Personal Capital Budgeting and Investment Analysis Review
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Personal Capital is a popular financial management tool.
The personal finance suite offers two separate services. The Free Financial Tools work like a budgeting application, allowing you to track and manage your money in one place. For investors, Personal Capital comes with tracking and monitoring tools, investment advice, and access to a team of financial advisors.
This Personal Capital review will show how the app works, the tools and services offered, and answer some important questions to know before you sign up.
Personal Capital Review at a Glance
- No account fees
- Customizable portfolio mix
- Supports 401(k)s, IRAs, 529 plans, and trusts
- Automatic rebalancing
- Tax-loss harvesting
- Access to certified financial planners
- Personal Capital budgeting and cash flow tools
- Investment simulators and calculators
- High management fees for paid services
- Large account minimum for Wealth Management
- Limited budgeting capabilities
- May experience solicitation
What Personal Capital Does Best
- Free budgeting and financial management
- Tax optimization
- Personal financial advisors
- High net worth investing
- Mobile app
- Data exporting
What Is Personal Capital and How Does It Work?
Personal Capital is a financial dashboard that gives you an in-depth overview of your money. It lets you track the ins and outs of your budget, investments, cash flow, and net worth in one location.
The free version comes with money tools for budgeting and net worth planning. It also includes monthly summaries and the ability to set financial goals. If you don’t enjoy numbers or spreadsheets, Personal Capital could be a breath of fresh air. It uses charts and reports to show exactly how your finances are shaping up. Most banks, credit cards, and investment accounts can import without any trouble.
It also taps into high-level investment and tax optimization strategies to maximize your money. You can reach financial advisors by phone, email, live chat, or web conference 24/7.
Creating an account is free by using the Personal Capital app or website. The software first guides you through a series of easy-to-answer questions, like the age you’d like to be at retirement and how much you already have in your investment accounts. This information will help you evaluate and personalize your savings and retirement goals.
Syncing to your bank account is the next step. If you connect your accounts, Personal Capital will import your financial data. Your transactions for the last 30 days appear on the financial dashboard, which the software analyzes to offer suggestions. Implementing this personalized advice can move you closer to your money milestones.
4 Service Tiers
One of the best features of Personal Capital is that it provides support for every step of your financial journey. If you’re struggling to make a budget, it can show you how to start one. If you’re an experienced investor with a high net worth, you’ll find plenty of helpful tools to grow your portfolio.
Whether you’re starting from $50, $100,000, or over $1,000,000 in assets, Personal Capital has tools for your situation.
Financial tools: With Personal Capital you gain access to retirement planning, investment analysis, budgeting, expense tracking, cash flow planning, fee checkups, and planning for educational costs.
Investment services: Investors with up to $200,000 in investments gain access to personal portfolio strategies, tax planning, and advice directly from financial advisors. The priority 24/7 support is another bonus, allowing you to call on weekends and after hours.
Wealth management: In addition to everything already mentioned, this service tier comes with two dedicated financial advisors.
Private client: The highest tier includes Certified Financial Planners™, investment committees, estate and legacy portfolios, and more. These benefits are available to investors with over $1 million in assets.
Investment and Analysis Tools
Personal Capital’s investment and analysis services, many of which are free, offer helpful insights. By creating a free account, you can use these services at no charge.
With Personal Capital budgeting, your transactions automatically import. After that, the software suggests a spending category to classify them.
More advanced users might find the budget customization options lacking. For instance, the only way to add a transaction is by linking an account. If your local bank or credit union doesn’t work with Personal Capital, you’re out of luck.
If you aren’t sure whether your retirement plan is on target, the retirement planner can show you. It takes into account your investments and Social Security income to project your income needs in retirement. The complete analysis includes taxes, life expectancy, and investment return calculations.
Access to real financial advisors is an attractive option for high net worth shareholders with at least $100,000 in assets. They can help you with retirement planning, refinancing, taxes, and estate planning. Your team will include Certified Financial Planners™ and chartered financial analysts.
These financial professionals are there to devote time and attention to your specific circumstances. Phone, email, and video chat support are all included.
Investors who are further along in their journey and have a balance of $200,000 or more get additional personalization. Personal Capital assigns two dedicated financial advisors to clients in this tier.
Fees and Account Minimum
When it comes to investing, making the most of your money is the name of the game. You work hard for your money, so it should work hard for you.
Management fees can prevent this from happening by cutting into a significant portion of your earnings. Working with Personal Capital can save you considerably more than managing your accounts on your own with a financial advisor. According to a financial advisor fee study, the industry standard charge is 1% of all assets under management. The same study cites some fees in the 1.50% to 2.50% range.
With Personal Capital, fees start at 0.89% and go as low as 0.49%. They never charge hidden fees, trailing fees, or commissions on trades.
|Investment Value||Fee Amount|
|Up to $1 million||0.89%|
|$1 million to $3 million||0.79%|
|$3 million to $5 million||0.69%|
|$5 million to $10 million||0.59%|
|Over $10 million||0.49%|
If you compare these costs to some of the other robo-advisors, you’ll see that Personal Capital tends to charge more. Having 24/7 access to financial advisors might make up for the difference in cost, but that’s a decision that consumers will have to make for themselves.
Keep in mind that this extra level of service is available with an account minimum of $100,000, so some consumers might not have a high enough investment balance to use this amenity. It’s a great benefit but could exclude many lower-earning customers.
Personal Capital FAQs
This Personal Capital review wouldn’t be complete without covering the top frequently asked questions. Before signing up and linking your accounts with any financial product, consider these.
Is Personal Capital secure?
Any financial software you use should be secure. When granting access to your personal information, keeping your data safe is a top priority.
Personal Capital employs strict control over who can obtain your information within the company. The regulations are so tight that no one at Personal Capital can access your credentials. A two-factor authentication setup is an option, and iOS devices can utilize fingerprint scanning.
They also encrypt your data against vulnerabilities. For tech-savvy consumers, the encryption is military-grade AES-256 with multi-layer key management.
How functional is the Personal Capital app?
Personal Capital provides excellent options to help manage your money. Its primary function is that of an account aggregator. Your transactions automatically sync from accounts you connect to the program.
Android, iOS devices, and the Apple Watch have apps available. Both the Personal Capital app and web platforms are intuitive. Navigating from your spending and budget tracker to your investment portfolio is a breeze.
Entering information directly without linking an account is not possible, which could be an issue for some users. You’re also not able to pay your bills directly from the program.
As an aggregator, it functions perfectly. The financial dashboard gives you a bird’s eye view of your money and follows your goals closely. The reports on history, performance, projections, and allocation comparison are easy to access and understand.
Who should use Personal Capital?
If you’re looking for the best in budgeting software, Personal Capital probably shouldn’t be your first choice. It does combine some of the greatest financial and investment management services, making it unique compared to other well-recognized budgeting and financial management apps.
For investors with a high net worth, the complete personal financial management of assets is a significant draw. It’s comparable to robo-advisor services but can better personalize big-picture advice.
Even if you have a low net worth, Personal Capital could still be a good fit. Free financial tools such as the retirement analyzer, investment checkups, and spending tracker can help give you a clearer picture of your finances.
Personal Capital Review Summary
If you’re an average consumer, the free tools might be enough to draw you in. Certainly, the retirement planner is an important consideration when reviewing any long-term goals. The budgeting and cash flow tools offer significant advantages as well.
Investors will find higher fees compared to other robo-advisors. However, the dedicated two-person team of financial advisors for qualifying clients should not be ignored.
Personal Capital has a lot to offer as a money management tool and as an investment platform. The best way to see if it’s right for you is to sign up and take it for a spin. If you don’t like it, check out our other picks for best investment apps.