Hey everyone! A bunch of readers 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 my wife and I use to keep track of our money, and we really like it so far.
It's like Mint on steroids.
Our experience with Personal Capital:
Alright, let's jump in. Like I mentioned above, this is really the only service we consistently 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 dime for this service and don't plan to any time soon.
If you're wondering why and how…you should be! You should always be skeptical 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 money.
We don't use it, but if you're interested in financial advising I'll touch on that at the end as well.
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
Everything is encrypted with some pretty serious stuff. Here is what their website says on data security:
“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”
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.
The Main Tools
This is actually my favorite thing about Personal Capital. Once you log in, all of your account balances and spending information is right there in graph and chart form.
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 out:
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.
This is maybe one of the most useful tools on Personal Capital for a quick glance at how you did spending-wise over the last 30 days.
More Detailed Tools:
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!
If you're looking for retirement calculators or financial planning services, read on.
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.
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.
Optional Advisor Fees
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.
Personal Capital is free to use and there is no requirement to use their financial services at all. If you've been looking for a good way to track investment accounts or your net worth, this is a high quality tool.
One last time, you can go ahead and set up your account here.
*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!*