Personal Capital is a new type of hybrid advising service that combines the affordability of robo advising services with the more in-depth and personalized approach of a human financial advisor.
Personal Capital’s benefits and tool access varies depending on how much money you have in assets under management. Users with less money in their accounts have access to a team of financial advisors, while higher-value clients get two dedicated financial advisors to help manage their money. Tiers range from $100,000 to over $10 million, and you need an initial investment of at least $100,000 to get started with Personal Capital. Fees also vary depending on how much money you have in your account; lower fees are charged as your assets increase. Personal Capital currently has over $9 billion in assets under management spread among over 2 million clients in every state in the U.S.
Personal Capital is available from a web-based desktop platform as well as Android and iOS apps.
Who’s Personal Capital for?
Personal Capital is for a high-value investor who needs a more personalized financial planning method than most one-size-fits-all retirement plans can offer. The investing service is also useful for hands-on investors who want to take advantage of Personal Capital’s comprehensive range of tools and analysis features. Whether you value affordable access to human financial planners or you take on budgeting yourself, Personal Capital has something for everyone.
Personal Capital’s Product Offerings
Personal Capital is a unique mixture of a personal financial advisor and robo advisor and offers both personalized advice and affordable portfolio calculation and management. But its tools go far beyond just automatic asset calculation and access to financial advising services.
Personal Capital’s award-winning dashboard is an all-in-one toolkit for budgeting, learning about how to plan for retirement and keeping track of your net worth. After connecting your retirement, bank and credit card accounts, Personal Capital’s portfolio management software simplifies your holdings and totals your net worth for you. After you fill out a personal profile, Personal Capital’s software then creates an “ideal asset allocation” for you based on your age, income and current assets and shows you how you should adjust your assets to fit its recommendations. The software’s net worth calculator also automatically shows you your net worth by combining all of your asset values and subtracting any outstanding debt you have.
Personal Capital also offers a “spending analysis” feature that’s perfect for users who are moving from a more budget-based software like Mint. Personal Capital’s spending analysis tool divides expenses into categories like groceries, health care and restaurants, then produces visuals and graphs that show you where you’re spending and where you can afford to save. It even has a fee analyzer tool that takes a look at the mutual funds that you have in your account and points out funds that have higher-than-average fees. Your cash flow is clearly laid out using bar and pie graphs, and you can even compare your spending on a month-to-month basis.
One of the biggest draws for high-value users is Personal Capital’s human financial advising services. Though all users have access to Personal Capital’s robo-advising services and a team of collaborative financial advisors, users with at least $200,000 in assets have access to two dedicated financial advisors who give personalized retirement planning advice. Users with at least $200,000 in assets also have access to priority customer support. Advisors are available via phone, online video chat and email. If you have at least $1 million in your account, you’ll also have access to estate planning professionals, private equity and hedge fund review and private equity investments.
Unfortunately, Personal Capital’s advisory services come with high account minimums. You’ll need at least $100,000 — a minimum that’s out of reach for most people. However, if you have the cash, there’s no way to beat Personal Capital’s massive range of wealth management and day-to-day financial planning tools.
Personal Capital’s Pricing
Personal Capital uses a tiered pricing strategy that calculates your fees based on the total amount of assets you have under management. If you have under $1 million in assets, you’ll pay 0.89% of the total value of your portfolio. If you have between $1 million and $3 million, that fee is lowered to 0.79%. Between $3 million and $5 million, you’ll pay 0.69% and between $5 million and $10 million, you’ll pay 0.49%.
Working with a financial advisor is much more expensive than opening an account with Personal Capital. However, when compared to other robo-advising services (especially if you have less than $200,000), you’ll save by choosing a different provider. You’ll need to decide on your own whether Personal Capital’s suite of tools and access to advisors is worth the extra cost.
Personal Capital’s Customer Support
The team at Personal Capital takes customer support pretty seriously and offers 24/7 call access that extends to weekends and even holidays. Customer support is available by phone, through video chat and via email. Users with higher account balances have access to “priority support,” which can be frustrating for those with under $200,000 in their accounts. However, Personal Capital’s FAQ and support site are both extensive, covering almost any common question that you might want to ask.
The support site even goes into known issues with the app and online site and covers what’s being done to address problems. Personal Capital also has offices in 5 states, though you’ll need to make an appointment in advance to meet with an advisor. Comprehensive and well-rounded, Personal Capital’s customer service department is one of the best in its category.
Personal Capital’s Ease of Use
Personal Capital’s portfolio management tools are incredibly simple. There’s limited technical knowledge required to get started with the software — simply link your credit card, bank accounts, 401(k) and individual retirement accounts and Personal Capital takes care of the rest. Unlike some other personal financial management software, Personal Capital doesn’t force you to manually import all of your transactions. Instead, it simplifies things by using your data to automatically generate reports, charts and graphs you can use to budget more effectively. If you do run into any problems, you won’t have a tough time finding an answer on Personal Capital’s FAQ or getting in touch with a customer service representative.
Personal Capital’s comprehensive financial planning toolkit is one of the most useful on the market. Hands-on investors will appreciate Personal Capital’s budgeting tools, which allow you to adjust your spending, see where you can afford to save more and how you’re spending your money. You can also scan for excessive fees that might delay your retirement planning progress. On the other end of the spectrum, high-net-worth individuals may enjoy the personalized touch two dedicated personal advisors will provide.
You can use the budgeting tools regardless of your net worth. However, Personal Capital’s higher financial barrier of entry means that not everyone will be able to open an account. Also, if you have less than $200,000 in assets, you’ll also be subject to higher fees than other robo-advising services. Unless you highly value access to human financial planners, investors with under $200,000 are better off choosing a robo advisor with lower fees, like Betterment.