Personal Capital Review

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Many financial blogs promote Personal Capital for a reason; it’s a fantastic way of getting a bird’s eye view of your finances. Their planning service is free to use, and you don’t have to signup for their investment services to access the tool.

I started using the Personal Capital money management tool in November 2018. I log in at least weekly, sometimes more, to see how things are going from a general level.

Clearly, they created this tool to upsell their wealth management service. It is genius and tempting, as their tracking and planning tools are high quality and massively valuable.

I’m still learning all the options their tool provides. This post is a summary of their service, and what you can do with their tracking and planning tools.

Seeing all Your Accounts

Being able to go to one place to see all of your accounts and balances is priceless.

I can see all of the balances for my credit cards in one place:

All of these credit card balances get paid off every month. It isn’t in this view, but I can see the balance for the personal loan we are paying off in a few weeks. I haven’t found a type of account Personal Capital doesn’t support.

Especially if you are using multiple credit cards, this makes managing all of them in one spot easy.

You can add your mortgage account if you want. But I decided not to because it was affecting my net worth views. I’m sure there is a way to configure things to show correctly, but at this stage, I don’t want to count our home equity in our net worth calculations.

Outside of our home mortgage, we’ve added all of our accounts: Checking, Savings, Credit Cards, and Personal Loans. The more accounts you add, the more accurate picture their tool provide. You may not want to add business-related accounts, or maybe add those using a different login, to keep things separate from your personal accounts.

Adding all of your accounts is the most time-consuming part of the process, but it isn’t difficult. It mostly involves tracking down your accounts and making sure you aren’t missing anything. It also can give you an idea if you have too many accounts open, and if closing some will simplify managing your finances.

We use two personal credit cards for most of our accounts and pay off those balances every month. I enabled auto pay on these accounts that will pay off the full balance every month on each card. Personal Capital provides an easy way to make sure payments are going through, and everything is moving smoothly.

Details on Your Investments and Allocations

Have you ever wondered how all of your investment accounts relate to each other? Do you have a lot of overlapping investment categories?

Personal Capital will give you a complete picture of all of your investments. You can see how much you have invested in U.S. Stocks, Bonds, International, and Alternative Investments.

I recently transferred my traditional IRA account from Betterment to Vanguard. I invested those Vanguard funds into VTSAX, so most of those funds are in U.S. Stocks.

I don’t have any funds in my 401K, but I linked up that account in preparation for when I start contributing. It currently can’t connect to that financial institution, but if that continues to be a problem, I will contact Personal Capital to see if they can resolve the issue.

I can see if I want to diversify my holdings, or if I am too focused on any one type of investment. How my invested funds are doing in total over time is especially valuable.

Personal Capital Retirement Calculator

The Personal Capital retirement calculator can be used to see if you are on track with your retirement goals. Would you like to retire by 55? How would this affect your nest egg?

The Personal Capital Retirement Planner provides configuration options to give you a clear picture of the future. You can set your yearly savings rate, how much you and your spouse are going to receive from social security (an estimate of course), and how much you plan on spending during retirement.

In addition to the Personal Capital Retirement Planner, they also have a section to view the fees for your investment accounts. You can see how much you are paying towards investment fees, and how this affects your bottom line over time. You can even view the costs associated with your 401k and what that means when you reach retirement age.

I found the tool to help understand how long our nest egg will last if we save a certain amount every year. Our goal is to get to the point that our investments will continue to grow even during retirement years. So in “theory,” our funds will never dry up.

Other Areas

The main dashboard provides an excellent summary to see all of your general income and expenses, and how your net worth is changing.

They have a Banking section that goes into the details of your checking and saving accounts. You can see what categories you are spending money in and how things are going into and out of your accounts.

I don’t think their budgeting and tracking tools replace a system like YNAB. But it does provide another way to view your spending habits to see if you are overspending in any categories.

The Net Worth section is useful in viewing how your net worth has changed over time. We are excited to get our last consumer loan paid off and seeing our net worth increase every month later this year.

Summary

Personal Capital provides details on your full financial picture. And it doesn’t cost anything to use this service. It has become part of my normal process in managing our finances. If you want to signup for Personal Capital, you can use my affiliate link.

The sooner you get your accounts connected, the more you can see how your financial situation changes over time. But it is essential you add most if not all of your accounts to get an accurate picture of your finances.

If you need a way to get a complete picture of your money and investments, there is not a better tool that I found that provides as many options and is as easy to use. And it is free!

Do you use Personal Capital? What do you like most about their tool?

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