Personal Capital is one of the leading digital wealth managers today with free financial software and free financial tools for everyone to use. Here’s how Personal Capital is doing in 2021 and beyond.
For reference, I have been using Personal Capital to track my finances since 2012. I also was a consultant for them from 2013 through 2015. During my time as a consultant, I helped develop their online brand. Further, I got to know all the C-level executives. Finally, I was a shareholder of Personal Capital.
I had a meeting with the Bill Harris, the co-founder, Jay Shah, the CEO, and Porter Gale, the CMO, and wanted to provide an updated for 2021. Despite the pandemic, Personal Capital is doing quite well.
How Is Personal Capital Doing? A 2021 Company Update
* Performing better than expected. They currently manage roughly $15 billion in assets under management as of 2Q2021.
* Surge in free users of their free app. They now have over 2.5 million registered users tracking over $1 trillion in assets under management.
* Key personnel hires. Personal Capital hired Mike Armbsy, ex CFO of Yodlee to be their new CFO. Mike was responsible for helping Yodlee go IPO in 2014. In addition to Mike, Personal Capital welcomed Paul Desmarais of Power Financial Corporation to their Board of Directors. And Porter Gale as CMO, an ex-executive at Virgin.
* Acquired by Empower in August, 2020. In 2020, Empower bought Personal Capital for $825 million with another $175 million in performance incentives. Personal Capital continues to run as a standalone entity, with the support of Empower. The acquisition has been fantastic for employees, users of the free tools, and paying clients. Empower is also based in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Personal Capital Background
Personal Capital was founded in 2011 by the former CEO of Intuit and Paypal. It is the best free financial software today for people serious about achieving financial freedom sooner, rather than later. Personal Capital is the original hybrid digital wealth advisor with algorithms and human registered financial advisors.
If you’ve haven’t done so already, I highly recommend you sign up for their free tools. I’ve used Personal Capital since 2012 and have seen my net worth skyrocket since then, partially thanks to better money management. The more you are on top of your finances, the better you can optimize your wealth.
Here’s a picture of Bill Harris, the co-founder rocking a Financial Samurai hat. It was taken during our meeting.
Reasons To Use Personal Capital
Now that we know how is Personal Capital doing, let’s go through reasons why I think everyone should at least sign up to utilize their free award-winning financial tools.
1) Simplicity And Less Stress.
\Before Personal Capital, I had to log into eight different financial institutions to track over 30 different financial accounts ranging from brokerage accounts, money market accounts, CD accounts, checking accounts, IRA, and my 401K.
My finances were a mess, and I’m sure your finances could use some organization as well. Now I can just log into Personal Capital to see how everything is doing in one place. It’s important to have a holistic view of your overall financial health so you know where to allocate resources.
2) Net Worth Tracking
Gone are the days where you have to use an Excel spreadsheet to manually update every single asset and liability line item to calculate your net worth. Personal Capital updates your net worth automatically as soon as you log in because all your accounts are linked. They provide a pie chart of your assets as well as gives you a historical chart of your net worth progression.
If you cannot find an account in their database, you can simply add it yourself. Personal Capital will also conveniently e-mail you a weekly snap shot of your latest net worth along with how the markets did, upcoming bills, latest insightful blog posts and accounts that need your attention. Below is a sample headline snapshot.
3) Helps You Stay On Top Of Your Cash Fow.
Budgeting is personal finance 101. By tracking your income and your spending like a hawk, you will be able to save a lot more money than if you simply tried to guess everything. Think about all the times you withdrew cash from the ATM machine and had no idea where all the money went a couple days later.
Aggregating all your accounts allows you to see where all your money is going. In the example above, this entrepreneur brought in over $38,000 in income and spent only $3,096. Now that’s great cash flow!
4) Helps You Balance Investment Risk.
With so many accounts, it’s often hard to see exactly what’s going where. For example, so many people were too overweight stocks before the financial crash in 2009. With Personal Capital, you can easily see where the imbalances are in your net worth so you can make smart adjustments.
Now that the S&P 500 has rebounded from a crazy March 2020 sell-off, investors are probably too overweight equities and way underweight bonds once again. The Investment Checkup tool analyzes your portfolio’s holdings based on size, style, and sector. Personal Capital excels for those who have assets in the stock market. Personally, I like to maintain a 35%, 35%, 30% split between stocks, real estate, and CDs/bonds.
5) Helps Reduce Portfolio Investment Fees.
One of my favorite tools Personal Capital provides is their Portfolio Fee Analyzer. I ran my 401K through their fee analyzer and discovered that I am paying over $1,750 a year in management fees. I had no idea that my Fidelity Large Cap Growth fund cost $1,200 a year due to a 0.74% expense ratio compared to sub 0.3% for my Vanguard Funds. As a result, I found a similar Large Cap index fund instead and am now saving $1,000 a year.
Without Personal Capital, I would have spent over $87,000 in excessive fees over the next 20 years. Take a look at my example below. Portfolio fees are a serious problem which will rob you of your retirement wealth if you are not careful. Don’t let ignorance rob you of your financial well being.
6) Shows Your Portfolio’s Investment Efficiency.
Based on your risk tolerance and investment objectives questionnaire, Personal Capital will give you an idea of where your current allocation is on the Efficient Frontier Curve. The Efficient Frontier Curve is the best returns for a certain level of risk. You want to be on the curve and not above or below.
7) Recommends Specific Dollar Amounts To Invest.
Financial advice is useless if there is no actionable advice. Personal Capital will recommend the specific dollar amounts to invest or reinvest in each asset class to get you to an optimal asset allocation. In this example below, the investor is too heavily weighted in cash.
In order to get to his recommended target allocation the investor needs to increase stock holdings by roughly $200,000 and bond holdings by roughly $100,000. The fun part is figuring out which index funds to invest in each category. All investment related charts and analysis can be found in the Investing tab.
8) The Best Retirement Planning Calculator.
Personal Capital has the best retirement calculator on the market because it uses real data and Monte Carlo simulations to come up with the most realistic financial scenarios for your future. Other calculators simply ask you to guess input values to then come up with your financial future.
The problem with this method is that we often underestimate how much we are saving and spending. You can input different life events such as a wedding or home purchase in your cash flow statement and recalculate your financial future to see how you’ll do. Everybody should give it a try.
Personal Capital Is Doing Great
Get a handle on your finances by signing up with Personal Capital for free and aggregating your accounts. It takes less than a minute to sign up and you’ll be amazed at how much more clarity you’ll have with your finances.
I spent the past 22 years meticulously tracking my own finances to achieve financial freedom. If I discovered Personal Capital earlier, I think I would have reached freedom even sooner!
About the Author:
Sam began investing his own money ever since he opened an online brokerage account in 1995. Sam loved investing so much that he decided to make a career out of investing by spending the next 13 years after college working at two of the leading financial service firms in the world. During this time, Sam received his MBA from UC Berkeley with a focus on finance and real estate.
In 2012, Sam was able to retire at the age of 34 largely due to his investments that now generate roughly $300,000 a year in passive income. He spends time playing tennis, hanging out with family, consulting for leading fintech companies and writing online to help others achieve financial freedom.
FinancialSamurai.com was started in 2009 and is one of the most trusted personal finance sites today with over 1.5 million pageviews a month. Financial Samurai has been featured in top publications such as the LA Times, The Chicago Tribune, Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal.