The following are the top financial products I use or have used to help me achieve financial freedom. There are literally thousands of financial products to choose from and I’ve discarded 99.9% of them.
Let me help you cut through the clutter by highlighting only the best products. I’ve literally spent hundreds of hours researching each product, sat down and discussed it with the management or their employees, and tested the product before deciding whether it’s worth being recommended. Being in San Francisco allows me to get up close and personal with the creators.
Best Free Wealth Management Tool
Personal Capital – Personal Capital has the best financial tools for investors and people who are the most serious about planning for a healthy retirement. You can easily x-ray your portfolio for excessive fees, get a snapshot of your asset allocation by portfolio, track your net worth and plan for your retirement. Think about Personal Capital as a sophisticated version of Mint. I spent almost two years consulting for them in their San Francisco and Redwood City offices and have sat down with all senior management.
Most Intriguing Investment Opportunity For 2017
RealtyShares – RealtyShares is the best platform for investors who wish to diversify their real estate exposure. Instead of concentrating your risk and money in one property, with RealtyShares you can surgically invest smaller amounts of money ($5,000 – $10,000) in several properties with potentially higher returns across the entire country. The average historical range is between 9% – 15%, and unlike P2P lending, there’s a physical asset that actually has value. I have personally met with the founder and CEO, fellow Berkeley MBA alumni, Nav Athwal, and also know the VP of Finance very well. The platform is free to sign up and explore.
Best Digital Wealth Advisor (Robo-Advisor)
Wealthfront – Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Wealthfront is the original robo-advisor founded in 2008. Its board includes Dr. Burton Malkiel, professor of economics, emeritus and senior economist at Princeton University. He is most known for authoring the classic finance book, A Random Walk Down Wall Street, now in its 12th edition.
Best Do It Yourself Investing Platform
Motif Investing – Motif Investing is unique because it allows you to build a portfolio of up to 30 positions for only $9.95. Rather than building positions one by one for $7.95 each, for just $9.95 you can invest in an idea or theme. For most people, this is a much more efficient, risk appropriate way to invest. You can also rebalance your entire 30 position portfolio as well for only $9.95. Too many retail investors take outsized risk by investing too much in one position. Motif Investing solves this problem. I’ve been consulting with them for over two years and have met all senior management.
Best Mortgage Lender
LendingTree – LendingTree was founded over 20 years ago and is a publicly traded company with a market capitalization of over $1.2 billion. It has one of the largest online mortgage marketplaces where lenders compete for your business. Every time you are looking for a new mortgage or want to refinance, it behooves you to first get free quotes so you can use the quotes as leverage to get the best rate possible from potential lenders. Get something in writing is very powerful for negotiations.
Best Car Insurance Provider
Esurance – Esurance is known for its user-friendly website, interactive tools and top-notch mobile apps. It’s best used by people who like to manage their own policies, have straightforward insurance needs and prefer to get quotes online. Esurance is owned by industry giant Allstate and provides for free some of the most competitive rates online.
Best Student Lender
SoFi Lending – Since its founding in 2011, San Francisco based SoFi has emerged as the largest and most well-funded financial technology lending company. SoFi is able to lend at lower rates because of its proprietary underwriting model that takes educational background into consideration.
Best Life Insurance Finder
PolicyGenius – In the past, you’d have to call a life insurance carrier one by one, fill out an application form, wait for a while, and not know whether the quote you received is any good or not. PolicyGenius helps you see multiple quotes at once so you can make a more informed decision.
Best Career Advice Book
How To Engineer Your Layoff – I’ve spent the past five years crafting this 150-page ebook that teaches employees how to negotiate a severance and be free. Not only can you receive a severance, you may also get healthcare benefits, keep all your deferred compensation based on the regular vesting schedule, and be eligible for unemployment benefits. Having a nice financial runway to move on to the next career, start a company, retire early, or simply travel the world is priceless.
About the Author: Sam has been investing his own money since he opened an online brokerage account in 1995. Sam loved investing so much that he decided to make a career out of investing and spent the next 13 years after college working at two of the leading financial service firms in the world. During this time, Sam became Series 7 and Series 63 registered and also received his MBA from UC Berkeley with a focus on finance and real estate.
In 2012, Sam was able to retire at the age of 34 largely due to his investments that now generate roughly $200,000 a year in passive income. He spends his time playing tennis, hanging out with family, consulting for leading fintech companies and writing online to help others achieve financial freedom.
About Financial Samurai: Financial Samurai was started in 2009 and is now one of the most trusted personal finance sites today with over 1 million organic pageviews a month. Everything is written based off first hand experience because money is too important to be left up to pontification.