Personal Capital Review 2019: A FREE Tool to Analyze Your Investments

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Any tool created to make my life easier and more organized is a tool I want to learn about.

In this in-depth review, we’ll share all of the details about Personal Capital and what they offer.

This way you’ll know if it’s the right choice for helping you manage and grow your money.

Personal Capital
4.5

Summary

Personal Capital has something for everyone, from the young-and-just-starting-out adult, eager to learn how to manage their finances properly, to the independently wealthy avid investor, and everyone in between.

What is Personal Capital?

Personal Capital is an online tool that is similar to Mint. The personal finance software they offer is free, just like Mint.

However, they have an additional feature for customers. The focus is not just on your spending and cash flow, but on helping you manage your investments and net worth as well.

Personal Capital also offers wealth management services for people of many different asset levels.

It’s a one-stop shop to view and manage all of your accounts in one place. Also, they offer the added benefit of having financial advisors and financial planners available to you.

You don’t have to use that part of the service to take advantage of the free financial management tools. However, it’s there if you need or want to use that part of what Personal Capital offers.

So how exactly does Personal Capital work?

Using Personal Capital is easy. You start using it by setting up your cash accounts, your non-retirement accounts and your retirement accounts to be viewable from the Personal Capital site.

Their ultra-secure system ensures that all of your information is safe and secure.

There are multiple, easy-to-follow secure steps in place to make sure that only you and Personal Capital authorized staff members you authorize can view your financial information. 

State-of-the-art, easy-to-understand technology makes this possible.

Screenshot of a Personal Capital account

Portfolio view with net worth and holdings

Once your account is set up, you can check in daily to see nearly every aspect of your financial picture. You can monitor information such as:

  • Income
  • Spending habits
  • Your investment totals
  • Asset amounts
  • Liability amounts
  • Your total net worth

Imagine the benefits of having all of this information in one place. Personal Capital’s system makes asset and day-to-day money management easy and convenient.

With a few clicks of your mouse, you can see where you’re at. In addition, you can see where you need to be.

This “big picture” view can help you reach the financial and retirement goals you have set, all without leaving the Personal Capital website.

Next, let’s talk a bit about the history of Personal Capital.

The History of Personal Capital

Personal Capital was founded in 2009 under the name of SafeCorp Financial. In 2010 they changed their name to Personal Capital.

The company publicly launched in 2011. And in 2012 Personal Capital became registered with the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) as an investment advisor.

Personal Capital has an impressive team of leaders at the helm of this rapidly growing company.

The Chairman and founder, Bill Harris, has a resume’ that includes running both PayPal and Intuit.

This means he has over two decades of experience working to build successful financial technology systems for large and well-respected companies.

Jay Shah, a founding executive member and Personal Capital’s CEO, has years of experience as well. For over 20 years he’s been working at improving data and technology for large scale businesses.

Also, the remainder of the leadership team has an impressive amount of financial and technological expertise. They share a wide variety of career titles and with a wide variety of well-known companies.

Knowing that the Personal Capital founders took the time to develop an experienced and educated team of leaders ensures confidence for customers.

The entire team at Personal Capital has been hand-picked with the customer’s and the company’s best interests in mind.

Personal Capital Today

Today, Personal Capital has over $8 billion in assets under management. They have over 19,000 clients investment clients in all 50 U.S. states.

Besides, they’re helping over 2 million people plan their financial lives with their free financial tools.

And in 2018, the Denver Post awarded Personal Capital as being one of the top workplaces for the fourth year in a row.

So what exactly can Personal Capital do for you? The most beneficial feature of Personal Capital is quite possibly their free financial tools.

Those tools can help you get a thorough look at your investments, bank accounts, and household finances, all in one place, for free.

Yes, there are other websites that allow you to do this. However, Personal Capital’s website has taken the ease and thoroughness of doing so to a whole new level.

Let’s talk about the features of their financial management tools so you can see what I mean.

Features

Personal Capital has a number of great features to help make managing your financial life much easier.

Investment Checkup

Their Investment Checkup will tell you if you are allocated appropriately based on your investment profile.

After monitoring your risk tolerance and other factors, they’ll recommend asset allocation for you.

For example, maybe you haven’t rebalanced your portfolio in a while. It is possible that you could be too heavily invested in one area due to the growth being higher in that asset class than others.

If you click on the “Investment Checkup” in the “Investing” tab, you can get your recommendations. They might suggest a total rebalance of your investments.

Or it may be something simple. For instance, your asset allocation may be too aggressive. If so, Personal Capital may suggest adding bonds to increase diversification.

Retirement Fee Analyzer

The Retirement Fee Analyzer is a tool that will analyze the fees you are paying for your retirement accounts like your 401k. 

Also, it will show you how those fees will impact your retirement account growth over the years.

Plus, with the availability of their free online resources, it helps you make an informed decision on how to invest for retirement based on your individual needs and goals.

You Index

The You Index is a feature that tracks your financial investment performance. You can use it to compare that performance to benchmarks like the S&P 500.

personal capital app on cell phone
Personal Capital has a FREE mobile app

Mobile App

This app is very comprehensive, yet easy to use. It helps you manage and track your money right from your smartphone. And the Personal Capital mobile app is free.

Personal Capital Offers Wealth Management

Personal Capital offers Wealth Management to their customers. They have three levels of wealth management services for you to choose from.

Investment Service

Their Investment Service is available for people with assets of $100,000 to $200,000. With this service you get access to the following features:

  • Access to free online tools and dashboard
  • Financial advisory team access
  • 401k advice
  • 24/7 customer support access
  • Support Priority Services
  • And more

This service is a great product for you if your assets meet the $100,000 to $200,000 level.

Wealth Management

The Wealth Management plan is for you if you’ve got between $200,000 and $1,000,000 in managed assets. You get all of the features mentioned above with this service as well as:

  • Two dedicated financial advisors
  • Full financial and retirement plan
  • Extended customer service benefits
  • College savings and 529 planning
  • And more

This service is for you if you’ve already made a solid start with your investment portfolio and want to improve upon it.

Private Client

The Private Client service is available to you if you move at least $1,000,000 of assets to Personal Capital for management. Besides the features above, as a Private Client member you’ll get:

  • Priority access to CFP advisors, Investment Committee and Support
  • Estate, tax and legacy portfolio construction
  • Estate attorney and CFP collaboration
  • Private banking services
  • Private equity and hedge fund review
  • And more

It includes all of the added benefits that should come with the hard work you’ve done to establish this asset level.

Wondering about asset management fees? The set fees that Personal Capital charges are very reasonable.

Fee Structure

Personal Capital’s asset management fees are set to be attractive and affordable.

  • First $1 Million: 0.89%
  • First $3 Million: 0.79%
  • $3+ to $5 Million: 0.69%
  • $5+ to $10 Million: 0.59%
  • Over $10 Million: 0.49%

As you can see, Personal Capital charges a set, low fee for their advisory services.

This means you can be assured that your Investment Advisor at Personal Capital won’t make investment suggests to you based on which funds and products pay a higher commission.

Instead, your advisor will base their suggestions on what they feel is the best product or service for your goals.

Why Does Personal Capital Give Financial Tools for Free?

You might be wondering why Personal Capital offers free financial tools. They want to help everyone have the tools to be able to manage their money well.

And it’s the income from the high-end portfolio clients that allow Personal Capital to offer their Financial Software free to all clients, regardless of net worth.

It’s in this way that Personal Capital can help every single client work toward a more stable financial future. Yet ensure that they’re still a viable and profitable company.

Personal Capital saves you the trouble of wasting your gas and time meeting with a wealth management advisor.

They also give you an easy way to manage your money by providing you the ability to manage all your tasks through their mobile app.

Also, their online dashboard helps you to have a clear picture of your financial situation all in one place.

But what about security? We mentioned earlier that Personal Capital is very secure, but what does that mean?

How Does Personal Capital Secure My Information?

We live in a technologically advanced world with our smartphones and other mobile devices that allow us to connect.

Along with that benefit, we worry about privacy and security. The word “hacking” is becoming synonymous with our everyday lives.

Personal Capital’s security department takes many steps to keep your information and your money secure. This allows you to rest easy knowing your information is safe.

For instance, Personal Capital requires you as the account holder to register each Personal Computer you use for your wealth management.

The wealth management company allows you two options to verify and register each device – either via email or by phone.

And Personal Capital’s website and mobile app both use encryption associated with highly reputable sites.

At the same time, they also require an account image and password both to register your device as well as log-in.

Also, your information is coded with a read-only connection via Personal Capital. So this means hackers can’t transfer your money via Personal Capital.

Interesting fact: Another wealth management company review site gave Personal Capital a solid five-star rating.

Personal Capital’s Chief Technology Officer and Information Officer, Fritz Robbins, has spent his career delivering high volume security to large companies, including Wells Fargo.

This means you can be assured Personal Capital takes every step needed to protect your information.

Other Personal Capital Features

In addition, Personal Capital has other features as well. Here’s a quick look.

Cash Flow Analyzer

Personal Capital also has a Cash Flow Analyzer tool on their app. This tool helps you track weekly, monthly and yearly income and spending habits.

Tracking past information can be a great way to modify your money choices to create a more secure financial future.

It’s those little, non-tracked expenses that can add up to big money spent before you know it.

Downloadable Data

If you use Chrome or Firefox as your computer browser, you can download the data from your Personal Capital account onto your personal computer.

Bill Management

Personal Capital also has a feature that can show you a list of your upcoming bills and their due dates. This feature can be really helpful in ensuring you don’t pay bills late and get hit with late fees.

Retirement Paycheck

This new Personal Capital feature can show you how to withdraw money from your retirement accounts in the way that’s most beneficial for you.

Education Planner

Another new feature from Personal Capital is the Education Planner. It can help you compare college costs and make a plan for saving for them.

Now let’s talk about the pros and cons of Personal Capital’s service.

Personal Capital Pros:

  • The dashboard is easy to use on a personal computer, tablet and smartphone
  • Easy to manage accounts
  • They provide graphs and charts alike that are user-friendly and easy to understand
  • Gives you the ability to see how much you’re spending and how much you’re saving
  • The Universal Checkbook feature reacts like PayPal, allowing you to transfer funds to where needed and it is free of charge
  • Has an automated weekly email feature indicating changes in your net worth
  • You can also choose to have bill alert reminders
  • Personal Capital assists you in making sure your investments fit into the asset allocation you have chosen
  • Their mobile app is available on various platforms (such as personal computer, smartphone, and tablet)
  • Personal Capital’s wealth management fee is all inclusive

Personal Capital Cons:

  • Their wealth management fee structure is equivalent to that of most, if not all, wealth management robo-advisors. However, they give personal services to clients within the price of these fees.
  • The budgeting function of the app has some limitations and is not as good as Mint.com
  • You need to have at least $100,000 in assets to use Personal Capital’s wealth management services
  • Personal Capital has no ability to reconcile your checking account. However, this shouldn’t matter too much since your Personal Capital account is synced with your checking account.

There are many great things about Personal Capital. The fact that you need to have at least $100,000 in assets to use their wealth management feature is a bit discouraging.

However, with the use of their free financial tools, it’s easy to develop a plan to grow your wealth to that level if you’re not there already.

I’ve been a Personal Capital user for years. With this in mind, here’s how I use the service.

How I Personally Use Personal Capital

When I first started using their tools, I was only using it online. I linked an old 401k into the tool and found that I was paying really high fees.

It was something I had no clue about until I started using Personal Capital. Their 401k fee analyzer helped me to discover this and make some changes.

After this discovery, I decided to roll over those assets into my IRA so that I could save a large amount of money in fees over the long haul.

Since then, I have found the mobile app to be a great resource frequently.

I use it to check out net worth (to make sure that it is going up). And to make sure that our debt balances are continuing to go down each month.

We have credit cards which we pay off every month, so the only revolving debt we have is our mortgage which we plan to pay off early.

This app also has been handy for the budgeting component as well. However, I do still prefer Mint for the budgeting side of things.

But I think what I like best about Personal Capital is that it doesn’t limit its services to only wealthy clients.

Summary

Personal Capital has something for everyone, from the young-and-just-starting-out adult to the independently wealthy avid investor, and everyone in between.

Personal Capital can help you get your finances on more solid ground. Regardless of your income, debt load, net worth or current financial situation, they can assist.

The 2 million-plus clients they serve and their growing $8 billion-plus managed assets prove that Personal Capital lives up to its promises.

So whether you need aid in tracking expenses and budgeting, or growing your plush nest egg to an even bigger number, Personal Capital can be of use to you.

Are you searching for a one-stop shop that allows you to view, manage and assess every aspect of your financial portfolio?

If yes, then consider educating yourself on the benefits available from Personal Capital. You may just find what you’re looking for.

Have you ever used Personal Capital? If so, what was your experience? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section on our Facebook page.


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5 COMMENTS

5 responses to “Personal Capital Review 2019: A FREE Tool to Analyze Your Investments”

  1. I’ve been using Personal Capital for a while now. I really like the retirement fee analyzer and net worth tool!

  2. Deacon Hayes says:

    I’m glad to hear that you guys use Personal Capital as well. I used that analyzer when I had a 401k and it showed me how much the fees were. I was shocked! Needless to say, I did an IRA rollover as soon as I could.

  3. Ben says:

    I really think viewing your finances visually is the best way (really, the only way) to refine your strategy and better-understand the day-to-day changes which take place. Without some kind of tool which organizes everything in a more digestible and understandable format, the world of finances just gets to be too complex for those not intimately in the field of financial planing. Personal Capital’s tool has been especially helpful in doing this just because it’s so comprehensive (the Universal Checkbook Component is something I use on a weekly basis.)

    The CEO’s characterization of financial control as a freedom from money is one I really agree with. For those just looking to get their finances in order without necessarily making it their life-goal to acquire wealth, not having to think about one’s finances is a sort of freedom, I think. While I can only speak for myself, I would be more than content simply getting to a point of not feeling constrained in all my purchases by my next pay-check. This is a nice review.

  4. Sandeep says:

    I think Personal Capital is meant for people residing in the U.S., isn’t it? I am based out of Canada and could not find any content that was relevant to Canadian investments.

    • Deacon Hayes says:

      Hi, Sandeep. I think you are correct. It seems as though Personal Capital is geared toward those in the United States who have brokerage accounts, IRA’s, 401k’s, etc. Perhaps there is a tool that would work for Canadian investments? However, I am not aware of one.

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