Empower Review 2024: Best Personal Finance Tool

I've been using Empower's free financial tools, previously know as Personal Capital, to track my net worth, manage my cash flow, and optimize my investments since 2012. Let me share with you the most thorough and honest Empower review about their free financial application.

From 2013 – 2015, I was also a consultant for the firm. Therefore, I have intimate knowledge of their people, their technology, and their product. I still keep in regular contact with all the senior management.

It's my belief that Empower is hands down the best free financial tools platform you can find online. It helps you manage your finances and achieve a more secure retirement. I've tried everything from Excel, to Mint, a plethora of other financial apps, and nothing comes close to Empower's tools.

“Empower Personal Wealth, LLC (“EPW”) compensates Kansei Incorporated for new leads. Kansei Incorporated is not an investment client of Empower Advisory Group, LLC.”

With the Empower Personal Dashboard, you can do the following things for free:

  • Automatically track your net worth
  • Analyze your investment portfolios for excessive fees
  • Analyze your investment portfolios for proper asset allocation
  • Track and manage your income and expenses
  • Run various retirement planning calculations to ensure a better financial future

Empower currently has $1.5 trillion plan assets administered and $300+ billion in assets under management. And over 18 million Americans trust Empower with their finances to create the future they want. This amount is a testament to their money management capabilities and product offerings.

Their competitive advantage is that they built their company from the ground up with technology at its core. As a result, they are much more flexible in tailoring offerings to meet consumer demand. Let's move onto the detailed Personal Capital review.

Empower (Personal Capital) Review 2024

Let me share some of the reasons why Empower Personal Dashboard is the best free wealth management tool today. I've been using Empower to keep track of my wealth since 2012.

1) Simplicity And Less Financial Stress

Before Empower, 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 Empower to see how everything is doing in one place. Their technology has made such a positive impact on my finances, I became instantly motivated to write this Empower review to help as many other people as possible.

It's important to have a holistic view of your overall financial health so you know where to allocate resources.

Empower Personal Dashboard Widgets Budgeting Cash Flow - Personal Capital Review
Empower Personal Dashboard

2) Easy To Review Your Net Worth

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. Empower Personal Dashboard 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. Empower 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.

Net Worth Tracker using Empower's free financial tools
Personal Capital Tracks Your Net Worth Like A Hawk

3) Easy To Track Your Cash Flow

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!

Cash Flow Tracker - Empower Personal Capital Review 2024

4) Helps You Balance 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 Empower Personal Dashboard, you can easily see where the imbalances are in your net worth. You can then make smart adjustments.

With so much volatility in the stock market, investors may be too overweight equities and too underweight bonds. Fortunately, this Empower review shows you how their wealth management tools can help investors with their portfolio allocation.

The Investment Checkup tool analyzes your portfolio's holdings based on size, style, and sector. Empower Personal Capital excels for those who have assets in the stock market. Personally, I like to maintain a 20%, 30%, 35%, 10%, 5% split between stocks, bonds, real estate, alternative investments, and risk-free investments like CDs and money markets.

Portfolio Risk - Empower review on asset allocation

5) Helps Reduce Investment Fees

One of my favorite tools Empower Personal Dashboard 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 Empower, 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. Check out my post on how to reduce 401k fees with Empower Dashboard.

Mutual Fund Fees Graph - Empower Personal Capital Review

6) Shows Your Portfolio's Investment Efficiency 

Based on your risk tolerance and investment objectives questionnaire, Empower Personal Dashboard 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.

Risk Return Empower Personal Capital review 2024

7) Recommends Specific Dollar Amounts To Invest 

Financial advice is useless if there is no actionable advice. Empower will recommend the specific dollar amounts to invest or reinvest in each asset class to get you to an optimal asset allocation. When I engineered my layoff in 2012, I was focused on having the appropriate asset allocation to sustain my retirement.

In this example below, the investor is too overweight cash and underweight US stocks, US bonds, and international stocks. In order to get to his recommended target allocation the investor needs to increase stock holdings by $282,500 and bond holdings by $72,500.

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.

Empower Personal Capital Recommendation Of Assets - Empower Personal Capital Review

8) The Best Retirement Planning Calculator 

Empower Personal Dashboard has the best retirement calculator on the market. 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. The tool will then recalculate your financial future to see how you'll do. Everybody should give it a try.

Empower Personal Capital Retirement Planner

9) Free Recession Simulator

After the global pandemic began, Empower came out with its Recession Simulator. It provides users and clients the ability to view how their current portfolio would have done during past recessions. The idea is to allow users to see what might happen if the next recession is like the past.

Below is an example of the Recession Simulator at work. Notice how the Projected cash flow is short about $800/month in retirement if the simulated recession plays out according to the variables.

If you believe the variables (duration of recession and depth of decline), then you would try and save more or change your investment style. Thanks to aggressive Fed rate hikes, another recession could occur in the next 18 months. The yield curve is the most inverted since 1981.

Personal Capital Recession Simulator

More Great Empower Features

If the above features weren't enough for this comprehensive Empower Personal Dashboard review, here are even more great features and accolades.

Award Winning Technology – Lauded by MacWorld as the Best Financial app on the web.

Easy To Use – All you've got to do is sign up, press the “+” to link all your desired accounts, fill in the respective user names and passwords and everything will get downloaded on the Empower Personal Capital dashboard. The more accounts you link, the more comprehensive picture you will receive of your finances. It only takes a couple minutes to sign up.

E-mail updates – Every week you'll get an e-mail update of your net worth, the latest Personal Capital news, and a snapshot of the markets. You can also subscribe to Empower's The Currency blog to gain insights.

Tax Loss Harvesting – Empower practices tax loss harvesting and tax location for their clients. Tax loss harvesting alone gains up to 1% in after tax return a year.

Smart Indexing – Smart Indexing aka Tactical Weighting is the practice of investing in equal weighted sectors or styles. In bull markets, one sector can grow to an outsized percentage, such as during the dot com bubble or the financial bubble. When the market corrected, people lost a lot of money. But if they practiced Smart Indexing, by constantly staying disciplined with equal weightings in the sectors, they would have outperformed.

Free Portfolio Review With An Advisor – If you want to get a free 1X1 session with a portfolio advisor, you can. Simply click this link, sign up, link your accounts and ask for a free session. It's worth $799 for free. There's no obligation to sign up and use Empower Personal Capital to manage your money after.

Leverage Empower Personal Capital For Free

This Empower Personal Capital review demonstrates how helpful it is to leverage free financial tools. When you know where your money is going and where it's being invested, you gain a tremendous amount of confidence in your financial well being.

One of my biggest goals on Financial Samurai is to help everyone achieve financial independence sooner, rather than later.

You may not be wealthy now, but just knowing you've got your finances in order and have a financial plan tremendously increases your chances of financial success.

Empower Personal Capital Dashboard App Review 2023 - Personal Capital Review
Empower Personal Dashboard App

Once you are financially secure, you free to do whatever you truly want. Get a handle on your finances by signing up with Empower for free and aggregating all your accounts. The financial management tools are free and takes less than a minute to sign up.

I spent 13 years meticulously tracking my own finances to achieve financial freedom at age 34. If I discovered Empower earlier, I think I would have reached freedom even sooner!

I hope you enjoyed this Empower review. I've spent the past nine years using Empower's free tools and analyzing their new offerings over time.

Sign Up For Personal Capital Now

Empower Review 2024 is a Financial Samurai original post. Everything written on Financial Samurai since 2009 is based on firsthand experience. Join 60,000+ others and subscribe to my free newsletter here.

71 thoughts on “Empower Review 2024: Best Personal Finance Tool”

  1. Hi Sam,

    I really want to try them out, but the 1st ask for my phone number, brought this disclaimer up: (I really, really hate spam calls :( )

    “By providing your phone number and clicking Next, you agree to receive marketing calls and text messages to the phone number provided, including those made using auto dialers, prerecorded voice messages, and other electronic means. Consent is not required for purchase, and you may opt out at any time. Message and data rates may apply.”

    What has your experience been?
    Thanks in advance,

    1. I haven’t had a phone call from them in over 10 years. I think I had one or two phone calls in the beginning, but I didn’t pick up because my phone is always on silent.

      But I did sign up for a free consultation to review my portfolio. I thought it was helpful to see where I could optimize.

  2. Does Empower/Personal Capital allow you to designate certain money-market funds (MMFs) or certain brokerage accounts as “cash equivalents”? For example, some of the competing offerings (like Quicken for example) treat positions in MMFs as securities rather than cash, which makes it more difficult to ascertain one’s cash position.

    1. Yes, if you don’t know where to start and have no experience investing, Empower is a lower cost way to start investing in a risk-appropriate way.

      You can also do a free trial appointment / analysis first.

  3. I have used Empower for a few years and is a useful tool. My only complaint is. They don’t track dividends from Fundrise.

    1. There are many private funds and private investments one needs to manually input. But that’s not bad given Empower tracks the majority.

      Going in to manually update once in a while is good b/c it forces you to check up on your net worth and make sure your net worth allocation is correct and your cash is being properly utilized.

  4. Really impressed with the financial software that i have used for the last couple of years. It presents an unbiased look at your overall financial picture that gives me a “warm and fuzzy”. No financial counselor trying to pitch schemes that you cant determine if it’s in your best interest or theirs. I did attempt to do the mgmt part but got a little leary when i found out they control most every aspect and only inform you when they make moves. At the end of the day, i like having more control.

  5. Thanks for the review Sam! I am in the process of trying out the free stuff and I scheduled a “Free Portfolio Review With An Advisor”. I noticed that you haven’t talked much about that part of their offerings.

    What do you think about their paid account management? Do you think they are likely to save a customer enough in fees and get enough better returns to justify the fee?

    1. No problem. It’s worth going through the free portfolio review with an advisor. I did one before and thought it to be an elucidating experience. I didn’t go ahead with the money management part b/c I enjoy managing my money myself.

  6. I’ve been paying Personal Capital to manage my portfolio for about 3 years now. As far I can tell the “Smart Indexing aka Tactical Weighting” sounded like a good tweak to the investment strategy but in practice is very rarely used. I recently got my first email that they were trimming back on the Energy sector.

  7. So I’ve been using PC for the last few years. Except all of a sudden the Cash Flow tracker has stopped working. Not only has it stopped working but all of my cash flow data for the last 5 years is gone too. So I can’t even compare my cash flow last year to this year.

    What’s up? Is anyone else having this issue? This was one of the best features of the platform and now that it’s gone, I’m considering finding something else.

  8. is personal capital available to be used in canada? I currently track my own finances and net worth via excel, but would like something a little more streamlined, as well as being able to see everything in one place.

  9. Are their retirement management services still solid? My wife will probably retire this year and I think their rate is 0.89% and they’ll also offer up advice for me as I continue to work. Just curious if anyone uses them and if there is any feedback? Thanks!

    1. I think Personal Capital continues to improve and has the best offering yet. They are running a cool promotion that I tried before. Once you sign up and link your accounts, you can request for a free portfolio consultation with a fiduciary advisor. S/he will go through your objectives and you portfolio. It’s a no obligation consultation worth over $700.

      You can sign up here.

  10. i switched from quicken to PC in march 2019 and i’ve been quite happy since. PC is a great place to consolidate all your accounts and categorize them for budgeting and tax reporting. i miss the canned quicken reports, but i am able to export from PC to excel and generate my own custom reports without too much effort.

    recently, i discovered that there were missing transactions when i import data from my accounts into PC. after emailing PC support (i used their ‘submit a request’ link), a real human being got back to me with a solution. they were able to manually ‘sync additional transactions’ and all my missing transactions magically appeared. 5 stars for PC support!

    when i asked for details, PC support showed me an new ‘manual refresh’ button that appeared near the upper right of each account screen (it looks like a ‘sync’ button). apparently, you can only click this button once a week (at most), but it does work. this appears to be an undocumented feature, but i’m glad it exists.

    p.s. i have my own investment adviser, so i don’t need to use PC’s investment services. but i certainly like their price: free!

  11. how do you feel about this type of language on all banks / brokerage sites??

    >> If you choose to share account access information with a third-party, “bank/brokerage” is not liable for any resulting damages or losses.

    this has been the primary reason I’ve not used aggregator accounts like PC

  12. Is there a way to mark transactions as “reviewed” in Personal Capital? I review transactions weekly to make sure that they are categorized correctly and also manually transfer them to YNAB which is my budgeting tool .

    I use a custom tag on each transaction called “processed” in Mint that I can check off so that I don’t waste time looking at transactions that I’ve already reviewed & transferred the previous week.

    I used to use dates ranges , but sometimes a transaction will be imported with a date before my last review. rare, but it happens. So date ranges don’t work.

  13. How do you link Personal Capital to your Fundrise / Realty Mogul accounts, though? Is there anyway to do that?

  14. I really really want to love Personal Capital but it straight up doesn’t work with USAA (where I have the majority of my accounts). I have tried for weeks but it will not sync correctly.

    Has anyone with USAA figured out a solution?

      1. It also seems to not work with Alight Solutions (LockheedMartin), Empowerment and I routinely have to again enter passwords for Fidelity. I like PC but it can be frustrating. It also has different categories (AFL is listed as a mid cap Vs a large cap) than normally used by the industry and several funds show up in Uncategorized.

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  16. Do you think Personal Capital is better than Betterment or Wealthfront and why? The fees are higher, but it seems P.C. isn’t so “cookie cutter”?

    1. Hi Jon,

      It’s a different target demographic really. Betterment and Wealthfront are 100% algorithmic advisors i.e. there is no human to get advice from and speak to about retirement savings, college savings, tax planning, outlook on the market, etc. That, to me is valuable b/c I’ve gone through multiple up and DOWN cycles in the market.

      Robo-advisors are thriving now because anybody can make money in a bull market. It’s what happens when things aren’t as rosy that makes having some human advice very helpful. The roboadvisor fees are very attractive though compared to alternatives. It’s not a bad way to diversify a portion of you investing assets.



      1. To date, would you recommend having both Personal Capital and Wealthfront at the same time since you promote them both?

        Thanks, Sam.


        1. I would recommend Personal Capital for their free financial tools. They really have the best finance tracking software on mobile and laptop. There’s no downside since it’s free.

          I like Wealthfront because it’s fee is lower at 0.25%, and it will build a custom portfolio for you. But you just won’t have anybody to speak to. They are building some tools to help you visualize your retirement and travel future too.

          It all depends on how much hand holding/advice you need. Both are a good solution. Part of the problem is that so many people don’t know how or where to start. These two firms can help.


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  19. Just talked to PC Advisor… The good thing is that all you need is to give them $100,000 to manage in their account for 0.95% fee… Than, for all of your other accounts (your employer 401k, fidelity 529, any other account- they will set up your portfolio and tell you what funds to buy/ sell/ when etc for free.. Seems like a pretty good deal to me…

  20. Stephanie Sammons

    Totally agree with you that the brand needs a face. I believe it’s the missing link for many of these online advisors. Either a prominent money manager or someone from the academia world!


    1. BTW, Sam if you talk to them again (or when you do), the could make some improvements around their tagging of transactions to categories so the software learns my spending habits – i.e., can if i tag an amount as something specific (not initially intuitive) could the software remember that assignment (based on dollar amount, payer/payee, and date), and add budgeting functionality.

  21. Spent a good amount of time working with their advisers and frankly I haven’t gotten much information from them that I couldn’t of gotten from blogs or fidelity.com anyhow. And I don’t know (particularly) much about personal finance, but I am semi-fluent. The advisors seem to know the same if not a bit less than I. Either that or they are instructed not to advise beyond reiterating the company’s overall investment approach to asset allocation. I’m thinking I could save half a point by just allocating my funds to equal weighted domestic/intl ETFs… with nearly identical results.

    Sam I presume you do not use their service other than for tracking purposes…?

  22. Hi Sam, Great article. Just some ideas for the next time you get together with the PC team. Since investing is so closely linked to budgeting and lowering living cost improves the amount we have to invest it would be great if PC could add some budgeting tools to the website. The classification of expenses helps but doesn’t let you run any budgetary graphs for the year or simulations over multiple years. The example of your switching to IC light bulbs and other energy savings could be run in models for budget planning. Then all of the improvements could roll into potential investment gains showing the impact of the extra invested money. Also when saving an expense to a new category in PC it doesnt recognize future expenses to the new category. If there are other budgeting tools that can be linked to PC let me know please. Thanks again for your tips.

  23. Talk about a thorough review! I’m in the process of figuring out how I want to start investing outside of the 401(k) and mutual fund I currently have. Consider Personal Capital’s hat in the ring!

  24. That’s so cool you got to meet the CEO and learn more about their business. The new features look really cool. I didn’t realize that Blackrock invested money in Personal Capital. Very cool. Time for me to log in and play around with the new tools now. Thanks for the insights and tips Sam!

  25. It’s been a bit since I played with Personal Capital’s analysis tools. I think I’m going to have to swing back over there and play around a bit. Especially since I just passed a threshold for my account at Vanguard and the expense fees on my index funds are now lower. :)

  26. I use it for analyzing purposes and think its great. I just rant the “investment check-up” and received this message: Due to a high level of unclassified assets, we cannot analyze your portfolio with reasonable accuracy. They cant seem to classify my bonds (muni and zero’s) and it falls under the “other” category. That seems silly. I guess because the “other” category is a nice chunk of my portfolio they cant run the check up.

    I also took a few calls with them regarding them managing some money. Ultimately I decided not to move forward because they have a very limited track record. I agree, that having a CIO who has a long resume would be helpful. Their philosophy aligns with mine in that 1. they believe in low fees and therefore use almost all ETF index funds and 2. they believe in equal weight and not cap weighted buys, so they allocate money by adding to laggards or companies that market cap isn’t overly a larger % of the index (example not adding $ to apples % of the nasdaq but adding at an equal %) which results in buying low and selling high.

    Besides the lack of history, the ETF’s I buy almost all have fees of .10-.50% and I enjoy managing my portfolio. These are the same ETF’s they will buy anyway, but you pay for the execution, advice, and discipline. Also no commissions. Not too bad for 1%. For passive folks this is a good deal.

    1. Interesting that the system is having a tough time classifying your bonds and munis. That’s good feedback which I think they’ll appreciate. They got a feedback box on the dashboard.

      It’s all about screening and running pro forma scenarios which I love as a DIY investor.

  27. I’ve tried their site and it seems good for someone that’s very into stocks and bonds. But, as of just a little while ago, they didn’t really have much for tracking real estate assets, rent collections, mortgage balances, etc. So, it wasn’t of much use to me.

    Maybe I’ll revisit them in a couple of years to see if they’ve beefed up that portion of their product.

    1. It tracks mortgages, but yes, PC is more geared towards stock and bond investing.

      Perhaps they’ll develop real estate investor tools and screens in the future.
      I’ll suggest it as RE is a core part of many people’s net worths and retirement strategies.

      1. I’ve mentioned it to them as well before I closed my account. They said they were working on it. I’m not holding my breath, though, especially since their business model is centered around stocks. There’s just no incentive for them to do it, unless they can monetize it. (They’d need to establish partnerships with lenders, turnkey vendors, etc… a lot of work to do there)

        But, if they want to do something about it, I’d like to see the following:

        * Property valuation updates (maybe an average of zillow and another site combined with some numbers from a CMA)

        * Real-time pulls of mortgage balances

        * Ability to identify bank line items as “rental income” to track gross rents

        * The ability to mark bank line items as “investment” or “expense”. Right now, the online tool I use is horrible and “alerts” me with ridiculous messages like “Large expense detected this month!” and “You are over budget with expenses on your home!” Thanks, Captain Obvious.

        * Linking of initial investments with above-mentioned items so that you can track ROI by property, all automatic after this initial linking is done.

        Oh, and while I’m at it, I might as well wish for all the children in the world to join hands and sing a song for world peace.

        Maybe I’ll build it myself after I retire. :)

  28. The Personal Capital 401k fee analyzer is a fantastic tool. If you are a participant in a plan, dont be hesitant about letting your employer know about your findings. They often have the largest balance in the plan, so you’ll be helping them as well. Employers are required to benchmark their plan against alternatives annually anyway, so a fresh perspective may be good for everyone

  29. Thanks for the read! I started using Personal Capital a few months ago and love it. I logged in today before reading this post and was elated to see the new tools they have made available. One thing I would suggest. As a 22 year old user, I feel that the road to financial hell is paved with re-occurring costs, and although I love Personal Capital, I would be more apt to pay for their services if they had a scheme besides the 1% of assets managed fee. I have never used a financial adviser, so I don’t know if this is a standard fee, but I do know that over my working career and life that fee would take easily a million dollars from my future net worth, and although one may argue that their services would add more than that, from my position I don’d really see that. Maybe if for a flat rate I could purchase time from one of their advisers, or if I could upgrade to “premium” whatever that would be for x dollars a month. I say this knowing that I may not even be the type of person they are trying to market too since my net worth only broke into 6 figures within the last year. Just a thought, this company is really exciting to me, again thanks for this and all other posts.

    1. A flat rate structure is actually a better deal for those with bigger assets. What I would do at 22 is to simply track your portfolios, study the charts, play around with the assumptions and see what fits you best. Your risk tolerance will change over time so it’s best to stay on too of things.

      Have fun! That’s what the PC tools allow. It’s fun to dream of all our riches if we make X return over Y many years. Motivating to keep on track.

  30. This is a great article and Personal Capital is a great tool. PC’s approach is unique, timely and has the potential to play well to a new generation of investors.

    I started using Personal Capital because Mint.com wasn’t performing up to par. That said, I was using the platform as an analysis tool and not looking for financial guidance. With tools like Mint.com we take for granted that while we are really putting an incredible amount of personal information forward we assume that no one is really scrutinizing our individual accounts. Not so with PC. PC employees will attempt to contact you multiple times. To be frank, for technology users today, it can be a little creepy to think that there really is a man behind the curtain on the app you downloaded and they are looking closely at your vital statistics. This is not to take away from PC, but I think it is a hurdle they will have to overcome in their attempt to gain momentum.

    Another hurdle I think they may need to overcome is the one of personal touch. Regional offices may be the key to awareness and acceptance of this unique model. I am not a HNW individual. So, I am automatically suspicious that the JV is being assigned to my account. Couple that with the experience being impersonal and you have the groundwork for inherent distrust. Sam is spot on that a marketing push with a headline manager might be the momentum needed.

    As an aside. I wonder if younger generations have grown to inherently distrust firms like Edward Jones, Morgan Stanley et al. post 2008. If this were true it might be beneficial for PC to look to brand themselves as a different animal.

    1. Good point about Personal Capital not having the legacy baggage of the bigger Wall St. firms post financial crisis. PC can sculpt their brand the way they see fit. But it’s important to do so sooner, rather than later given the sea of well-funded competition. We talked about branding for about 30 minutes in the meeting.

  31. BidAskDividends

    I’m a huge fan of Personal Capital and use it currently (although only as a tracking tool). I think the company has great upside potential and look forward to seeing how they perform. Great article.

  32. Sounds like you had a great box of macaroons. Oh, was there more to this post than that?

    I think Personal Capital has really brought a lot of desirable features to the table with the fee analyzer as well as being the investment version of Mint. Of course the money is to be made from the assets under management. As you have said branding and exposure is really what will grow those assets. Best of luck with the future affiliate relationship and possible private equity deal (naturally we’d all love to know the details of that).

    1. As a writer, I thought it’d be fun to throw in the macaroons provided, in the post. I shot PC a Tweet saying I was on my way down and hope they provide cookies. Macaroons are close enough!

      They won’t want my piddly private equity money. They’ve got the big boys jumping in already. I just like to approach companies with an investor’s mindset as well. Makes me think critically of different things.

      1. I should clarify to say “private equity deals” so as to express the desire to read about any you might be involved in. You have tremendous connections, resources, and access out there on the west coast and could give an outstanding view of how these deals go down, and your viewpoints on why it is a great investment or not.

        1. OP – I too would enjoy a write up of any current or past pe deals you have looked at and the resulting analysis there of. As it seems that most PE firms (and angels) bring either money or connections (and usually both) to the deal. In addition, I would be interested in hearing how one gets to that point where they could do PE or angel investments.

          1. Hi Guys, the issue with private equity investments is that it’s private. Private companies don’t want to disclose their financials to the world and to competitors. Also, many of these deals are limited to only accredited investors, which I fear will ostracize and maybe anger people for the exclusion. A private deal analysis is much like a public company analysis, just with more assumptions.

            Definition of accredited investors:

            1) A natural person who has individual net worth, or joint net worth with the person’s spouse, that exceeds $1 million at the time of the purchase, excluding the value of the primary residence of such person;

            2) A natural person with income exceeding $200,000 in each of the two most recent years or joint income with a spouse exceeding $300,000 for those years and a reasonable expectation of the same income level in the current year;

  33. Hey Sam,

    Enjoyed the piece on Personal Capital. I have explored the possibility of becoming one of the advisors you speak of. Couple questions here:

    1. Why wait if you’re Blackrock?

    2. In your opinion how does Personal Capital compare to Betterment, Learnvest, etc.?


    1. You’ll enjoy my upcoming post on financial advisors this week. Stay tuned!

      1) Allocation of resources probably. PC is still very small, so BR may simply be waiting to see if they gain traction before taking a bigger stake. I’d say the $1 billion managed assets mark is when Blackrock and other big wealth management companies will start taking more notice. Then of course it’s getting existing shareholders to sell. If they think PC can grow to multi-billions managed assets, then selling too soon is suboptimal.

      2) PC allows more DIY opportunities given its tools. A lot of finance is about spending the time to understand things on your own and discovering your risk tolerance. I’ve not used Learnvest and others before.

      1. Sheana OSullivan

        Hi Sam,
        You mention that PC is small. Not surprising as they are around only since 2012 I believe. Even though their fees are lower I am researching their stability as a business as I have another 20 years to go to retirement and want to make sure whoever I invest with will be around. Morgan Stanley has been around since 1930’s with a proven track record, what’s the best way to assess the longevity of PC and the risk involved in moving my retirement accounts to PC?

  34. Dee @ Color Me Frugal

    Thanks for the great info! I’m headed over to do the 401(k) Fee Analyzer now…

      1. I am curious as well !

        As of July 2020, PC is being acquired by Empower for $ 1 Bn. As of Aug 2020 PC claims to have reached $13 Bn. in AUM with 47% of that tied to private clients who have at least $1 Mn with PC in AUM.

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