The Secret Weapon You Need To Manage Your Money Better

By Zack | Budgeting

Jun 26
Personal Capital Review 2017

Personal Capital Review 2017

“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” – Warren Buffet
Read Time: 4 mins

 

I can honestly say that Personal Capital comes in as one of the best tools that I have ever used. I am blown away that it’s free because I would 100% pay for it.

This post is a review of what I consider one of the best free tools out there when it comes to personal finance.

When it comes to budgeting and online tools to manage money, we’ve tried a lot! After all, it’s my job now that I’m a personal finance blogger.

This post is our honest perspective on using Personal Capital. This article contains affiliate links, if you like what you read and decided to sign up, that means we’ll get a small commission. It’s a win-win.

You get a great tool, we get a few bucks. If you decide to sign up we’d appreciate you supporting the blog by using one of our links!

 

Check out this quick video overview of Personal Capital.

Personal Capital – What Is It?

For starters, it’s FREE! When I hear free, my eyes perk up a little. Whenever free food is offered, I’m always in. Naturally, when I learned Personal Capital was free and I realized that how powerful it was. I had to try it.

I love free.

Basically, Personal Capital helps you track your spending, look at your retirement portfolio, and track your net worth. For free! Simply link your information and track all of your accounts, all in one place.

Over 1,400,000 people use Personal Capital to track more than $350 Billion in assets.

Additionally, Personal Capital is a Registered Investment Adviser (RIA) with nearly $5 Billion in assets under management.

Bill Harris is the founder of Personal Capital (and former CEO of Intuit and PayPal). Personal Capital has raised over $28 million in venture capital to date. Most (if not all) of their employees have a background in finance and many hold the CFP®  (Certified Financial Planner) designation.

Getting Started

You can get started by opening a free account at Personal Capital. All you need is your email address, a password, and your mobile number (for verification purposes).  You can quickly and easily link your bank, credit card, loan, mortgage, cash, and investment accounts. There is a personal capital app for your smartphone, as well as the web-based app.

Next, you easily link your bank, credit card, loan, mortgage, cash, and investment accounts. There is a personal capital app for your smartphone, as well as the web-based app.

Once you link your accounts, you can see everything on one dashboard. Once you have linked your accounts, you can see everything in one place. You can see what is happening with each account, including daily transactions, as well as where your investments stand.

Personal Capital Review

Dashboard Overview

Let’s dig into what it does and how it works.

One of the coolest parts of Personal Capital is the awesome graphs that make you feel really smart when you’re looking at them (okay, you’re all smart).

Each graph and chart show you a complete financial picture. I love this platform because whether you are a newbie or a seasoned finance professional, the dashboard will wet your whistle.

Each graph and chart show you a financial picture of what you’re looking at in an easy to understand format. I love this platform because whether you are a newbie or a seasoned finance professional, the dashboard really helps you visualize your accounts.

It’s just fun.

Personal Capital Review

Quick Tip: When you log into Personal Capital, the Dashboard is the first thing you’ll see. Here you can check up on all of your accounts to see a quick overview. If any major changes have happened, you’ll see those changes reflected here.

Your Net Worth

If you don’t know this, your net worth is the measure of your total financial health.

If you take your assets – your liabilities you get your net worth. Your net worth measures the worth of your assets versus the amount of debt you owe. It’s the best metric to measure whether you’re winning with money over time, and it’s something that everybody should know. It helps you understand whether your financial situation is improving or getting worse, which is why it’s so important to track this number.

Net worth is an important figure to monitor.

Ideally, you want to be decreasing your debts and increasing your assets over time. Personal Capital makes this easy because it has a built in net worth tracker. This is such an awesome tool to help you really focus on what matters.

Quick Tip: Using the tools proved by Personal Capital is really pretty easy if you ask me. All you have to do is link all of your accounts, which could take a bit depending on how many you have. You’ll want to link everything (car loans, savings, investment accounts, etc) to get the most out of Personal Capital. Once you do that, Personal Capital will do all the hard work for you and show you your net worth.

Personal Capital Review

I wish this was my account it! 🙂

Quick Tip: Your net worth isn’t something that you need to check on a daily basis. It’s really a metric that you should strive to improve over time. Checking your net worth every month or bi-monthly should be okay. Just don’t get too excited about checking this every morning, it may drive you crazy!

Related: The Best Free Money Tools

Cash Flow Monitoring & Budgeting

Cash flow. Such a cool sounding phrase. Let the cash flow… into your account, not out!

Cash flow is a really great indicator of spending habits. Personal Capital lets you set up a monthly or weekly budget and see exactly how much is coming in and going out each month.

Cash flow is basically where your money is going and how much of it! Your cash flow tool in Personal Capital will show you a categorized breakdown of how much you are spending on certain categories.

You can create categories or edit them so over time it learns what should be categorized where.

Personal Capital Review 2017

Not our account. Just a public example.

This alone is one of my favorite parts of Personal Capital. It helps you see the holes in your spending so you can plug them up.

Quick Tip: Using the cash flow analysis tool will let you see what you’re spending your money on. It’s a great way to track how much you are spending. This is great for budgeting check in’s during budgeting meetings.

You can see month over month comparisons, too. That way you can tell if you are spending more this month than last month. We use the Cash Flow Tool all the time.

Since we rarely use cash, it’s a great way for us to track how much we’re spending. One of our favorite money management tricks involves the Cash Flow Tool. After creating your budget, check in with the cash flow tool a few times a week.

Compare the amount of money you planned to spend with your budget to the actual amount you spent according to the tool. It’s a great way to keep track of where you stand and help you stay on budget throughout the month.

You can check in with the cash flow tool more often than your net worth. I recommend checking in at least once a week with this tool to be sure you are on track. It’s a great way to make sure you stay on budget.

Investing Portfolio Tools

Personal Capital Review 2017

The investment tools provide another great asset to the Personal Capital toolkit. After you link your accounts, you can analyze how well your investments are doing and it will even provide you some ideas on how you can do better.

Specifically, the tool creates a target portfolio allocation that’s ideal for your financial situation.

It then compares that target allocation to your current portfolio and makes general suggestions regarding your level of risk and potential for returns. That may sound technical, let’s simplify.

The investment tool helps ensure that you have the proper amount of exposure and diversification in your investment. Below is an example of something you may see.

Personal Capital Review 2017

Quick Tip:  This is a valuable tool, especially if you are a DIY investor like I am. These recommendations will help you make smarter choices.

Open Your Free Personal Capital Account Now! Click Here to Get Started.

 

Retirement Planning

One of my favorite things about Personal Capital is the retirement planning tool. This alone is worth the free account. As if free was costing you something 🙂

With this tool, you can set your retirement goals and measure if you are on track to meet those goals. It’s really cool and will have you dreaming about when you can hit that 1 million mark in your accounts, promise.

Quick Tip:  This tool is something you can play with as much as you want! It helps me remember the big picture. It also motivates me to keep on track with our monthly cash flow.

Don’t be intimidated by the lack of progress you may see when you use this tool for the first time. Don’t worry, we have experienced that as well. The most important thing is not how much you have but if you are taking steps to work towards your goal regularly.

Still have questions? Here are a few you may have….

Is it actually free? 
Yes. The tools are free to use with absolutely no obligation for you to buy anything. No cost.

Is it safe? 

Yes, Personal Capital is safe. The CEO has over 20 years of experience working in the financial tech sector.  They emphasize security. In fact, it’s probably safer than logging into all of your different accounts separately. The encryption used by Personal Capital is top-notch, and Robbins says that information isn’t sent to your browser, so even when your computer is compromised, your passwords aren’t.

How does the company make money?
By providing wealth management services.

After linking $25,000 in portable assets, you can have Personal Capital professionally manage your portfolio. You’ll get 2 licensed financial advisors whose job is to help you grow and optimize your investments. As a “Registered Investment Advisor” (RIA), Personal Capital will charge you a percentage of the total amount of money you have managed.

Again, it’s completely your choice whether you join Personal Capital’s wealth management program. You make the call. Even if you don’t join, you can still use the tools for free, no questions asked.

I’m Interested in Wealth Management Services. What are the Fees?
If you choose to do business with Personal Capital, you’ll be charged a fee based on a percentage of the total balance you have invested through them. Personal Capital is not the cheapest online advisor around, but they do offer a more hands-on approach using live advisors than some other competitors. As if August 2016, fees are as follows:

Up to $1 Million Invested: 0.89% annually
$1M to $3M Invested: 0.79% annually
$3M to $5M Invested: 0.69% annually
$5M to $10M Invested: 0.59% annually
Over $10M Invested: 0.49% annually
Once again, this is an optional service. Using their financial tools is completely free, regardless of whether you choose to invest with them.

The Verdict

These are some awesome tools for saving money, budgeting, and investing. Plus, they’re FREE! We give Personal Capital a 5 out of 5 rating.

I’m not kidding when I say that Personal Capital has the best free money tools around. The tools are simple to use, easy to understand, and they are completely FREE! We’ve used Personal Capital for over 3 years and absolutely love it.

If you are ready to take your financial management skills to the next level use my link to open your free account today or click the banner below!

Personal Capital Review 2017

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About the Author

Zack and his wife started FreeUp to help share their passion for personal finance with others. He is the primary writer for FreeUp, where he discusses all things personal finance, entrepreneurship, and life. Click the icon to the left to follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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