One of the earliest digital investment managers and our top robo-advisor for portfolio management, Personal Capital was founded in 2009. The company, which was acquired by Empower Retirement in 2020, stands out for offering a wide range of free money management tools for cash flow, retirement planning, and investment management. Any U.S. citizen can use Personal Capital Cash to get a range of free banking services along with a high return savings account.
Personal Capital Advisors is a full service investment manager and requires a $100,000 minimum with fees beginning at 0.89% AUM. While the free tools are suitable for anyone interested in tracking their finances, higher net worth individuals and families will appreciate the personalized investment management services along with holistic wealth management and Certified Financial Planner access Personal Capital offers. We’ll take an in-depth look at Personal Capital’s features to help you decide whether it is a fit for your financial needs.
Personal Capital is our best robo-advisor for portfolio management.
Personal Capital offers free net worth tracking and retirement planning software for anyone.
Every paying Advisory client can access a financial advisor.
Personal Capital provides comprehensive tax-minimization strategies including tax-loss harvesting.
Stocks and private equity investments are available for some Advisor clients.
Positives Free money management resources
Alongside CFP(R) experts, individualised financial planning
Live customer service is available by phone.
Easily navigable and user-friendly website
$100,000 high account minimum
0.89% AUM for a high investment management charge
requires a call from the company
- Account Minimum $100,000
- Fees $100,000 – $1 million: 0.89% AUM First $3 million: 0.79% AUM Next $2 million: 0.69% AUM Next $5 million: 0.59% AUM Over $10 million: 0.49% AUM
- Goal Setting Work with a financial advisor to customize goals
- Available Assets ETFs, stocks, bonds, private equity for accounts greater than $500,000
- Interest Paid on Cash Balances 0.75%
- Customizable Portfolio Yes
- View Portfolio before Funding Yes
- Customer Service Phone support and email
- Financial Advisor Available Yes. $100,000 to $200,000: team of advisors. $200,000+: 2 dedicated financial advisors.
- Cash Management Yes: Personal Capital Cash
- Tax Loss Harvesting Yes
- External Account Sync/Consolidation Yes
- Mobile App Android and iOS
To sign up with Personal Capital you’ll provide an email, choose a password, list your phone number, and date of birth. You’re required to schedule a call with a financial advisor whether you are interested in only the free tools or the advisory service. You’ll receive a brief biography of your prospective financial advisor.
The next step enables you to link your accounts. This process is fast and secure. You can add most financial accounts including:
- Credit card
After syncing your accounts, you’ll have access to the free financial tools and reports described in detail below. Anyone can access the free tools, although only those with a minimum of $100,000 qualify to use Personal Capital Advisors investment management with financial planners.
To sign up for Personal Capital Advisors, you answer intake questions which cover your financial situation, goals, and risk appetite. Your advisor then reviews your current investments and presents you with a personal financial strategy. Next, you’ll open your account at custodian Pershing and fund it with cash or transfer securities.
Even if you’re using the free tools, you can expect a call from the firm. This may be considered an annoyance by some, but it’s a small price to pay for access to the robust financial analytical software.
Goal planning is unique at Personal Capital Advisors and goes beyond marking a box entitled retirement, college planning, or vacation. The goal-setting process is customized and begins with a conversation with your financial advisor after you’ve responded to the brief questionnaire. Although most investors include retirement as a goal, any goal can be considered, such as saving for college tuition or cash for a second home.
The customizable Personal Capital Retirement Planner is available for both paid clients and free tools users. This simulator projects your income and spending during both accumulation and distribution phases of life to come up with a reasonable expectation of meeting your long term retirement needs.
As your goals and situation evolve, your financial advisor is there to guide you and adjust your portfolio as needed.
Personal Capital offers banking with no minimum amount and Personal Capital Advisors provides all the services available at a full-service financial planning firm. Automated deposits are available and encouraged. While margin is not available, two revolving lines of credit can be accessed. These loans have no setup or closing costs, and they offer competitive interest rates.
The Financial Roadmap is unique to Personal Capital Advisors and takes your account and loan information to create a customized to-do list of financial tasks. Topics might include items like insurance analysis, retirement cash flow planning, employer plan analysis, debt management review, and more. The list evolves along with your individual situation.
Personal Capital’s financial planning software is available to anyone who signs up for the platform, whether they use the Advisory services or not. There is no minimum required to sync your accounts and use all of the tools.
Calculators and tools include:
- Net worth tracker
- Savings planner
- Cash flow
- Retirement planner
- Investment check-up
- Fee analyzer
The fee analyzer assesses whether you could be saving money on investment fees, while the investment check-up analyzes your asset allocation and suggests ways to increase returns and lower risks. The retirement planner allows you to adjust inputs and investigate the success of various retirement scenarios. We found the calculators and tools to be incredibly helpful and, thanks to account syncing, they provided very individualized and actionable insights.
Personal Capital Cash is a free savings product with no minimums. The program is administered through UMB Bank. After opening an account, your money is placed in participating member banks. The account is FDIC insured up to an aggregate of $1.25 million, well above the standard $250,000 a single bank offers.
Available features include:
High-yield interest-bearing savings account
Individual and joint accounts
Bill pay by linking to your checking account
Unlimited deposits and withdrawals
Personal Capital Advisors Personal Strategy is its customized investment process, individualized for each client.
The portfolio is driven by the client’s responses to the initial questionnaire and interview with the financial advisor.
The algorithm creates the portfolio by integrating the following factors into its calculation:
- Risk tolerance
- Time horizon and goals
- Health status
- Tax laws
- Legacy goals
- Net worth and income
- Retirement age
Expected withdrawal rate, and more
Personal Capital takes a very thorough and deep look at your finances and individual data when it makes its recommendations. The data synced to Personal Capital and drawn out through the call with the financial advisor gives Personal Capital more to work with than most robo-advisors have, and the model this feeds into looks to provide more actual diversification than other robo-advisors using an algorithm based off Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT) alone. The asset allocation employed in the Personal Capital strategy includes varying allotments to the following asset classes:
U.S. stocks, including varying styles, size, and sectors
International stocks, including developed and emerging markets
U.S. bonds, including diverse government and corporate of varying credit quality
International bonds of varying credit quality
Alternatives, including real estate and commodities
The Smart Weighting asset allocation differs from other automated advisors’ market capitalization asset class weighting, where portfolio sectors replicate those in market-cap weighted indexes like the S&P 500. The firm’s smart weighting equally weights assets based on size, sector, and style. This portfolio construction strives to provide a higher risk-adjusted return than the market cap-weighted allocation.