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Best Stock Brokerages


I highly recommend investing with Vanguard especially if you like Vanguard funds. There are no fee when you trade Vanguard ETF and mutual funds. However, there are some charges for individual stocks and non Vanguard funds. The fee depends on how much money you have in Vanguard funds. Once you have over $500,000 invested, then the fee become just $2 per transaction. I know that’s a lot, but Vanguard is still a great option if you primarily invest in Vanguard funds. You can see their fee schedules here.


Firstrade is a discount brokerage and I used them for years. We trusted them with our dividend portfolio, IRA, and Roth IRA. Their fees are really good and it just got better. Individual stock transaction cost just $2.95 and mutual fund transaction cost $9.95. That’s really good.

I only moved our accounts to Vanguard because we have all Vanguard funds. I still really like Firstrade. Their customer support was superb whenever I had to call. Check Firstrade out here if you’re looking for a good discount brokerage.

Real Estate Crowdfunding


RealtyShares is one of the top real estate crowdfunding platform currently. RealtyShares let investors pool their resources and fund one of the many real estate projects across the United States. The minimum investment varies from project to project. I’ve seen anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000. The ROI is dependent on the project and location, between 9% to 17%. I’m shooting for 10% and plan to invest $100,000 by the end of 2018. I like the option to invest elsewhere because our local real estate market is getting too expensive.

Anyone can sign up with RealtyShares to explore the platform and see what projects are available. The good thing is they add a few new real estate projects every week so there are plenty of properties to choose from. Check them out.

If you’re curious, you can read how I’m doing with my real estate crowdfunding investment.

RealtyShares curated

Only a few projects make it through the screening process at RealtyShares.

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. He spent 16 years working in computer design and enjoyed the technical work immensely. However, he hated the corporate BS. He left his engineering career behind to become a stay-at-home dad/blogger at 38. At Retire by 40, Joe focuses on financial independence, early retirement, investing, saving, and passive income.

For 2018, Joe plans to diversify his passive income by investing in US heartland real estate through RealtyShares. He has 3 rental units in Portland and he believes the local market is getting overpriced.

Joe highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. He logs on to Personal Capital almost daily to check his cash flow and net worth. They have many useful tools that will help every investor analyze their portfolio and plan for retirement.

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