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Personal Capital Review

securely through Personal Capital's website

1 Minute Review

Personal Capital differentiates itself from other robo-advisors by not using a traditional broker model, and ensuring that all of their advisors are RIAs (Registered Investment Advisor).

Best For

  • Retirement planning
  • Investment tracking
  • Bill tracking and management

Pros

  • Personal Capital advisors are RIAs
  • Excellent Financial Tools
  • More than investing services
  • Free Financial Dashboard

Cons

  • Higher fees than other robo-advisors
  • Not as focused as other brokers

Personal Capital functions as a Robo adviser, which is a term used to refer to a fintech firms that offer financial tools based on sophisticated software. It takes the human element out of the equation to a larger extent, avoiding any kind of bias. Led by Bill Harris, a veteran in the payment and tax planning industry, it has made a name for itself in the automation of the financial market.

Personal Capital is deemed useful for investors having investable funds as less as, less than $200,000 to over $10 million.  

“If you are a really lazy investor (like me), want an actively managed account, a dedicated financial advisor, and are comfortable with annual fees of slightly less than 1%, Personal Capital feels like a really safe and comfortable way to go. If you’re a do-it-yourself type, you won’t see any advantage to using PC.”  Reddit User – tastierrobbo

Commission and Fees

The fees are to be paid monthly in arrears. Although fees are less than what a traditional bank charges you, Personal Capital has higher fees on average than other Robo Advisors.

A bit of good news is that Personal Capital boasts a service that will not slide in hidden or trailing fees. You know up front what the fee structure entails, and if you are comfortable with those rates you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

Investable Funds Annual Management Fees (in percentage)
For the first 1 Million 0.89%
For clients investing  over $1 Mln: Annual Management Fees (in percentage)
First 3 Million 0.79%
Next 2 Million 0.69%
Next 5 Million 0.59%
Over 10 Million 0.49%

Items that are seen on the dashboard

  • Net worth
  • Cash flow
  • Portfolio balances
  • Portfolio allocations
  • Key holdings
  • Key gainers/losers
  • Account balances and transactions
  • Spending by account, category
  • Income reports
  • Spending reports and upcoming bills
  • Investment returns
  • Projected investment fees

Fee Analyzer

Personal Capital provides a fee analyzer, which could help you gain cognizance of the thousands of dollars in hidden fees (custodial fees, inactivity fees, 12b-1 fees etc) in your mutual fund, investing and retirement accounts.

Services Offered

Personal Capital serves clientele having investable assets worth $100,000 to over $10 million, with a higher amount being managed at a cheaper annual management fee.

Investment Services

  • For clients with investable assets of $100k to $200k
  • Access to free online tools and the dashboard
  • Tax-efficient ETF portfolio
  • 401k advice
  • Cash flow and spending insight

For the first one million funds, the annual management fees are 0.89% of account balance. These clients would be advised by an advisory team.

Investment Checkup dashboard on Personal Capital

Wealth Management

  • For clients with investable assets of $200k to $1 million
  • Customizable Individual Stocks & ETFs
  • Full Financial & Retirement Plan
  • College Savings & 529 Planning
  • Tax Loss Harvesting & Tax Location
  • Financial Decisions Support including Insurance, Home Financing,
    Stock Options and Compensation

 The annual management fees is 0.89 percent of account balance. Two dedicated financial advisors are assigned to these clients. The drawback is that the fees applicable for wealth management, though cheaper than traditional most online brokers, are expensive when compared to robo advisors.

Private Client

  • For clients with investable assets over $1 million
  • Priority Access to CFP®, Advisors, Investment Committee & Support
  • Investment Portfolio Mix of ETFs, Individual Stocks & Individual Bonds (in certain situation)
  • Family Tiered Billing
  • Private Banking Services
  • Estate, Tax & Legacy Portfolio Construction
  • Donor Advised Funds
  • Private Equity & Hedge Fund Review
  • Deferred Compensation Strategy
  • Estate Attorney & CPA Collaboration

Additional Client Services

  • 401K fund allocation – Assessing whether the funds under your 401k plan is invested in diversified and strategic asset classes.
  • Insurance coverage –  Zero in on a policy that suits your needs
  • College savings – 529 plans – advising for financing educational expenses in the most tax efficient way
  • Retirement planning – Budgeting based on your assets and retirement income sources
  • Estate planning
  • Cash flow and debt management
  • Creating a savings plan
  • Home purchases and refinancing
  • Stock options and deferred compensation- Comprehensive planning for your stock options, like when to exercise, when to sell and what to do with the income

Bill Reminders for the Forgetful  

What more, you can also get bill reminders for credit cards, mortgages, and loans, when you add those accounts using the Link option at the top of My accounts panel on the left. This option gives us details of previous bills paid, upcoming payments, amount outstanding, minimum amount due etc.

Customer Support

 (650) 556-1078

Personal Capital has a web page devoted to supporting, wherein the support is provided under varying heads, namely:

  • Known issues
  • Getting started
  • How to
  • Troubleshooting
  • Personal Capital Advisors
  • Investment check up
  • Retirement Planner
  • Personal strategy

And under each of which several questions are discussed to help clients have a smooth sailing.

If a journey through these questions still leaves you dissatisfied, Personal Capital’s Technical support team can be accessed anytime from any applications by clicking on the ‘Contact Us’ button.

If you using a mobile app, go to the settings feature and click ‘Support Center’ in the menu and search for the content you want. If you are still in need of help, key in the question or feedback by selecting Submit a Request.  A support ticket, including your contact information, will be generated.

Ease of Use

Users vouch for the ease of getting started. Personal Capital allows a free sign up option, which would need your e-mail, a password (can be 8-25 character long, with both numbers and letters, phone number and a CAPTCHA code to prove you are not a robot.

After signing up, users answer intake questions, which will help to evaluate his/her financial situation. An advisor assigned to the user will now work with the firm’s investment team to looking into your current investments and develop a personal financial strategy for the user.

Based on the assessment, the firm opens an account in the user’s name with his/her name at Pershing, a third-party custodian.

As the firm implement strategy it works out for the user, it will monitor and rebalance the user’s portfolio in a bid to maximize returns and minimize the tax bill.

As explained earlier, syncing all your accounts with the Personal Capital software tool can also be done effortlessly. Pictorial presentation of personal financial data in the form of graphs and charts is an effective way of communicating information.

Asset Classes

For those with investable funds less than $20k, Personal Capital invests mainly in ETFs and for those with $20k to $1 million in funds, a mixture of ETFs and stocks are considered. Investable funds in excess of $10 million qualify for investments in stocks and ETFs and bonds too in certain situations.

Final Thoughts

This Robo adviser is a Godsend for those hands-off investors, who would want to be relieved of the burden of having to wrack their brains over their investments. The free software, which provides an insight into your net worth, assets and liabilities, investment portfolio and its performance, retirement funds etc, all in a single screen facilitated by cutting-edge technology has made it a must-have relationship.