Below are the top financial products I use or have used to help me achieve financial freedom. Each product provides an actionable solution that is synergistic to the advice I provide in my articles.
There are literally thousands of products to choose from and I've passed on 99% of them. Let me help you cut through the clutter by highlighting only the top financial products after hundreds of hours of research.
I've met with with the senior management from most of these companies given I live in San Francisco and used to travel to conferences several times a year. I believe in looking into the whites of each CEO's eyes before making any recommendation.
With uncertain economic times, now is more important than ever to save money, reduce expenses, stay on top of your finances and invest wisely. The top financial products can help you build more wealth.
Top Financial Products For 2024
Let's take a look at the top financial products and investment opportunities to help you achieve financial independence sooner. Please note that all products are affiliate partners of Financial Samurai because I believe, use, or invest in their products.
Most Enticing Investment For 2024
In 20 years, I don't want my kids asking me why I didn't work in or invest in AI. As a result, I'm building a $500,000 position in AI through various private funds, such as the ones offered by Kleiner Perkins, Burst Capital, and the Fundrise Innovation Fund.
The Fundrise Innovation Fund has roughly 35% of its portfolio in AI companies. In addition, it is an open-ended fund available to everyone, with a minimum investment of only $10. The other venture capital funds I'm invested in are through relationships with a minimum investment amount of $200,000.
You can listen to my hour-long conversation about the Fundrise Innovation Fund with Ben Miller, Founder of Fundrise, by clicking the player below. In 20 years I don't want my kids asking me why I didn't invest in or work in AI!
Where I’m Dollar-Cost Averaging The Most In 2024
Fundrise – Fundrise, founded in 2012, is my favorite real estate investing platform. Instead of concentrating your risk and money in one property, with Fundrise you invest smaller amounts of money (as little as $10) in a portfolio of properties with potentially higher returns across the entire country. The average historical range is around 8%, although investors made over 20% in 2021.
Real estate is tangible, less volatile, provides utility, and generates income. In an inflationary environment, real estate is my favorite asset class to own. Inflation whittles down the cost of a mortgage and boosts the value of the property.
After selling my rental house in San Francisco for 30X annual gross rent in 2017, I reinvested $500,000 of the $1,800,000 proceeds in real estate crowdfunding. It is great to earn income passively and consistently, no matter the economic environment.
Most of the investments went into properties in the heartland of America to earn 100% passive income. It makes sense to arbitrage the valuation and net rental yield differentials between expensive coastal city real estate and inexpensive heartland real estate. Thanks to the pandemic, the migration out of urban areas is real.
Fundrise Outperformance During Downturns
Real estate can help shelter your investments from volatility due to the income and shelter it provides. In 2022, Fundrise showed an overall 1.5% gain compared to -25% for Public REITs, -18.11% for the S&P 500, and -11.99% for Bonds.
Notice how much Fundrise outperformed in 2018 and 2022 when the stock market went down. If you're looking for diversification, potential outperformance, and lower volatility, Fundrise may be a good solution. Its funds primarily invest in single-family and multi-family properties in the Sunbelt.
With the real estate market weaker due to high mortgage rates, I'm dollar-cost averaging into real estate at lower values. I believe interest rates will continue to come down in 2024 and beyond, which will help boost real estate demand and prices.
Fundrise is free to sign up and is available for all investors – accredited and unaccredited investors alike. For most people, investing in a diversified fund is the way to go.
Best Life Insurance Marketplace 2024
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 lets you see multiple real quotes at once so you can make a more informed decision.
If there's one thing we've learned during the pandemic and now a senseless war, it's that tomorrow is not guaranteed. If you have kids and/or debt, please get at least a term life insurance policy. Take care of your surviving loved ones.
During the pandemic, my wife was able to get double the amount of life insurance coverage for 30% less money using Policygenius. In December 2021, I was able to get a new 20-year, $750,000 affordable policy thanks to PolicyGenius. I'm thrilled because I have two young children and my 10-year term policy is expired in January 2023.
In fact, being able to get affordable life insurance decreased my anxiety tremendously. I had made a mistake as a 35-year-old and only bought a 10-year term life insurance policy. Went I tried to renew in 2021, my life insurance premium was 10X higher! Policygenius helped me saved and feel secure about my family's future.
Based on my recent checks, it looks like term life insurance rates have come down in 2020. This is great because we now all have serious fears about our health due to the global pandemic.
Here's my comprehensive Policygenius review. To be able to get free, real insurance rate quotes so you can easily compare is great. After you get your life insurance needs locked down, make sure you write your will, create a death file, and set up a revocable living trust.
Best Free Wealth Management Tool 2024
Empower (previously Personal Capital) – Empower has the best free wealth management tool for investors. You can x-ray your portfolio for excessive fees. Get a snapshot of your asset allocation by portfolio. And track your net worth and plan for your retirement.
Think about Empower as a sophisticated version of Mint or an interactive version of Excel. I spent two years consulting for them in their San Francisco and Redwood City offices.
When there is so much uncertainty in the world, you absolutely must stay on top of your finances. Understand where your risk exposure is. Stay on top of your cash flow. Personal Capital's free tools will help you bring calm to the chaos.
Once you link you portfolio(s) that have at least $100,000 in assets, you can also get a free portfolio analysis session with one of their advisors worth $799. If you wish, you can hire Empower to manage your money for a fee. I've used Personal Capital's free tools since 2012.
Here's my comprehensive Empower Personal Capital review.
Great Retirement Planning Tool 2024
If you want to go into more detail planning for retirement, check out NewRetirement. NewRetirement built its retirement planning tool from the ground up with the most robust features on the market today.
Whereas Personal Capital mainly focuses on stock investments, NewRetirement takes a more holistic approach to tracking your net worth by looking at real estate and other investments. Further, NewRetirement enables its users to model various “what if” scenarios to help better plan their futures.
As someone who helped kickstart the modern-day FIRE movement, my favorite feature of NewRetirement's is its Passive Income tracker. After all, being financially independent is about having enough passive investment income to cover your desired living expenses.
You can read more about my comprehensive NewRetirement review. NewRetirement has built a great retirement tool from the ground-up over the past several years.
Real Estate Investing For Accredited Investors 2024
For accredited investors who are able to invest $10,000 – $25,000 per deal, check out CrowdStreet. CrowdStreet has a direct-to-sponsor model where investors invest directly with the real estate sponsor, thereby improving efficiency and communication. Further, investors are not charged a fee to invest. Instead, the fee is borne by the sponsor.
I like CrowdStreet because their focus is on “18-hour cities.” 18-hour cities are also known as secondary markets that have lower valuations and higher cap rates. Due to strong demographic shifts, upside could be higher too.
There is a “fanning out” of the American population as remote workers look to save money. The global pandemic has helped accelerate this trend as many companies have permanently allowed their workers to work from home.
CrowdStreet is also free to sign up and explore. You can build your own select real estate fund with CrowdStreet. Make sure you thoroughly review the deals and sponsors. Occasionally, CrowdStreet will also have specialty funds to choose from.
Best Online Savings Bank 2024
During a downturn, having a good amount of cash to cover your living expenses for 6+ months is very important. CIT Bank is currently my favorite online bank where you can earn maximum interest in a money market account.
Because they are an online-only bank, they don't have expensive physical branch overhead. As a result, they can pass on their savings to you with the most competitive interest rates.
However, most traditional banks still can't compete with CIT Bank's rates. CIT Bank is offering a 4.9% on 11-month No-Penalty CDs, 4.65% on 13-month CDs, and 4.6% APY on 18-month CDs. (All rates subject to change) It's been years since we've seen attractive interest rates like these. Take advantage today and open an account securely with CIT Bank in minutes.
Here's my comprehensive CIT Bank review.
Best Personal Loan Lender 2024
Interest rates for credit cards and other types of debt is going up. If you don't have enough cash to pay down your high interest rate debt, consider taking out a lower interest rate personal loan. You can get free personal loan quotes with Credible.
Credible has the most comprehensive marketplace for personal loans where lenders compete for your business. Get real personal loan quotes in just two minutes after you fill out the application.
Take a look at the below chart. The spread between the average credit card interest rate and the average personal loan rate is over 7%. As a result, those of you with expensive credit card debt should consider consolidating your debt into a lower interest-rate personal loan.
Best Career And Severance Negotiation Book 2024
How To Engineer Your Layoff – I spent 10 years crafting and updating this 240+ 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, take care of a family, or simply travel the world is priceless. I personally negotiated a severance that paid for five years of living expenses. This allowed me to travel the world and work on Financial Samurai without stress.
If you are going to quit anyway, you might as well try and negotiate a severance. You have no downside to fighting for your rights. The book is now in its 6th edition and fully revised with two new chapters. It has additional case studies, updated resources, and more.
You can buy my book directly here. Use “savefive” to save $5.
Best Personal Finance Book 2024
Pick up a copy of my instant Wall Street Journal instant bestseller, Buy This, Not That: How To Spend Your Way To Wealth And Freedom. In the book, I teach you how to build more wealth and tackle some of life's biggest dilemmas using my 70/30 decision-making framework.
Think about Buy This, Not That as your secret weapon for developing more wealth, more freedom, and more courage to change your life for the better.
You can order a hardcopy today on Amazon which is currently having a great sale. I believe the book will provide at least 100X more value than its cost. Read it with friends and discuss.
Use The Top Financial Products To Improve Your Life
Ever since I started Financial Samurai, my motto has been, “achieve financial freedom sooner, rather than later.” By using the top financial products today, you will drastically improve your chances of achieving financial freedom.
The top financial products should help you save more money and make more money. These top products should also give you more confidence in managing your finances. Once you are confident about your finances, you can focus more on what truly matters: your friends, your family, and your purpose.
If you would like to build more wealth, never miss a FS article, and stay on top of the most important financial events of the week, join the 65,000+ people and subscribe to my free weekly newsletter.
About the Author:
Sam worked in investment banking for 13 years at GS and CS. He received his undergraduate degree in Economics from The College of William & Mary and got his MBA from UC Berkeley. In 2012, Sam was able to retire at the age of 34 after negotiating a severance worth over five years of living expenses.
Sam's passive investment income now produces roughly $380,000 a year to help both he and his wife remain stay at home parents. His main passive income focus is on real estate crowdfunding. It enables him take advantage of cheaper valuations and higher cap rates in the heartland. He spends time playing tennis and taking care of his family.
Financial Samurai started in 2009. It is one of the most trusted personal finance sites on the web with over one million pageviews a month. Financial Samurai likes to highlight the top financial products to help people achieve financial freedom sooner, rather than later.
Full disclosure: All products are affiliate partners of Financial Samurai. With every sign up, Financial Samurai may be paid a referral fee.