I have money tucked away in 15 different banks and brokerages. You can probably see from my portfolio cash flow overview post why (although I could reduce this by a few, its not worth the effort). Because of this I get exposure to the customer experience & functionality at a bunch of different financial institutions. Some of these institutions rise to the top for me. They are the places that I never hesitate to put more money into, and are central to my FIRE strategy.
According to their website "Betterment is a smart money manager and the largest independent online financial advisor that serves one purpose: to help you make the most of your money." Ooh, sounds good right! Okay, so what does that mean to me?
Betterment is a Robo Advisor. Actually they were the first Robo Advisor. That just means you tell it how you want your money to be managed & it handles the rest. You tell it what you're going to use the money for, risk tolerance, stock/bond mix percentages and it takes it from there. It also does automated tax loss harvesting as well (basically sells losers and reinvests in something similar - thus you get a tax loss deduction).
For me I'm putting money into my Betterment account that I'll 4% rule out once I hit early retirement. I like letting the robots decide here, it takes the emotion out of it for me. As we all know, emotional investments never seem to pan out well.
SoFi is a mobile first personal finance company that started out focused on student loans. They've since expanded into other areas, including investing. Their app is ridiculously easy to use. Shows you what other SoFi members are buying and selling. Has a leaderboard that shows investors who are getting the highest returns in their portfolio over the last 30 days, and what they own. Not that I'd recommend it but you can buy crypto there as well (Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin).
Also worth noting, when the $GME stock buying hysteria hit at the end of January, SoFi kept allowing customers to buy the stock - even when Robinhood shut that ability down. For me, I don't want a company I use for investments restricting my decisions, so SoFI is the clear winner for me.
I use this account for my individual stock purchases. It's the place that I do a bit more gambling with my investments. Like Betterment, it is also an account I'm going to 4% rule the money out of once I hit early retirement.
This is a newcomer to the scene for me. M1 allows you to build out an investment pie - basically a breakdown of what percentage of your investment you want to go into various companies or funds. Every investment you make in M1 then gets spread accordingly across these stocks in the percentage allocation you've instructed it to do. You can build your own pies, or just use pies that others have built as well. It's a great way to maintain a balanced portfolio.
I use this for my dividend investments. I currently have a pie with 8 different dividend stocks and funds. Once I hit early retirement I will stop reinvesting these dividend payments and start using these dividend payments as income.
That's it, pretty straight forward and simple. I encourage you to explore each of these companies to see if their offerings fit your needs. I'm a big fan of all 3 of them and absolutely have no qualms recommending them - but like everything else in investing, your own due diligence is what matters most.
Any other companies you recommend? If so, drop a comment below!
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Personal Capital: My go to place for tracking all things Net Worth.
YNAB: My go to place for managing my spending and budget.
Betterment: I use this account for general investment purposes.
M1 Finance: I use them for my dividend stock investments.
SoFi Invest: This is where I make individual stock investments.