The Best Financial Apps & Tools
This is my favorite app. I'm gonna go through in a little bit a lot of apps, and new fintech companies that you can use. I love mint.com; they've been around the longest. So let me dig into what mint.com does. By the way, out of curiosity, how many of you use mint.com right now? So really like two-thirds of the room is using mint.com. That's really impressive.
You used it and then you stopped?
So Quicken used to be what people used a lot. I think Quicken actually then went and bought Mint. People would use Quicken, but then they would stop using it 'cause you had to do it all manually. So what mint.com does, if you use it correctly; there are lots of ways you can use mint.com. You can just put one credit card in there, and you can see where the money's going on your credit card. I think if you're gonna use mint.com effectively, you put everything in there. So I've got every credit card, checking accounts, brokerage accounts. I have everything inside mint.com, and...
I have everything that mint.com won't even link. So if I've got an investment property, I put the investment property. I've got the mortgages, the loans, the 529 plans. And what it does is it gives me a dashboard. Not just of my expenses, but it gives me a dashboard on my net worth. So for couples, the key is; what I see in most relationships with couples, is that one person's using Mint, but they're not bulk using it. So if you can get yourselves both to use it, then you really have a family dashboard. Now certain things I like about Mint, aside from all those great features, Mint gives you a free credit score. I like the fact that Mint notifies me of things almost everyday. Aside from the fact that they'll catch; they're the first one to tell me money's been deposited. They're usually the first one to show me that money's gone out. They're the first one to show me my credit card, what my annual fee is. 'Cause again my credit card company's not sending me a notice like hey $95 fee is here. I just find that having that dashboard makes my life cleaner, simpler, and I know where I stand financially. So I think if you're not using mint.com at home, go use mint.com. I'm gonna give you other tools too, but mint.com's my favorite. Credit score, again that's free on Mint. Who else is doing this? So one of the originators of doing what mint.com does is Yodlee. So if you wanna look at another option, yodleemoneycenter.com, lots of financial service firms use Yodlee on the backside of the technology of scraping all your data. So I wanted you to have two options. I think when you compare the two you'll probably go back to Mint. One thing I'll say about; any of these apps that basically pull your data; 'cause the question is first of all is it secured? They're using the same security the banks use. Is it secure? We hope it's secure. Like anybody who gets up today and tells you anything is secure, I don't know. I could go on and on about that. We don't know; we hope it is. You have to be very careful with your passwords. But the links break all the time right. So if you use Mint, you know this happens right. People come up to me and they'll see that I talk about like a Mint, or somebody else I'm gonna talk about here. And they'll say, "Well that sucks, "it's constantly telling me that the things aren't linked." That's not typically actually the company's fault, it's the backend technology, and it's how it's syncing up with your bank. And a lot of times the banks are changing the backend, or the credit card companies are changing the backend. So it just is what it is. I find that almost every month, I've gotta relink something. Have you guys had that same experience?
Yeah, so how do you fix it?
You have to go back in, and when it tells you that it's not working, you have to click into it. Then it takes you back to your bank, and you have to put back in all your information. Sometimes it still won't fix, and you have to go back to your bank or your brokerage firm and say, "What's going on, why isn't this syncing?" Sometimes they have a workaround. Usually it just has to do with something that they just did on the backend, that's a patch or something. And I find a lot of times, if I actually take the app and I delete the app, and I reset the app in the phone, and I relaunch everything, and then I re-put in the passwords, then it works again. None of this stuff is perfect, it just isn't. But it's better than nothing. Level Money is another new app. Anybody here using Level Money? No, okay cool, so we've got some new stuff here. Level Money's, they're basically going through your expenses with you. They start to look at where your money's going, and they have this thing called Spendable Money. And so in a way, it's kind of latte-factor based. They look through your expenses, they see where you're spending money on a regular basis, they look at how much income you've got coming in, and then they start to tell you, almost like a budgeting system, this is how much you can spend on this, this is how much you can spend on this. And they really have made a very nice interface. And the goal with this company is to help you spend smarter. And know where your money's going, and know how much you've got each month for those different categories. So it's not like, okay you have to give up your latte-factors. Like hey, guess what, you spend $100 a month on lattes. Now, let's make sure you have enough money in your bank account to spend $100 a month on lattes. And they start telling you, well you're almost at your full latte for the year, for the month, no more lattes for you kind of thing. Kinda cool. Next one, I wanna give you some simple calculators. So whenever I need to run calculations I go to two websites. And calculations can be retirement plan calculations, credit card calculations. Like let's say you've got credit cards, and you wanna know how to pay those credit cards off faster. I go to bankrate.com, I go to the calculator section. They have some of the best calculators that are out there, period. I use their bi-weekly mortgage. We're gonna go through bi-weekly mortgages later. I use the bi-weekly mortgage payment calculator. On Bank Rate you can run your number in minutes. You can run your debt reduction in minutes. You can run your basic savings calculator. This is a basic savings calculator. This is basically the latte-factor calculator. Put in a dollar amount, what do you wanna save a month, pick your annual interest, run it out how many years, click calculate, there's your compound interest calculator. Here's another amazing website with calculators, dinkytown.net. So dinkytown.net is really one of the original, if not the original, financial calculator website. There was just an article about the founder, I think it was on CNBC. There's 450 financial calculators on this website. You don't need 450, by the way. But when you go to the website; the most popular calculator is the mortgage calculator. You can see, they've got investment calculators, retirement, mortgage, loans, auto calculators, credit card calculators. I don't actually know that there's anything that you need to know to calculate financially that's not sitting on this website. Most of the calculators all the financial service companies use they licensed it from dinkytown.net. So you don't need to run it on a calculator, you don't need to do any math yourself. Just go here and check it out. Alright now, I'm gonna show you some cool new technology companies that are making saving small amounts of money easy.
I love it.
'Cause you didn't know this was coming, no.
No, I just use it.
So Acorns, she's like, "I love Acorns." So Acorns is the first company I'm gonna talk about. I love them too. When I saw Acorns came out. What Acorns does; let me explain what they do before I tell you why I love it so much.
I liked it because I don't have to think about it. And it rounds up, so I'll spend a $1. and it takes the difference up to a dollar, whatever you tell it. And it puts it into some; you can make it aggressive or non-aggressive. At first I was like very conservative, 'cause I was chicken, but it was extra money. It was cool; it was like all of a sudden I had money that I didn't know I had.
Because what Acorns does is they basically find your latte-factor and then they help you save small amounts of money. They round it up. This actually started with Bank of America Keep the Change. I launched the Bank of America Keep the Change Card. And Bank of America, you had this Keep the Change Card, where it would round up your change, it would go into a savings account. What Acorns has done, is they. First of all, the number one criticism I used to get around the latte factor was well great, so now I'm not spending $5 a day. How do I invest $5 a day? And you couldn't. Technology was not around to invest $5 a day. You can now invest $1 a day. You can go to a company like Acorns and basically get an account set up with five bucks, and you can literally invest your change. And what Acorns does, is once you hook up your credit card, or you hook up your bank account, it looks at where you spend money. So the example you just gave us, say you spend $1.50, you can say the extra 50 cents I didn't spend, calculate that throughout the month and move it into a savings account. Now it's not a savings account, it's an investment account. So they have taken, and they've built, it's really a rowboat advisor. How many of you are familiar with the term rowboat advisor? Only two of you, three of you. Rowboat advising is the big thing that's changing the entire financial service industry. They have come up with an automated way, automatic, so you automatically invest your spare change into an automated portfolio of mutual funds which are exchange traded mutual funds, super low cost. You pick the portfolio, you go click, click, click on your phone, it builds the portfolio with ETF, so it's totally diversified. It's ridiculously low cost, like nothing, basically like a buck a month, plus this small management fees that are in here. You can add to it in increments of whatever you want. You can pull from it. It shows you how it's growing, shows you your performance, and it shows you how much money you have, all on your phone, all the time, running in the background, automatically. I was so blown away when I. First of all, it's one thing when I hear about these technologies, but then I go and I usually demo 'em myself. I wanted to really go through the app, and figure out how long will it take me to open this account. I opened the account; how long did it take you?
Probably 20 minutes, yeah.
I asked her how long it took her to open the account. It took you.
About 30 minutes. You said 30 minutes; they're gonna die when they hear this. But that's good still right.
It was 'cause I wasn't sure what it was.
Okay, that's fair too, 'cause you actually had to go through the process of picking the account. Once you get to the interface where you open the account, it's a 10 minute or less process. And you know, again, I'll go back to being a financial advisor. When you would have come into my office, the amount of paperwork that we had, still to this day, had to have you fill out just to do a systematic investment account would take six pages. Now you go to the phone, you go click, click, click, and it's all set up. I was so impressed that when I saw this technology and I tried it out, I got on a plane, flew to Irvine where they're based, met with the founder Walter, met with Noah Kerner the CEO. Actually invested in the Siege Round, along with PayPal, so I've invested in this company as a private investor. They have 1.4 million accounts already. Now the cool thing about you being here and talking about it is that they're getting a lot younger accounts. And so the fact that now; 'cause this is gonna help baby boomers too. But this is really like millennials, like making you realize if you've got small amounts of money you can start an investment account super simply.
Well that's the thing that kinda helped me, was because you went through this latte-factor where you had me breaking it down and I'm like how am I gonna do this. And I remembered I had this account. I kept going well I'm not gonna do this because I don't have any way to do it.
How did you find out about Acorns, out of curiosity?
It was a year or so ago, somebody had sent it to me. It was brand new.
So I wasn't using it too much, but with the latte-factor I was like $5 a day I wouldn't do anything. I'd say well I can use it on shoes or whatever else, I'm not gonna save it. But I have to get back into it, and really put that stuff in there, it's great. I haven't been using it as much as I should.
So that's why I updated this book, because I wanted to put all these new companies in here that didn't exist. Acorns is in here. So Acorns, in full disclosure; yeah.
Yeah just a question about this. How do you think about this money compared to the blueprint. Is this money that you're just like saving forever, like it could be part of your retirement plan?
So most of you, your retirement account's gonna come at work, unless you're doing an IRA account, which then you could do anywhere, or a separate IRA. Most of you are gonna use a 401(k) plan if you've got a job. This I would consider to be your dream account. You know, with the emergency account, it's not really an emergency account. Because I don't want your emergency account in the stock market. So these portfolios are stock market based. They have bonds and they have stocks in it. This is really dream account money. Emergency account money should be an online savings account. These guys will probably pretty soon have an online savings account, 'cause everybody is gonna start having all these buckets. But I look at this as dream account money. Because you're investing in the stock market, it's money that's gonna have more risk. So you've gotta be realizing like you're putting this away for savings. This could be savings for a house. This could be savings for a car. This could be savings for college. It could be emergency money, provided you just know there's some risk involved in it. So they're not the only ones doing this. You gotta be full and fair to give the other company that's quickly coming on the landscaping, and that's gonna be called Stash Invest. Very similar. Everything I talked about with Acorns, Stash is doing something similar. They're building different kind of portfolios, but it's really the same idea. And I love all these new fintech companies because what these companies are doing for you here in the room, you at home, is it is democratizing investing. Investing has always been candidly for rich people. You know my Grandma Bach started on her own. It wasn't easy to start with small amounts of money. And the big banks and brokerage firms have not wanted these smaller accounts. That's gonna change, by the way. But today, online, with these apps, with these new technology companies, there's no barrier entry. If you can start with $1 a day, you can start. And small wins can change everything.
I'm really excited to hear about this nano-investing or micro-investing, whatever you wanna call it. We started investing years and years ago in dividend reinvestment plans, where you had to have a minimum of one share as well as ShareBuilder many years ago.
Yup, I use to talk about ShareBuilder all the time.
And we learned it from you. And we had been telling everyone, you can invest for very little amount of money if you can't afford a full share. You want Berkshire Hathaway share A, maybe not.
Share B, but share B?
Yeah share B, 10 bucks a month, buy a partial share. So we've been telling about, and my husband and I actually many years ago were banking with a very well-known bank, which I will not name, but has a stagecoach. And we started rounding up our checks, and instead of $1.59, we'd put $2 in. And when we closed the account when we were preparing to move away, we had a nice little nest egg that we were able to use for the dream account. We were able to take a vacation. And very little effort. So I'm really excited, my son is 12, and is now starting to; his iPhone is filled with apps. And he's now starting to discover what investing is. We just took a trip to Disney World and he had his own portfolio. And it's exciting to hear that the younger generations, we now can teach them about micro-investing. And okay, so you have $10, invest $2. What can you do with it? So I'm really excited to hear about this, because I think so many people use that excuse of, I don't have $10 a month to invest in a stock. And now this is giving them an easy way to do it. It's so exciting.
How long ago did you read my book?
Well the first one, Smart Couples Finish Rich, we read probably right as soon as it came out. Yeah, and then the Automatic Millionaire, we read, the original version right after. And then we read Debt Free for Life. So we've read numerous books, and we've employed a lot of these strategies.
Where did you fly in from?
I live in Spearfish, South Dakota.
You could basically teach this class. She's talking about A shares and B shares and Berkshire Hathaway. So ShareBuilder is another one of these companies where I was so excited about the company I got on a plane, went out to meet; I think it was in Oregon or Seattle at the time. Jeff Sealy was running it. They really, they were early on this whole thing.
I think if I recall, they were bought by ING.
Yeah, it helped us build our portfolio in many, many ways. We have a quite diverse portfolio, but I flew to meet you.
I was very excited to have the opportunity to be here, but again, I think this gives validity to the fact that you don't have to make $1 million a year to be a millionaire. You can do it on very humble salaries, it is possible. And my husband and I can attest to that.
Gonna give you another high five. Good for you; thank you for sharing that. What a treat this is. Well thank you so much. I've got two more websites to go through. And it's only one slide. It's robo advisors. Surprisingly, most of you didn't raise your hands on what a robo advisor is. In a way the robo advisor name started like two years ago. Somebody said it in the media, or three years ago. And then we all started calling these new firms robo advisors, which is a little silly because it doesn't really mean anything. Really what they are is they're automatic investment companies. What has changed with technology. So ShareBuilder as an example, a decade ago, what they did was make it so you could buy one share, you could automatically invest in one share and you could grow it and you could reinvest. What you can do today is you can automatically invest a couple dollars now and literally have a completely diversified portfolio of exchange traded mutual funds. Automatically built, automatically rebalanced. All done for you for like very low cost. This is the same technology that all the big firms have used. So the Morgan Stanley's and the Goldman Sachs and the Merrill Lynch's, all the big banks. Basically what financial advisors have done for years, now the new technology companies are now doing very similarly, for a much lower cost. The difference is they're not meeting with you face to face. Now that is a difference. So the two biggest players in this space are Wealthfront and Betterment. You should go to both of these websites and check them out. Last time I checked with Betterment, I think they had $6.5 billion, they're probably higher now. Wealthfront's probably like, I don't even know, last time I heard I think they were at $3 billion. These firms, by the way, they make a big deal about how much they manage. In the grand scheme of things, while that sounds like a lot, you have mutual funds that have $50 billion in one fund. You have mutual funds with $100 billion. Like these are new companies, and they're small. These are the two biggest players, so there's 100 robo advisors out here. If you're gonna go with robo advisors, I'd look at these two first. Because these are the two biggest players. And I even talk about this in Automatic Millionaire. I list all the new robo advisors, and I say in here, most of these robo advisors they're either gonna go out of business or they're gonna be bought by a financial service company. I don't know if that will happen with these two, but it's already happening. All these robo advisors, all the smaller technology companies are being bought up by the banks, insurance companies, and brokerage firms 'cause they need the technology. This is all good for us, because what's basically happening is that all the major companies now; and I'll go through this a little bit later; but I'll talk about four major firms. Fidelity, Vanguard, Schwab, TD, those are the four big financial service companies out there. They all now offer a robo advisory service. So I wanted to give you guys these two firms to look at. Go and check them out. They have incredible, simplified interfaces, similar to what Acorns does. They do it on their website. Here's the real key to these portfolios, however. This is the part where I get nervous about technology. What makes me nervous about technology for you, is that when you go through these questionnaires without somebody there with you, you're gonna go through these questionnaires and they're gonna ask you questions about your risk tolerance. And on average, they're gonna go through seven to 10 questions. In some cases they've now gone down to five. And they're gonna take the way you clicked on those boxes, and they're gonna come back with a portfolio. And the problem is, you don't really know what boxes; you don't know enough to know necessarily when you click through these boxes, and the portfolio comes back, is that portfolio really right for you? And so, and this is the problem with not working with financial advisors. Like the part that gets me scared, is that when you're starting off small it's not a big deal. But once you start putting $100 or $200 or $300, if you have a $500,000 account, it pretty much matters a lot how much risk you're putting into these portfolios. I had a friend of mine just come to me, and he wanted to put in $3 million, and in this case it was actually Schwab. Schwab's got an amazing robo advisor platform. They call it Intelligent Portfolios. All this is in the book. But they've got a great interface, super diversified, super low cost. So I said, "Here's what we're gonna do." My buddy's name is Andrew. "I'm gonna go through this with you, "you go through and tell me which boxes "you're gonna click on. "I won't tell you what to click. "Okay, so you go through." So we're on the computer together, he's clicking through, portfolio comes back, super aggressive portfolio. Now, he's, "Well how does that look?" I go, "In my opinion, as a financial advisor, "and knowing you your whole life, "you don't need to take that much risk. "We need to dial this portfolio back." So I'm like, "We gotta go back into the questionnaire, "and you need to click on this button, "and you need to click on this button, "so we can see what that comes back at." So it spits back, it's still too aggressive. I'm like, refresh, click, click. So I worked with him as his buddy and his financial advisor, five times through those questionnaires to get a portfolio point where I'm like, "That one works for you. "That one's a lot less risk, "that one's gonna have a lot less volatility. "That's perfect for you based on everything "you just told me." So that's important just to know. I can feel people breathing, like aw, I thought I could just go click, click, click and I'm good. But you've gotta go into this stuff with your eyes wide open. Really important thing to say too about this class. I didn't do the big disclaimer in the front of the class. I am not making individual, specific financial recommendations for any of you, at home either. This class is for educational purposes. When you go to these websites, you gotta read everything, you gotta do all your own due diligence. You need to talk to an accountant, personal financial advisor. Educational purposes. You are not leaving here today with a personal, individual financial recommendation. We cool with that? Okay, except, pay yourself first. Alright, awesome.