When you’re building something, the tools you use are incredibly important.
If you have inferior tools, you will do inferior work. It’s as simple as that.
Just like a house will crumble to the ground if not built with the right tools, so will your financial goals come crashing down with the wrong financial tools and advice.
To help you avoid this undesired fate, below is a list of 7 tools that I use or recommend to clients on a regular basis. While the tools themselves aren’t magical in any way, if you try to achieve certain financial goals without the tools below, your odds of success are slim to none.
So, let’s get started!
Lastpass is a password manager, which is a program that helps you securely store, create, and manage passwords across all of your online accounts.
A major financial goal for many people is to secure their online identity and protect themselves from identity theft. With Lastpass (and other programs like it), you pick a single, hard to crack password as your “master password” and it “unlocks” the database to the rest of your passwords.
It gives you the peace of mind of having incredibly secure passwords across all of your accounts, while also giving you the simplicity of the “last password” you’ll ever have to remember.
Check out this blog post for more info on why a password manager is an important tool to have in your financial tool belt.
Most budgeting apps are pretty good at showing you what you spent your money on, but are lacking in helping you figure out how to plan your spending in the future.
They take the tried and true method of “envelope budgeting” and transform it for the digital age to help you reach your spending and saving goals.
Mvelopes helps you…
- Track all of your accounts and spending transactions in one place
- Save money and pay off debt
- Develop a spending plan to reach your financial goals
Mvelopes helps you take control of your spending and gives you the peace of mind to stop worrying about whether or not you’ll have “more month at the end of your money.”
Check out the free version of Mvelopes here.
Let’s say you have a 401(k) from your old job, a Roth IRA at Vanguard, two brokerage accounts at Scottrade, and a 403(b) at your new job.
Not to mention your wife’s SEP-IRA and a family trust account. And don’t forget little Johnny’s 529 college savings plan!
How do you keep track of it all and make sure you’re invested wisely?
That’s where Blueleaf comes in.
Blueleaf gives you and your financial advisor the ability to see all of your accounts in one place, the individual investments within those accounts, and how your investments perform overall and on a per account basis.
Click here to learn more about how advisors like SageOak use Blueleaf to engage with clients and help them make better investment decisions.
And click here to email me for complimentary access to Blueleaf so you can “test drive” what it’s like to be a client of our firm.
4. Scottrade and SSG
When you work with an independent, fee-only financial advisor like SageOak, a custodian is the firm that actually holds and safeguards your money.
These folks hold and secure your assets so you and your advisor can focus on the financial goals you’re trying to achieve and what investments to use to reach them.
In my opinion, two custodians that stand out from the crowd are Scottrade and Shareholder Services Group (SSG).
Scottrade has more than 500 branch offices in almost every state across the country, as well as some of the cheapest brokerage commissions in the industry for trading individual stocks and mutual funds. Anyone can open an account with Scottrade online, in a retail location, or you can work directly with an advisor, like SageOak, who has a custodial relationship with Scottrade.
SSG, although lesser known, is another great option when choosing a custodian to hold your funds. SSG only works with clients of a select group of independent, registered investment advisers (like SageOak), and in my opinion, their service level is second to none.
3. Proven, evidence-based investing strategy
An evidence-based investment strategy (like the one utilized at SageOak) takes what we’ve learned in the field of financial science to develop and implement rock-solid investment portfolios.
You can learn more about one of the firms behind SageOak’s evidence-based approach by watching the short video below…
(Video not working? Watch it here.)
Research has shown that there are some factors that impact investment returns more than others, so my clients and I focus the majority of our attention on the things we can control.
And we stop worrying about the things we can’t control. Rather than rely on our “gut,” we follow the evidence to create an investment plan that will give you the best chance at reaching your short and long-term financial goals.
2. SageOak Financial, LLC
Yes, this is a shameless plug…but hear me out.
You see, most people think a financial advisor only deals with investments, but, while investments are certainly an important part of your finances, they aren’t the only piece of the puzzle.
We help you simplify your financial life and free up time so you can focus on the things that really matter, like faith, family, and friends.
What you need is someone who will work alongside you to develop a comprehensive financial plan that will help give you the best chance at reaching ALL of your financial goals…not just the ones related to investing.
At SageOak, we help you…
- Clarify your goals
- Develop a plan to reach those goals
- Assist you in implementing our recommendations
- Keep you on the right track, every step of the way
Learn more about our firm and the services we provide firm by visiting our home page here.
(End of shameless plug.)
1. The Bible
All of the great tools above will do you no good if you don’t have the wisdom to implement them in the right way, for the right reasons, at the right time.
If you remember nothing else about this post, remember this…
The fear of the Lord, is the beginning of wisdom…
(Proverbs 9:10, ESV)
Obviously, the truth of this verse makes it clear as to why the Bible would be number one on my list of tools to help you reach your financial goals.
In fact, did you know the Bible has almost 2,300 verses related to money and possessions in some way?
This does NOT mean that the Bible is a giant fortune cookie that gives you a checklist for how to get rich. If the best-selling book of all time has THAT MUCH to say about a topic though, we’d be awfully wise to listen up!
Check out this four-part blog post series I wrote last summer to learn more about what the Bible says about money.
More tools to help you reach your financial goals
These certainly aren’t the only tools that will help you reach your financial goals, but they are a few of the more important ones.
A few others you might consider and that we may explore in a future post include, but aren’t limited to…
- Box – Secure online file sharing and storage
- Estate Assist – Online “safe deposit box”
- MoneyGuidePro – Financial planning software
- Calendly – Personal and professional calendar scheduling
Again, there’s nothing magical about any of the tools mentioned in this post.
But just like building a house would be difficult, if not impossible, without the right set of tools, the same is true when trying to reach your financial goals.
Want to spend a few minutes talking to someone about whether or not any of these tools are a good fit for your situation?
Click to schedule Your Initial Phone Call
Click the button above to schedule a complimentary 15-minute phone call where we can talk more about the tools you’re currently using to reach your financial goals and whether or not you should consider any changes.