Here are a list of Financial Tools that I have been referring to and recommending in my blogs and speaking engagements.
Here is the summary of the tools, Click on the button to download or join each one:
Scroll down to read more about each Financial Tool.
Financial Recovery Tool #1 – WLID Budget Calculator: BreadCrumb step #2
In BreadCrumb step number two we work on creating a written budget, by starting out with a list of all your debts from smallest to largest balance. Next we move on to my favorite part creating an income and expense (I&E) sheet, putting your financial picture in plain view. Finally we take your I&E and create two “What-If” budgets. This is where the real work begins because now that we have made a plan, now we must work the plan. The hardest part of this whole process is retraining your mind to stick to the plan, and don’t stray from the path of breadcrumbs you are following.
The WLID Budget Calculator was created on Microsoft Excel, but a printable PDF version is also available during the download process. The easiest way to get through step two is to use Microsoft Excel and let the spreadsheet do the math for you. I have also included all of the instructions in the spreadsheet and have made it as easy as possible to use. If you don’t have an application that will open this spreadsheet, you can download the PDF version, which can be printed and manually manipulated with a pin and calculator. All of the instructions have also been included in the PDF version.
Financial Recovery Tool #2 – Acorns: BreadCrumb step #3
If you are anything like me, up until the past three years I had a very hard time saving even a penny let along $1000 for a rainy-day fund. So in step three in the BreadCrumbs we kick the financial recovery into high gear and save up $1000 for your rainy-day fund. To many this sounds like a daunting task, but with the help of the many creative ideas you will find in my book BreadCrumbs to Financial Freedom you should have your rainy-day savings funded in no time.
The next hurdle is where to store your $1000 until the rain starts to fall, and let me tell you it will fall. You want easy access to your money, but not as easy as putting it in a coffee can in the refrigerator. Many people starting out on the road to financial recovery have very little will power, and will grab that money for a quick weekend getaway, or some new smartphone with good intentions of putting the money back in a few paychecks. The only problem is the rain will fall sooner if you use the money for something other than an emergency and the fund will never get put back.
I have found the perfect place to store our rainy-day funds, with a company called Acorns.
What Is Acorns?
Proclaimed the first mobile investment application that lets you open an account via your smartphone, or from your computer. Acorns is an up-and-coming platform that allows you to invest your spare change using the “round-up” method, with the goal of either building wealth or reaching short-term savings goals.
Using your mobile phone, you simply connect your bank accounts and invest the change from purchases you make every day. Small amounts of money — usually less than a dollar — are added up over time and invested into your account with Acorns.
Financial Recovery Tool #3 – Betterment: BreadCrumb step #6 & 11
Once you have used the Debt Reduction Ripple Effect to pay off all your debt and you are well into your financial recovery, it is time to kick your rainy-day fund into high gear, and save up six months of expense money. You can continue to save in your Acorns account, and I still let the round ups continue to flow into my Acorns account. But once my $1000 was reached in my Acorns account I stopped my recurring $25 per week and used that $100 per month to help pay my debt down faster. Now that my debt is gone I have a ton more money to invest.
I found this other company called Betterment that I’m using for my extended rainy-day fund, as well as saving for vacations and other big items such as my next car (used of course).
Betterment is an online brokerage just like many others, but it takes the view that fees eat into long-term investing account returns. So Betterment lowers fees by using ETFs (exchange-traded funds) that diversify like mutual funds, but are tradable like stocks. ETFs carry very low expense ratios. Betterment also uses software to create a low-cost, diversified plan for you, and then constantly manages your account through:
- Portfolio rebalancing
- Tax loss harvesting
- Goal setting
- Automated deposits
Betterment allocates your investment portfolio based on your needs, goals, and market conditions.
Types of Accounts Supported
- Roth IRAs
- Automated portfolio rebalancing
- Tax loss harvesting
- Goal setting
- Choose your risk level
- Customized portfolio
- Fractional share investing
- Automated deposits
- Builder: 0.35% of average balance, with $100/mo. direct deposit
- Better: 0.25% of average balance, $10,000 minimum
- Best: 0.15% of average balance, $100,000 minimum
- Five-minute account setup
- No minimums for withdrawals or deposits
- No account minimum
- Automatic deposits
The Betterment sign-up process:
- Can be done from your desktop or smartphone
- The system will make portfolio recommendations after you answer a few simple questions
- Set a goal
- Connect your checking account
- Verify your checking account
- Make Initial deposit
- Setup at least $100 per month recurring deposit to avoid the $3 per month fee
Make sure you have completed BreadCrumb step five before you open this account, because you will need to be able to deposit at least $100 per month into your Betterment account to avoid the $3.00 per month fee, and you need that money in early BreadCrumb steps to pay off your debt.