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We frequently receive questions about financial products and services from readers, so we thought it would be helpful to put together a comprehensive list of the providers that we feel are most beneficial. We spend a good amount of time researching the best financial options. You'll have to do your own research to decide if these services work for you, but this should be an excellent place to start.
In many situations, I have already written a detailed review for these products and services. If I have, you can click the text that says: detailed review » to read my review.
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Also related: Recommended Credit Card Rewards
Best Tool for Managing Finances (and Budgeting): Personal Capital
Personal Capital is a free web-based application that allows you to monitor all of your financial accounts in one easy-to-read dashboard. After securely connecting all of your financial accounts, the application organizes your spending, saving, and investing into visual format.
If that's not enough, the service also offers a free retirement planning tool, and the ability to compare investment fees and asset allocation across your accounts.
Betterment is an online wealth management firm that manages more than $6 Billion in assets. The service uses low-cost, diversified ETFs to create your ideal investment portfolio, and includes a number of advanced tax features (including tax-loss harvesting) for a total cost of 0.25% in annual fees.
Wealthfront competes with Betterment, offering financial planning and portfolio management for 0.25% in annual fees. Wealthfront includes a few specialized services not found elsewhere, including direct indexing (improved tax-loss harvesting) and a 529 college savings plan. They are also offering our readers $15,000 managed free.
Best Discount Brokerage Firm: Motif Investing
Motif Investing is an interesting new firm that deserves your attention. They allow you to buy up to 30 ETFs or stocks in a bundle called a Motif for just $9.95. These can be themed in categories like Biotechnology, or can be completely customized by you.
Motif also offers a new socially responsible investing platform.
Best Mutual Funds: Vanguard
However, there are some downsides. The customer service can be nonexistent, the online interface is clunky, and trading non-Vanguard securities will cost you more than Optionshouse.
Best Savings Account: Discover Bank
I recently went on a hunt to find a savings account that would pay better than the 0.05% interest that local checking accounts are currently paying. Discover Bank offers a competitive interest rate, no minimum deposit, and no hidden fees.
We have a multitude of financial accounts and credit cards with Discover because they have outstanding customer service (all U.S. based), and set-up is a breeze.
Best Cell Phone Service: Republic Wireless
Republic Wireless now allows customers to bring their own phone, or you can purchase an unlocked phone directly from Republic.
Best Company for Student Loans: Lendkey
LendKey is offering a $100 cash bonus for Cash Cow Couple readers if you refinance a student loan using our link.
For More Info -> Should You Refinance Your Student Loans?
Best Way to Check Your Credit Score: Credit Sesame
Credit Sesame provides accurate information about your credit history and credit score, and doesn’t require any memberships or credit card information.
The free service produces a credit score based on your Transunion credit report. They will also allow you to monitor your credit report for free and view credit inquiries, which is very useful when applying for credit cards.
Best Online Shopping Portal: TopCashBack
By simply clicking through your account on TopCashBack, then shopping online as normal, you get paid cash back for your online purchases. TopCashBack typically has the highest cash back rates, and if they don't, you can submit a cash back claim from your account and they will match the rate offered by other cash back portals. In the few times that my purchases haven't tracked through the portal, I've submitted a claim and it has been honored.
I also use Ebates.com and BeFrugal.com quite a bit. They often have great rates as well, and I usually compare each of them to find the highest cash back rate available. If you signup using our link, you will receive a $10 bonus at each network.
PolicyGenius allows you to compare numerous term insurance policies with one simple application. You input your desired coverage and instantly receive quotes from more than 20 of the most trusted insurance providers. You can then decide what is right for you, and complete the process to obtain coverage.
Haven Life offers one type of term insurance policy, but is the only insurance agency that offers immediate coverage (without completing a medical exam). After filling out the application, Haven Life's unique system provides an instant decision and allows you to purchase the insurance and begin coverage immediately.
These services provide the easiest way to shop for affordable life insurance coverage.
Best Auto Insurance Provider: Liberty Mutual
We've been shopping around and the cheapest car insurance we've found is through Liberty Mutual, so that is who we currently use. The company typically scores well on customer satisfaction surveys, and has been around for many years.
My parents also use Liberty Mutual and have bundled auto insurance with homeowner's insurance. If you own a home, grab a home quote too.
Best Way to Hire Labor: Fiverr.com
Blogging can lead to new clients, new income streams, and new opportunities. If that peaks your interest, consider starting a blog. It's easy and extremely cheap.
For blog hosting, we use and recommend Bluehost. It's about the cheapest way to get started and it is one of the largest and most trusted hosting companies.
Best Grocery Store: Local Stores or Amazon.com
We buy most of our groceries at a local store called Sprouts. We occasionally shop at Amazon to find specialty items.