Mostly not recommended
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Personal Capital is a financial service that includes a full wealth management suite with Mint-like money management features. It allows you to sync all your financial accounts into one simple and intuitive platform. The portfolio aggregator and money management services are completely free. The idea is that it will act as a hook for Personal Capital’s paid advisory service.
Personal Capital was launched in 2011 in Redwood, California, by Bill Harris: the former CEO of PayPal and Intuit. As of September 2015, it has 850,000 registered users, tracks $175 billion and has $1.5 billion as assets under management.
Who Is Personal Capital Designed For?
Personal Capital is for people who already understand how to budget, have some savings, and want financial tools that will help them improve the performance of their investments. Anybody can benefit from Personal Capital’s sophisticated (and free) money management tools but people who already have a substantial portfolio and want to save on hidden investment fees that will get the most out of it.
How Does Personal Capital Work?
Personal Capital links all your accounts, from your checking and savings accounts to your investment and 401(k) accounts, so you can get the big picture of your financial health and learn how to get more out of your assets.
Personal Capital’s money management service has four main features: net worth calculator, fee analyzer, investment checkup and retirement planner.
The net worth calculator uses the data from all your accounts to determine your actual, up-to-date net worth by deducting your debts and liabilities, such as mortgages, loans, and credit card debt, from all the assets you own, such as property, vehicles, IRAs, bonds, stocks or even jewelry.
The fee analyzer takes a look at your investment and retirement accounts and tracks all the custodial fees, inactivity fees, and 12b-1 fees you are being charged on funds and other assets. Once you have a clear view of the fees you’re paying for the privilege of investing, you have a better chance of minimizing costs. The fee analyzer will even calculate how much unnecessary fees are costing you over time.
The investment checkup feature compares the performance of your investments and retirement accounts with the ideal portfolio for your circumstances and goals, as calculated by Personal Capital’s personalized plan. This provides a useful benchmark for your portfolio’s performance.
The retirement planner uses live financial data to determine how prepared you are for retirement. This a flexible planner that allows for additional investments, such as paying for college, buying a home or even getting married.
How Much Does Personal Capital Cost?
Personal Capital’s money tracker and portfolio aggregator services are free. It does charge a fee for its wealth management service. The financial tools mentioned above are completely free, but if you want to receive Personal Capital’s financial advice service, it will cost you. However, it will cost much less than a broker or a private bank. The percentage fee is lower the more assets you have under Personal Capital.
How is Personal Capital Better Than Other Wealth Management Companies?
Personal Capital is a high-quality money management service that allows you to look at your day to day spending and your investments in one secure place. This makes it easy to get a big picture of your financial health. Amazingly, the money management service is free, even though it includes prime financial tools. Granted, the service is designed as a way to funnel clients to its paid financial advisory service, but there are no strings attached, trial version, or hidden fees, just a high-quality free product.