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Personal Capital Review: Powerful Retirement Planning and Investment Tools

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Ratings Methodology
Bottom Line

A solid app that tackles investing, budgeting, and net-worth tracking in one. The easy-to-use interface stands out, even in a space that is well known for great apps.

Fees:

Free to download and use tracking tools, 0.49% to 0.89% advisory fee, based on balance

Account Minimum:

$0 for the app, $100,000 for advisor services

Full Personal Capital review

Pros

  • Retirement and investment planning
  • Budgeting tools
  • Monitor all your financial accounts
  • Free app download
  • Easy to use
  • Offers wealth management services

Cons

  • No credit monitoring
  • Wealth management fees and minimums

At a glance

iOS app rating 4.7/5 stars
Android app rating 4.4/5 stars
Cost Free to download. Tiered fees charged for wealth advisory services based on amount invested (see more below).

What is Personal Capital and how does it work?

Personal Capital is a financial planning, money management, and investing app in one. It allows you to connect your accounts to the app's dashboard so you can monitor everything in one place. That includes bank accounts, credit cards, retirement accounts, investments, and any other financial account you have.

In addition, Personal Capital has powerful tools to help accelerate wealth building. Its retirement planner assesses your retirement goals and your chances of success based on your portfolio. An investment checkup tool shows you how your investments are performing and suggests possible improvements. And it has a tool to track your net worth and see if it's headed in the right direction. Personal Capital also offers wealth management services to those who have at least $100,000 in investment assets and don't want to manage their investments themselves with a traditional stock broker.

Top perks

Retirement and investment planning

The retirement and investment planning tools that Personal Capital offers are excellent, especially considering they're available free of charge. In its retirement planner, you can set up different scenarios, plug in big expenses to see how they'll affect your retirement plan, and check how much income you'll have per month. Its investment tools evaluate your portfolio, provide an asset allocation strategy for your goals, and uncover hidden fees.

While Personal Capital works very well as a budgeting app, retirement and investment planning are where it shines. It will show you whether you're on track to retire when you want and recommend ways you can grow your money more efficiently.

Monitor all your financial accounts

You can connect practically any type of account to this financial tool. On the Personal Capital dashboard, you'll be able to conveniently view your linked accounts. From there, you can explore your monthly earnings and expenses, create a budget, set up savings goals, and much more.

When you have all your accounts in one place, it's much simpler to get a clear picture of your personal finance. Instead of logging in to separate sites to view your brokerage accounts, bank accounts, and credit card bills, you just open the Personal Capital app. Several budgeting apps offer this, but Personal Capital stands out because of its easy-to-use design.

Free app

Personal Capital doesn't charge a fee for its app and all the features it offers. If you decide to use its wealth management services, there is a fee for that. But everything else is available for free.

Offers wealth management services

Clients who have at least $100,000 in investment assets can sign up for a wealth management plan with Personal Capital. There are multiple plans available depending on your investment assets. Features include a financial advisory team or your own dedicated financial advisors, tax optimization, and portfolio monitoring and rebalancing. Fees start at 0.89% for the first $1 million in investment assets and decrease for private clients with over $1 million.

Keep in mind that if you have $100,000 or more in investment assets connected to your account, Personal Capital may contact you about its wealth management services. If you're not interested, you can opt out of future contact.

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What could be improved

No credit monitoring

Personal Capital doesn't offer credit monitoring. This type of service is helpful to stay on top of your credit score and any activity on your credit file. It's also a feature available with several other budgeting apps. Even though there are plenty of free ways to get your credit score, it'd be great for Personal Capital to include this so you don't need to look elsewhere.

Wealth management fees and minimum

Wealth management with Personal Capital isn't expensive. A rate of 0.89% on your first $1 million in investments is lower than the average financial advisor fee. However, it's still more than what many of the best robo-advisors charge. While Personal Capital offers a quality wealth management service, you could find more affordable options. And with wealth management, even seemingly small fee differences can have a big impact over the years.

The required minimum of $100,000 in investment assets is also on the high side. That will rule out quite a few investors who haven't built up large account balances yet.

Alternatives to consider

If you want an app with more affordable wealth management services: Betterment helped start robo-advisor services, and its digital investing plan has a 0.25% annual fee. There's also no minimum balance required. But the Personal Capital app has far more features.

If you want an app with more budgeting tools: Mint is widely considered the ultimate budgeting app, as it categorizes all your spending, lets you set budget goals, and has a bill payment tracker. It also offers a free credit score tool. Personal Capital has the stronger retirement and investment planning tools, and Mint doesn't include wealth advisory solutions.

What are the costs?

The Personal Capital app doesn't charge a fee. The only fee involved with Personal Capital is for its wealth management services, which are optional.

Fees for Personal Capital wealth management depend on the amount of investment assets under management. For up to $1 million in investment assets, Personal Capital charges an annual fee of 0.89%. Those with over $1 million in investment assets are private clients.

Here are the rates based on the amount of investment for both wealth management and private clients

Wealth management clients

  • First $1 million: 0.89%

Private clients

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

This app is right for:

Consumers who want to optimize their retirement planning and their investment portfolios.

Personal Capital's retirement planner, budgeting, and investment tools are some of the best you'll find from any of the best budgeting apps. Whether you want to check that you're on track for retirement, look for areas of improvement with your investing strategy, or go over different retirement plans, Personal Capital can help. These features are extremely useful for building wealth as efficiently as possible.

This app is also great for budgeting, especially since its dashboard has such a user-friendly design. There's a lot you can do with Personal Capital, but the retirement and investment features are its most impressive perks.

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