Editorial Guidelines & Review Methodology
Our goal is to publish fair, honest and unbiased assessments of financial products and services. From time to time, we review products and services that are offered by our partners and affiliates, and we may earn a commission when you click a link in these articles.
Our review methodology and editorial guidelines are strict. They ensure that our opinions are independent and never influenced by the companies we work with.
Four Facts About Our Review Methodology
- Our reviews are based on experience, testing and research.
- Our reviews are not subject to partner or sponsor approval other than for technical and legal compliance reasons.
- The opinions expressed by our writers are their own, and are not influenced by our partners and sponsors.
- We do not accept compensation for writing or publishing reviews.
How Our Ratings Work
We consider many factors when reviewing products and services, including cost, reliability, safety, the trustworthiness of the brand or service provider, and many others.
However, we pay special attention to two particular factors:
- How effective the product or service is at helping our readers achieve their financial goals.
- Whether or not we would recommend the product or service to a friend or family member.
Based on our evaluation of these and other factors, we rate products and services on a scale of 1 to 5 stars.
Here’s what our review ratings mean:
- 1 star: We recommend avoiding the product or service.
- 2 stars: We consider the product or service below average compared to other options.
- 3 stars: We consider the product to be average compared to other options, but there are probably better alternatives available.
- 4 stars: We consider the product or service above average compared to other options, and think it will be helpful for the right person in the right situation.
- 5 stars: We consider the product or service to be among the best in its class or category.
Final review scores are reviewed and approved by R.J. Weiss, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and senior editor of The Ways To Wealth.
Our Review Process
We consider our first-hand experience with the product or service. This experience varies depending on the specific item being reviewed. When reviewing a website or mobile app, we aim to personally test its features and functions. On the other hand, we can’t purchase a life insurance policy from every provider we review. In cases such as that, we test as much of the user experience as possible and evaluate the marketing claims made by the company.
We analyze public consensus and reviews. We examine what other real users have said about a product or service, checking app reviews, Trustpilot scores, Better Business Bureau ratings, and user comments from trusted online forums like Reddit. We then compare and contrast these reviews with our own experience.
We fact check. This includes ensuring that a product or service’s features align with the company’s marketing claims. Additionally, our editorial team reviews the specific claims made by our contributing writers to ensure accuracy.
We revisit and re-check our content over time. Products and services change constantly, and we strive to keep our content up-to-date as fast as possible. As a reader, we invite you to comment or contact us if you find an error in our reporting.
How We Make Money
We do not accept compensation for writing reviews, but we may be compensated when you click links that appear on our site and then make a purchase or sign up for a service.
In order to be fully transparent about our business practices, we’ve detailed exactly how we make money — including how to identify when the links you see on our site are sponsored.
You can also read our about page to learn more about our core principles, and read the author bio for our founder R.J. Weiss, CFP®, to learn more about his experience in financial services.