Make the Most of Your Money — My Favorite Resources
One of the hardest things to do is to make the most of your money.
I'm a big fan of putting money to work for you — rather than working harder for your money. I use a number of tools to automatically invest my money for various goals, including travel, long-term emergencies, short-term getaways, retirement, and more.
If you're looking for tools to help you manage your money and meet your goals, here are some of my favorites.
When you click on some of these items, I might get a small commission for referring you. But if you know me, I only recommend products and services I think are actually helpful.
Betterment: Where I Keep Most of My Portfolio
Betterment is a robo-advisor that provides you with a way to invest easily. Set up automatic deposits, and you can work toward various goals. Betterment offers taxable investment accounts as well as tax-advantaged IRAs. You can also take advantage of a savings-like product that offers a higher return than what you'll see with a traditional bank.
I use Betterment for multiple goals. Here's what I have with Betterment:
- Roth IRA
- Rollover Traditional IRA (from a former employer's 401k)
- Travel fund (taxable account)
- Smart Saver (automatic savings based on my bank account balance)
Betterment has a low barrier to entry and is easy to use. I can set different levels of risk for different goals, and Betterment will put together a portfolio using index ETFs. As an indexer, I love this low-key approach.
Acorns: Invest Using Pocket Change
I actually use Acorns for my short-term getaway fund. Acorns takes your pocket change and invests it in a portfolio designed to reflect your risk tolerance. You connect accounts and arrange for roundups. So, if you spend $2.50, Acorns will round up to $3.00 and take the remaining $0.50 and invest it. My account has my roundups turned on to triple my roundups.
Using Acorns, it's also possible to set up additional automatic transfers as well.
For some folks, the fee of $1 per month is a bit steep — especially if you're only using roundups. For me, though, with my extra transfers and turbocharged roundups, it's been a great resource for spontaneous expenses. I've checked the account and used the money to buy a new smartphone, and also used it to pay for a three-day weekend.
Normally, because I use it short-term, it doesn't have a huge impact on my capital gains tax bill.
Digit: Save Money without Thinking
I'm a big fan of using automatic finances to make the most of your money. Now, Digit isn't the fanciest option out there, or the savings tool with the biggest yield, but it gets the job done. Digit uses an algorithm to figure out how much money you could be saving — and then automatically transfers that amount into a savings account.
There's a fee on this one as well, so it might not work for everyone. There are definitely ways to save with a higher yield, but I like Digit because it's easy, they guarantee not to take money if you'll be overdrawn, and you do get receive a return.
I've used this as a short-term emergency fund. Need to get a set of snow tires for my son's car? Check Digit and see how much has accumulated. It's been a really great resource for me, especially since you can withdraw and have the money in your account the next business day.
Tally: Get Out of Debt Faster
Honestly, I wish I had something like Tally when I was drowning in credit card debt. Basically, this app looks at your linked credit cards and helps you make on-time payments. Not only can Tally help you make your payments on time, but it can also help you pay down your debt in a way that saves you time and money on your total debt.
It's free to download and use the app to manage your debt payments.
If you qualify, you can get a Tally line of credit. With this feature, Tally takes care of your payments for you, and you repay Tally. You do pay interest, but if you might be able to get a lower interest rate overall and pay off your debt faster because it pretty much amounts to a debt consolidation loan.
It's worth checking out if you're in debt and looking for help making a payoff plan.
Blue Apron: Get Some of Your Time Back
It seems weird, probably, that I'm including Blue Apron in a list of resources to help you make the most of your money. However, I'm a huge proponent of buying more time through outsourcing — and Blue Apron helps you do that.
I use Blue Apron for meal planning and grocery delivery. It saves me hours a week since I don't need to as much shopping or even figure out what I'm going to make. It's not perfect, but it works for me.
Wealthsimple: Robo-advising — with a Personal Touch
I haven't opened a Wealthsimple account yet, but I know quite a few people who really like the personal touch offered by this robo-advisor. One of the things I like about the idea behind Wealthsimple is that you get a personalized portfolio and access to financial advice.
There are different plan levels, and some of them come with extra perks, like airline lounge access and in-depth financial planning. You can also get access to a low-risk savings product that has a higher yield than many traditional banks, so that can be a bonus as well.
Open an account with Wealthsimple