Personal Capital Review: Helpful Financial Management

personal capital review

Saving, managing, and investing your money can be a challenge.

Even if you have your student loans under control and a good handle on your personal finances, tracking every bank account, credit card, loan, and investment can be tough.

And if you have accounts with multiple banks and financial institutions, tracking everything takes, even more, time. Unless you use a tool like Personal Capital.

Personal Capital helps you track your accounts, transactions, and manage your investments from one central online or mobile app dashboard. The service also offers users with investable assets above $25,000 access to a low-cost investment management service.

Think that sounds useful to you? Keep reading our Personal Capital review to see if this app is right for you.

Personal Capital review

At its core, Personal Capital is a personal financial management dashboard that helps you track all of your accounts, transactions, and investments in one place.

While popular competitor Mint focuses primarily on budgeting, Personal Capital is focused on investing. Yet, the investment analysis tools go beyond the basics. I

In the follow sections, we will look at the primary Personal Capital products, how the online platform works, the costs, and whether or not it makes sense for you.

Personal Capital products

Personal Capital offers both a financial management software and investment management service.

To become an investment management client, you must first sign up for their free financial management app. Let’s look at those two services separately below.

Financial management app

The first interaction new users have with Personal Capital is signing up for an online account and transaction tracking app with them. This app is accessible via a web browser, as well as iOS and Android apps.

Basic features include a dashboard where you can view all of your accounts and balances and view your net worth over time.

You can also open cash, investment, credit, loan, and mortgage dashboards which also show balances over time. Or, view a list of all transactions by account or together in one master transaction register.

The biggest perks come from the investment and portfolio analysis tools.

With just a couple of clicks, you can view your portfolio by asset class, performance, or sector. Additional tools allow you to analyze your fees and investments for future performance and to make sure you are not paying too much.

When I signed up for Personal Capital, I used the fee checker to reallocate my investments into similar funds that had much lower fees. This is saving me $300+ every year, which is awesome.

If you are worried about Personal Capital security, you can put those fears to rest. Personal Capital uses bank-level encryption to connect to your accounts and store your information.

Since security is a primary concern for the company, your data, and bank login information is ultimately safe with Personal Capital.

Investment management service

Users with at least $25,000 in investable assets have access to the Personal Capital wealth management product. Personal Capital Wealth Management is a hybrid robo-advisor and human investment advisor in one.

If you connect your accounts and qualify for the wealth management product, a Personal Capital representative will contact you to set up an appointment with a licensed financial advisor.

In a no obligation, free consultation, that advisor will review your accounts with you and offer some suggestions. You can implement them yourself for free. Or, sign up for the service where the Personal Capital advisor manages everything for you for a fee.

As a wealth management client, investment assets are held in an account at Pershing Advisor Solutions, a Bank of New York Mellon Company.


Using the Personal Capital online platform

The Personal Capital online platform is where the service really shines.

I use this platform myself to track and manage my own investments. That’s why I don’t hesitate in suggesting it to anyone with investments.

Whether you are just starting out with your first 401(k) or Roth IRA or have tens of thousands in a portfolio, this free online platform offers plenty of value at no cost.

Let’s get started

Each time you log in, you will see a list of your accounts in the left sidebar arranged by type. There is a section for cash, investments, credit, loans, and other assets, shown below.

The dashboard summary shows your net worth over time, your latest investment gains and losses, and a comparison of your results, called the “You Index” compared to major market indices.

The dashboard also shows your cash flow over time. This can be a useful budgeting tool. However, it’s not powerful enough on its own to replace more detailed budgets from platforms like Mint or You Need a Budget.

Income and expenses are categorized by transaction automatically and broken down into the useful view below.

The most powerful Personal Capital app features don’t come from the general personal finance management tools. They actually come from the portfolio analysis tools.

Below is a screenshot of the asset allocation visualization, which is included in the main dashboard and other views.

Reviewing your portfolio

The next screenshot below shows the portfolio performance tab. I set this to show my two primary retirement accounts’ performance year-to-date as an example.

However, you can change the time period and accounts using the simple inputs at the top right of the image below. If you were to scroll down from that screen, you would see a listing of each account’s performance broken out.

Going into the investment advising tools, you are greeted with a view showing your target allocation.

Various pages and menus advise you on how to get there yourself. Or, you can sign up for the paid service and an advisor will take care of it for you.

The big money saver for me came from the fee analysis tools.

I looked at my old retirement fund fees and was doing okay, I thought. But then these tools showed where my money was going and how I could do better.

Ultimately, I re-allocated myself for $300 per year savings, increasing over time as my investment balances increase.

For free investment management and analysis, I have yet to find anything better than the tools offered by Personal Capital.

Personal Capital interest rates and fees

Personal Capital’s web and mobile app are free to use if you choose to take advantage of the paid wealth management service or not.

What’s more, there are no fees now or announced for the future to use this platform. Even if you don’t want the investment management service, the free platform offers plenty of features that make it worthwhile to sign up.

If you choose to utilize the wealth management service, Personal Capital fees are 0.89% annually on the balance of assets under management for the first $1 million.

Additionally, clients with big balances get a discount on that fee down to 0.49% for $10 million accounts.

Here’s the full fee schedule:

  • First $1 million – 0.89% annually
  • $1 million to $3 million – 0.79% annually
  • Next $2 million – 0.69% annually
  • Next $5 million – 0.59% annually
  • Over $10 million – 0.49% annually

Personal Capital eligibility requirements

To use the Personal Capital apps, you just need to have United States-based bank and investment accounts to connect to the platform.

Personal Capital works with thousands of financial institutions. So odds are that it works with your bank, credit card issuer, and brokerage.

The paid service requires having at least $25,000 in investable assets. And, there’s no specific minimum age or citizenship requirement.

However, Personal Capital tools are geared toward US investors focused on long-term savings and investment goals. Therefore, this product is best for that investor population.

Personal Capital customer service

If you use only the Personal Capital app, you won’t have any need to interact with customer service.

But if you are eligible for the paid version, you will be contacted by a Personal Capital representative to schedule a call with an advisor.

Personal Capital can be a bit pushy if you say no to the call or the service. However, they’re otherwise very friendly and helpful in my experience.

Anyone with an eligible investable account balance can call or email their assigned advisor directly. You can also call the toll free number anytime at 855-855-8005.

More about Personal Capital

Personal Capital was founded in 2009 by Bill Harris and Rob Foregger. The company became a registered financial advisor in 2012.

Personal Capital was also included in the CNBC Disruptor 50 list in 2014 and 2015. The wealth management product surpassed $2 billion in assets under management in March 2016.

The company is headquartered in San Carlos, California with additional offices in San Francisco, California, and Denver, Colorado.

Personal Capital contact

You can call Personal Capital toll free at 855-855-8005.

You can also check out their Personal Capital blog or connect with the company on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.


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