We manage our money from anywhere in the world with a laptop, the Internet, an ATM card, and a credit card. Learn more here.
If you don’t know where your money goes, it makes it very difficult to make improvements and reduce waste.
2 online tools will do the tracking for you if you use a rewards credit card as your first choice for spending (see below.) If you are a “cash only” person then manually recording each transaction is necessary. We manually track our cash and use Personal Capital to track our other transactions
Personal Capital is a little more sophisticated and provides a solid investment overview, including mutual fund and 401k fee analysis.
Mint.com is primarily a spending tracking tool and does a great job with intelligent auto-categorization. Sometimes it tries to offer advice, and does an OK job with it. For example, it often tells us we don’t have an emergency fund and should build one, which is a strange thing to tell somebody in our financial situation.
Our primary savings account pays amongst the highest interest rates in the industry and offers easy transfer options. This is where we keep our cash buffer. Sign up at the link above and get a cash bonus.
We use cash as little as possible, preferring to take advantage of the many perks that credit card companies offer. In this way we get cash back, minimize fees, and even a free flight or two.
For our primary card, we looked for one that offered cash back and no foreign transaction fees. This puts us several percentage points ahead on every purchase.
Our backup card, is an airline card that offers free mileage with each purchase. Paying an annual fee for these cards is usually worth it if you get a free flight.
See how we scored over $10,000 of free travel.
Do you have a high savings rate and are ready to invest? Have you read all of Jim Collins’ stock series? If so, then check out these two companies:
Vanguard is the leader in index funds. They are an investor owned company, which means they work to make you rich, not some investment adviser. If he is so good at managing money, why is he still working for a living?
Fidelity is where we keep 90% of our money. We use them for online bill pay, cash management, and stock and ETF purchases. We exclusively use our ATM card from Fidelity because they reimburse for ATM withdrawals
I do our taxes myself the old fashioned way with paper and pencil. I then use TurboTax to fill out all of the forms in detail since it imports all transactions directly from our brokerage, saving a few hours. Definitely worth it.
Taxes can be complicated though, particularly for expats. If you are interested in getting some tax assistance, the folks at Taxes for Expats have written helpful online guides and have been helpful in answering my own questions from time to time.
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