Fees and Account Minimums8.3/10
Ease of Use9.8/10
Tools and Resources9.6/10
- One of the best free services on the market
- Syncs all your financial accounts
- Mobile app is very easy to use
- Paid service comes with your own personal human advisor
- Smart Indexing available to accounts over $100,000
- $100,000 minimum deposit on paid accounts
- Steep annual fees on paid accounts
Personal Capital is known for providing both free and paid wealth management services, combining the power of investing algorithms with dedicated financial advisors.
Personal Capital offers premium personal financial management and a robust set of free money tools. Their financial management is similar to what Vanguard Personal Advisor Services offers, while their free tools are comparable to Mint and YNAB (You Need A Budget).
In this article, we’ll explain everything that the company offers, but the main focus will be on what you can access for free.
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 registered as a Robo Advisor with the SEC in 2012. Personal Capital was named to the CNBC Disruptor 50 list in 2014 and 2015, respectively, with over $12.3 billion in assets under management (AUM) and 2.5+ million active users.
|Annual Fee||0.00% (Free) – 0.49% to 0.89% (Paid)|
|Minimum Investment Amount||$0 (Free) – $100,000 (Paid)|
|Total AUM (Assets Under Management)||$20 billion|
|Headquarters||3 Lagoon Drive, Suite 200|
Redwood City, CA 94065
|Customer Support||Live support via email, phone, and social media|
Personal Capital Fees & Account Types
Personal Capital’s fees vary depending on account type and balance. The Free Financial Tools are 100% free forever. The managed services vary from 0.49% to 0.89% annually, depending on your account balance.
Free Financial Tools
- A dashboard that’s easy to understand
- See your monthly cash flow
- Start planning for retirement
- Save money on 401k fees
The free tools that Personal Capital offers are some of the best. Bill Harris, one of the company’s co-founders, wanted to create a tool that made retirement planning and money management transparent and easy to navigate.
Personal Capital offers a retirement planner, investment checkup, budgeting and cash flow, fee analyzer, and education planner in a downloadable app. Their mobile app is available for Apple and Android devices and is an easy and convenient way to manage your accounts.
When you create a free account, you can sync your accounts, credit cards, savings accounts, investment, and mortgage accounts, so they’re all in one place. You will have a 360-degree view of your finances in one easy-to-use dashboard.
Track Your Spending
In recent years mobile apps have made it super easy to track all of your spending. Most people don’t get excited when they think about creating a budget. Apps like Personal Capital make tracking your spending almost effortless.
Once you’ve connected your accounts, you will get an excellent overview of your money coming in and going out. You can also take a closer look at all of your income streams and monthly transactions. Their dashboard shows what percentage of your budget is spent on what you need and what you want.
Similar to most budgeting tools, you’ll be able to categorize your spending into groups. The spending groups provide a breakdown showing how much you spend on gas, insurance, groceries, and everything else month-to-month.
Usually, only a few bills stay the same every month, so this helps you know where your money is going. Keeping track of your monthly income and expenses is one of the best ways to increase your savings, cut down on unnecessary costs, and plan for retirement.
The Retirement Planner is a feature that makes Personal Capital stand out compared to the other budgeting apps.
In a 2019 retirement survey, TransAmerica found that only 17% of employers and 18% of employees are very confident about having a financially secure retirement. The majority of people are expecting to continue working at least part-time jobs into their retirement.
Personal Capital’s Retirement Planner is an easy-to-use tool that helps you plan for a successful retirement, regardless of your age and current circumstances. You will be able to see if you’re on track to meet your retirement goals, and what you need to do to reach your goals.
You can view how various events, significant expenses, and scenarios will affect your retirement plan. You can add that you want to buy a second home, or provide your kids with college money, add your pension, social security, and more.
Personal Capital will give you a good idea of how you can meet your goals, and how much you can expect to spend when you retire.
The free Investment Checkup tool that Personal Capital offers provides you with a second opinion on your investments. This tool gives you more of a broad investment overview, while the Retirement Planner provides a more detailed and long-term view.
This tool is especially helpful if you have multiple investment accounts and want to look at them in one place. You can assess your risk level, analyze past performance, and compare your investments to your target.
The investment tools that Personal Capital offers make it easy to view your overall investment portfolio health.
The Fee Analyzer is designed to save you money. There can be lots of little 401k fees that can easily go unnoticed.
This tool will help you find alternatives to mutual funds that are costing you money to be managed. Personal Capital found that switching from a 401k mutual fund to a non-401k mutual fund saved investors an average of $175 per year.
The Fee Analyzer will give you recommendations similar to your current investments, without the expensive management fees.
What could be better: We love that Personal Capital offers excellent resources and an awesome free app. The biggest downside is you’ll get notifications advertising the premium Wealth Management plans that Personal Capital offers.
Personal Capital Cash
Following in the footsteps of other big robo-advisors like Wealthfront and Betterment, Personal Capital launched a high-yield cash account, similar to an online savings account. This account may be the perfect choice if you’re using some of the other features that Personal Capital offers, and offers a higher-than-average APY of 0.05%.
There are no fees, minimum balance, or transfer limits to worry about. And you can link your monthly bills to withdraw from your account automatically.
- Access to human financial advisors
- Above-average tax-loss harvesting
- Investments outside of Personal Capital are taken into consideration
The Wealth Management options are the premium services offered by Personal Capital. Personal Capital provides a service similar to Vanguard PAS, in that they combine robo-advising with free access to human financial advisors.
This investment advisory service requires a minimum investment portfolio of $100,000, and the annual fees range from 0.89%–0.49% depending on your balance.
The high minimum balance and fees mean that this service isn’t ideal for everyone. There are three different asset management plans: Investment Services, Wealth Management, and Private Client. Every plan includes financial planning, access to advisors, portfolio monitoring and rebalancing, and more.
Personal Capital supports non-retirement accounts, Roth, traditional, rollover and SEP IRAs, and Trusts. They will also consider your 401k and 529 plan, and any other investments they aren’t managing when providing financial advice.
Investment Services – $100k-$200k Managed Assets
The basic investment services still have a lot to offer. You can expect a personalized investment strategy and advice from a real financial advisor. Personal Capital will work with you and your unique situation to create a plan perfect for your needs.
You will have access to a team of financial advisors by phone or email.
The annual fee for Investment Services is 0.89%. There aren’t any hidden fees or trade commissions.
Wealth Management – $200k-$1M Managed Assets
Once you have over $200,000 in assets managed by Personal Capital, you will have access to more resources, in addition to everything offered by the Investment Services plan.
With the Wealth Management plan, customers will have access to two dedicated financial advisors, and a team of specialists if more help is needed. Customers will also have access to a more customizable portfolio and individual stock implementations.
The annual fee for Wealth Management stays at 0.89% until your balance reaches $1M.
Private Client – $1M+ Managed Assets
The Private Client plan is for those with over one million in assets. Don’t worry if you’re not there yet; there are plenty of free tools helpful for everyone.
With the Private Client plan, the annual fees decrease, and customers have access to more benefits.
The Private Client benefits include everything offered in the lower plans, estate and legacy planning, access to private banking services, and private equity and hedge fund reviews.
Private Client Fees
|Account Balance||Annual Fee|
|$1M – $3M||0.79%|
|$3M – $5M||0.69%|
|$5M – $10M||0.59%|
Check out this Plan Comparison Chart (PDF) to see a full list of benefits offered with each wealth management plan.
The tax strategy that Personal Capital offers is one of the best compared to other robo-advisors.
Personal Capital will place your assets in various account types to help minimize the taxes you pay. Tax-loss harvesting is used to offset your capital gains, which means you pay the IRS less in taxes.
Personal Capital also offers withdrawal strategies to minimize taxes as you use your money during retirement.
What could be better: Not everyone has $100,000 in their investment portfolio. Not meeting that minimum limits your options to the free tools that Personal Capital offers.
Ease of Use
The Personal Capital mobile app is one of the best we’ve used in a while. This review allowed us to try the app to see how it compares to the desktop application. Both are incredibly easy to use, and first-time investors will have no problem getting accustomed to the interface.
Opening an account is one of the easiest we’ve tested so far. All your accounts will be synced automatically in one central location.
Since Personal Capital is basically two services rolled into one, it gets a high score in terms of flexibility. Remember, this is a robo-advisor that manages your existing investment accounts, not one where you invest directly in the service.
The free financial tools are great and give you a clear overview of your accounts for easy management. If you have a paid account, you’ll have access to dedicated human financial advisors. There are reports that each human advisor handles around 200 clients. Still, you can easily schedule a friendly consultation via phone, email, or chat if you have any questions or concerns.
Socially Responsible Personal Strategy
With Personal Capital’s new Socially Responsible Personal Strategy, investors can choose companies that make efforts to manage environmental, social, and corporate governance issues. Personal Capital partners with Sustainalytics to determine the best options in your socially responsible investment (SRI) practices.
This new style of SRI investing focuses on three pillars that assess each corporation’s social merits: Environmental, Social, and Governance. Environmental includes sustainability, renewable energy, and climate change efforts. Social focuses on labor relations, diversity, and conflict minerals. Governance studies management structures, board independence, and executive compensation of the company.
Using a combination of filters and ranking methods, Personal Capital offers investors the best companies making a positive social and environmental impact. This allows you to invest in companies that align with your personal and social beliefs.
Summing up our Personal Capital review, we like the free service that offers a comprehensive list of free tools – budgeting, retirement planner, and 401k fee analyzer – and the ability to sync all your accounts.
The free services offered are brilliant and available to everyone. However, the paid Wealth Management services are designed for investors with a high net-worth and those looking for advanced investment advising.
Personal Capital is unique in that they offer some of the best free and paid money management tools. The fees are quite high compared to some other robo-advisors on the market. Still, you get top-notch services, personalized advice, and access to human advisors.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Personal Capital worth the fee?
Some robo-advisors are less expensive than Personal Capital. Unless you have over $1 million being managed, the fee is 0.89%. The higher fees are there because you have unlimited access to real financial advisors. In-person financial managers will cost at least 1%, so Personal Capital’s service is less expensive.
Is the Personal Capital App safe?
Safety is vital, especially when it comes to your money and investments. Personal Capital’s security team works hard to ensure your money and data is kept safe with up-to-date encryption. When you connect your accounts to Personal Capital, your bank and brokerage credentials are only stored at Yodlee, not in Personal Capital’s database.
Which accounts can link to Personal Capital?
You can link most accounts to your Personal Capital account. The main criterion is that you have a username and password to log in. You can connect bank accounts, 401k’s, investment accounts from E*Trade and Robinhood, and more. Personal Capital does not currently support cryptocurrency or Coinbase accounts. You can add a manual account to add assets like your home, vehicles, or other investments.
Is Personal Capital available worldwide?
You can access Personal Capital from anywhere, but they only support U.S based financial institutions, and you will need a U.S. phone number to sign up for your account. You can join international accounts by adding a manual account, but it won’t update automatically.
Can my spouse/family use Personal Capital?
You and your family may want to put all of your financial info into one Personal Capital account to view your net worth and cash flow. This is possible under certain circumstances. You can add as many bank accounts as you need. If everyone in the family uses Chase, make sure that the person connecting with Personal Capital has access to every Chase account.
You can also open a Joint Capital Cash account to save and plan with your spouse.