• Kale

Froogal: 2021 Staff Picks

Brokerages, checking accounts, investments, gifts, and more.

For those who have followed us over the years, you are readily aware of our team's desire to make our community better while we tear down the system around us.


You may also be aware that ZERO affiliations with banks/brokerages so we have literally nothing to gain by providing you with bad advice.


So that makes providing our "2021 Staff Picks" a lot easier.


Anything our team has "picked" is something that we use.


Checking Account


Froogal does not offer a checking account primarily because there is little to nothing to improve (stated differently, they all do the same thing and suck equally).


That being said, some do suck slightly less.


What we look for is a checking account that pays interest, has zero fees, comes with a debit card (without ATM fees), and has basic bill pay capabilities.


Our goal/recommendation is that you only maintain 1.5 months (the 0.5 months being a buffer) of cash in this account and either invest the rest or transfer it to your Froogal account to save.


For example, my personal monthly budget is $1,200 (including rent, utilities, groceries, etc) - so I keep $1,8000 in my checking account TOTAL.


Other than limiting your spending, it also shifts you to a "broke" mindset. This is crucial during FIRE.


So without further ado, our team's 2021 checking account pick is:


NBKC "Everything Checking"


The account pays 0.50%, has zero fees or minimum balances requirements, comes with a debit card with ATM fee waivers, and has bill pay capabilities.


Here's the link if you're interested in getting a better checking account.


Paramount Bank does currently pay a bit more - but our internal trends analysis expects them to slash their intro APY within the next month or two.


Brokerage (Investment) Account


This is an interesting category as Robinhood directly caused the entire brokerage industry to reduce their trade/transaction fees to $0.


Due to this, the only real things left to compete on (for the FIRE community) are index funds options and retirement account types.


As most have a 401k via their employer, the specific retirement account most should be looking for is a Roth IRA (if they meet the income requirements).


That then brings us to our 2021 staff pick:


Schwab Brokerage and Schwab Roth IRA Accounts


The account has zero fees and minimums. Additionally, trading is relatively easy (not quite as simple of an experience as Robinhood but OK) and allows you to purchase mutual funds & single-platform your brokerage & Roth (Robinhood does not have mutual funds or tax-purposed retirement investment accounts).


Here's the link if you are interested in opening a better brokerage/Roth IRA account.


Investments


This is somewhat of an obvious "staff pick" for those in the FIRE community but with a little surprise.


Our goal (always) is to long-term maximize returns with minimized risk.


In the Bogle world, this leads our 2021 staff PICKS to be:


Total US Stock Market Index Funds


With Schwab (our staff pick brokerage) this would be SWTSX. Here's the link.


Our general recommendation, especially as a 20 or 30-something, is that you push any money not needed within the next 3 years into this fund.


AND


US REITs ETFs


US REITs are not having a great 2020 (just like the rest of us) but REITs have been the best performing sector over the prior 20 years on a compounded growth rate basis.


With Schwab, this REIT would be SCHH. Here's the link.


The US housing market was hot for the past 20 years but also may be on track to crash for the second time post-covid (although likely in the commercial sector). I would cautiously approach investing into this fund.


Gifts


Froogal offered a rewards program during 2020 (which has been paused temporarily thanks to our friend COVID) but this period of time gave our staff ridiculous insight into the best subscription boxes in the US.


Our big 3 "staff picks" are:


Trade Coffee Subscription


Way better than a gift card and appropriate for 99% of people - this coffee subscription box provides a great selection at a very reasonable cost.


Here's the link.


Bullymake Box Subscription


For anyone with a dog (especially a hard chewer) this is a perfect subscription gift. Plenty of toys and treats at a very reasonable cost.


We brought a number of these to a local shelter for a donation day and the pups loved it!


Here's the link.


Fabletics Subscription


For the ladies out there looking for upgrade their gym gear or comfy wardrobe, this is a great lower-cost subscription.


Hardest part of this gift? Figuring out her size (I recommend just paying for a gift card and letting them subscribe).


Here's the link.


Credit Cards


If you are a Dave Ramsey follower, you can go ahead and skip over this one.

Also, if you have a ton of debt and can't control yourself - you should go listen to Dave Ramsey (and start using only cash).


For disciplined FIRE saver, I recommend reducing one of your biggest expenses (food) by utilizing amazing cash-back offers on these 2 major credit cards "staff picks".


Amazon Credit Card


If you already have a Prime membership (most of us do), then obtaining the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card provides 5% cash-back on all Amazon.com & Whole Foods purchases.


This is best for individuals who either make the majority of their purchases via Amazon or who primarily shop at Whole Foods groceries.


Here's the link.


Walmart Credit Card


The Capital One Walmart Rewards Card provides 5% cashback when ordering groceries form walmart.com (only 2% in-store).


This is an incredible deal on already low prices and is best for anyone who primarily purchase their groceries at Walmart.


Here's the link.


More


If somehow any of these have missed your radar, do yourself a favor and check out these random "staff picks".


Honey


In brief, a digital coupon plug-in/app. Just go download the plug-in and they will search/find/apply any available coupons when you make any purchase online.


Here's the link.


Facebook Marketplace


The best online "garage sale" app/website around - use this to sell all that junk you have held on to but never used. Then take this money and throw it in an index fund (detailed above) or use it for a great savings event (wedding, home purchase, new cars, etc).


Here's the link.


Google Flights


If you need to fly ANYWHERE, search for flights here.


Google flights is by far the best flight search engine out there and can save you thousands of dollars.


Here's the link.


Coursera


If you are looking for continuing education from the best professors in the world but refuse to waste your money on frivolous tuition - this is the place for you.


Coursera has free, amazing graduate level courses in almost any subject area.


Here's the link.


Contact us

team@froogal.us

Deposits with Froogal are not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or any other government agency.

Deposits with Froogal are also not the obligation of or guaranteed by the underlying banking institutions. 

Although it is unlikely, you could lose money holding funds with Froogal.  

Froogal Inc. via the online web platform Froogal.us (“Froogal”) offers a software-based wealth management engine that delivers automated financial planning tools to help users achieve better outcomes.

By using this website, you understand the information being presented is provided for informational purposes only and agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. ​

Neither Froogal Inc. nor its affiliates are a bank. 

"Featured" banks and deposit rates on Froogal should not be construed as recommendations or investment advice.  Users should conduct their own research before selecting a deposit option and are wholly responsible for their bank selection. Rates displayed are updated weekly based on listing on www.depositaccounts.com. Rates displayed are subject to change at any time by the underlying banks.  If rates should change, Froogal will notify users once identified. 

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT PROCEDURES FOR OPENING A NEW ACCOUNT — To help the government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, federal law requires all financial institutions to obtain, verify, and record information that identifies each person who opens an account. What this means for you: When you open an account, we will ask for your name, address, date of birth, and other information that will allow us to identify you. We may also ask to see your driver’s license or other identifying documents.

Customers can only open accounts via online web portal or App.  All funds incoming transfers must be from federally regulated banks & credit unions that are subject to the same BSA/AML compliance laws.

© 2020 Froogal Inc. All rights reserved.