Personal Capital ReviewBuilding Wealth
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- Personal Capital
- Basics: Personal Capital is a website and app that offers an in-depth look at your spending, investments, and net worth.
- Pros: Personal Capital is an extremely efficient way to see your entire financial picture — and make changes if necessary.
- Cons: Personal Capital frequently pitches its own financial advisor service within various locations of the app and via personal phone calls.
- MINIMUM INVESTMENT:
$0 to use, $100,000 for investment services.
Budgeting and tracking features are free. There is a fee for investment advisory services.
- SIGN-UP BONUS:
$20 (via referral link)
- WHAT'S UNIQUE:
A full picture of your finances, from spending to investments.
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As an active investor, one of my biggest challenges is keeping track of my entire portfolio.
At any given time I may own cryptocurrency on one platform, index funds on another, or even a share of artwork on a third.
And a full financial picture goes beyond that. It needs to include not only what I own, but what I earn and spend.
Personal Capital has helped me see my finances in one place. I use the app to track both my spending and my net worth regularly.
In this Personal Capital review I’ll take you on a full tour the app. I’ll explain what it does well, and show you exactly what the financial tracking tools look like from an account I created specifically for this review.
Tracking your spending and investments is free, but Personal Capital also wants to manage your investments. That leads to a catch of using their service that you might not expect.
I’ll discuss the pros and cons of Personal Capital, share who it may be a good fit for, and who should consider using a different personal finance platform.
If you’d like to see the app in action, you can check out my full video walkthrough below.
What Is Personal Capital?
Personal Capital is an app and website that offers a comprehensive look at your financial picture by allowing you to view information from all of your accounts in one location.
It does this by summarizing your information in easy-to-understand graphs.
Personal Capital’s key features allow you to save and budget in order to hit your retirement goals, keep track of your investments, and watch your money grow over time.
As of right now, Personal Capital’s account tracking features are completely free, allowing users to track their investments without charging them.
Personal Capital makes money when users choose to become clients of its financial advising services. Because of this, Personal Capital makes frequent attempts — via phone as well as through the platform itself — to pitch its financial advising services to users.
Personally, I don’t feel that I need a financial advisor, but I can see how this service could be useful to someone who isn’t comfortable managing their money.
Personal Capital At a Glance
|Price||Free for expense/portfolio tracking, 0.49%-0.89% management fee for investment services|
|Bill Payment Capabilities||Yes, with a Personal Capital Cash account|
|Net Worth Tracking||Yes|
|Credit Score Checker||No|
|Tax Reporting||Only for Personal Capital Cash and investment accounts|
|Human Advisor Option||Yes, for a fee|
|Sign-Up Bonus||$20 (via referral link)|
|Customer Support||Phone, chat, webform|
How to Use Personal Capital
After creating your account and filling out your profile, you’ll be prompted to link your first account to Personal Capital.
I chose to link my M1 Finance accounts, which I use to automate my investing in low-cost index fund ETFs. I did this by simply inputting my M1 Finance login information and clicking “Continue”.
You can also choose to link other account types including bank accounts, retirement accounts, credit cards, brokerage investments, 401(k)s, IRAs, and more.
By clicking the three dots in the upper right-hand corner of the “Net worth” screen, you can access a few account options, sign up for a Personal Capital Cash account, and adjust the date range shown on your net worth growth chart.
Under “Settings”, you can update your contact information, adjust a few basic settings, add a household member, and update information about yourself.
Under the referral screen, you can get your personal referral link and code to invite friends to Personal Capital.
If you’re interested in signing up for Personal Capital, you can use my you can use my link here to sign up and get a $20 Amazon gift card for both you and me after you link an investment account with a balance of at least $1,000.
Related: Best Referral Programs to Make Money
Personal Capital has numerous screens accessible via the menu at the top left, one of which is its “Net Worth” screen. This also functions as a home screen allowing you to access several features of the app.
Under Personal Capital’s “Net Worth” screen, you can see your net worth based on real-time updates to your balances and transactions from your linked accounts as well as a breakdown of your individual account balances.
For example, after I linked my M1 Finance accounts, my Net Worth screen showed my total net worth as $340,165.14 before breaking down the amount in each of my M1 Finance accounts below that.
You can also see more detailed information concerning a particular account by clicking on that account.
Investment accounts are not the only accounts you can link on Personal Capital.
For example, I’m going to link my Chase personal bank account.
The good thing about Personal Capital is that it supports many banks, brokerages, mortgage companies, credit card companies, and more.
Personal Capital will import the account and once the stats are synced, you will be able to see that the account is updated with the transactions shown in a detailed view.
The “Net Worth” tracker at the top of the screen will also update to include the new balances.
If you click the “+” at the top right corner you will be taken to the screen where you can link more accounts.
I recently reviewed a fine art investment platform called Masterworks and decided to link that account but found it was not supported on the platform.
If it turns out Personal Capital doesn’t support a platform, you can manually add it.
To link my Masterworks account I selected “Add Manual Account”.
From here I was prompted to add which manual account I’d like to add.
My Masterworks account is an investment holding so I selected “Manual Investment Holding”.
From there, I was prompted to fill out the information.
Personal Capital wants you to enter a ticker symbol under “Holding” or else it won’t accept the account.
Masterworks LLC does not have a ticker symbol so instead I entered “0000”, and it seems Personal Capital was happy with that because it accepted it.
Since my Masterworks account is a manual account rather than a synced account, its value has to be manually updated.
Once I input my Masterworks account details, this account appeared on my “Net Worth” screen
Transactions & Bills
Under “Transactions”, you can view all the transactions in your linked accounts.
Under “Cash flow”, you can see how much your income for the month exceeded your expenses for the month.
You can also change the view to isolate either income or expenses.
This screen can be somewhat fun to play around with, and it provides some useful information concerning spending and income.
Under “Budgeting”, you can see what categories of expenses you’re spending the most money on.
Unfortunately, Personal Capital isn’t as smart about categorizing expenses as other platforms like Mint.
You can easily change the category for each transaction, but even if you consistently recategorize recurring or similar transactions to a particular category, Personal Capital doesn’t learn to automatically assign these transactions to this category in the future.
For example, Personal Capital continued to categorize my M1 Finance transactions as “Online Services” even after I had recategorized them as “Securities Trades” numerous times.
Related: 90+ Ways to Make Extra Money
Under “Financial Planning”, you can view whether you’re on track for retirement by clicking “Get Started” and then answering the questions that follow.
You can choose to have Personal Capital estimate your monthly retirement spending based on your current spending by checking “Estimate from spending history”.
Savings & Retirement
After you finish answering all the questions, you’ll be able to see Personal Finance’s estimate of your chances of “successfully” retiring, that is, retiring at the age you want and being able to spend the amount of money you want every month.
Personal Capital also compares your cash balance to what the algorithm thinks your emergency fund should be.
For example, Personal Capital says I should have an emergency fund between $21,300 and $42,600.
Under “Portfolio”, you can see how much each of your investment accounts increased or decreased in value on that day.
For example, this screen shows that my M1 Finance account called “Random Vanguard Stuff” increased by 1.01%, which equaled a $2,261.80 increase.
If you click on an individual account, you can see the daily increase for specific investments you own in that account.
The information on this screen is extremely interesting, and in my opinion, it illustrates where Personal Capital really shines — breaking down your complete investment portfolio for you in various ways.
Holdings & Allocations
Under “Holdings & Allocations”, you can view what Personal Capital calls a “You Index”, which essentially estimates what your return would be over a certain period if your investments were an index fund.
You can also view this “You Index” in comparison with a number of indices so you can clearly see if you’ve outperformed or underperformed the market.
If you click the arrow image in the top right and then click “Allocation”, you’ll be able to view the sector allocation of your portfolio via another helpful graphic.
You can also view a breakdown of a specific asset class by clicking on that asset class.
The “Alternatives” sector includes the percentage of your portfolio in alternative asset classes such as real estate or precious metals, but interestingly enough, it also includes Personal Capital’s estimate of the percentage of each index fund’s portfolio that tracks real estate (or another alternative asset class).
For example, even though I hadn’t linked any dedicated real estate stocks or index funds, Personal Capital calculated that 3.59% of my linked portfolio was in real estate based on the index funds I linked.
“Unclassified” shows your allocation of assets that don’t fall into the other categories, such as most manually-inputted investment holdings.
Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, there’s no way to change Personal Capital’s categorization.
Portfolio by Sector
If you click the arrow image again and then click “U.S. Sectors”, you’ll be able to see a breakdown of your portfolio by sector.
Based on the M1 Finance accounts I linked, Personal Capital concluded that my portfolio was extremely tech-heavy.
Of course, this is largely due to the fact that my M1 Finance accounts are mostly invested in market-cap-weighted index funds such as S&P 500 index funds or total stock market index funds, and the companies with the largest market capitalizations in the United States are generally tech companies.
After looking at my portfolio by sector, I might hypothetically conclude that I should look into index funds that aren’t heavily market-cap weighted in order to reduce my holdings in the technology sector.
Looking at this can provide some valuable insights into your portfolio and your need to diversify.
It’s in areas like this that Personal Capital really stands out; because most people no longer keep all their money at a single institution, Personal Capital can be an extremely valuable tool because of its ability to briefly summarize pertinent information concerning your entire portfolio in various ways.
Investment Checkup Screen
Under “Investment Checkup”, you can view Personal Capital’s recommendations concerning your portfolio based on the information in your profile.
Note that this feature is algorithmically-based and not run by a human advisor, so while it can provide some food for thought, you shouldn’t take it as gospel, especially if you’re already confident in your investing habits.
Under “Asset Allocation”, you can view Personal Capital’s “opinion” on your asset allocation, and more specifically, how much of your portfolio it believes should be in stocks versus bonds.
Theoretically, bonds are less volatile than stocks, so conventional asset allocation theory suggests that the older you are, the more the more heavily weighted your portfolio should be in bonds.
I personally don’t feel that I need to invest in bonds, but Personal Capital appears to disagree, saying that my asset allocation may be too aggressive and that I should add bonds to increase diversification.
Like I said previously, this analysis can be helpful in that it causes you to ask questions about your portfolio, but you shouldn’t take it as the be-all-end-all of your asset allocation.
Under the “Stocks” section of the Investment Checkup feature, Personal Capital offers insights on your sector allocation concentration and whether or not it thinks you should diversify your portfolio more.
Under “Costs”, Personal Capital alerts you about any high fees or expense ratios of index funds and ETFs you’re invested in. By clicking “Costs”, you can view a further breakdown of your investing costs.
Because I intentionally invest in low-cost index fund ETFs, I pay only about 0.4% in fund fees per year.
Thanks to investment advisors these days, though, many people are invested in high-cost mutual funds like the Rydex S&P 500 mutual fund, which essentially charges investors 1.65% per year just to invest in the S&P 500.
However, there are many low-cost alternatives to these high-cost mutual funds, meaning there’s no reason to be paying such high fund fees.
Instead of investing in the Rydex Fund, for example, you could invest in the Vanguard 500 Index Fund (Admiral Shares) (VFIAX), which tracks the S&P 500 but has an expense ratio of only 0.04%.
While you need at least $3,000 to invest in VFIAX, you can also invest in the ETF version VOO, which has an expense ratio of 0.03% and can be fractionally traded through platforms like M1 Finance.
Therefore, Personal Capital can be extremely helpful in that it notifies you if you’re paying exorbitant fund fees, warning you that you may want to look for a different fund to invest in.
Personal Capital Cash
Under “Cash” on the “Net Worth” screen, you can see Personal Capital’s pitch for Personal Capital Cash, its cash management account.
Personal Capital Cash Basics
I’m happy with my current bank, Chase, so I wasn’t that interested in Personal Capital’s cash management account, especially given its interest rate of 0.05%.
This isn’t to say it’s a bad product; it’s just not for me.
Personal Capital Cash has partnered with these banks: East West, MetaBank, Tri State Bank, Eagle Bank, Associate Bank, and Texas Capital Bank.
When you select the banking tab at the top of the screen, it gives you the option to Transfer funds through deposits and withdrawals.
If you want to make a deposit to your Cash account, select your Personal Capital Cash account, click on the three dots at the top-right corner, and select “Transfer funds”.
From there all you have to do is select the account you’d like to transfer from, the account you wish to transfer to, enter the amount, and confirm the frequency.
Deposits made are available for withdrawal within 4 business days.
Withdrawals requested will be received within 1-3 business days.
You’re able to receive incoming wire transfer deposits both domestic and international.
More information can be found here.
Under “Financial Advisor”, you can schedule a call with a Personal Capital financial advisor, and under “Daily Capital Blog”, you can view Personal Capital’s blog.
Personal Capital Additional Features
Personal Capital’s unique features and tools offer robust options for beginners and advanced investors alike.
Dual Advisor Option
Some apps for beginning investors like Acorns only offer robo-advisors.
With Personal Capital, you have the option to use either a robo-advisor algorithm or work with a human advisor.
This feature allows you to choose whether you want to stick to the free tools the app provides or have a more active approach to managing your money with one of Personal Capital’s advisors.
Personal Capital offers robo-advising in the form of their “Investment Checkup” feature that makes recommendations based on what the app knows about you, including your age, retirement goals, and current portfolio.
These recommendations shouldn’t necessarily take the place of your own strategies — I wouldn’t drastically change my portfolio simply based on a robo-advisor’s suggestions — but they can be a useful tool to help you consider whether to make changes.
If you have at least $100,000 in your portfolio you’re eligible for Personal Capital’s investment advisory services.
Services available to clients include diversification analysis, tax optimization, portfolio rebalancing, and allocation adjustments.
Personal Capital offers a free consultation for potential clients but charges an annual management fee if you enroll.
You can link as many financial accounts as you’d like ranging from personal banking, investments, loans, and cryptocurrency to keep track of your net worth over time.
The cash flow, retirement, and budget features give you the ability to see if you’re on the right track to reach your retirement goals and savings.
Personal Capital also breaks down your portfolio by sector, allowing you to view a specific asset class in a more in-depth way than you may have been able to do before.
In my opinion, this analysis – with its ability to show you at a glance how diversified (or undiversified) your portfolio is – sets Personal Capital apart from its competition.
Once you add the name of the account (Coinbase, Voyager, Celsius, etc.), the currency’s symbol, exchange, and quantity, you’re able to track the value of your cryptocurrency.
Keep in mind that with this feature the crypto price is based on Volume Weighted Average Price from CryptoCompare, and the prices might be slightly delayed.
Related: 20+ Ways to Get Free Crypto.
The best place to get customer support for Personal Capital is on their website.
On every page of the website, there is a “Help” button at the bottom of the screen.
Clicking the help button connects you to a chatbot.
If the bot’s response doesn’t solve your problem you can submit your question to a representative.
On the Personal Capital app, the only help available is an FAQ page.
For questions about investment services, you can call (855) 855-8005.
Personal Capital Plans and Fees
Personal Capital is a free service unless you decide to become a client of their investment advisory service.
The free plan includes all of the services we’ve described above:
- Budgeting tools
- Expense tracking
- Goal tracking
- Net worth tracking
- Investment tracking
If you enroll in Personal Capital Cash, you can get banking and bill pay services for free as well.
As a client of Personal Capital’s financial advisors you’ll have access to a personal representative who will help you actively manage your investments.
- Financial Roadmap: Creates a customized pathway for your financial planning priorities, and helps you stay on track of your goals.
- Personal Strategy: A personalized portfolio that brings variety to your investments by staying within the margins of your financial goals.
- Smart Withdrawal: Helps you spend your retirement the right way by staying on budget, minimizing taxes and optimizing your retirement portfolio.
- Employer Plan Analysis: When you upload a list of your available fund options, your advisor will help you choose an allocation that aligns with your portfolio and long-term goals.
There are three service tiers, starting at $100,000 in assets, $200,000 in assets, and $1 million in assets.
Fees are based on the value of your portfolio.
|Investment||Management Percentage Fee||Estimated Annual Fee|
|Next $2 million||0.69%||$13,800|
|Next $5 million||0.59%||$29.500|
If you’re interested in having a Personal Capital advisor, there is a “Financial Advisor” tab you can click to schedule a call.
Is Personal Capital Safe?
Personal Capital claims to secure all data with AES-256 encryption, the same rigorous standards used by the U.S. military.
Behind the scenes, their fiduciary standard demands strict internal controls of client data.
When logging into your account, Personal Capital requires multi-factor and biometric identification of either fingerprints or FaceID.
It operates on a crowdsourced security bounty program, so dozens of people — both internally and externally — are working to ensure that Personal Capital is safe.
This sounds convincing, but remember that no matter what, there’s always risk; no entity on earth has completely perfect security.
That being said, I feel pretty comfortable in using Personal Capital, in part because Bill Harris, its co-founder and first CEO, has a background in internet security and was CEO of numerous high-profile companies like PayPal, Intuit, and PassMark Security.
Another point to take into account is that the company is now owned by Empower Retirement, one of the country’s largest retirement service providers. It stands to reason that Personal Capital aims to be more secure than ever.
Is Personal Capital Legit?
Personal Capital is legit and effective.
It’s a powerful tool for monitoring your spending, gaining insight into your investment portfolio, and tracking your net worth over time.
Tips for Using Personal Capital
Use these tips to get the most out of Personal Capital.
1) Link all of your financial accounts.
If you’re looking to use this app to view your spending and investments over time, take advantage of the wide range of accounts Personal Capital allows you to add to your portfolio.
You can link credit cards, retirement accounts, bank accounts, loans, cryptocurrency, and more.
The best way to take advantage of Personal Capital is to link all of your accounts, so you can see a full picture of your finances.
2) Take the investment analyses with a grain of salt.
The algorithm will make suggestions that may not be exactly what you’re looking for when it comes to your asset allocation.
It’s OK to bypass their advice and pass on changes to your portfolio that you aren’t comfortable with.
3) Refer a friend.
When you refer a friend and they link their first investment account with a minimum balance of $1,000, you both receive a $20 Amazon gift card.
Personal Capital Pros & Cons
- The Service Is Free: Personal Capital allows you to track your investments and other accounts for free.
- Best Investment Tracker Available: In my opinion, Personal Capital is unmatched in terms of investment tracking, breakdown of net worth, and summary of asset and sector allocation. Its user interface is well designed and provides a useful summary of relevant account information.
- Easy to Use: Personal Capital is fairly easy to use and navigate. The tabs organize all of your information in a way that is extremely comprehensible.
- Strong Security: Personal Capital provides reasonable security for user information, implementing numerous security measures in order to protect users’ data.
- Good Referral Program: Personal Capital has a fairly lucrative referral program that offers a $20 Amazon gift card to both parties when the person referred links an investment account with at least $1,000 to Personal Capital.
- Difficulty Syncing Some Personal Accounts: Unfortunately, not all accounts link properly to Personal Capital. With my actual Personal Capital account I’ve experienced numerous issues syncing accounts at various institutions. Your personal mileage may vary, but just remember that not all accounts will sync seamlessly.
- Ineffective Budget Feature: In terms of budgeting and money management, Personal Capital falls short when compared to platforms like Mint or You Need a Budget; in general, its features in these areas are simply not as automated and effective. For example, as far as I can tell, Personal Capital does not learn over time to change its categorization of certain recurring transactions or types of transactions.
- Pushy Sales Tactics: Personal Capital frequently pitches its personal finance advisor services in many different locations on the platform. They also may call you directly. This isn’t overly annoying, but it’s definitely noticeable and may bother you. Just remember that Personal Capital is a business trying to make money, so they’ll naturally try to pitch their services to you.
Annual Fee$0Track all of your investments for free.
Sign-Up Bonus$20Follow our link to get it.
Budgeting FeaturesYesSet goals and track expenses.
Is Personal Capital Worth It?
Personal Capital’s investment tracking features are what really set it apart from its competitors, making the app worth it for active investors.
Who Personal Capital Is Best For
If you have numerous investments in different locations and would like to see a complete picture of your financial situation, this app is more than likely a good fit for you.
It’s also a good fit for someone who aspires to have a large investment portfolio but hasn’t quite reached their goals. You could place your information in Personal Capital and watch it grow over time.
Who Personal Capital Is Not For
This app probably isn’t a good fit for someone who is looking for budgeting services as opposed to investment tracking.
While Personal Capital can certainly help with budgeting, that’s not its primary orientation, and other platforms like Mint bring much more to the table.
How to Sign Up for Personal Capital (Step-by-Step)
Step 1: Download the Personal Capital app on mobile via the App Store or the Play Store.
Once you’ve downloaded the app, you’ll see a few screens introducing Personal Capital.
Step 2: Input your email address, create a password, and verify your phone number by text or phone call.
Step 3: Complete your profile by filling out your name, age, the age you want to retire, current savings, and marital status.
Step 4: Link your accounts and you’re all set.
Personal Capital is the way to go if you’re someone who wants the convenience of tracking your investments all in one place.
It beautifully summarizes your net worth, and it can be extremely encouraging to watch your wealth grow over time.
With everything it offers, the app is surprisingly user friendly and easy to manage
There are a few things I would change — for example, it would be nice to be able to customize the way Personal Capital categorizes investments.
But, in the final analysis, Personal Capital does what it sets out to do.
Receive the best tools to help you manage your finances, along with a $20 sign-up bonus.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Is Personal Capital cloud-based?
Yes, Personal Capital stores data in the cloud, but protects that data with a high level of security.
As an extra level of your protection, a third-party hosts your banking authentication information.
- Is it safe to link accounts to Personal Capital?
Yes, I would say that it is safe to link accounts to Personal Capital.
Personal Capital uses advanced encryption to keep data secure, and requires multi-factor authentication at log in.
There is risk involved anytime you share information, whether it's writing a check at the supermarket or adding financial accounts to an app.
Personally, I am not overly concerned about sharing my financial information with Personal Capital.
But everyone can have a different definition of "safe", so you should do your own research and decide for yourself.
- Can Personal Capital track crypto?
Yes, the app allows you to track cryptocurrency accounts directly from your dashboard.
You start by clicking the “+” symbol, tap “Add new account”, and tap “More”.
There will be a list of accounts including cryptocurrency BETA. Once you’ve created a name for the account (Coinbase, Voyager, etc.), you will be able to add currency and enter the quantity.
When you’re all done the app will track your cryptocurrency alongside your investment accounts, but keep in mind that there may be a slight delay.
- Can Personal Capital import Quicken data?
No, Personal Capital does not allow you to import Quicken data.
- Who is behind Personal Capital?
Personal Capital is owned by a company called Empower Retirement, which helps businesses manage their retirement programs.
- How does Personal Capital make money?
Personal Capital makes money from a combination of investment management fees and contributions from partner banks.
Personal Capital charges a 0.89% management fee for clients investing $1,000,000 or less.
The more you invest, the lower the fee percentage charged.
For example, Personal Capital clients with more than $10 million in investment assets pay a 0.49% fee.
Personal Capital also receives a fee from each partner bank based on the aggregate daily closing balance of the deposits held in accounts affiliated with the Personal Capital Cash program.
Logan is a practicing CPA and founder of Choice Tax Relief and Money Done Right. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money. Learn more about Logan.