I put together this long list of financial tools I use daily, semi-regularly, or as needed because when you finally do find a tool worth using, that does what it’s supposed to do and does it well, it’s nice to spread the word. The list is a work in progress which I’ll update when I run across better tools and great resources worth sharing.
Below are the financial tools and resources I use most to help me save, invest, learn, and just make better financial decisions overall. Maybe you’ll find something worth using too.
Most of the online brokers out there basically offer the same thing. The only real difference, in my view, is trading costs. I have experience with the two below, but that doesn’t mean the rest aren’t worth using. In other words, pick the one that best fits your investing strategy.
- TD Ameritrade – I’ve had my retirement accounts and brokerage account here for over a decade. It’s the little things that separate TD Ameritrade – low fees, commission-free ETFs, trading tools, and the freedom to own the best funds or you can see my review here.
- Ally Invest – Formerly TradeKing (was bought by Ally Financial in 2016). It fits well with an active investor who wants to work with one of the lowest cost discount brokers around. Ally Invest also offers a robo-advisor portfolio of managed ETFs for a low annual fee.
- Personal Capital – One of the better and free financial tracking tools around. It lets you track all of your accounts – banking, brokerage, IRAs, 401K, credit cards, and loans – all in one place. Its strength is tracking and analyzing your investments.
- Retirement Planning Guide – Everything you need to know to start planning for retirement from how much to save, to which retirement accounts to use and how to invest the money.
- TurboTax – The easiest way to do your taxes every year (unless you need an accountant). It’s the only tax software I use. You can see my full review here.
- H&R Block – The other great online tax filing option. I’ve used both (prefer the other one) and don’t think you can go wrong with either one.
- Tax Guide – Everything you need to know about taxes because understanding the tax code is the first step in building a healthy financial plan that keeps more of your money working for you while lowering your taxes throughout your life.
- Tax Checklist – This is a checklist I put together every year to make it easier for you to round-up all the tax records, receipts, and forms you need to do your taxes ahead of time.
- Cost Basis Guide – One of the most overlooked areas of tax savings is understanding how realized gains and losses impact your taxes. This guide helps you navigate any potential tax savings before you sell an investment.
- Google Drive – I use Google Drive to create documents, spreadsheets, store any PDFs, ebooks, and other files. Take a look at the Google Drive mobile app too. You can take a picture of things, like receipts and notes, turn it into a PDF file, and save it online.
- LastPass – A password manager that makes it easy to log in to sites, set up new accounts, and create and store new passwords because online security is important.
Because sometimes you need objective personal financial advice. See also: How to Find a Financial Planner.
- NAPFA – The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors has a location tool to help you find a qualified fee-only advisor in your area.
- Garrett Planning Network – A network of hourly based, fee-only advisors that also has a search tool to find advisors in your area.
The best way to learn is through knowledge passed down from others.
- Novel Investor Library – A collection of timeless wisdom – interviews, speeches, research, case studies, books and more – for anyone wanting to learn more. Check it out!
- Book Notes – notes from the books I’ve read over the years broken down by topic (work in progress).
- Audible – An easy way to listen to your next book. Audible has the largest selection of audiobooks around and it comes with a free trial to read two books free.
- Berkshire Hathaway Letters – The archive of Warren Buffett’s letters to Berkshire shareholders straight from the source.
- Wesco Financial Letters – The archive of Charlie Munger’s letters to Wesco shareholders.
- Howard Marks Memos – The archive of Howard Marks’ memos to Oaktree investors.
- Quotes – a collection of quotes, to think about and share, from smart people who came before us.
Investment, market, and economic resources for DIY investors.
- FINVIZ – The most comprehensive free stock screener around with a premium version that gives you real-time quotes, backtesting, and more.
- GuruFocus – For value investors looking for value screens, research tools, articles, and strategies.
- Magic Formula Screener – For those of you that read The Little Book that Beats the Market by Greenblatt, this is the screener. I recommend reading the book before using.
- Portfolio Visualizer – Free tool to backtest your portfolio, different asset allocations, and analyze the results.
- Global Stock Market Valuations – StarCapital is the best resource I’ve found for global market valuations based on a number of metrics – CAPE, P/E, P/B, P/S, etc. – updated quarterly.
- Dividend Aristocrats – A list of companies with a proven track record of consistently increasing its dividend for 25 consecutive years or more.
- DataRoma – Tracks the investment activity of big-name value investors through financial filings.
- WhaleWisdom – Let’s you track big investors by comparing changes in 13F filings across quarters.
- Morningstar – Offers a number of free and premium tools to research and evaluate investments.
- FRED – All the federal reserve economic data, research, and tools any armchair economists needs to second-guess the Fed.
- TradingEconomics – Gaint database of economic indicators for most countries in the world.
- Multipl – Historical stats for S&P 500, interest rates, and U.S./World economies.
- Asset Class Returns – A snapshot of asset class returns ranked best to worst over the past 15 years.
- S&P Sector Returns – A snapshot of U.S. stock sector returns ranked best to worst over the past 15 years.
- International Market Returns – A snapshot of developed international stock market returns ranked best to worst over the past 15 years.
- Emerging Market Returns – A snapshot of emerging stock market returns ranked best to worst over the past 15 years.
- Historical Returns – Long term annual returns data for different stock, bond, and international and emerging markets country indexes.