Personal Capital Ultimate Guide

Personal Capital: The Ultimate Guide

If you want to manage your money successfully, you’ll need a budget tracker, a wealth manager, and a monitor for your investment plans.

How about having an application that does all that for you?

That’s precisely what Personal Capital is for.

It provides you with a suite of financial tracking tools to manage your money.

Let’s see what else you can do using Personal Capital.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through the links, I may receive a commission at no cost to you. Please read my disclaimer for further details.

What Is Personal Capital?

Personal Capital Homepage

First things first, before we talk about the benefits of Personal Capital, we need to know what it is.

Personal Capital is an online firm that specializes in financial planning services. It’s considered a breaking innovation in the digital age.

There are two main benefits that Personal Capital offers you:

  • Free tracking tools
  • A fee-based advisory service

All other services branch from these two.

The free tools mainly monitor your spending accounts. These include your credit card, your bank, and your investment account.

The tools also have some additional services, such as the Retirement Planner. I’ll talk about it in detail later on.

On the other hand, the advisory service offers you consultations from a team of experts.

Additionally, it can give you computerized advice. This service is ideal for individuals with high net worth.

The Main Services of Personal Capital

Personal Capital is meant to provide you with three primary services. All its tools and functions direct towards these three:

Wealth Management

There are a lot of benefits you can enjoy if you sign up for Wealth Management. You gain access to the Robo-advisor, and you get advice from certified financial experts.

There are also several features you can take advantage of.

Dynamic Portfolio Allocation

It adjusts your investments according to your current financial situation and changes it with any change that occurs.

Intelligent Rebalancing

It determines the best time to rebalance your account and does it for you.

Smart Weighting

It weighs your investments, so they’re not all directed towards one sector. This feature minimizes the risks associated with investing and protects you from any shift in the market.

Tax Optimization

It optimizes your use of investing strategies that take tax into account.

In addition to these features, some benefits depend on which wealth management level you choose:

  • Investment Services
  • Wealth Management
  • Private Client

Investment Services

This service is for individuals who want to invest between $100,000 and $200,000.

It’s the entry-level of wealth management.

These investors enjoy some benefits that come with their accounts.

For starters, they gain access to customer support from professional advisors.

Additionally, the Robo-advisor will manage their financials so their funds are only invested in Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs).

Moreover, they’ll have the ability to enjoy all the investing tools that the company has to offer.

Wealth Management

This service is for investors with more than $200,000.

Aside from the standard benefits previously mentioned, they get to enjoy some extra privileges.

For example, they’re able to extend their investments from ETFs to individual stocks. Beyond that, they have access to some advice from investment experts in several sectors.

The company also provides two financial advisors dedicated to Wealth Management account holders.

Private Client

This tier is the highest level of wealth management. It’s for individuals who have more than $1 million to invest.

These investors gain unique benefits from Personal Capital. They get private banking services, as well as more detailed advice regarding estate, legacy, and taxes.

In addition to individual stocks and ETFs, Private Client investors can also invest and trade individual bonds, hedge funds, and private equity.

Furthermore, they gain exclusive access to the investment committee provided by Personal Capital.

Personal Capital Cash

Cash is an account for people with high-yield savings. There aren’t any requirements for it; you don’t need to have a certain balance.

Additionally, you don’t pay any fees for it. You also get FDIC insurance.

The account (at the time of writing this article) provides a 1.55% Annual Percentage Yield (APY).

Socially Responsible Investing

The Socially Responsible personal accounts follow a strategy that makes sure your invested funds are put with trusted companies.

The way it’s done, Personal Capital makes sure to know what your preferences are.

For example, if you want to avoid investing in oil funds and want to focus on another field, the account will make sure that your investments will match your desires.

Personal Capital’s Tools & Benefits

Personal Capital Financial Tools

There are some financial planning services that you can access using Personal Capital’s spending tracker. You can gain access either with your online account or through the application.

Here are the tools that you have access to.

Retirement Planner

This tool oversees the financial progress in your retirement plan.

For example, if you’re spending too much, and it’s threatening your goal, the planner will alarm you and provide you with detailed info.

It can also help you figure out the right time for retirement. To do this, the tool depends on a lot of variables that are derived from your data.

Investment Checkup

This tool supervises your investment portfolio. It tells you when there’s a better opportunity available for you to allocate your investment.

Plus, it provides useful suggestions for you.

The tool does this by asking you several questions when you’re setting your profile. It then uses the data you enter to get your investment recommendations.

It is useful in the way it helps you evaluate your investment strategy and make adjustments to it.

Cash Flow Monitor

This tool monitors the cash flowing in and out of your spending accounts.

It helps you be more aware of your spending habits.

Net Worth Tracker

You see celebrities’ net worth announced online all the time.

Were you ever interested in knowing your own?

This tool will do it for you; it’ll show you your current net worth. It’ll also update it accordingly.

Education Planner

This tool is especially useful for students or individuals who are responsible for education expenses.

It tells you how much you should save for your upcoming education fees.

Besides that, it’ll suggest new ways to fund your college fees.

You’ll be able to pay for your education in a 100% tax-efficient way.

Fee Analyzer

This feature monitors how much you pay in your investments and compares it to others.

It tells you when your payments exceed the average and when a lot of investment earnings are spent on fees.

Additionally, it analyzes how some of your fees may affect your retirement plan.

For example, if your fees are excessive and are affecting your portfolio, the Analyzer will alert you to take care of it, so your retirement plan stays on track.

This tool is essential because fees can add up and you could find yourself 5-10 years behind on your plan.

Estate Plans

Personal Capital has the option to monitor your estate documents if you want.

The app will make sure that your legal documents are always up to date.

Moreover, it can help you start a trust.

Home Purchases

The many services that Personal Capital provides include advice for home purchasing.

If you’re buying a home, the app will help you choose the suitable one for your budget.

On top of that, you’ll benefit from the two of Personal Capital’s partners; Pershing and Bank of New York Mellon. You’ll be able to get a mortgage through them.

Despite all that, you’re not required to pay any fees for this service.

Personal Capital’s Features

Aside from the tools you can use, Personal Capital provides a few features for customer satisfaction.

These features ensure that you’re dealing with a full-featured and trustworthy firm.

Mobile Application

The Personal Capital mobile app makes it easier for you to monitor your financials without the need for a laptop.

That way, you can track your investments while in bed, while having breakfast, or pretty much anywhere!

It’s available for IOS and Android Devices, and it’s compatible with Apple Watch.

You can download it through the App Store or Google Play.

Customer Service

Customer service is one of Personal Capital’s most significant attributes.

Whether you have a wealth management account or you’re enjoying the free version, you can contact them 24-7.

Data Export

Personal Capital developed this feature because users can’t print reports from the application.

Although they’re promising it’ll be available, there isn’t a specific time of arrival.

The Data Export feature allows you to export your transaction easily.

Unfortunately, it’s only available through the web application. There are only three steps to take:

  • Log into the website
  • Select Transactions/All Transactions
  • Click CSV


There are several security measures that Personal Capital takes so you can rest assured that your data is safe.

For starters, no one can withdraw or transfer money through the platform.

It’s read-only. That way, your money is 100% protected.

Your data is also secured by two-factor authentication and military-grade encryption.

Moreover, you’re required to register all the devices you’ll use to open the application, so you can be notified if an unknown device tries to access your account.

On top of that, Personal Capital ensures perimeter and firewall security.

If you’re an IOS user, there’ll also be a fingerprint scan or FaceID available for extra security.

What We Like About Personal Capital

  • The Tax Optimization service ensures you reduce the impact of taxes to a minimum.
  • Personal Capital users gain access to a professional financial planner for advice.
    • They can contact them as many times as they need.
  • The firm provides special Private Client services for clients with high net worths.
  • The retirement planning service monitors your current financial situation and helps you plan your retirement.
  • Most services are free of charge.
  • High-security level; your data goes under many levels of protection.
  • High interest in the savings account.
  • Investment tracking tools are highly useful.
  • The Dashboard and all its tools are free.
  • Socially Responsible Investing makes sure your investments align with your values.

What We Don’t Like About Personal Capital

  • The minimum balance for an investment account is $100,000, which is too high for some users.
    • However, there are still several free tools to take advantage of.
  • The sign-up process for financial advisement services requires a lot of phone calls, which can be annoying to some people.
  • The Robo-advisory fees are a bit high compared to other platforms.
  • Some features aren’t available on the mobile app; they’re only available on the web application.
  • Because it’s not a dedicated budgeting app, the budgeting options are limited.
    • This can be a drawback for users who are only interested in budgeting options.

Personal Capital’s Unique Tools

Along with all the services it provides, Personal Capital offers some bonus tools that can be more helpful than you think.

Periodic Reviews

You can easily adjust your cash flow dashboard to show you periodic reviews of your spending patterns.

Whether you want your results to appear every month, every quarter, or at the end of every year, this tool will do it for you.

This way, you can stay updated with your spending habits so you know when it’s time for a change.

You’ll be able to see your progress over time and how much the tool has benefited you. Then you can adjust your strategies accordingly.

The Dashboard

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Personal Capital developers are continuously updating the dashboard to fit the clients’ needs.

You can now check your net worth, how your investments are performing, and the cash you have to invest through the dashboard.

Moreover, you can adjust it to tell you:

  • How much money you owe on your credit cards
  • What you’ve added to your retirement account
  • How much you have in your spending accounts.

There’s also an extra feature that monitors your spending habits according to a budget you enter. You’ll know when you exceed your budget and when you have some more to spend.

Can you imagine how many phone calls or website visits it would’ve taken to know all that without Personal Capital?

You can do it all in a few minutes using the Dashboard on your phone!

Email Updates

If you want, you can adjust Personal Capital to send you email updates regarding your investments’ performance and your weekly cash flow.

That way, you have an all-inclusive view of how your money is doing in investments compared to others on the market.

Additionally, you get a notification of the amount of money you spent compared to the prior month. The email will also have information about your cash flow compared to the previous year.

Financial Scenario Analyzer

All experts know that financial decisions are the hardest to make.

You won’t have to worry about it anymore if you’re using Personal Capital.

The Financial Scenario Analyzer will help you with your financial decisions.

Additionally, it will also help you understand how these decisions affect your finances.

It does that by testing spending scenarios and comparing how they’ll perform.

For example, you can see how selling your house will impact your finances.

You can also check how opposite actions will affect you, like paying for an expensive car or something.

Is Personal Capital Free?

Most of Personal Capital’s services are free, which matches the company’s goals for a reason.

Personal Capital’s main profit is from selling advisory services.

Their aim is that after you use their free services for a while, you’ll want to invest in the Robo-advisor.

They target investors with more than $100,000.

The good thing about it is that you’re assured they won’t trick you into buying investments with hidden commissions for them. They’re clear about their profiting methods.

As for the clients with wealth management accounts, they’re required to pay an annual fee when their investment exceeds $1 million.

In exchange, they get access to a financial expert to manage their assets and advise them on their plans.

Here’s how much they pay for the service:

  • 0.89% on the first $1 million
  • 0.79% on the first $3 million
  • 0.69% on the following $2 million
  • 0.59% on the following $5 million
  • 0.49% on any amount over $10 million

Who Is Personal Capital For?

Personal Capital mainly targets investors who want to gain insight using the platform’s tools.

Not all investors are experienced; they need advice along the way to make sure they’re making the right decisions. That’s what the app provides for them.

On the other hand, the platform is also useful for individuals with high net worths.

These clients have enough deposits to enable them to benefit from the financial advisors provided.

Additionally, they gain all other benefits that save them a lot of time and money.

However, in the end, anyone who wants to see an overview of their financial situation in a single dashboard will find Personal Capital useful.

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Final Thoughts

Overall, Personal Capital costs less than most financial tracking services.

The fact that you can enjoy most tools without paying a penny is a strong incentive. The app is designed to make your life easier and help you optimize your finances.

Although the Robo-advisor requires fees, you can do perfectly well without it. You can still have it monitor your retirement plan and track your cash flow.

Taking all the app’s negatives and positives into consideration, I can assure you that you won’t regret signing up for Personal Capital.

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