Personal Capital Review | All Your Accounts in One Place?

I love Personal Capital for all the free tools they offer.

It’s a great place to aggregate all your accounts and see what’s going on with your money. From budgeting to investment advice, Personal Capital can be a one-stop-shop for your money.

Here’s what you need to know about how Personal Capital works, how it makes its money, and whether it will be the best way for you to manage your monthly budget as well as your retirement portfolio:

How Personal Capital Works

The process of getting set up with Personal Capital is relatively straightforward.

After signing up for an account (which is free and takes all of 60 seconds), you’ll be able to log in and begin connecting your financial accounts, including your bank accounts, investments, mortgage, credit card, and any other accounts.

In this way I find Personal Capital to be a little different from the rest as they’ve added on a money management component to just regular personal investing.

Connecting accounts is as simple as entering your secure information and allowing the software to do the rest.

Personal Capital uses the same security and encryption you can expect from online banking, so providing the program with your secure account information is no riskier than online banking or investing.

As you continue to add accounts, your “investible assets” number will continue to grow. Once you hit the $100,000 number, expect to hear from the Personal Capital team–which we’ll get to in a moment.

First, we need to look at all the free programs you get even without investing.

Personal Capital’s Free Software

One way to describe Personal Capital’s free budgeting software is an “account aggregator.” This program allows you to track and understand every single penny in all of your financial accounts.

Once you link up all your various accounts, Personal Capital summarizes your finances and offers you basic investment guidance.

This program offers a more comprehensive (and free!) service than similar competitor Mint. The program generates graphs and charts to help you better understand your financial picture, including the following:

  • Net Worth
  • Account Balances
  • Income Reports
  • Spending Reports
  • Asset Allocation
  • Investment Returns
  • Projected Investment Fees

What are Personal Capital’s best free tools? Let’s take a look:


Basic budgeting is a snap with this program. The interface gives you an understanding of your spending and account balances and allows you to categorize your spending by date, merchant, and type of expense.

Net Worth Tracking

One of the best features within Personal Capital is net worth tracking. Personal Capital gives you the ability to view your account balances, cash, and investments holdings, credit, mortgage, and loans all at the same time. You can also add in your home value by using the mortgage feature powered by Zillow.

Personal Capital’s Mobile App

With all this financial information available through Personal Capital, it would be great if you could access it anytime, no matter where you are.

Luckily, this is possible through Personal Capital’s award-winning mobile app. Now you can access all of your accounts anytime and track your financials in real-time. Now you can access your Personal Capital account from any mobile phone, tablet, or desktop.

You can even access some Personal Capital features from your Apple Watch and other compatible smartwatches.

Wealth Management with Personal Capital

Personal Capital Plans

Of course, Personal Capital’s biggest claim to fame is its investment advice–which is why you are assigned a personal advisor once your investible assets reach $100,000, the minimum investment.

Suppose you choose to invest with Personal Capital. In that case, your money is placed in a diversified portfolio of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) with access to their “Smart Weighting” technology, creating greater diversification.

If you’re a high roller with more than $200,000 to invest, you will move into Personal Capital’s wealth management service.

This gives you access to two dedicated Financial Advisors and a customized financial plan. At this level, you will also have access to tax-loss harvesting.

All of this, is part of the robo-advising offered by Personal Capital–but there is even more to the investment side of the program.

Personal Capital’s Financial Advice

Clients who invest with Personal Capital have access to financial advisors who are available via phone, email, or video chat for questions about everything from retirement planning to mortgages to refinance loans.

If you invest less than $200,000, you will have access to an Advisory Team. Invest more than $200,000, and you’ll have two advisors assigned to you.

To help you best allocate your investments, Personal Capital customizes your portfolio based on your age, risk tolerance, goals, and investment time frame.

It also accounts for various things like paying for your children’s college education or buying a house.

Your advisors help manage your assets in conjunction with the customized program, although you have the final say in any investment decision.

Also, unlike other robo-advisors, Personal Capital’s financial advisors are available to help guide you through market volatility.

Personal Capital’s Innovative Technology

Personal Capital believes wholeheartedly in the power of technology to keep your money managed well. In particular, the program uses automated rebalancing whenever your portfolio gets out of alignment.

For example, a portfolio that has a 15% investment in technology stocks could fall out of balance if tech stocks surge suddenly, turning your 15% investment into a 25% investment.

Personal Capital’s automated rebalancing monitors your portfolio daily and makes necessary changes to keep your portfolio within your preferred balance.

Tax Reduction

In addition, the program works to reduce your tax burden by taking advantage of both tax-efficient investments as well as tax-loss harvesting through the use of individual securities.

Personal Capital also works to properly allocate investments into the most tax-efficient accounts possible.

Fee Structure

Of course, human financial advisors do need to be paid, which means Personal Capital’s fee structure is higher than many of its competitors:

  • Up to $1 million invested: 0.89%
  • $1 million to $3 million invested: 0.79%
  • $3 million to $5 million invested: 0.69%
  • $5 million to $10 million invested: 0.59%
  • Over $10 million invested: 0.49%

To put these fees in perspective, an investor with less than $1 million in assets will be paying $89 per year for every $10,000 invested—which is a little steep, particularly when compared to other robo-advisors.

Personal Capital’s Financial Tools

That being said, Personal Capital works to be the alpha and omega of your financial needs. In addition to the above offerings, the program also has the following features, many of which you are unlikely to find elsewhere:

Investment Checkup

Are you meeting your retirement goals? This is somewhat simplistic compared to other planners but a good starting point. Create a basic risk profile, pick a target retirement date and your projected income sources, and the program will recommend a portfolio for you.

Retirement Planner

Personal Capital Retirement Planner

Personal Capital’s Retirement Planner can help you build, manage, and forecast your retirement savings in the same place you handle your regular budgeting.

Retirement Fee Analyzer

This free tool can help you to understand the fees you are paying on your current investments. Many people aren’t aware of how much they pay in fees, so this is a “must use” tool.

Other popular Personal Capital tools include:

Stock Options Tracker: Track the value of stock options from the company where you work.

Universal Checkbook: Deposit checks via their mobile app. Take a picture of your check, and the funds are deposited.

Tax Optimization: Are your investments fully optimized for taxes?

Fund Costs: How much in taxes and expenses does it cost you with each fund you own.

Asset Allocation Target: Are you overweight or underweight in any of the major equity categories?

Who is Personal Capital Right for?

Personal Capital is perfect for anyone who wants to see their big financial picture and to be able to track numbers, like spending, savings, and investments.

Most people will be content using Personal Capital’s free tools since they offer an array of options that cover just about everything.

Personal Capital’s budgeting tools can be used as your sole budgeting option but are best used in conjunction with other budgeting methods. As far as free financial tools go, nobody beats Personal Capital.

Is Personal Capital Worth it?

As a robo-advisor, Personal Capital is more expensive than its competitors, and with a $100,000 minimum investment, it has a high barrier to entry.

However, it is a program that offers a great deal to both non-investors who take advantage of the free tools and the investors who want to have the peace of mind of a financial advisor along with the automated approach of a robo-advisor.

Because investing with Personal Capital is cheaper than most brick-and-mortar financial advisors and much more comprehensive than most robo-advisors, it is a good best-of-both-worlds option for the long-term, passive investor who wants a holistic view of their finances.

Avatar About Michael Pruser

Michael Pruser is an entrepreneur and credit card expert. He currently manages card partnerships and compliance with Webpals Group. Michael has contributed to Money Under 30, Dough Roller, and Card Ratings.

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