Everything on this page I personally use and pay for. I will never recommend anything that I don’t think is valuable, the only thing I ask is if you’re going to sign up for it anyways, please use my links so I can get credit for referring you. All links on my site are affiliate links whenever possible.
I also use my kindle e-reader a ton and enjoy being able to travel with my whole virtual library. Sign up for a free month of unlimited reading on kindle using this link Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans.
Money and Investing:
Vanguard.com : Index Investing
I like vanguard because they have virtually no cost to their funds. I
This strategy, which Andrew outlines in the book “The Millionaire Teacher“, helps to reduce your fees charged and reduce your risk while maximizing the long term growth of your portfolio. Markets on average will grow around 10%, the US and Canada markets see this growth, as do many other first world countries. You may be able to get some more aggressive growth if you aim for small cap indexes. Whether you go small cap or total market index, ultimately I would stick to indexes in general to reduce your risk and keep the upside reward at maximum.
Schwab.com : My First Brokerage
I use Schwab for my brokerage to buy stock and bond index funds right now while I work on setting up additional income streams to buy more in the vanguard index portfolio I’m building.
I also use Schwab as my Travel Card for taking money out at ATM’s and for foreign purchases (think food costs and hotels and such), anything big I throw on my travel rewards credit card and then pay it off, but small stuff like coffee and lunch I like to put on a debit card so that I have the instant accounting, aka Cash based accounting and not Accrual based accounting.
Ally Bank – I setup a automated deposit with Ally to pull $100 out of my paycheck each month and automate savings. In 10 months or less you can have your Emergency fund set aside in a separate account that you only have online access to that separates it from your normal spending account. Plus Ally’s 1.6-2.0% high yield savings account helps protect against inflation.
Robinhood.com : No Cost Trading
I recently just signed up for Robin Hood investment app because of my friend referring me to it. I have to say, the no commission fees is very enticing, and can save you a lot of money if you are trading frequently.
With that being said I plan to keep a maximum of 2% of my portfolio in this fund because of the risk involved. Day trading is like gambling and the higher the frequency (the more often you trade) the higher the level of risk involved.
If you are looking for a simple and easy approach to investing then I suggest you read Andrew Hallam’s Book: The Millionaire Teacher and follow that method. It’s a buy and hold strategy and will provide you with long term growth and stability.
However, that being said, it is also a lot of fun to see your pick go up and up and up. I wouldn’t count on this as the bulk of your asset allocation, but if you really want to play, and can afford and stomach to lose money then feel free to allocate up to 10% of your portfolio, just understand that you could see 100% of that money disappear if you make a bad buy.
What you you will need to setup an account and get approved first, since it is a US brokerage, only us citizens will be able to apply. I will add more resources for non-us residents and citizens as I come across them.
Rich Dad Poor Dad – This is one of the first books that I read about investing and creating an “business owner” mindset rather than an “employee” or “self employed” mindset. Robert Kiosake discusses and shares some timeless wisdom in this book about getting the right mindset to about money and value creation. I highly recommend it to anyone trying to leave their 9-5 and become an investor and business owner. You can get it on audible as well with your monthly credit.
Tony Robbins Money Master The Game – The 5 levels of financial freedom, every tool in his tool kit to help you reach your saving and investing goals, tony lays everything out for you to become successful. I read this book and was in awe with some of the heavy hitters that he interviewed like Warren Buffett and Ray Dalio, and some of the stuff that they recommend just makes sense.
The Millionaire Teacher – This book taught me the value of saving and investing early on. I learned about an indexing approach that I’ve gone on to use to earn 10%+ on my portfolio (more on that later).
The Millionaire Nextdoor – Dr. Stanley’s in depth analysis, of what makes the 700+ millionaires he polled, wealthy. He goes into detailed analysis of the common traits and characteristics of the average millionaire, what they do and do not do, in order to attain that lofty status.
investing information resource, think wikipedia for investing. This is like a library, or a search engine, refer back to it when you have a question.
Simple, to the point financial site without a bunch of advertising. You can learn about index investing, and check out their savings calculator to find out how much your simples savings can spell out in retirement for you.
Example used on the site: A $4 coffee 3x a week invested at 3% for 20 years will mean another $17,000 you can blow on a boat or a trip to Fiji for a week.
Using their money calculators you can find out just how much money you will need in retirement, in addition they offer common sense investing advice, as well as some not so common sense investing advice. Spend a day or two navigating the site, book mark it in your browser, and come back to it when you have questions.
Drive for Lyft – you can earn a very good full time income working even part time driving for lyft or uber. I don’t like uber as much because of how they treat their employees and their drivers, but I’ve always loved lyft, even when they left Austin to eventually return later. Lyft drivers make a very good income if they are willing to drive at hours that most folks aren’t like early mornings and evenings / weekends. If you are trying to get out of debt faster this is an awesome way of paying off your debt faster and earning a nice chunk of change to pay for your next trip. Use this link or enter CHILDS61919 to get up to a $500 bonus for signing up and driving in your first 30 days, you will get a $2.50 bonus for each ride that you do in your first 30 days.
Cook for Guests – You can host people over at your place and cook for them. If you have culinary background this could be good option, or if you just like to cook. You could also start your own meal prep business too.
Be a friend – a service where you can create a profile and except small side jobs where you maybe go shopping with someone who is visiting from out of town, or wants to have a date to a dinner party, or even (like in the example video) wants you to attend a wedding with them and then write thank you notes for them. Think, outsourcing for friendship.
First you need to fill out our application. Once you are approved (usually within an hour of signing up) your profile is made live on RentAFriend.com. People can search their zip code or city/state/country for Friends in their area. If they are interested in your profile they will contact you directly. You then negotiate your time, price, and activity with the member. You then meet your new friend, have a great time, and get paid!
YNAB – this is budgeting software, you can create a free budget with excel (but you still have to pay for the program. What budgeting does is help you aim for a target each month and hit your target. Before I started budgeting I was dead broke and deep in debt, now I’m 100% student, credit card, auto loan and mortgage free and have money in the bank.
Excel, open office, or numbers for Mac – the free options. These are all great programs and you can create free budgets with these. This is the more manual approach, and if you have only $500 bucks to your name and a bunch of debt then I would start here. If you have a Mac then use numbers, if you have a windows computer you can download open office or Microsoft excel. I like excel or numbers more because they are less buggy, but you can use any of the above, and don’t forget about google spread sheets. Google sheets is also a free program, though less functional, you can still use it to create a simple budget sheet and profit / loss statement for your business.
How To Master Your Time By Brian Tracy – the master of time management, I’m pretty sure this is where Tim Ferris learned what he needed to know for the four hour work week mastery. Whether your an employee or a business owner there are definitely some nuggets of wisdom.
The One Thing: Gary Keller– Gary Keller, the founder of KW Real Estate one of the largest brokerages in the United States, if not the world, talks about his experience with burnout and stress starting out as an up and coming real estate agent in Austin, TX. He goes on to outline his process for bettering his health, growing his business, and regaining trust and love with his family through the experience he calls “the one thing”.
The E-Myth Michael Gerber – this is a cornerstone book and foundation to anyone looking to build a REAL business and is absolutely necessary for anyone looking to break free of the 9-5 and or start their own company. This multiple time best seller is beautifully written and paints brilliant pictures of Michael Gerber’s passionate life prior to learning business, interlaced with the story of a young woman who is struggling with her bread shop, and makes the story very easy to follow. It’s a great read for anyone in business, or not, who would like to better their own operations at home, at work, and in life in general.
Pirahna Marketing – Joe Polish gives you a complete system to take any brick and mortal business or service based business and make it successful. Even without “techy” knowledge you can implement these systems in your business or in someone elses business for them and create a totally different revenue stream. I highly recommend this and personally bought it when it was being sold still for $69.95 (though it unfortunately doesn’t include the handouts or other material in the audible program).
Entreleadership By Dave Ramsey – a good book on sound financial and business concepts that anyone can benefit from. Dave has a great way of bringing people back down to earth with his sound business principles, and a way of lifting others up with his aspirational speeches. I admire Dave for what he was able to do, get himself and his family out of massive debt, and to be able to help 4.5Million (1) people with his FPU program. If you include the number of people touched by his events, radio show, and books that number is likely to be 10x that. Whether you are a christian or not, the materials that Dave has are educational and entertaining, this book in particular.
Namecheap – This is the domain name registrar that I recommend. They sell domain names at the lowest legal price on the internet. You will be able to redirect any domain name that you buy here to any other site that you host your sites on, wordpress hosting, facebook, instagram, amazon, shopify, etc. If you need additional domain names I suggest that you use Namecheap, or if you want to change your current domain name but don’t want to lose traffic then get another one here and point it to your site, keeping your existing domain name pointing there. Another reason why I prefer to have my domain names separate from my hosting is redundancy – if the hosting site is down I can always go to name cheap and redirect it to another host.
How To Win Friends and Influence People – this is one of the pillars to my education in human relationships. These principles, when practiced, can yield immense returns on time and energy invested in relationships. Much of the wealthiest people in America have relationships with others to thank. Hard work and time of course play into that; however, the right relationships can propel you further towards your goals faster.
Leadership: Touching Others Lives – This is one of the best inspiration books that I have ever read. When I was feeling down or depressed cracking this open and giving it a good read, or if you have audible listening, made me feel better almost instantly. So much of our mood goes back to our physical state and our mental state. Jim Rohn, master speaker and business philosopher, has a masterful way with words and painting pictures of possibility. This book helped me dream again about what I could become and who I wanted to help.
Ego is the Enemy – Second book from author Ryan Holiday, author of some other great books like “Growth Hacker Marketing” and “The Obstacle is the Way“, both perennial classics. Ryan has a way with words to say the least and he consistently delivers rivitng reads. I was fortunate enough to see him at a local meeting in Austin Texas where he talked about his book and his philosophy on running and how the daily practice is what makes him a runner. When asked why he runs, does he do it for therapy, he said “Walking is therapeutic running is work. I run everyday to remind myself of the work I must do to be an author”. It made me think a lot about what I wanted to be and how getting out of debt was the first step in that journey to becoming the thing that I wanted to be .
Start With Why: Simon Sinek – the very speech that made him famous, ted talk, later became the cornerstone for this book. It’s a very real experience stopping, sitting down, and thinking “why do I want to be in business?” And more often than not, not enough people take the brief moment to ask themselves that. This book reveals many truths and shares with us stories of other entrepreneurs who were faced with the same questions and came up with their own answers to these questions. So why not try it for yourself?
Vagabonding: Rolf Potts – Inspiration for anyone with, or without, a wonder lust. Intially I read this book back in college right after being recommended it by Tim Ferris in his book the four hour work week. I read both books and immediately had a burning desire to setup my own goals to travel around the world someday. Now that day is finally here and I’m setting out on my own long term travel. To learn more about why people choose to live this lifestyle, and be effectively nomads, check out this book.
Tools I Use
Macbook Pro 15″ With TouchBar and Touch ID – I use the 15″ Macbook Pro with touch bar and Touch ID to do all my video editing writing, blogging, and social aggregation. I also use it for running my clients campaigns. The only reason you will need to have a computer this powerful is if you use your computer for video editing or for marketing, and even then, unless you are using your computer for video editing daily then you probably don’t need the higher end 2.9 GHz – 16 GB – 512GB – 4GB Radeon Pro graphics card model like I have. If you run a youtube channel, or you do video editing daily then I suggest you check out the higher end 15″ 2.9 GHz – 16 GB – 512GB – 4GB Radeon Pro graphics card model on Apple’s site. And if you want to get some extra savings I would shop their refurbished store. I don’t want you to get the wrong Idea, I’m not recommending you buy used crappy equipment, on the contrary. Apple refurbished is the best in the industry, and what most folks don’t know, because when I say that they usually think either (a) I love refurbished, or (b) eww. refurbished, I can’t believe you would even consider that!
I don’t want you to get the wrong idea, they are quality products. Usually what happens is, someone goes online and orders a brand spankin new computer with extra bells and whistles, either an upgraded processor they don’t need, a color they don’t really want, or something else customized on the options page. Then, what happens next? They use it for a day and decide they don’t want, need, or like it then they return it. Sometimes, and this is very rare sometimes, there is a defect with the computer (called workmanship – HA! robot workmanship) and Apple accepts the return no questions asked. However, this is rare, and when it’s a return it’s for something like a hinge is damaged or keyboard issue. But anyway, the computer gets returned, money gets refunded, and the customer gets a new product. What does apple do with those computers? Well, they throw them in a dumpster! No, I’m just kidding. They take them to a warehouse and replace the damaged part, they test everything on the computer, more than new computers get tested, and then they box them up brand new and put them into the refurbished store.
Anyone that buys Apple refurbished products gets (A) quality apple products backed by the same manufacturers warranty as new products (B) the same support on their products (C) You can add the Apple Care+ on them too (D) the same return policy… oh and (E) 15% off your purchase!! Whoot! yeah baby.
So if you aren’t shopping refurbished then you are overpaying by about 15%… haha just kidding. They don’t always stock exactly what you need, and if your company or your boss is buyin’ why not just get the exact model with the upgrades you want? But hey, your choice, if you find the right model in the refurbished store then hit it up and grab it fast because there is no guarantee that it will be there.
15″ MacBook Pro Charger – Always have a second charger. If you work in two locations it’s nice just to leave one at home and one at the office. Or, if you’re as big a traveler as I am, it’s nice to leave one at home and take one with. If you lose it on the road at least you have one at home when you get back to the country or to your residence. The only downside, slash upside depending on how you view it, is that if you lose the adapter that comes in the box with the computer you now have to buy the cable and the block separate. However, the upside is that if one or the other gets damaged then you can much more easily replace the component that does rather than having to buy a whole new charger, which is better for your wallet, the environment, and for Apple. Also, with the new USB-C chargers you may be able to use them to charge the lightning enabled devices, see this post here. Pretty cool if you ask me, you just need the lightning to USB-C cable apple sells here
Logitech Keys To Go – I use this ultra-thin keyboard when I am traveling and writing on my phone and I just want to jump over to a cafe for a minute and not bother lugging my 15″ Macbook Pro over to the cafe. This keyboard has hours of battery life, works easily with my portable charger, and is able to sync with any device that works with bluetooth, so yes, I can sync it with my mac too. I suggest you also get the Keys to go stand as well. If you shop more on amazon and you have prime, getting the Logitech keys to go + The Keys to go stand will be less than if you head over to Apple.com and got it but keep in mind, Apple does have free 2 day shipping on all orders. So you can get the keyboard and the the stand from apple for about the same price, $69 + tax.
Faux Leather Journal – I am vegan, I choose not to consume animal products or harm animals through my diet and lifestyle choices. Even if you don’t choose to live this way you can still use this awesome journal. What I like about it is that it’s a durable reusable cover so you don’t need to go out there and waste tons of money on new expensive leather journals each year, you can just supply the next paper for $13.99 bucks on their amazon page. The build quality is good, and the company only sells these animal friendly, eco-friendly products, unlike other companies who just throw out the term “cruelty free” to get more traffic to their listing, SohoSpark is an all animal friendly company. So whether you’re vegan or not, do yourself and your wallet a favor and get this journal for your writing. When you buy a cover it comes with the first bound paper.
Bookings.com – One of the largest online sites in south East Asia and you can use them to travel pretty much anywhere. They are a good alternative to AirBNB, hotel reward sites, or Hosteling (which when you are working on the road can get a little old). Use this link to get $25 off your next stay using bookings.
AirBNB -I use airBNB when I want to travel somewhere and stay really nice digs, or with my girlfriend and we aren’t trying to rough it. Use this link and you get $40 in travel credit after your first stay. use for travel.
Hostelworld.com – I just love their selection of hostels and you only have to put down 10% to reserve your room. When I’m traveling continuously it’s nice to be able to plan up to a week or so in advanced and Hostelworld has made that aspect really easy. You can also contact the hostels directly and often times they are able to switch your reservation pretty easy.
Couchsurfing.com – crash with a local, this is like facebook for travelers and we’ve used it to host multiple travelers through austin, tx.
I won’t ever travel again without first securing insurance for my travels. Between losing possesions, taking risks to do fun things, and the general risk that accompanies picking up and traveling to foreign parts of the world I trust world nomads to keep me safe, and my possesions safe, while in transit and when I arrive. Click here to learn more about world nomads insurance.
Earning Travel Rewards
I love flying Southwest because the crew. That’s one of the things that led me to get their rapid rewards card and sign up for an account. I used it to get 60,000 points by spending $2,000 in the first 3 months. It paid for a flight round trip to costa rica and 2 roundtrip flights to Florida (one for myself and one for my girlfriend). Check out this article that I wrote: How I Used Travel Rewards Credit Cards, Debt Free, To Get 3 Free Flights, $150 Cash, and A Round Trip Ticket for My Girlfriend to Florida.
I wouldn’t do it again though. Southwest, though a great airline, just doesn’t go anywhere else in the world, they aren’t part of a larger travel network, and they are really just a budget airline. They even lost my bags and later I found out that they don’t check the bags at every checkpoint… one of the reasons why I wouldn’t be too excited about the free checked bags if I were you. But they have exceptional customer service which absolutely makes up for it.
I use the Chase Freedom Card to get rewards points by putting business expenses on it and let the points accumulate.
I also have a Freedom Unlimited Card both of which offered a 0% intro fee and 1-5% cash back on purchases.
Sell your Extra Giftcards:
Raise.com is a great way to save money on gift cards, which you can use to fund your business purchases, or you can use to simply get a discount on future purchases. I also have used raise to sell over $200 in gift cards that I didn’t have a need for when I was paying off my $33,555 in debt. You can get a FREE $5 gift card when you signup and get a gift card within the first 30 days. Use it for business or as a gift for a friend, I don’t care what you use it for but it’s yours 🙂