Personal Capital 2017

Personal Capital 2017

Personal capital is a powerful and intuitive money management platform. You can use it equally on Web and Mobile and both environments are equally functional and powerful. Unlike most personal finance and budgeting tools, however, Personal Capital has a much more robust portfolio analysis section.

Users with small amounts of money can take advantage of the many free and powerful money tools Personal Capital offers by linking investment and banking accounts. Users with accounts over $100,000 have access to the Adviser feature which combines robo-advisers with human advisers.

Why should you love Personal Capital?

Because they have some of the most advanced and helpful free investment management tools available!

Fees & Commissions

Unlike the investment apps we've reviewed, Personal Capital is more focused on complete money management. It's really a budgeting and portfolio management tool first and foremost.

For their budgeting tools, income & expense tracker, and all the full-featured personal finance tools you won't pay a dime!

Personal Capital also offers investment analysis tools which are totally free! I use Personal Capital almost exclusively for the Sector & Allocation tools which are free!

Financial Advisor Fees

Users seeking the help of Personal Capital's robo-adviser / human adviser hybrid investment advice will pay 0.49% - 0.89% per year on assets under management (AUM).

Cost of Using Adviser Services

Unlike many other robo-adviser sites, Personal Captial doesn't make their methodology quite transparent to those outside the system. It's hard for me to make any judgment on the value of the Personal Captial Financial Advisor service without being able to see the inner workings of their service.

If you're curious about learning more, you'll want to read through this publication from Craig Birk, the Executive Vice President of Portfolio Management at Personal Capital.

Assuming that the portfolio management strategy of Personal Capital's advisory service follows closely to the strategies outlined here, it's pretty traditional. It looks to me as though you can expect to get some pretty industry-standard portfolio management advice. Not necessarily a bad thing!

Assuming you were to approach a traditional investment adviser for the same services, you could expect to pay 2% or more per year for the same services. For that reason, Personal Capital's fee model looks pretty attractive at a 0.89% fee.

Available Promotions & Free Cash

Personal Capital costs you nothing to sign up but they will give us a small commission for referring you. Please consider using this link to sign up and support what we do here at Best Investing Apps!

At one point Personal Capital seems to have been shelling out $10 Amazon gift cards for referral sign-ups. No longer! We'll keep an eye on the situation and let you know what's up.

Account Minimums & Maximums

There is no account minimum for using the free money management tools provided by Personal Capital.

You will need at least one active banking account to use the expense tracking features.

You'll also need at least one active investment account (IRA, Brokerage, etc.) to use the portfolio analysis tools.

Note: Remember, some investment accounts won't be linkable. Popular brokerages such as E*Trade and Vanguard are able to be linked, along with many others.

You'll need at least $100,000 to start using the Financial Advisor service provided by Personal Captial.

Unique Features

Personal Capital really shines when you use some of the advanced portfolio management tools that are available totally free! I use Personal Capital specifically for these powerful portfolio analysis tools.

So, what are the portfolio management tools?

Asset Allocation Tool

Many new investors aren't even aware of how hard it can be to track your allocations. In today's world where the majority of retirement investors are using mutual funds and ETFs, your money can be split into thousands of investments. 

So how much money do you have in each type of investment? Until now you'd have to pay for a service to analyze your portfolio. Or you'd have to make a REALLY HUGE excel spreadsheet to track it all.

Imagine the headache of looking through every fund that you own and then calculating how much of each stock or bond you own inside of that. Yuck!

This is why I use Personal Capital!

As you can see in the slideshow above, their asset allocation tool is intuitive and powerful! It will show you where your investments are from broad to narrow with just a few clicks.

I find this an invaluable tool for the DIY investor seeking a free tool that will show you a comprehensive snapshot of your asset allocation. Don't underestimate the power of this tool!

Sector Allocation Tool

Of course, asset allocation is important but it goes hand in hand with sector allocation.

While asset allocation measures your investments in terms of large cap stocks, international bonds, etc. Sector allocation measures your investments in terms of business type.

What types of business are you invested in? It's easy to find out by just linking your investment accounts to Personal Capital. They do all the math for you and display everyting in this easy to understand format.

When combined with the asset allocation tool, the sector allocation tool gives you a nearly full picture of your investments.

If you're not certain what the different asset classes and sectors are, we'll cover this in future articles.

Best For:

I think every investor should be using Personal Capital. While their budget tracking tools aren't revolutionary, the free investment analysis tools nearly are!

Even if you're working with an investment adviser, I'd recommend trying Personal Capital. It's a great way to double check how your money is being invested.

For DIY investors like me, being able to peek inside your investments at a glance is a great way to confirm that you're on track! I couldn't live without these amazing tools!

Pros & Cons

Cons

  • Adviser service fee is higher than competitors
  • No support for smaller brokerages such as M1 Finance, and Robinhood

Pros

  • Free budget & investment tools
  • Powerful insight
  • Intuitive interface on web & mobile
  • Supports most banks and brokerages

Conclusion

Personal Capital is my absolute favorite investment analysis tool. It's totally free (great for me!), powerful, and intuitive. It takes almost no time to set up and works beautifully on both web and mobile.

While there are plenty of budget and expense trackers on the market, Personal Capital is probably the most well-done. Compared to tools like Mint I find it to be superior in function and user interface.

If you're not using Personal Capital to get a snapshot of your investment allocations, you're seriously missing out. This is the most powerful feature of Personal Captial for investors, and possible the most overlooked!

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