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Barbara Friedberg
Works at Cadco, Inc.
Attended Penn State
Lives in San Francisco Bay Area, CA
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Barbara Friedberg

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July 1, 2015 5:48 pm
Overwhelmed by the abundance of information on which personal finance tools you should be using? Look no further than this post.

To cut through the clutter and ease the decision-making process, we asked 30 personal finance experts to reveal the tools they can’t live without by asking them one simple question:

“If you could only use three personal finance tools for the rest of your life, which three would you choose?”

The results listed below contain a mix of modern and traditional personal finance tools, as well as a variety of tool types (websites, apps, programs, etc.). Our goal with this roundup is to present you with insight into the experts’ favorite tools and to inspire you to explore the right types for your particular financial situation – finding the perfect tools is important, but ultimately, understanding how the tools are used is what really matters.

Favorite Personal Finance Tools (as voted by 30 experts)
1. Mint – 11 votes
2. Spreadsheet program (Excel, Google Sheets, etc.) – 6 votes
3. Yahoo Finance, Chase, Fidelity, and Morningstar – tied with 2 votes each

Read on to discover each expert’s three preferred personal finance tools and their helpful tips on how to use them. You may skip to your favorite expert by using these quick links:

Alexis Neely, Andrew Fiebert, Andrew Schrage, Ashley Feinstein, Barbara Friedberg, Brittney Castro, Casey Bond, Chris Hogan, Deacon Hayes, Hilary Hendershott, J. Money, Jeanette Pavini, Jesse Mecham, Joe Saul-Sehy, Julie Rains, Kimberly Palmer, Linda P. Jones, Mandi Woodruff, Melissa Tosetti, Millennial Money Man, Mindy Crary, Miranda Marquit, Nicole Lapin, Philip Taylor, Robert Farrington, Robert Pagliarini, Shannon Ryan, Sophia Bera, Tiff The Budgetnista, Victor Ricciardi
What if you could only use 3 personal finance tools for the rest of your life? 30 experts reveal the 3 personal finance tools they can't live without.
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Cheap 4th of July Fun-7 Great Ideas
By Barbara Friedberg in Guest Post, Personal Finance, Saving, Tips | 0 comments
7 Ways to Enjoy the Fourth of July + Maybe Build Wealth
By contributing columnist,  Alexandra Deluise
The Fourth of July is one of the highlights of summer for me. The holiday almost always includes a cookout, fireworks, and time spent with family around a campfire with marshmallows.
This year, July 4th is on a Saturday. For those of you who get Friday off as a state holiday, this means three full days of potential festivities and cheap 4th of July fun! However, getting crazy on this patriotic holiday can cost a lot if you are not careful. Save some money with these frugal tips for a fun-filled holiday weekend.

7 Cheap 4th of July Fun Ideas
1. Keep the 4th of July in Perspective
One of the most dangerous things about holidays are our own expectations. Remember what you are grateful for, and keep those things front and center during your Fourth of July celebrations.
2. Awesome Outdoor Activities! (+More Cheap 4th of July Fun)
I love outdoor activities, and the Fourth of July is a great time to engage in them. The best thing about outdoor activities is that they can be very cheap, and last for years!
Cheap 4th of July fun can include a day at the beach, fireworks, or kicking back. You can even make money on the 4th. Check out these cheap + creative ideas.
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Do you need help with your finances but don’t know anything about the steps of financial planning? To alleviate the confusion, there are 223,400 personal financial advisors, according to the most recent (2012) Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, that can help you draw up a financial plan to get you back on track.

A financial planner can assist with some or all of your money issues by helping you create a financial plan for retirement or college, as well as providing guidance with insurance, tax, investment issues and more. You might choose a financial planner for a limited purpose or for expansive help with your complete financial life.

If you’re considering hiring a financial planner, you’ll probably want to know exactly how to make a financial plan.
Have you wondered about the steps of financial planning? Learn from start to finish how a financial planner will create your financial plan.
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Many people confuse compound interest with simple interest. What exactly are the differences and how do you calculate compound interest?
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Active vs. Passive Investing
“Wall Street Pares Gains as Bargain-Hunters Retreat,” ~ Associated Press, unknown date
Today we are focusing on stock investing only. Unfortunately, many of you out there read headlines such as this one and believe you must rush out and buy or sell. If the headline reports, then it must be important.
Act on the headlines at your own peril.  
You might feel compelled to act when your stock investment falls. You might believe that you know just the right time to buy or sell. Unless you’re a fortune teller, you’ll probably be wrong.
See how passive investing has beaten an active investing approach in the past.
 Click here if you want to solve your investing problems. 
Passive Investing and Ignoring the Headlines
Do you watch CNBC, Jim Cramer, or any investing program? Do you look at your stock and mutual fund prices daily? What about the financial news? 
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As a financial professional doling out life and money recommendations, professional liability insurance is an important part of the financial advisors’ back end resource suite. This product can be compared to your homeowners insurance, you may never need it, but if you do, you’ll be very happy that you have it.

What is Professional Liability Insurance?
This specialized insurance protects financial advisors against negligence and other claims alleged by their clients. Also known as errors and omissions (E&O) insurance, this insurance might cover negligence, malpractice or misrepresentation claims. In most cases, financial planners aren’t required to have a professional liability insurance policy, but when you’re practicing with the public, it’s important to be prepared for the unexpected claim which may cause you and your firm potential financial hardship. (For more, see: Property, Casualty and Liability Insurance — Professional and Director Liability.)


So, let’s assume you’ve decided this is an important coverage to obtain; here’s what you need to know about professional liability insurance:

Purpose of the coverage
Who is covered
What services are covered
What is excluded from coverage
How to practice in accord with the professional liability policy
Why Get It?
Financial planners are at the pulse of their clients lives. If a client loses money, through your fault or not, the consumer may sue you. Mistakes happen, and even when they don’t clients can become unhappy with your services. Financial markets go up and down, and financial losses may spur an unhappy customer to call her lawyer.

Read more: 
Follow us:@Investopedia on Twitter
A guide to what financial advisors need to know about professional liability insurance.
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Miranda Marquit-Personal Finance Luminary
By Barbara Friedberg in Personal Finance, Personal Finance Luminaries | 0 comments
Personal Finance Luminary Series
Welcome to an inside look into some of the most important personal finance luminaries online. These influential people educate and entertain others about money topics. From authors to podcasters to writers, these money mentors are working to raise the level of financial knowledge and education. 

Read more about Personal Finance Luminaries >>>

What is your background and money/financial influences?
My training is in journalism. I began learning about money as a result of a gig. I read everything I could from financial gurus and others, and eventually began picking and choosing what made sense for me. I’ve cobbled together my own money outlook and philosophy as a result.

Describe your work and include a typical day.
I’m a freelance journalist, specializing in financial issues. I usually get up between 6 and 6:30 and putter around with email and social media. When my son gets up, I get him breakfast and help him prepare for school. Once he’s off to school, I usually exercise. After cleaning up from my workout, I sit down and complete freelance writing assignments.
I work until lunch. After lunch, I return to the email inbox, speak with people on the phone, work on podcasts and other special projects, and engage in other miscellania.
Miranda Marquit-Personal finance luminary has created a job on her own terms. In the process she's helping others prosper financially. Read about her path.
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What does Personal Finance-An Encyclopedia of Modern Money Management have to do with baseball?
Excerpt of article published on LinkedIn 
Personal Finance-An Encyclopedia of Modern Money Management just launched. See what baseball has in common with writing and editing an encyclopedia.
I’ve thought of my career as that of a baseball player.
But not one of the home run sluggers like Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, or Alex Rodriguez. Sure, I’ve had my good days career as an investment and finance professional – like the days I get a emails that say my financial expertise has helped a reader or two. The day I was asked to write for was also exceptional. But in general, I don’t expect my writing to go viral or my books to hit number one and stay there forever (although I did have a few number one days for each of them).
And that’s okay.
I look at my work like a plodding singles hitter with a solid, not stupendous batting average-someone with longevity.
Personal Finance-An Encyclopedia of Modern Money Management is the answer to a long ago dream. Find the link between the book and baseball.
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Barbara Friedberg

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Prosper Loan Investment Returns-Where to Get a High Return on My Cash?
Since October 2011, I’ve invested in Prosper Loans. This is the fourth update of my experience investing in Prosper loans.
In October, 2011, I decided to take a small percent of my investment money and lend it to Prosper borrowers through the Prosper Marketplace. Prosper borrowers must meet minimum credit score ratings and go through a vetting process. These borrowers typically want to borrow money for short term needs such as debt consolidation, homeowner remodel, or business expansion.
The borrowers are graded according to credit worthiness from AA to HR. Typically, the lenders return varies based upon the percent of loans in their portfolio from each specific credit grade. For example, if you had a portfolio of all E rated loans, then you could expect a return of 12.51%. Whereas, if you were a more conservative lender and only lent to the AA borrowers, you average would be approximately 5.21%. 
Do you want to know, "Where to get a high return on my cash?" Prosper lending allows you to be a banker. Lend to others & get a high return on your cash.
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Barbara Friedberg

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Disruptive Investing with Multiple Streams of Income

“You’d be wise to have multiple streams of income flowing into your life.” ~Robert G. Allen, author

Seems like everywhere you turn there’s someone espousing the virtues of multiple streams of income. From Hal Elrod in Entrepreneur Magazine, “7.1 Steps to Create Multiple Streams of Income” to popular blogger Trent Hamm in The Simple and Heather Yamada-Hosley on, the current thinking is that ‘multiple streams of income’ leads to wealth.

A popular way to look at this concept is to create 2nd or 3rd jobs that bring in more money. Many folks have a 9 to 5 and then a money making gig on the side. It might be blog, a stand at the flea market, or an online store. Others look to develop scalable ways to create those extra income streams. Think about buying rental properties, publishing books, affiliate sales, and other endeavors where a one-time effort yields continuous income.

Look at Investing in a Different Way

I think a lot about this “multiple streams of income” concept.

I’ve owned rental real estate in the past, and it is a lot of work (even with a property manager). Although some suggest rental real estate is ‘passive’, I vehemently disagree! There’s nothing ‘passive’ about renting a vacant apartment or getting rid of the fleas that the last owner’s dog left throughout the entire apartment (the smoke bomb method was only moderately successful). That said, the long term financial benefits are great with rental real estate.

I’ve had side businesses galore, some with greater success than others.
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Barbara Friedberg

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You may wonder what a financial advisor does with your money and how this professional decides on the best investments and course of action for you. This article breaks down, step-by-step, exactly what a financial advisor does. You’ll understand what informs the advisory process and how the professional selects appropriate investments for you. In sum, this money professional has a detailed plan and system to help you construct your life today and tomorrow as well as how to grow your wealth.

The financial advisor is your planning partner. Together, you and the advisor set financial as well as personal goals and then figure out how to make them a reality. For example, you may want to buy a vacation home, or send Junior to a private university in 10 years. In order to accomplish your goals, you need someone to help these plans a reality and that’s where a financial advisor comes in.


Together, you and the advisor will touch upon many topics including; how much money you need to save, what types of accounts you need-retirement, trust, etc., debt and mortgage loans, types of appropriate insurance including long term care, term, disability, and more as well as estate and tax planning topics. (For more, see: Why Choosing the Right Advisor is Crucial.)

The financial advisor is also an educator. Part of the advisors task is to help you understand what is involved in meeting your future goals. The education process may involve detailed help with financial topics such as budgeting and saving in the most basic cases. On a more advanced note, the advisor will assist you in understanding more complex investment, insurance, and tax matters.
Just what does a financial advisor do? A lot, in fact. And any potential client should do their due diligence and come prepared with questions.
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Barbara Friedberg

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Successful financial advisors look for communities with a higher percent of wealthy households, and a less than average number of existing advisors. The worst cities for financial advisors include low income areas with high unemployment. It's no surprise that the poorest cities in the country aren’t the best places to start a financial planning career. Other suboptimal cities for financial advisors are wealthier regions with more than enough advisors to go around.

This list is a compilation of high income areas with too many financial advisors and poor, economically depressed regions. (For more, see: Top Places to Work for Financial Advisors.)
Financial advisors may want to avoid low income areas or those with lofty wealth but high numbers of advisors.
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Portfolio Manager & University Lecturer
Investing, Portfolio Management, Writing, Publishing
  • Cadco, Inc.
    CFO, portfolio manager, 1998 - present
  • Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance
    Publisher, 2010 - present
    Barbara Friedberg Personal - Save, Invest, Build Wealth
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance - Save, Invest, Build Wealth
Portfolio manager, university Investments instructor & finance website publisher;
Bragging rights
"How to Get Rich; Wealth Building Guide for the Financially Illiterate" Editor and author of upcoming "Personal Finance: An Encyclopedia of Modern Money Management" (Greenwood, an imprint of ABC-CLIO, 2014)
  • Penn State
  • Miami University
  • University of Cincinnati
Basic Information
Other names
Barbara Fabe Friedberg
Barbara Friedberg's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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