Personal Capital Review - Free Money Tracking Awesomeness

Personal Capital Review – Free Money Tracking Awesomeness

Personal Capital

Hey guys! A bunch of the De$troyers have asked me what I think of some of the popular money trackers out there, so I’m going to share my thoughts on Personal Capital today! It’s the tool Coral and I use to keep track of our money, and we literally love it. It’s like Mint on steroids.

If you’re a baby boomer and you mistakenly stumbled in here, welcome! I just want to offer a disclaimer about this product for your health and safety:

WARNING: Personal Capital is a high-tech way to see ALL of your money at once. If you aren’t comfortable with the evil internet and fancy gizmos tracking your money, stick with hiding cash in the walls and your mattress.

Our experience with Personal Capital:

Alright, let’s jump in. Like I mentioned above, this is really the only service we use to track all of our money, and we’ve been super impressed with it so far. Very very rarely are things actually free to use in today’s personal finance industry (trust me), but Personal Capital legitimately is. We have not spent a freaking dime for this service.

If you’re wondering why and how…you should be! You should always be skeptical as hell when you see “free”.  In addition to the free money management tools that I’ll talk about below, they also offer wealth management services for a fee. That’s how they make the $$$.

We don’t use that because…well…we’re cheap, but if you’re interested in financial advising I’ll touch on that at the end as well.

The Setup

Fairly simple honestly, but this is one of those things that gives non-millennial/paranoid people the heebie-jeebies. My entire life is already on the internet, so I didn’t think twice about this. I’m assuming you guys won’t really care either once you get the details.

You enter all of your various account information into Personal Capital so that it can track all of your money at once on one screen. This includes:

  • Savings accounts
  • Checking accounts
  • Credit cards
  • Student loans
  • Brokerage/401k accounts
  • Business checking accounts <—very cool for self employed people like me
  • Business credit cards
  • Mortgage
  • etc.

Everything is encrypted with bad@$$ stuff. Seriously. Here is what their website says:

“Data is encrypted with AES-256 with multi-layer key management, including rotating user-specific keys and salts.”

“Our servers prefer TLS 1.2, and also support TLS 1.1 and TLS 1.0”

“We don’t allow SSLv3, RC4, or other insecure protocols or ciphers”

Now, I don’t know what any of that means TBH. But I DO know that Personal Capital is regulated by the SEC and has to meet all of their cybersecurity regulations just like the banks you already use. Also, the man that created the company (Bill Harris) co-founded another company called PassMark Security. THEY created the online authentication that most banks use. Food for thought.

More importantly, you can’t actually make transactions with this service and neither can anyone else. You can only look your money. No touchy. 🙂

The Tools

Dashboard

This is actually my favorite thing about Personal Capital. Once you log in…BOOM. All of your glorious money is right there in graph and chart form. It’s like 8th grade all over again but easier and hopefully less depressing.

All of your account balances are on the left, and then net worth, cash flow, and portfolio balances are in the center. All of your account balances update automatically, and you can even see how your investments are doing in the markets in real time on the right. Check it:

Personal-Capital-Screenshot-2

Net Worth

All of your assets, minus all of your liabilities wrapped up on one nice little chart. This is a great way to see how your finances are playing out over the long term, but you can also see segments like 90 days as well.

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 6.02.48 PM

Cash Flow

Maybe the most useful tool on here for a quick glance at how you did over the last 30 days. If the one on the right is a bigger number than the one on the left, you either made an oopsies or bought something really awesome.

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 5.41.26 PM

Now for the next level stuff

Basically, if you want to use Personal Capital specifically for keeping track of your money for free you’ve seen everything you need to get started. It has way more functionality (for wealthy people especially), but for the average millennial I would bet that this is all you really care about right now!

You can set up your Personal Capital account here.

If you’re looking to get a little fancier, it has some extra goodies you can use for planning rather than just tracking.

Retirement Planner

If you are looking for retirement planning and projections as well as investing services, Personal Capital has tools for both.

The retirement planner pulls information from your connected accounts and then asks you about your projected savings information and several other factors. From there, you’ll see a personalized graph that shows your portfolio projection, and markers for your retirement age and other important events (like social security eligibility…if it’s even there for us).

If your retirement goals look like they won’t quite work with your current financial picture, you’ll get some suggestions for getting it on track.

personal-capital-retirement

 

Then there’s the advisor fees. They’ve got to make money somehow right?

 

Here is a list of Personal Capital’s advisor fee structure for managed funds:

First $1 million: 0.89%

For clients who invest $1 million or more:

First $3 million: 0.79%
Next $2 million: 0.69%
Next $5 million: 0.59%
Over $10 million: 0.49%

If you’re wondering, those fees fall generally in the middle of the spectrum. They are cheaper than going with a traditional financial advising firm, but more expensive than say, a robo-advisor. However, you do get access to an actual human with their service. I don’t use it personally, so I won’t comment on whether you should use it either. That’s kinda the policy around here.

For all the non-rich people…don’t worry. 🙂 You can still use the free money tracking services that I outlined earlier. In fact – you should use them. It’s not too often “freemium” services have such a kick@$$…free part.

*UPDATE – To get an even better picture of your net worth, add your home value, cars, boats, etc. using the “+” tab on the left side of the dashboard!*

Personal Capital

Questions for you:

1) Have you used Personal Capital?

2) What did you think?

 

Live differently. Your bank accounts will thank me later. ~M$M

 

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33 comments… add one
  • Roger Aug 31, 2016, 7:53 am

    I’ve used a similar program called Mint. One thing I didn’t like about it was that it didn’t correctly auto-categorized many of my transactions. I didn’t like having to input all petty cash transactions manually, either.
    Having said that, I’ll give this one a try and see how well it auto-categorize my transactions.

    • Millennial Money Man Aug 31, 2016, 8:01 am

      I haven’t used Mint in a while, but supposedly people are getting kinda fed up with the ads (PC doesn’t have any). I’m going to review that one in about a month so I’ll see for myself!

      This one does a pretty good job, although it gets a little confused about some of my business transactions. For example, it has no idea what the heck I’m doing when I write myself a paycheck from the business! Other than that I’m happy with it.

  • Sunny Aug 31, 2016, 7:53 am

    How do you get all your data into the program? How much time does it typically take for you to do it?
    Also, I am a millennial and know that the most valuable information about me is my financial data – given our situation. Do you know if they sell on data or info on users once uploaded? I like the idea but am not sure. Thanks for all the info!

    • Millennial Money Man Aug 31, 2016, 8:07 am

      Hey Sunny! It took about 10 minutes to get all of our accounts in. Some of them take a bit longer because of two-step authentication, but overall it was pretty quick and basically like signing in to your online bank accounts all in one place. You do have to re-enter your passwords from time to time I’ve noticed (especially if you don’t open your account for a while).

      They do not share or sell your information. Check out their privacy policy at the bottom of the website – it is very clear about that!

  • FinanceSuperhero Aug 31, 2016, 8:17 am

    I use PC on a semi-regular basis. I’m becoming less anal about checking my accounts on a daily basis — ain’t nobody got time for that! That said, you can’t be PC’s interface and ability to see your whole financial world in one window. To me, it’s a no brainer to use PC.

    • FinanceSuperhero Aug 31, 2016, 8:18 am

      *Beat (sorry, newer keyboard over here!)

    • Millennial Money Man Aug 31, 2016, 8:22 am

      Yeah it’s such a no-brainer if you’re comfortable with technology haha! I didn’t mention it in the review, but one of the coolest things it does is the email notifications of how much you’ve spent over the week compared to the previous one!

  • Sara Aug 31, 2016, 8:52 am

    I felt the shade being thrown my way as the lone baby boomer lurking on your site, ha. Hey I love your blog and all thing personal finance. Once I drink in all you are serving, I jump over to the blogs of those posting to check out their musings and get inebriated with motivation to win. I’ve just begun my war on $40k of stupid debt and hope to be victorious in 2 years!! Keep up the good work. Sara

    • Millennial Money Man Aug 31, 2016, 8:55 am

      Hahahahaha Sara that just made my day! I like to give Boomers a hard time sometimes :)…mostly because there are so many things they can legitimately make fun of us for (man-buns and PokemonGo anyone?).

      Believe it or not I have a decent amount of boomers hanging out here! A lot of them like to share the info with their kids, so it’s pretty cool. Good luck on tackling the $40k, you’ll get there!!!!!

  • Josh C Aug 31, 2016, 9:17 am

    Wow this app is a GEM!

  • Jim Aug 31, 2016, 11:31 am

    As a boomer, I would NEVER give my account info. to anyone ( other than my wife) let alone on the net. It is not because I don’t trust people,,, I don’t trust anyone when it comes to money, hackers can get into anything.
    Maybe someday I will, but not today. Just old school.

    • Millennial Money Man Aug 31, 2016, 11:41 am

      You already do the same thing by logging in to your brokerage accounts! 🙂 But, I get it. Not for everyone, millennials are just used to doing this type of stuff!

  • Cork Aug 31, 2016, 3:44 pm

    We use YNAB for budgeting, but thought I would give PC a try for quick Real Time updates. One thing I didn’t see is how to portray net worth accurately. We own a couple of rentals, one free and clear, and have a good amount of equity in our personal residence and property. I do not see where to include that in the net worth tracking. Without that net worth is not accurate. What am I missing?

    • Millennial Money Man Aug 31, 2016, 3:58 pm

      Hey Cork – you’re right, without that you’re really just looking at liquid net worth! If you go to the + button for accounts on the left side of the dashboard, click “add home value” at the bottom left.

      Now, they do partner with Zillow for market values, but you would just uncheck that box and fill in a manual home value. With that option you don’t need to put in the address.

      Also on the + popup, there is a “more” button where you can add car values, jewelery, art, etc. Hope that helps!

      Depending on how you are doing the cash flow for your rental, you can label those transactions individually to help organize them. If you want to be super accurate, you can just go in and manually update your home equity every month OR add an individual mortgage account.

      • Cork Aug 31, 2016, 4:09 pm

        Helps tremendously. I knew there had to be a way. Of course, going through the tutorial would have been the obvious way, but you know, I’m a man! 😉

  • Jon @ Be Net Worthy Sep 1, 2016, 5:34 am

    Personal Capital is really awesome. I started using it earlier this year and it is a great way to track your portfolio allocations and re-balance when necessary. I check it once a month or so to see how things are going and then use Quicken on a weekly basis for tracking expenses and paying bills. The combination of both is the perfect setup for me!

    • Millennial Money Man Sep 1, 2016, 7:41 am

      Nice Jon! Yeah, it’s a great tool for a lot of reasons. No reason for people not to use it in my opinion.

  • Christa Szabo Sep 1, 2016, 8:35 am

    At first, I wasn’t too interested in this website. But after opening my first brokerage account, I’m definitely going to check it out. I’ve learned it is a lot easier to organize with just a few things and then keep everything organized as you acquire new things, then to wait till you’re overloaded and it takes hours/days on end to straighten it out lol. Also, I checked my credit score and I am up 60 points from the last time I checked it two months ago!!! Hooray!! Progress!! Thanks for the great articles!

    • Millennial Money Man Sep 1, 2016, 9:09 am

      No problem Christa! Like I mentioned in the article, we love it. It’s just easier than having to open up a bunch of different accounts! I actually have my boat value in there too haha

  • The Financial Panther Sep 1, 2016, 11:01 am

    I downloaded Personal Capital a few years ago, but still find myself using almost exclusively Mint. For whatever reason, a ton of my accounts simply cannot connect to Personal Capital and they won’t add them. Oddly, my Fidelity HSA – which I use as a secret retirement account – cannot connect to Personal Capital. When I asked them about it, they told me that HSA’s aren’t supported. That’s a pretty big problem if I’m using it to track my investments. Since Mint has worked fine for me, I’ve just been sticking with it.

    To track my investment portfolio, I tend to use an app called SigFig, which connects everything and seems to work pretty well.

    • Millennial Money Man Sep 1, 2016, 1:48 pm

      Thanks for the tip – I haven’t run into any issues like that yet, but I’ll update if I do!

    • Jeffrey A Mohn Sep 2, 2016, 8:52 am

      I have an HSA through work with Health Equity and it pulled that data in just fine. I am having trouble linking a few other sites though. One of them is my primary bank account of all things.

      I agree about the Mint though. I do like it better than PC for tracking transactions, but I got to admit the PC investment tracking and forecasting is miles ahead of Mint’s. It’s a nice tool for that in itself.

      • Millennial Money Man Sep 2, 2016, 8:57 am

        Thanks Jeffrey – I’ve been doing some more digging and from what I’ve found the HSA’s are supported. I’m going to call today and check on the Fidelity one. I have to resubmit my main bank account info from time to time because of the authentication on the bank’s website. All in all though, it’s free so I can’t complain too much haha

        • The Financial Panther Sep 2, 2016, 10:51 am

          No idea why. My 401(k) was with fidelity and had no problem connecting. But my HSA, also with fidelity wouldn’t show up. I contacted Personal Capital (even tweeted them I think) and the response was that they don’t support HSAs. As of today, still can’t see my Fidelity HSA and they don’t support my work HSA through which my employer contributions get sent into.

          Various other personal bank accounts I have aren’t supported either. So unfortunately, I just don’t get an accurate picture of what my account balances or net worth are from Personal Capital.

          • Millennial Money Man Sep 2, 2016, 11:03 am

            That’s a bummer, we’ve found it to be very helpful! I’m going to speak with them today and double check the HSA info. I know a decent amount of my readers have them.

            *Update*
            I contacted PC to see if they support HSA accounts (specifically Fidelity). Here was their response:

            “Thanks for contacting Personal Capital Support. Yes, you should be able to link your Fidelity HSA account to Personal Capital. We do support HSA accounts in general, and specific account support depends on the institution.”

            Another option for anyone that has issues is to manually add an account using the “more” option in the “+” dropdown on the left hand side of the dashboard. Hope that helps!

  • Daniel Krause Sep 9, 2016, 9:04 am

    I used Mint for quite a long time and thought I’d give this app a try and I have to say I love it. When I linked my 401K and click on the fee analyzer I was amazed at what I was paying in fees for the funds I was invested in! Granted a savvy investor would have known to check the fees (I’m an amateur), it opened my eyes to what I would lose in fees over time. Thanks for posting on this, it’s my new favorite finance app!

    • Millennial Money Man Sep 9, 2016, 9:08 am

      Daniel that’s awesome! It’s crazy how many extra fees get packaged in to mutual funds isn’t it? Glad it helped!!!!! 🙂

  • June Dec 30, 2016, 8:24 am

    Thank you SO MUCH for reviewing PC! 2017 is my year to crush student loan debt and take control of my finances, and I’ve never found a site as user-friendly and helpful as PC. I signed up this morning after reading your review, and I’m already in love! 🙂 Also, your blog is so inspiring. Reading through the site is fueling my motivation to tackle my financial goals. Thanks again!

    • Millennial Money Man Dec 30, 2016, 8:40 am

      🙂 No problem June! It really is a great resource considering that it’s free. I like the weekly spending updates and the retirement projections!

      Glad you like the site!

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