accounts, Brokerage accounts and mortgage and watch it do its magic. It allows you to set specific goals and update you on your progress with notifications and alerts. If your goal is to save an extra $2,000 before the summer it will tell you what it takes and if you are ahead or behind on that goal.
Financial Network – CNBC for Entertaining Finance
If you are looking to learn more about the investment markets and be mildly entertained, CNBC is a great way to start. They tend to have the better interviews and more entertaining stories throughout the day. The show hosts crack jokes every now and then, and it’s more light-hearted on CNBC than with other channels.
Financial Network – More Serious Finance – Bloomberg Finance
Its more straightforward and clearer than others. If you are trying to get away from the busyness of other business channels then Bloomberg will do a little bit better. It can be a lot to take in at once for most but after a while it can be soothing (well it is for me at least). I like to keep this channel on through out the day while I work.
Method for Managing Bills: Auto-Pay and Bill Pay
I don’t like to pay every bill one way because I like to be conscious about specific bills and I don’t like to have more logins than necessary. For that reason, specific bills like mortgage, Cell phone, Cable bill, and Car Note by Auto Pay or auto draft. For the remaining bills, I like to use Bill pay for a couple reasons. It allows me to schedule the pay date or change it for any reason I feel. It also reduces the need for me to maintain a login and password at every company or log in to portals to pay a bill. When using bill pay the payment itself ends up being electronic for some vendors or a check is mailed by your bank to pay the bill for free. As soon as I get my bills I pay them with in a day or two of opening the mail. Additionally When I review bank transactions, it is extremely clear who I paid and the amount. I can quickly sort without wondering about the company. If you find yourself mailing in checks or dropping them off somewhere please stop it at minimum use bill pay It is free at any bank and it will keep a rolling tab of all your previous payments. I don’t prefer to use auto-pay for everything because once they initiate its hard to reverse and often when you need to dispute a bill they have already taken out the money they believe you own them and not the correct amount.
Bank – Apple Federal Credit Union
The big banks are cool and all, but I tend to have a little more flexibility with the local credit union from time to time. I was able to save money by initially having my mortgage, checking, savings and a credit card with the same credit union so I recommend opening an account at the local credit union near you.
Discount Brokerage Firm – TD Ameritrade
They are by far one of the most competitive. There isn’t a service that they either don’t already have or aren’t trying to get. Their research tools and trade platforms can be as simple or complicated as you want since they own the trading platform ThinkorSwim. They are subject to some changes now that they are owned by Charles Schwab but I am sure they will have a majority of the same resources. When the merger is all situated I’m sure my new favorite discount broker will be Charles Schwab.
ETF Company – Vanguard
Even though there are dozens of companies that create ETFs, it’s kind of a no brainer. The founder Jack Bogle championed the first index fund, and the company has been a leader since. The biggest benefit is that Vanguard ETFs are incredibly low cost which means more of your money works for you as an investor. Any time I find an ETF I like I look around and check for a Vanguard equivalent.
Crypto – Coinbase
Crypto is the smallest part of my portfolio (about 1%) and unless Crypto is more widely used in everyday purchases, it will continue to be that way. Coinbase has accessibility to most of the top crypto currencies and that was exactly what I looked for when picking where to buy crypto. I took a specific amount of money and spread it amongst the top 8 crypto currencies in March 2021. I plan to get a hard wallet relatively soon so that I can have more oversight over my crypto.
Website for Quick News - MarketWatch.com
When it comes to the stock market I want my information fast, and I don’t always want to login to my account to get it. MarketWatch is great for getting quick news of whatever is breaking or hot off the press. If you enjoy CNBC you’ll enjoy MarketWatch.
Favorite Site for Investment Knowledge – Investopedia
Easily this is the best and most reliable site for information especially having worked in the industry, the information here is true to form. It’s accurate, comprehensive and it usually helps me resolve some of the questions I have.