Fast on the draw, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance published their “2008 Best List” earlier this month. While this is a quick and easy read in magazine form, the Kiplinger web site makes it almost impossible to peruse on the web. I’ve mucked through the lousy popup slideshows to find direct links to the individual parts of this report:
- Best financial services. I was surprised to see the Kiplinger’s pick for “best online savings account”. Though FNBO Direct advertises heavily at Get Rich Slowly, I don’t know much about their account. Maybe I should check it out. The “best checking account” is from Charles Schwab.
- Best retirement tools. The magazine named the Roth IRA as the “best all-around retirement account”. It picked TD Ameritrade’s WealthRuler the “best new retirement tool”. I’ve never seen the WealthRuler before, but you can bet I’ve bookmarked it for future review at GRS!
- Best stocks and funds. The magazine chose Fidelity as the best online broker. (I recently chose Fidelity for my own brokerage accounts.) They also list some funds and stocks, but you know how I feel about magazines making picks like this — they’re no wiser than you are.
- Best credit card offers. Kiplinger’s recommends four cards for different situations. Their “best card for cash rebates” is the American Express Blue Cash, which I mentioned in my guide on how to choose a credit card.
- Best tech gadgets. Kiplinger’s likes the iPod Touch mp3 player and the Casio Exilim EX-Z150 digital camera. (This is personal finance?)
- The best in travel, cards, home and fun. Best airline: Southwest. Best low-cost vacation destination: Panama. Best low-cost prescription drugs: Wal-Mart. Best mail-order barbecue sauce (!?!): Maurice’s Gourmet BBQ.
Kiplinger’s also compiled a list of the best web sites for shopping, services, and cheap travel. Some of their picks include:
- Investing in Bonds, for learning about the bond market.
- AnnualCreditReport.com, the only official site for requesting your free annual credit report.
- myFico.com, for checking your credit score
- The gethuman database, a gargantuan list of numbers for finding live humans in corporate bureaucracies
- Energy Star, for energy-saving tips from the U.S. government
- RetailMeNot, for online coupon codes
- Kayak, for cheap travel deals
There’s a lot more to these lists than I’ve shared. For more top picks, and for the reasoning behind them, check out the links to each topic. (I’d link to a central “Best of 2008″ page at the Kiplinger site, but there isn’t one. I’m constantly amazed at how user-unfriendly that place is — and so little content per page!)