Personal Capital aims to be your one-stop-shop for all things finance. This popular financial management platform comes in two flavors — a Free Financial Dashboard and a Wealth Management available to people with $100,000+ in assets.
The free version is quite similar to Mint and primarily focuses on budgeting. By aggregating your accounts together, you can track income, spending, set goals, and more.
Where it differs for Mint, however, is the wealth management tool. Included in the free version are basic resources and monitoring features of IRAs, 401K, and other investments.
However, upgrading to full series also gives you access to the Personal Capital version of a robo-advisor that also comes alongside your own personal financial advisor.
Personal Capital appeals to two distinct classes of investors on opposite ends of the spectrum. Discover who can benefit from using Personal Capital and everything else you need to know in this comprehensive review.
What Is Personal Capital?
2,000,000+ people use the free version of Personal Capital, taking advantage of their budgeting and investment tools. In addition, Personal Capital has 18,000 wealth management clients who have $12 billion+ in assets under management.
Personal Capital must be doing something right because the company was recently purchased by Empower for $825 million.
Unlike Mint which makes its money on advertisers, referrals, and selling aggregate data, Personal Capital’s business model involves using its free tools as a lead generator for its wealth services.
To use these, individuals must have at least $100,000 in assets and pay a flat fee based on the assets Personal Capital manages. This is a big win for free users who may be sick of Mint advertisements or who want more restricted usage of their data though you receive an occasional email or call from Personal Capital encouraging you to sign up.
How To Get Started With Personal Capital
Since Personal Capital offers a free option, you should go ahead and check them out for yourself.
Setting up your account is simple. Provide your email and phone number and then set an account password. After this, you answer a very short questionnaire and can start linking accounts.
You’ll have to link at least one of your financial accounts to get started. Personal Capital needs this data to help you start understanding your finances as a whole.
It’s very straightforward and secure. Simply select your financial institution, enter your login credentials, and Personal Capital will pull the data.
From here, you can navigate the site as well as check out the large array of educational resources available.
Personal Capital Pricing
Basic Personal Capital will give you access to a large number of tools, including banking, investing, and planning.
With this free version, you can analyze your current investments, bills, and income. It will also provide you with recommendations based on your current financial status.
With paid, you not only have access to all these great features but also the Personal Capital Wealth Management program. With it, you can personally take control of your portfolio or benefit from one of Personal Capital’s wealth advisors.
Fees are set by the amount you allow Personal Capital to manage:
- 0.89% up to $1 million.
- 0.79% up to $3 million.
- 0.69% up to $2 million.
- 0.59% for the next $5 million.
- 0.49% up to $10 million.
This is a little bit different from a monthly or even a standard annual fee. Let’s say you have $100,000 invested with Personal Capital. That means you pay $890 per year for them to manage and hopefully grow your assets. If the next year, your assets have increased to $120,000, then you’ll pay a new fee based on that.
Personal Capital Free Features
Personal Capital has many excellent free features that are worth digging into if you want a better picture of your financial health.
This full-featured personal finance manager automatically puts together all your income and expenses to show your cash flow data and trends in an easy-to-read chart. You can also set budgets, plan for goals, and more.
This is one of the cooler free features. The allocation tools let you visually see how your portfolio is invested (i.e., cash, stocks, bonds) regardless of whether you hold your portfolio with Personal Capital, Fidelity, or anywhere else.
Personal Capital also makes it easy to identify accounts where you need to take action and even provides some helpful analysis for you to find solid opportunities.
Retirement Fee Analyzer
Many people don’t realize that they have to pay hefty fees, especially as their retirement savings grow. Personal Capital has a free analyzer you can use to see exactly the fees you’re paying as well as future ones to help you find a better fit for your hard-earned retirement cash.
Personal Capital Wealth Management Services
To even qualify for Personal Capital Wealth Management, you must have $100,000 in combined assets that Personal Capital can manage. For example, if you had a 401K with $35,000 and bonds worth $70,000, then that would qualify. The same goes for other types of assets like IRAs, stocks, and so on.
From here, clients are divided into three different tiers:
- Clients with $100-200,000 in assets: Personal Capital invests on your behalf in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) with a weight average expense ratio of 0.08%.
- Clients with $200,000 – $1 million in assets – all above benefits plus you can create a customized portfolio with both ETFs and stocks
- Clients with $1 million+ in assets: above services and ability to invest in individual bonds
This is another area where Personal Capital shines. Tax optimization helps you find credits and deductions to reduce taxes. IT focuses on three areas through tax allocation, tax-loss harvesting, and tax efficiency.
Each of these has specific strengths, and Personal Capital gives you plenty of resources to make informed decisions to help you find the most efficient solutions.
Who Should Use Personal Capital?
We hinted earlier that Personal Capital appeals to two very different investor types. Effectively, the free tools can benefit just about any investor out there.
Those with small portfolios or who just want a quick and integrated way to not only grasp their portfolio, but overall financial health will benefit from using Personal Capital.
Likewise, high network investors who can actually get good value from access to a dedicated human advisor and additional services should also check out Personal Capital.
However, many people may fall in the middle in the $100,000-200,000 asset range. For these people, Personal Capital isn’t the best deal. You’re better off going with one of Persona Capital’s competitors like Vanguard, who offer similar services at a lower price.
Is Personal Capital Worth It?
If you fall into either of those two ends, then absolutely. DIY investors will love Personal Capital. It’s much better suited for monitoring your portfolio than something like Mint. It also has a ton of great resources. In addition to fee analyzers, planners, and allocation, you can dive into all the educational material to help yourself make better decisions.
Likewise, Personal Capital’s wealth management team has an excellent track record. Working with them gives you an excellent blend of freedom to choose your own portfolio and get solid insights on where you should consider investing.
- Excellent suite of free features
- Great place to aggregate all your account information
- Mobile app
- Now offers banking services
- Retirement planning
- Custom allocation of unknown assets
- The fees are worth it if you have the capital
- No hidden fees
- High APY savings account available
- Must have at least $100K in assets to use wealth management
- Fees are high for those with less than $1,000,000
- No credit check feature
- Could have more budgeting features
Personal Capital Alternatives
It depends on what you’re looking for. If you want just a budgeting tool, then there’s always Mint.
Some users say that Mint does an overall better job of budgeting than Personal Capital. This is debatable. However, one area Personal Capital really shines over Mint is in investing.
Mint has really not made much progress here over the last few years. It can be hard to link accounts, or it won’t pull all the necessary data. On the other hand, Personal Capital, as you’ve seen, does excellent here.
They are both free, so nothing is stopping you from using both. But overall, Personal Capital has a slight edge over Mint. Check out our complete Mint review here if you’d like to learn more.
Getting into Personal Capital’s Wealth Management may be a bit out of reach for some. That’s okay—you have to start somewhere. And few places are better than Acorns.
With Acorns, you can start with spare change and small weekly (or monthly) contributions to start saving. Unlike Personal Capital, Acorn follows a robo-investor approach. You’re given five flavors, from conservative to aggressive, depending on your financial goal and health.
Acorns is also really affordable to use. Plans start from just $1/month. If you want a good place to start planting your financial seed so it can grow into Personal Capital size, then Acorns is a fantastic place to start!
Personal Capital: The Verdict
Personal Capital is an excellent free tool for DIY investors and people who want better budgeting. Their wealth management services, however, do have high account minimums, and you’ll need an even higher balance to make the fees worth it. But if you do have the cash (assets), then Personal Capital is well worth entrusting your investments to.