Personal Capital

Personal Capital
8.62

Fees and Deposit Limits

7/10

    Flexibility

    10/10

      Ease of Use

      10/10

        Account Types and Services

        10/10

          Budget Flexibility

          7/10

            Pros

            • One of the best free services on the market
            • Sync all your investment & mortgage accounts
            • Mobile app is very easy to use
            • Paid service comes with tax loss harvesting, automatic rebalancing and your own personal human advisor
            • Smart Indexing available to accounts over $100,000

            Cons

            • $25,000 minimum deposit on paid accounts
            • Steep annual fees on paid accounts

            Personal Capital is best known to provide both free and paid wealth management services, and it also combines automated investing algorithms with dedicated financial advisors. This is all well and good, but is this the right service for you? Read our 2017 Personal Capital review to learn more about this Robo Advisor.

            Personal Capital started life as SafeCorp Financial Corporation in 2009. Founded by Bill Harris and Rob Foregger, the company changed its name in 2010, and was registered as a Robo Advisor with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in 2012. Personal Capital was named to the CNBC Disruptor 50 list in 2014 and 2015 respectively, with over $1.5 billion in assets under management (AUM).

            Fees and Deposit Limits

            In this part of our Personal Capital review for 2017, we want you to focus on two main features of this service before we discuss fees and deposit limits.

            Free Service

            The first main option is the free service. This is ideal for investors who want to focus on investing and retirement planning. It is easy to create a free account and the service can sync your accounts (such as credit cards, bank accounts, investment and mortgage accounts) without any additional worries. Personal Capital also offers a mobile app for Apple and Android devices so you can access the service even when you’re on the go. This Robo Advisor will give you a 360-degree view of all your finances in one easy-to-use location.

            Wealth Management

            The next option is Personal Capital’s paid Wealth Management service. You can start using this service with at least $25,000. If you think $25,000 is steep, the minimum deposit used to be $100,000! Keep in mind that Personal Capital was primarily meant for investors with $25,000 to $2 million in liquid assets. What makes the paid service unique is that every account gets a dedicated financial advisor. Need help managing your investments? Simply schedule a live consultation and your personal advisor will handle the rest for you.

            The fees for the paid service are as follows:

            • 0.89% annual fee for accounts worth $1 million or less
            • 0.79% for $1 million to $3 million
            • 0.69% for $3 million to $5 million
            • 0.59% for $5 million to $10 million
            • 0.49% for accounts worth $10 million or more.

            To sum it up, you basically pay lesser fees if you maintain a higher account balance. The fees are rather costly compared to other Robo Advisors, but it is cheaper compared to traditional human advisors.

            Personal Capital Fee Schedule

            First $1 Million - 0.89%
            For clients that invest $1 Million or less : the annual fee is 0.89%
            First $3 Million - 0.79%
            For clients that invest $1 million to $3 million : the annual fee is 0.79%
            Next $2 Million - 0.69%
            For clients that invest $3 million to $5 million : the annual fee is 0.69%
            Next $5 Million - 0.59%
            For clients that invest $5 million to $10 million : the annual fee is 0.59%
            Over $10 Million - 0.49%
            For clients that invest $10 million and more : the annual fee is 0.49%

            Flexibility

            flexibilitySince Personal Capital is basically two services rolled into one, it gets a high score in terms of flexibility. If you have a paid account, you will get a dedicated human financial advisor at your disposal. There are reports that each human advisor handles around 200 clients, but you can easily schedule a friendly consultation (via phone, email or chat) if you have any concerns regarding your account. If you are the type of investor who likes to get involved, Personal Capital is perfect for you.

            Personal Capital VIDEOS

            Check out these videos for an overview of how Personal Capital works:

            Ease of Use

            We need to talk about the Personal Capital mobile app, which is one of the best we’ve used in a while. The app and the desktop version basically have the same features, so if you’re already familiar with the website then you’ll have no problems navigating the mobile app. Both are incredibly easy to use, and even novice investors will have no problems getting accustomed to the interface. Opening an account is one of the easiest we’ve tested so far, and all your accounts will be synced automatically in one central location.

            Account and Investment Types and Services

            account typesThe Personal Capital free service offers retirement planning, budgeting and 401(k) fee analyser. This also includes an investment check-up feature that provides high-level recommendations on your asset allocation.

            If you opt for the paid advisory service, the Personal Capital Robo Advisor will use individual securities and ETFs to create your portfolio. The service prefers to invest in individual securities to minimize taxes in taxable accounts, thanks to the tax loss harvesting feature that comes standard with every paid account. All paid accounts will also benefit from automatic rebalancing.

            If you signed up for the service and your balance is worth $100,000 or more, the Personal Capital Robo Advisor will activate ‘Smart Indexing’. This feature will invest in individual securities and ETFs for a more efficient and cost-effective tax harvesting opportunity. This type of service is not unique to Personal Capital, as Wealthfront also offers a form of direct indexing service.

            Suitability for Different Investment Budgets

            Perhaps this is the only sore point in our 2017 Personal Capital review, as the paid service is only available for a minimum investment deposit of $25,000. However, the free service is both highly informative and extremely easy to use. Conflicting statements aside, we believe that Personal Capital is best suited for well-heeled investors, while it remains an ideal platform for investors who are looking for a free service that can easily sync all financial accounts in one location.

            Overall Summary

            Personal Capital offers a comprehensive list of free tools – namely budgeting, retirement planner and 401(k) fee analyzer – and the ability to sync all your financial accounts.

            The free service is brilliant, but we feel that the service will perform best for investors with a more modest $25,000 account balance.

            Personal Capital is unique, no question about that. The annual fees are quite high (even higher than what Vanguard Personal Advisor charges for the same level of investment) compared to other Robo Advisors in the market, but you get top notch services (and a personal human advisor) for the price.