Personal Capital is an online financial advisor and investment platform that offers a variety of retail services and free planning tools. It’s developed such a reputation online that we knew we had to write a complete Personal Capital review for our readers.
Personal Capital is most suitable for higher-end investors, but it has options for smaller budget savers too. The platform has very powerful features and a wide variety of available services.
Our Personal Capital review analyzes this company in detail and tell you if it’s a good choice for you wallet.
Personal Capital: Background
Personal Capital is based in Redwood Shores, CA, and it’s been around since 2009. As of August 2020, Personal Capital has 24,500 clients in all 50 states and $14 billion in assets under management.
The firm made a name for itself by integrating automated tools into traditional financial management services. Personal Capital offers a variety of cutting-edge tools and face-to-face asset management options.
Altogether, Personal Capital has helped over 2.6 million people take control of their finances. The firm’s slogan is, “Invest with logic. Plan with heart,” and that’s the attitude they take towards managing their client’s finances.
One of Personal Capital’s most noteworthy features is its technology. The company is one of the early innovators in the financial services sector, and the Personal Capital app is a clear demonstration of the team’s technical proficiency.
We’ve all getting used to working remotely and video chatting in 2020, and Personal Capital has all the tools you need to effectively manage your portfolio from the comfort and safety of your home.
You can meet with your Personal Capital financial adviser directly through the app interface. The advisory can see all of the same information you’re seeing in realtime, so the two of you can seamlessly plan your financial strategy through your device.
Personal Capital’s is such an innovator that they were honored as a 2019 Forbe’s “Fintech 50” Honoree, and RIA Channel listed Personal Capital as a top-3 financial advisor.
Embracing technology has helped Personal Capital become one of the best financial advisor apps available, and that gives them a tremendous advantage over other firms.
Personal Capital: The Basics
Personal Capital offers tons of services to help you better manage your day-to-day finances and investment portfolios.
Qualified users can access top-tier financial advisors and wealth management services through Personal Capital, but anyone can use online financial management tools for free.
Personal Capital offers brokerage accounts too, but the minimum deposit to open an investment account is $100,000. Once your balance exceeds $200,000, you gain access to a team of professional financial advisors.
The best thing about Personal Capital is it’s a one-stop-shop. Once you get started with Personal Capital, you can see all of your financial data in one place, and it’s absolutely free to use most of the tools.
Free Financial Tools
Personal Capital offers a vast array of free financial tools on its website and the Google Play and Apple App stores.
You can sign up to use the financial tools for no cost. All you have to do is create a Personal Capital login and connect your investment accounts. Then, Personal Capital will automatically populate their tools with your data.
Personal Capital uses advanced security software to protect your data, so you can connect your accounts with confidence.
You can also manually add assets like cars, homes, art, stock options, and other alternative assets so you can get a more complete financial picture
Personal Capital’s free financial tools allow you to access all of your bank and investment accounts from one place. These tools are extremely helpful for do-it-yourself investing, and they can also help with more advanced wealth management tasks like asset allocation.
Again, there you won’t have to pay any fees for using these investing tools. There are no management fees or other hidden costs. It’s absolutely free.
Many brokerage platforms don’t offer anything close to Personal Capital’s arsenal of investing weaponry. If your investing institution falls into that category, you’ll really appreciate having access to such high-quality wealth management tools for free.
The suite of tools includes a variety of different applications that will provide a clearer picture of your investment accounts. As soon as you link your accounts, Personal Capital tells you your net worth, asset allocation, and more.
The tools provide enough a reason to sign up on their own, but let’s explore all of Personal Capital’s features in detail.
Personal Capital: Free Features and Services
Personal Capital features a wide variety of wealth management and investment checkup tools, including:
- Net Worth Calculator
- Budget Applications
- Cash Flow Reports
- Retirement Planner
- Fee Analyzer
- Savings Planner
- Investment Checkup
- Cash Management
- Daily Capital Blog
- And much more
You can access most of these services for free, but you’ll need to make a hefty opening deposit to qualify for wealth management and access to financial advisors.
Here’s a complete review of Personal Capital services:
Net Worth Calculator
Personal Capital automatically calculates and displays your net worth once you connect all of your asset and liability accounts.
Net worth measures the total value of your asset holdings minus any outstanding debts or liabilities.
This provides a more accurate view of your financial standing than simply looking at your investment account balance, and it helps you keep an eye on accruing credit card debts and resultant interest fees.
The net worth tool easily links with your credit cards and other accounts, so you don’t have to input your transactions by hand.
Best of all, it incorporates all of your data into one place so you can get a bird’s eye view of your financial accounts..
Regularly monitoring your net worth can help you balance your spending so you make better progress towards your long term financial goals.
Personal Capital uses your transaction data to automatically produce a spending budget based on your monthly income and expenses.
This tool uses a ’50-30-20 ‘savings strategy to develop your budget. Under this plan, you put 50% of your income towards your needs, like rent and groceries, while 30% goes towards discretionary spending on things like restaurant meals and shopping. Finally, the remaining 20% goes into retirement and emergency savings.
However, you don’t have to stick to this plan. You can also manually set a custom budget and manage it yourself.
The budget analysis tool also allows you to categorize purchases so you can easily see where you’re overspending. This makes it even easier to manage your spending so you stay on track to meet your savings goals.
This tool uses your transaction data to automatically analyze and display your monthly cash flow.
Cash flow measures the amount of money coming into and leaving your account every month.
If your cash flow is negative, you ended the month with less money than you started with. If it’s positive, you brought in more cash than you spent.
For example, if you earned $2,000 in a month and spent $2,500 over the same period, your monthly cash flow equals (-$500), indicating your overall cash holdings decreased by $500.
You should always monitor your cash flow to ensure you’re bringing in enough money to meet your expense. This tool is especially useful if you’re considering a new financial commitment, like a car payment or mortgage.
However, you should always monitor cash flow in conjunction with your net worth to ensure you’re accounting for credit card use and other liabilities.
You gain valuable insights from your monthly cash transactions, so this tool adds even more value to the Personal Capital tool suite.
The Personal Capital retirement planner tool tracks all of your retirement holdings in a centralized place and generates automatic reports that show your progress towards retirement goals.
so you can analyze their performance and manage them from a centralized location. The app also allows you to set target dates and goals, so it’s easy to see whether you’re on track.
The retirement planner can also provide important insights into your savings plan to make sure you have enough to finance your golden years. You just need to answer a few simple questions about your age, spending, and savings habits, and the planner will provide a detailed analysis of your retirement savings.
Once you input your information, you’ll get a simple, two-digit success rate score for your retirement plan and a variety of other important insights.
The planner is totally customizable, so you can tweak each setting to ensure you’re getting an accurate picture. It also puts your savings progress into an easy-to-read graph.
Planning for retirement is one of the most important aspects of investment management, and the retirement planner can provide tons of valuable insights that will help keep you on track.
The fee analyzer tool analyzes your investment accounts and shows you how much you’re currently paying in fees.
You can also adjust the pre-programmed parameters to more accurately match your outlook.
The fee analyzer report shows your annual fee expenses in comparison with the benchmark average. It also projections how much you will pay in fees by the time you retire so you have a complete understanding of your total costs.
This is an excellent tool because it breaks down asset management fees in relatable terms. A 0.5% AUM fee doesn’t sound like much, but it could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars more than an account with 0.15% fees.
You can use the fee analyzer’s insights to adjust your holdings and bring your total fee expense down to a tolerable level. You might even find out that your account fees are low compared to the benchmark average.
The fee analyzer automatically analyzes your mutual funds and individual stocks to check for fees, so most of the data self-populates. It’s extremely easy to use and it can help you drastically reduce account fees if used properly.
Your padding your pockets for more than retirement. People save money for lots of reasons, and Personal Capital’s savings planner helps you develop and measure progress towards your financial goals.
The planner breaks down savings goals into three categories: retirement, emergency fund, and debt paydown. Each covers a different aspect of your savings strategy, and you can view graphs, projections, and goals.
The retirement savings tab shows you how much money you deposited into retirement savings accounts like IRAs and brokerage accounts. You can also select which accounts are included in the calculation to ensure an accurate reading.
Emergency fund measures your holdings in short-term savings and checking accounts. Once again, you can customize the information manually, and the dashboard displays graphs and recommended savings goals.
Finally, the debt paydown helps you develop a plan for paying down credit cards and other debts. If you’re struggling with credit card debt, this tool can really help you develop a realistic plan for paying everything off.
>>Start paying off those credit cards and strengthen your financial standing with the Debt Paydown tool now.<<
This is one of the most powerful applications in the Personal Capital tool chest. Investment checkup uses scans your connected accounts to identify and analyze your investments in both funds and individual stocks.
Personal Capital uses this data to create a detailed report on your current investments that includes valuable insights on asset allocation and much more.
You can use the fee analyzer to identify over-concentrated positions in your portfolio, so you can determine the greatest investment risks. It also breaks down individual stocks into sectors, so you can see if you’re overweight in a particular sector.
The report also compares your investments to key benchmarks like the S&P 500 and Personal Capital’s own ‘Smart Weighting’ index.
This is an extremely powerful investment management tool, and it’s also free with the Personal Capital tool suite. Use this information to refine your financial holdings and better manage your risks.
Personal Capital offers a cash management account with no minimum deposit or fees. It’s free to sign up, and it has a lot of the same features as a typical checking account.
Each account has more than $1 million in aggregate FDIC insurance, so you know your money is safe. The service also comes loaded with versatile features for even more flexibility.
You can wire up to $1 million with absolutely no fees, and the account also supports direct deposits, online bill paying, and more.
The Personal Capital cash management account has tons of features and next to no costs. Personal Capital fees are typically low or non-existent, but higher-level services usually have a minimum balance requirement.
However, the cash management account is free to open and there’s no opening deposit minimum, so just about anyone can access this particular feature.
The Daily Capital Blog
Personal Capital’s blog covers a variety of financial topics and lifestyle tips that many people will find useful.
Simply access the blog through the Personal Capital website or mobile apps, and you’ll find a vast collection of helpful articles and guides.
Personal Capital updates the blog regularly, so you’ll there’s always something new to read.
You don’t even need an account to read the Daily Capital, so you can start perusing the archives right away.
You can gather lots of helpful financial information from reading these blog posts, so check it out today.
Reviews for Personal Capital Wealth Management Services
Personal Capital also offers wealth management services, but you need to pay to play and it’s not cheap.
You have to open your investment account with a minimum balance of $100,000, and that’s a pretty substantial entry barrier for most small-budget savers.
However, you can access tons of valuable services if you can cover the cost of admission, including:
- Access to Financial Advisors
- Socially Responsible Investing
- Personal Strategy (Personal Capital, All Rights Reserved)
- and more
We’ll cover all these features in detail, but first, let’s take a look at Personal Capital’s fees.
Wealth Management Fees
Personal Capital’s wealth management services come in several service tiers, and each tier has different asset-under-management (AUM) fees.
For entry-level clients with up $1 million in their wealth management accounts, Personal Capital charges AUM fees of 0.89%. Clients with larger balances enjoy reduced fees, but this is the base rate.
Personal Capital fees go down to 0.49% for clients with balances exceeding $10 million.
According to a 2018 RIA study, the average fee for wealth management services is 0.95% of AUM. For an account with $1 million, that comes out to about $9,500 per year.
In comparison, Personal Capital wealth management costs just $8,900 per year. That’s only slightly below the industry benchmark, but many firms charge extra for services that come standard with PC’s wealth management services.
Financial Advisor Access
If have more than $100,000 in your Personal Capital account, you qualify for access financial advisor access.
This tier includes unlimited advice and retirement planning help from financial advisors.
If your balance exceeds $200,000, you’ll be assigned two dedicated financial advisors who will work with you hand-in-hand to manage your assets.
Personal Capital’s financial advisors specialize in several areas, including real estate, stock options, and more.
Your financial advisors will use their expertise to build a customized portfolio to meet your investment needs.
Having steady access to professional advisors can really help you take your investing plan to the next level. It’s an excellent add-on for wealth management clients and really complements the platform’s robo advisor options.
Personal Strategy®: Robo-Advisor
If you don’t qualify for full-time advisory, you can still tap into Personal Capital’s robo advisor service.
Simply choose from a portfolio of professionally managed ETFs and let PC do the rest. Your portfolio rebalances automatically, and you can also request reviews manually.
As with PC’s other premium services, you need to have at least $1 million in your account to access these perks.
Many investors appreciate the ease and convenience of robo advisor portfolios because they’re relatively hassle-free. They pretty much run on autopilot, so all you have to do is add money and watch it grow.
Personal Capital’s robo portfolios also offer innovative features you won’t commonly find in the industry, like automatic tax-loss harvesting and behavioral coaching.
Socially Responsible Investing
One of the hottest trends in the investing world is socially responsible investing, also known as environmental-social-governance investing or ESG for short.
This service helps clients invest in companies that have a positive impact on society.
For example, ESG investment tends to exclude fossil fuel firms because they’re viewed as having a negative impact on the environment.
Many younger investors are interested in putting their investment portfolio in line with their values. If that sounds like you, PC’s socially responsible investing options could be a great choice.
One of the best things about Personal Capital is its transparency regarding its investment methodology. Most roboadvisors focus solely on risk and allocation, but Personal Capital also considers market conditions in their investments. As a result, Personal Capital’s data-driven approach does an excellent job of acknowledging individual investing objectives.
Personal Capital Cost and Value
Personal Capital’s planning tools are 100% free to download and use. There are no hidden costs either, so you’ll pay nothing to access their features. All you have to do is download the app, connect your accounts, and are you’re ready to start managing your finances.
If you invest more than $200,000 in your PC account, you can access dedicated advisors and custom portfolio management services. These services are included in the 0.89% fee, so you get a lot of value for your dollar.
The AUM fee goes down to 0.79% when your balance tops $1 million, and it gets even lower from there. A $10 million investment brings the total fee down to 0.49%.
However, that’s a lot more than it sounds like. If you have a $10 million account, you’ll pay $890,000 per year in AUM fees.
Most investors don’t have enough to qualify for PC wealth management. However, everyone can benefit from PC’s useful financial planning tools, so there is something for everyone.
Is Personal Capital Legitimate?
You might have never heard of Personal Capital before you read this review, but it’s an established and respected investment firm with years of experience.
PC is not a here-today-gone-tomorrow operation. The firm has been in the investment management business for years and it has an excellent reputation for honesty and transparency.
The firm covers their accounts with more than $1 million worth of FDIC and supplementary insurance, so you know you’re assets are covered.
Yes, Personal Capital is a 100% legitimate investment firm with a long track record of integrity and honesty.
Can Personal Capital be Hacked?
Data security is becoming more important in today’s increasingly connected world, and top-notch security is even more important when it comes to your money and privacy.
Personal Capital has excellent security features and data safeguards, so you can trust your financial information is safe.
Is Personal Capital Safe?
Yes, Personal Capital is safe. PC uses multi-layered security in every component of their system to ensure your investment data is protected.
World-renowned cybersecurity firm Qualsys SSL Labs gave PC an A+ score for its website encryption, and that’s a better rating than most banks or brokerages receive.
The firm also regularly checks for security and vulnerabilities, and their staff always follows the best possible cybersecurity practices.
Personal Capital vs Mint:
Personal Capital’s free financial tool suite is most commonly compared to Mint, a free budgeting and financial tool from Intuit.
However, PC offers significantly more features than Mint, including access to professional advisors and advanced retirement tools.
Conversely, Mint focuses more on day-to-day finances and budgeting, but PC also has similar features.
Is Personal Capital Better than Mint?
All things considered, PC’s features go well beyond Mint’s, and it’s much better suited to cover all of your financial needs.
You can do just about everything with PC’s free tools that you can do with Mint, but the added premium services and more extensive free tools give PC the advantage.
If you’re using Mint, you should try Personal Capital’s free tools. You’ll most likely see the improvement almost immediately.
Word on The Street
Personal Capital has a fantastic Trust Pilot rating with almost 600 reviews. Reviewers gave PC an average rating of 4.4 out of 5, which is an excellent score.
Most reviews praise the financial planning tools for their ease of use and accessibility.
One reviewer said that Personal Capital’s planning tools actually saved them about $6,000 over a year.
Based on the testimonials we’ve seen and our own personal experience with the platform, we can’t find anything wrong with Personal Capital.
The tools are great and the wealth management services are a decent value if you can afford them.
This platform has everything you need to plan your finances and grow your wealth for the long haul.
Personal Capital Pros
- Intuitive and Convenient Financial Management Tools.
- Free Access to Financial Planning Apps.
- Wide Variety of Useful Applications.
- Access to Financial Advisory Servies.
- Easily Integrates with Existing Accounts.
- Access to Live Advisors for Wealth Management Clients.
- Dedicated Financial Advisors for Big-Ticket Investors
Personal Capital Review: The Final Verdict
Personal Capital’s investment and financial planning tools are some of the most sophisticated you can find.
Best of all, they’re free to download and use, so anyone can download and try them out.
PC also has excellent wealth management services, although you’ll have to have a hefty account balance to access them.
However, if you can cover the cost of admission, you can get personalized support from a team of experts at an excellent value.
All and all, this is an excellent platform that offers tons of great features for investors of all skill levels.