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About Personal Capital

Personal Capital is the next generation of financial advisor. Built from the ground up with real-time technologies delivered over web and mobile channels, the company provides its clients with free instant access to their money at all their banks and brokers, plus analysis and advice.

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  • Simon Zhen's Profile Image

    By Simon Zhen, Feb 21st 2013

    Editor Rating

    Many users of Personal Capital, which identifies itself as a “wealth management” tool, can immediately tell that it is different from other personal financial management (PFM) tools like Mint or HelloWallet.

    Like these other PFM tools, Personal Capital offers users a complete picture of their financial situation by aggregating bank accounts, investment accounts, loans and more. But, you will notice Personal Capital places great emphasis on investments and net worth, which is why it has financial advisors available (by email, live chat and phone) to discuss investment strategies.

    For those who seek a PFM tool that allows them to set up budgets or create savings goals, Personal Capital is not the way to go.

    Ideally, Personal Capital is for those who are focused on their financial assets and seek easy access to the expertise of investment advisors with the goal of boosting their “personal capital.”

    Pros Cons
    Great interface online & on mobile devices Cannot set budgets or savings goals
    Access to investment advisors Categorization is a hit or a miss

    Accessibility

    Personal Capital lets you access your account online and through various mobile platforms, including iPhone, iPad and Android devices. Logging into Personal Capital online and on my iPhone was a breeze -- the accounts updated quickly.

    Personal Capital goes above and beyond when it comes to mobile applications. I have access to nearly every single feature that I would find with the online experience. Many other PFM tools trim many features on their mobile apps (often due to a smaller screen size), but Personal Capital was able to pack everything into a small package.

    Functionality

    Right after logging into Personal Capital, a dashboard screen occupies the entire browser window. A thin navigation bar sits at the top while a “My Accounts” sidebar stays fixed to the left as you sift through your financial data.

    Although the design isn’t what I would call “sleek,” Personal Capital’s layout is organized, intuitive and to-the-point.

    Personal Capital uses pie charts, doughnut charts, line graphs and never-before-seen investment allocation boxes to help users visualize their money. Most sections consist of a visual medium at the top and a list of accounts, transactions or investments. Every chart and graph is clickable to help users view a particular piece of data.

    One gripe that I found with Personal Capital is the lack of a tool that allows me to set a budget or make a savings goal.

    Breadth

    Personal Capital connects to all financial accounts, ranging from bank accounts to brokerage accounts to retirement accounts. Additionally, you can add the value of assets that you believe should be included in your net worth.

    All financial transactions, including trade orders and dividend payouts, are noted under their respective accounts.

    Guidance/Categorization

    Personal Capital suffers some of the categorization troubles that every PFM tool suffers -- small businesses with odd names tend to land in odd categories or the “Uncategorized” group (you can edit them).

    When it comes to financial guidance, Personal Capital is centered on your investment portfolio. The Investment Checkup tool will review your investments to see whether or not you are properly diversified and it adds up your investment-related fees.

    The most notable feature of Personal Capital is the ability to reach an investment advisor, who will communicate with you by phone, email or live chat to talk about your investment portfolio. Since Personal Capital does offer a service to manage your investments, a financial advisor may recommend such a service (for an annual fee fee that varies based on the amount of managed assets).

    Education

    On the educational front, Personal Capital does little to make sure that users are actively learning more about how to handle their finances (outside of having an advisor available).

    Personal Capital does run a blog but it is heavily focused on the daily movements of the stock market.

    (Disclosure: MyBankTracker was not compensated for the publishing of this review. However, MyBankTracker does receive compensation for successful signups through affiliate links.)

    The Breakdown

    Accessibility
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    Functionality
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    Breadth
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    Guidance
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5
    Education
    1
    2
    3
    4
    5

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