During the course of my WealthyBy40 Challenge, I have encountered plenty of resources and tools that have helped me during the journey. I would like to share them with you so that you can save time in your quest towards financial freedom. Everything I recommend below has been personally tested out by myself and I would not be endorsing them if they did not bring value into my life.
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🇬🇧 means this product is suitable for readers who are residing in the UK.
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Useful Blogging Tools
That’s why I think Wix offers an amazing product because it integrates hosting, design and domain all under one roof with one price. It uses a drag-and-drop approach so there are zero coding skill required. An added bonus is that it gives you a domain name free of charge for 1 year if you sign up to its premium plan. This is ideal for novice bloggers who just want to start writing.
Top tip: I would choose the Premium Unlimited plan because it offers a right balance between functionality and pricing. However, instead of opting for the annual payment, try the monthly option. It might be a bit more expensive per month but in the event of you wanting to switch to a different platform within the first 10 months (like I did), then you wouldn’t have committed all the capital upfront.
I highly recommend SiteGround for hosting your website because it is fast (much faster than Wix), reliable, cheap and easy to use. I am someone with minimal tech skills and I managed to navigate through and set up this site, which is hosted on SiteGround.
Top tip: Install WordPress as your content management system (i.e. the part that actually holds the content in your site). SiteGround offers you the option of installing WordPress at the press of a button.
Useful Financial Products
I love this credit card because you to enjoy 0% interest on your purchases during the first 28 months as their customer, as long as you make the minimum payment every month.
I use it to pay for my annual commuter train ticket upfront in order to enjoy the 15-20% discount versus paying it monthly. I then divide the balance into 12 installments and set a direct debit that equates to the installment amount every month.
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL) is a British investment brokerage firm that provides a trading platform for investors to buy and sell funds and shares.
Its trading platform is intuitive and effective. You can buy pretty much any shares (UK, US, European) as well as mutual funds and ETFs with HL. Opening an account is easy and they hade made huge progress in digitalizing compliance requirements so that all documents can now be sent electronically. You can wrap your ISA, SIPP and general trading accounts all under one platform.
It provides excellent customer service. You can get in touch with them via a built-in messaging service (that actually works) or you could ring them up. Not that you would, because the platform rarely goes wrong.
Top tip: HL is not the cheapest platform. It charges at least 0.45% of your portfolio value on top of the mutual fund expenses every year if you buy funds. Shares and ETFs have capped fees which are very reasonable though. So if you are into mutual funds, this is not the best platform for you. Be sure to look at its fee schedules (ISA, SIPP and general brokerage)
My family used to have a giant piggy bank and we would put all of our spare coins in there. We will clear it out once or twice a year at the local bank and they amounted to nearly £2,000 every year!
Now a piggy bank seems to be quite excessive in this day and age as nobody uses cash anymore. However, the Moneybox App works as a digital piggy bank by rounding up every purchase to the nearest £ and deposit the difference into its investment account. It then invests the fund into various index funds.
I accumulate on average £250 per year as a result.
Top tip: this platform as very expensive if your investment amount is small. Based on its structure (£1 per month usage fee + £0.45% platform fee + circa 0.2% fund fee), a £100 investment would attract a fee over 12% of the portfolio value! This is actually very sneaky because, given the small roundup value of every transaction (max £1), the portfolio size will by definition be small and hence attracting the hefty fee. A simpler way would be just to save an additional £200 per year into your brokerage account. Nevertheless, I found the concept quite cool and it’s fun to see small roundups being accumulated into hundreds of £.
Userful Productivity Hacks
There are lots of apps to track your net worth and spending. The advent of Personal Capital and Mint have made the task so much easier.
However, I am still old school, therefore, I prefer using spreadsheets to track my net worth and spending patterns. Simply drop the bank CSV into a preset template and then it shows me all the data I need to see.
I recommend Google Sheet because it is far superior to Excel for what I need to do in the personal finance sphere. You can read more about why Google Sheet is better than Excel here.
Top tip: Google Sheet can’t really handle spreadsheets greater than 5 MB. If you want to run complex models with lots of input data, then use Excel (but how likely does this happen to you?).
I do most of my blogging and writing on the go (usually when I’m commuting) and having a great note-taking app is critical.
I recommend Google Keep, which very much like Apple’s Notes, offers an amazing array of functionalities (e.g. Optical Character Recognition, voice recording). It also contains several features that are better than Apple Notes, including intuitive folder and organization structure, more aesthetically pleasing UX and greater universal acceptance (it has both an Android and iOS version).
Top tip: Integrate its Chrome extension with your browser to save you time when copying and pasting web content.