Step #6: Put the Best Financial Tools to Work for You

While becoming rich is relatively easy, it isn’t overly simple and you’re destined for failure if you don’t have everything possible working in your favor. While I’m not here to take Capital One’s slogan, “What’s In Your Wallet?”, I am here to help you figure out what to use to make your path to becoming a millionaire easier.In the financial advising world, I’ve heard the analogy of climbing Mount Everest used: if you’re going to embark on a long, tasking journey, such as climbing Mount Everest (or becoming rich in your instance), wouldn’t you want the best equipment available to help you reach the summit?

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With that in mind, I’ve taken the time to list out the tools that I personally use and endorse. My hope is that you consider using them as well. Each of these products, tools, and services have made my life easier and will certainly help you get one step closer to becoming rich.

Best Portfolio Management Tool/Service

Personal Capital is Mint on steroids (but for your portfolio…not as much for budgeting). They have a phenomenal online platform with great apps and tools for tablets and smartphones. Not only do they have the look, but their services are tremendous. They have great tools to help analyze your asset allocation, 401(k) fees, and mutual fund fees. If you’re looking to have ONE tool that helps keep track of (all) your 401(k), Roth IRAs, IRAs, and brokerage accounts, then utilize Personal Capital FREE platform.

Best Brokerage Account (for the Average Joe)

Betterment is a fast and easy way for non-investment savvy people to simplify the way they start saving for retirement. If you need education tools, they have it; if you’re looking to start a Roth IRA, they can help you.

Best Account for Options

If part of your road-map to becoming rich includes trading options, then you’re going to love OptionsHouse. OptionsHouse is an online stock and options broker that provides a professional trading platform with a flat-rate commission structure for low-priced stock and options trades. They have an exceptional interface that is very much like the trading platforms at higher-end brokerages (they were even rated #1 by Barron’s for their mobile platform). What makes them the best account for options trading is they they give you two incredibly low fee structures: $5 for 5 trades or $8.50 + $.15/contract. In addition to that they only charge a flat fee of $3.95 per stock trade.

Best Overall Bank

With free checking, easy deposit options, free online bill pay, and a great dashboard to navigate through, it’s tough to beat what Ally has to offer their customers. I list them as the best “overall” simply because they have the strongest combination of CDs, Savings, and Checking accounts.

Best Overall Credit Card

I realize we talked about this card in “Making More Money” lesson, but the new Discover it Card has become my favorite card on the market. It’s groundbreaking in that it offers no annual fees, no overlimit fees, no late fee on your first late payment, along with no foreign transaction fees. To top it off you get 5% cash back on certain categories and 1% on everything else, WHILE getting a 0% introductory rate on purchases and balance transfers for 14 months!

Best Credit Reporting Tool

Credit Sesame is a 100% free credit and debt management tool with no credit card required or trial period. While you can use Credit Sesame for whatever you’d like, I personally take advantage of their FREE CREDIT SCORE! Yes, that’s right…they give you a free credit score anytime you’d like as long as you have an account with them (again…the account is free to open).

Best Debt Repayment Tool

I’ve been a huge fan of ReadyForZero and personally used it myself. Their online tools/software is COMPLETELY free. After signing up, you’ll be allowed to connect all of your debt accounts (student loans, credit cards, mortgages, etc.), and ReadyForZero will then help you get out of debt the fastest by utilizing the debt avalanche method (paying your highest-interest debts first) and telling you which loan to pay off first. You can read our detailed review of ReadyForZero by clicking HERE.

Best Book on Millionaires

The book, The Millionaire Next Door, was paramount in helping me understand what it really takes to become rich. In our egotistical, power-driven, look-at-me world, it’s common to believe that somebody has more money than they do simply by way of the possessions they have. You may see your neighbor’s nice cars and big house and believe they have it made (or are rich); however, in most scenarios, that’s the furthest thing from the truth for those people. If you want to learn how the average American becomes rich, read this book!

Best Book on Getting Out of Debt

Dave Ramsey’s, The Total Money Makeover, was instrumental in helping me turn my life around. While I don’t necessarily agree with everything Dave has to say, this book will help give you a great road map on how to get on a budget and eliminate debt from your life.

Best Career Books

While I’ve mentioned it a few times throughout this e-course, I still can’t emphasize it enough: Dan Miller’s, 48 Days to the Work You Love, is a GREAT book to help guide you on figuring out what you want to do in life. Furthermore, he has some great tips on applying for jobs and interviewing! I’d also recommend his other work: No More Mondays and Wisdom Meets Passion.

Quitter, by Jon Acuff, was also a tremendous book and really helps “bridge the gap between your day job and your dream job.” Jon goes into great detail on helping you figure out how to pursue your dream job while not putting your family in jeopardy.

Another (FREE) Mini-Lesson

Best Way to Get Legal Documents (and 3 documents you MUST have, +1)

I was going to make this an entire lesson by itself, but there were too many other things that were more important to review throughout this course. Saying that, it doesn’t mean this part is not important.While you can always use a lawyer to help prepare your legal documents, the reality is that it’s very expensive to get that done. Instead, consider using US Legal Forms. They’re fast, easy to do yourself, and you’ll save HUNDREDS (if not thousands) of dollar!

Use US Legal Forms to find these 3 legal documents you MUST, MUST, MUST have:

1. Health Care Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA)

If you’re over the age of 18, you NEED to have this. The Health Care DPOA is a document appointing a specific person to handle your health care decisions in the event you become incapacitated.Can you imagine having your mother (hysterical because you’ve just been in a TERRIBLE accident) making your health care decisions for you? Yeah…me either…that’s why it’s important that I chose somebody that would have a level head in this situation.

2. Financial DPOA

If you’re over the age of 18, you NEED to have this. The Financial DPOA is a document appointing a person to handle your financial affiars in the event you become incapacitated. This authority to manage the finances ends at your death.

3. Health Care Directive

If you’re over the age of 18, you NEED to have this. This is a document to medical professionals and family members declaring your health care desires and wishes in the event you’re incapacitated and cannot make those decisions.

4. Will (a MUST-have if you have children)

If you have children, you MUST have a will. A will helps in guiding the probate court on what to do with your “stuff”. Specifically, if your assets are not listed as “transfer on death” (TOD) or do not have a beneficiary designation – such as a life insurance policy or your 401(k) account – then those assets will pass through something called probate.Probate is simply a formal court process for distributing your assets/possessions AFTER creditors and probate fees are paid. This process can take anywhere from 10-24 months.

So, the purpose of a will is two-fold: (1) it’s the ONLY place you can name the legal guardians of your children (if they’re under 18 years old) and (2) a will is your personal directions to a probate court on how you’d like you assets/possessions distributed.

Again, you can spent $1,000 having these documents written-up by a lawyer, or you can use US Legal Forms to find your state-specific documents and maybe drop $200.

Conclusion

With the onset of the technological age in our country, there have been some AMAZING changes in the banking, investment, and legal industries. Changes that will only help you become rich more quickly – assuming you take advantage of them.

Your journey to becoming rich will be a long road, and having great products and tools helping you fight the battle will only make things easier on you.

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About the Author

By , on Apr 3, 2013
Andy Tenton
Andy is a 30-something New Yorker who turned his financial life around. He took charge of his finances, got out of debt, and is now working his way toward financial success. He is the publisher of WorkSaveLive.com.

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{5 Comments}

  1. Kelly says:

    This is a good step to include. We’re all really lucky to have endless tools available to us including free tools that can help you manage money without having to pay anything. The ones you talk about here are seem incredibly helpful and anyone trying to better their financial situation should seriously consider using most/all of these.

  2. The must have legal documents were a gem thank you for sharing!

  3. Betterment sounds great, especially with the Roth option. Very informative, thanks!

  4. Jose says:

    I am shamefully behind on my reading! But am catching up this morning. this is all really good advice, I’m especially mindful of estate planning since I’m dealing with my ageing parents and doing a lot of last minute catchup! At the very least, get a will!

  5. Personal Capital sounds like a really resourceful and helpful tool, phone and computer applications make organization so much simpler.

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