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Review Summary: Personal Capital is a feature-packed free money app that helps users make smarter investing decisions. With their retirement fee analyzer, savings planner, and investment tracker, users can invest like a pro for free! Personal Capital also offers advisory services if you want help from a licensed investment advisor.
Personal Capital Review Summary
- Personal Capital helps users with money management and long-term financial planning
- Personal Capital app features a variety of savings tools, including tools for budgeting, saving, calculating net worth, and tracking cash flow
- Personal Capital retirement paycheck tool helps users better understand withdrawal options in later years
- Personal Capital offers a variety of free robust tools, plus access to human advisors for a management fee
Personal Capital is one of the most popular fintech apps. Why is this financial technology tool getting all the love? It’s like having a financial advisor guide you through your current money journey while planning for the future as well. Read on to learn more about what this investing app can do for you!
Personal Capital Pros & Cons
Personal Capital is one of the most talked about apps in the personal finance space, and for good reason. Its free tools set you up for success, no matter where you are on your financial journey. Improve your money management with tools that allow you to track your net worth, set savings goals, budget, and monitor your cash flow.
- Free to use!
- Web and mobile app for tracking on the go
- Sync all financial accounts in one place to track net worth
- Retirement fee analyzer to help find hidden fees
- Retirement paycheck tool to understand withdrawal strategy in retirement
- Multiple investing views to track your investments and asset allocation
- Budgeting tools very limited (tracking only)
- Above $100k net worth will receive a phone call from advisor services
- Wealth management fee is 0.89% (in addition to fund fees)
Personal Capital Features
When it comes to all of the different features that Personal Capital offers, it’s easy to be skeptical of the cost of Personal Capital. But the Personal Capital app truly is a free investing app to manage all of your accounts thanks to the robust features of these free tools!
The money management side of the app allows you to see a current financial snapshot. Plus, the free financial planning tools can help you navigate the road ahead. All the features combine to give users detailed financial insights to make them smarter with their money.
Let’s take a deeper dive into some of the standout features of Personal Capital.
One reason this investing app is beloved by so many personal finance enthusiasts is because of its robust, easy-to-interpret tools. That accessibility starts with a dashboard that puts your full financial picture at your fingertips. Moreso, you can get a quick snapshot of your net worth and monitor all of your transactions with just a few clicks.
Think of the Personal Capital dashboard as your landing page. Whether you log on from a laptop or use the Personal Capital app on your mobile device, all of your account details fit into one space.
Additionally, the dashboard also lets you quickly add new accounts. If you click the +, then you can sync another account and watch your financial picture update.
Check out the video below to see the Personal Capital Dashboard in action.
If you spend any time in the personal finance community, you will probably hear and see people talk about net worth. One of the most popular aspects of the Personal Capital app is the Net Worth tool.
You can see your net worth in real time. By synching your checking, savings, investment accounts and more, the app will allow you to monitor all of your assets and liabilities. The total picture amounts to your net worth, so you can see where you are on your financial journey.
Do you ever wonder where your money is going? Another standout aspect of the Personal Capital performance is how seamlessly you can keep a pulse on your finances. The Transactions page houses all of the transactions for each of your accounts since you linked them.
What does that mean exactly?
You can see money entering and leaving all of your accounts in a single spot. Plus, there are filtering options that allow you to see different types of transactions, such as cash, credit, loan, or investment transactions.
The banking tools included in the Personal Capital app are another reason why so many people are ditching all of the different apps they’ve downloaded in favor of this one multipurpose tool. Need to get a handle on your cash flow or keep an eye on your budget? Personal Capital does both. It can also help you keep track of your bills.
Here’s how these tools work.
Personal Capital tracks your cash flow month after month. That means that a single graph reveals all the money that comes and goes across all of your accounts. With a single click, you can keep an eye on your total income and your total expenses.
The Personal Capital app offers a budgeting view. This pie chart shows all of your transactions by type. Then, you can quickly see how much each transaction type takes up in your monthly budget. While the app automates this, you can further customize your budget by categorizing the general groups in customizable fields.
Note: You can’t truly plan your budget, other than setting total numbers and tracking your spending. This is one of the limitations with Personal Capital. If you are looking for a true budgeting app, check out our top apps here.
Since you link your accounts to Personal Capital, it has a feature that can easily remind you when your bills are due. This is helpful so you never miss a payment. Plus, it’s a great feature to reference after you do a budgeting check up.
This wouldn’t be a complete Personal Capital review without a preview of the various investing tools. The tools are intuitive and work for anyone, whether you’re just getting started or a long-time investor. The best part? These investing tools help you invest like a pro for free.
Retirement vehicles are often discussed as investments. But the vehicle, like a 401k or IRA, is actually just the container that holds your investments. Personal Capital helps you keep track of all of your holdings. Whatever you invest in, from stocks and bonds, to ETFs and more, Personal Capital tracks them all.
Some people really struggle when it comes to keeping track of all of their retirement vehicles. You might have a 401k through your employer, and maybe you’ve also started filling up a Roth IRA on your own. Personal Capital syncs all of your retirement accounts, so you can see how much you have invested.
While past performance is not indicative of future performance, it can be helpful to look back in time for educational purposes. The Past Performance feature allows you to compare how your portfolio would have done in the past against Personal Capital’s recommended allocations.
Every investor has different goals and different risk tolerance. That’s why Personal Capital’s target allocation can be so helpful. This allocation outlines the different asset classes, otherwise known as types of investments, that you should invest in based on how much risk you are willing to take and what you want to earn.
Personal Capital has a goal-setting tool of their own. They have a tool called "Savings Planner" to help you track:
- Debt Paydown
- Emergency Fund
You can set these goals and keep an eye on their progress over time.
After connecting your accounts, Personal Capital will help you track your debt payoff. They don't let you set a TRUE goal for this (like target paydown per month), but will show your balance over time to see how much progress you are making.
Note: Credit cards will NOT show up here unless you have a revolving balance and have paid interest for at least twice in the past 90 days.
The Emergency Fund tracker will help you track your progress toward building a full Emergency Fund. I always recommend having AT LEAST 1 month of expenses set aside before you do ANYTHING else with your money.
Personal Capital takes your "Monthly Budget" amount and shows you the standard 3-6 months of expenses recommendation. For example: Mine recommends $10,500 (3 months) up to $21,000 (6 months).
The final portion of the Savings Planner offers a snapshot of your current retirement savings. Personal Capital also offers a separate Retirement Planner that helps you take a deeper dive into all things retirement.
A lot of times, we get really focused on the present day when it comes to finance. That makes sense. After all, budgeting and tracking expenses are crucial. But Personal Capital knows your future matters too. Because of its comprehensive retirement planning tools, many people say Personal Capital is the best free investing app on the market!
You want to know your money will be there when you need it. If you’re a millennial, the stock market has been in a bull market for much of your adulthood. But the stock market drops from time to time. The Recession Simulator lets you see how your retirement plan would weather something like the Dotcom Crash.
Retirement Fee Analyzer
Fees can take a huge bite out of your investing gains. The Retirement Fee Analyzer will let you know exactly how much your investments cost and if there are better options. Who doesn’t want to keep more of their own money?
For example: Did you know a 2% fee can destroy almost half of your retirement savings? Most people are unaware of the powerful impact that fees can have on your investments. This tool can expose high fees to avoid huge losses over time.
Personal Capital offers an Investment Checkup tool. This tool will examine your current holdings and compare them to your goals. Then, it makes recommendations to help you ensure that your investments align with where you are headed. After all, no one wants to look back on their years of savings and investing only to realize they could have earned more money!
Personal Capital Wealth Management
As your net worth and portfolio grows, you might want more financial guidance. Personal Capital has a service for that as well.
One important thing to know about their advisor services is that, unlike the Personal Capital app tools, there is a cost. How much you have invested determines how much you will pay in fees. Personal Capital charges between 0.49% and 0.89%, with fees starting at 0.89% until you have more than $3 million in assets.
Personal Capital offers three tiers of wealth management:
- Investment Services
- Wealth Management
- Private Client
If you have between $100,000 and $200,000 invested, you can take advantage of their investment services. The Personal Capital advisory team offers unlimited advice. Plus, Personal Capital offers a professionally managed ETF fund.
When your investments grow above $200,000, you can then explore their wealth management services. Instead of working with a general team, the wealth management level gives you access to two dedicated financial advisors. You also get a customized portfolio with periodic reviews.
After your investment assets cross the million dollar mark, you can enjoy their private client offerings. In addition to working with two dedicated advisors, you also get specialist support for retirement planning and other goals.
Note: It’s important to remember that unlike the free tools, these wealth management tiers of support come with a fee.
Personal Capital FAQ
There’s a good chance you’ve already heard of Personal Capital. While it’s clearly a fan favorite in the personal finance community, you might be looking to learn more before you click Sign Up.
We have you covered!
Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions
Is Personal Capital Really Free?
You better believe it! The Personal Capital app really is free. All of the different tools and features related to saving, budgeting, investing, and retirement planning are available to users at no cost.
Once your net worth crosses the $100,000 mark, expect a call from Personal Capital about their paid financial advisor wealth management services. Personal Capital users also note that if they choose to decline the services that Personal Capital does not reach out again.
Is Personal Capital Safe?
Personal Capital prioritizes your account security. Their dedicated security team is continually working to stay ahead of cybercriminals. Additionally, they pledge to safeguard your data through encryption that is higher-rated than many financial institutions.
If you want to use the Personal Capital app on your mobile device, you can use Touch ID on your iPhone or set up a mobile-only PIN.
You might still be thinking about that call that users receive around the $100,000 net worth mark. Personal Capital pledges to protect your privacy. That means that your phone number won’t even be sold and no telemarketers will add your info to their lists.
Can You Download Your Data from Personal Capital?
Yes! Money nerds rejoice. One of the best parts of Personal Capital is how easy it is to download your data. Inside the app, you will locate the Transactions section. From there, you can review all of your transactions or select a specific date range. Using the export button, you can quickly create a CVS document.
That means you’re just a few clicks away from an Excel document or Google Sheet that you can customize to your liking. If you’re evaluating Personal Capital on its performance, you have to give it points for this easy to use CSV export function.
- Free Investing Tools
- Track Your Spending
- Stop paying high investment fees!
Download the Personal Capital App for free retirement planning and investing insights on your mobile phone!
Personal Capital Alternatives
Many people argue that the Personal Capital performance can’t be beat. But before you sign up, you may also want to explore some of the Personal Capital alternatives. This is especially true for people who are looking to focus specifically on budgeting and goal setting before moving to other aspects of finance.
Tiller is a spreadsheet lover’s dream come true. If you’re looking for specific budgeting guidance but also want to retain control of how your numbers are displayed, check out Tiller.
You can use it to sync your bank accounts and other budgeting information to Google Sheets or Excel. From there, you have access to dozens of different templates that allow you to customize and automate your budget. Tiller does charge a fee, though their free trial is generous enough to let users really get a feel for the tool to see if it’s right for you.
If you are looking for comprehensive budgeting support, look no further than You Need a Budget, or YNAB. YNAB is a cult favorite among dedicated budgeters.
It is a paid budgeting tool that shines in terms of offering you complete control over your budget. It also offers comprehensive tutorials on the different aspects of the tool itself, as well as budgeting and financial literacy education in general.
If you’re looking for a tool that’s totally free that keeps the focus on budget and cash flow, Mint checks all the boxes. Mint’s setup is incredibly simple and the app interfect is slick and user friendly. As with most free tools, though, you do have to navigate quite a bit of ads as you use the app.
Check out our full Mint review for more details.