If you’ve found your way here, by now you know that I’m not a big proponent of “stuff.” Our lives are already filled with too much “stuff” and the last thing I want to do is fill your house with more of it. With all that said, I’m only listing specific products I use myself and can confidently recommend.
eTrade has been my primary online brokerage now for 14 years. I’ve used many others (Scottrade, Fidelity, UBS, Chase, and Vanguard – that I recall), but none have surpassed eTrade for me. It’s trading fees are low, the user interface is clean, and it has the very best features for tracking passive income through dividends. I continue to try out other borkerages with small amounts of money, but up until now I’ve never found anything better than eTrade.
I’ve been investing with Prosper now for almost 2 years, and I’m still returning over 14% ROI. As I see it, Prosper got a bad wrap after having some tough times around 2008-2009 as they paved the way for peer-to-peer lending platforms like Lending Club, but now Prosper is back and is my highest performing P2P investment platform.
I’ve been investing with Lending Club now for nearly 3 years, and have had stellar results. My ROI continues to fluctuate right around 12%, which is more than I was hoping for when I tested out LC a few years ago. Lending Club is the biggest and most respected P2P lending platform out there, and for great reason.
For tracking income and expenses, nothing beats Quicken. Like eTrade, I’ve been using Quicken since the early 2000’s. Believe it or not, I don’t like spending a lot of time thinking about money, which is why I love Quicken so much. I set up my brokerage and bank accounts with it one time (around 2003), and just occasionally hit the update button to see how I’m doing. I can track investment performances, portfolio allocation, monthly budgets – all in less than one hour per month.
I’ve tried Mint, and MS Money (back when it was available) but neither compare to Quicken. It seems a little pricey at first, but I only refresh my Quicken software once every 3 years, so it turns out to be very inexpensive (and files are always compatible, so I still have data from 2003).
Personal Capital is a new online service that is great for tracking investment performance and portfolio allocation. Better yet, it’s free! They make their money (like mint.com) by recommending paid services to you, but those are optional. You can get the great benefits of Personal Capital without paying a dime.
Republic Wireless is the new service everyone is talking about. When I quit my job, I was planning on getting a pre-paid phone because I didn’t want to pay $60-$80 for a phone service I barely use, when all I really wanted was wifi internet, a camera, some apps, and texting. Then along came Republic Wireless and their $10/month 3G plan, with unlimited wireless data. I’ve been a subscriber now for 6 months, and couldn’t be happier.
About 3 months ago, I finally moved this site from my old crappy $10/month webhost to Bluehost, which only costs $4.95/month. Most other hosts charge more, for worse service. In my case, my site was regularly going down, customer service was terrible, and as my site grew I was getting overage charges. Bluehost has unlimited data, and I’ve never had it go down.
A week after switching to Bluehost, I was featured on the front page of reddit’s “Financial Indepenence” page, and had over 10,000 page views in less than a day. That would have cost me a lot of money on my old host, not to mention it likely would have crashed. Not with Bluehost. I was relieved to have 100% uptime, and no extra charges during that day.
I started using Team Treehouse in 2012 when I wanted to learn to write iPhone and Android apps. I have some coding background, but it’s very outdated and not in the right languages. Fast forward a few weeks, and I already had my first programs on the app stores. Team Treehouse is all video based, and combines intelligence with geek humor to keep you entertained while learning new skills from scratch.
Aweber is the best newsletter software out there. Because it’s so strict in eliminating spam, they have a very high success rate in getting and maintaining subscribers. I got tired of using Google to do this because then Google owns the email list instead of me. Aweber isn’t free, but it’s easily worth the small cost and can be used across as many websites as you’d like.