About Personal Capital
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Personal Capital is an FDIC-insured online wealth management company known for its financial aggregation app, which pulls together all your financial accounts to calculate your net worth. It provides free financial tools to all users and, for a fee, offers portfolio management to users with a net worth of $100,000 or more. The portfolio management service starts with a free consultation.
Overall Satisfaction Rating
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- Free aggregator app
- Minimal fees
- Free consultation at $100k
- Only services the U.S.
- Cloud-based platform
Personal Capital is an online platform, mobile app and wealth management firm that assists users in tracking and growing their net worth. It offers portfolio management for minimal fees.
What is Personal Capital?
Personal Capital is an online platform and mobile app that offers cash and wealth management services. While this company began as a free finance app, it has evolved into a full-blown online investment company.
Customers who choose Personal Capital Cash, the cash management service, can open an account with no minimum balance. These accounts are FDIC-insured for up to $1.5 million because of Personal Capital’s use of aggregate insurance. Most banks can only insure up to $250,000. Clients can opt into wealth management services beginning at $100,000.
Personal Capital protects and grows investments through “smart weighting,” an investment strategy that minimizes contact with any one sector of the market, which diversifies and balances your portfolio. The company performs its wealth management services through a combination of licensed fiduciary advisors and online services.
Personal Capital fees
Those enrolled in wealth management services who invest $1 million or less pay an annual fee of .89% of invested assets. This is a one-time, annual cost. Investors pay less the more they invest.
For example, those who invest $2 to $3 million pay .79%. Those who invest over $10 million pay .49%. This annual fee includes wealth management, trade commissions and custody.
If you’re not interested in wealth management services with Personal Capital, you can take advantage of the platform as your own net worth aggregator for free.
How does Personal Capital work?
To get started with Personal Capital Cash, download the app. After linking all your financial accounts, you’ll get a snapshot of your net worth. From the dashboard, users can begin following their investments, budgeting and planning for retirement.
Users who link $100,000 or more in investable assets qualify for a free consultation with a financial advisor. Advisors ask a series of intake questions and then present customers with a personalized strategy.
Those who choose to enroll in wealth management services will get accounts through Pershing, a third-party custodian using cash transfer securities. From there, wealth management representatives observe and balance your portfolio, looking for opportunities to reduce spending and lessen tax bills.
Personal Capital FAQ
- Is Personal Capital free?
- Personal Capital has a free app for tracking your net worth, but certain features are available only to investment clients. Those who want to use Personal Capital’s wealth management services should expect to pay an annual fee based on the amount of assets managed. Investments up to $1 million pay .89%. Larger investments have fees at lower percentages.
- Is Personal Capital cloud-based?
- Yes, Personal Capital is cloud-based. Although there is always a risk with cloud storage, this company uses AES 265-bit encryption, which is military-grade encryption and preferred by most government agencies.
- Can I use Personal Capital outside the U.S.?
- You must be a U.S. citizen or resident to use Personal Capital. You must also have a working U.S. phone number.
- Does Personal Capital offer online services?
- Yes, Personal Capital has a variety of online services through the app, including a net worth calculator and a savings and retirement planner. You may also choose to transfer interest payments to your bank account through direct deposit. Personal Capital offers an unlimited number of monthly transfers and wires up to $1 million with no fees.
Is Personal Capital safe?
Personal Capital is a trustworthy and legitimate FDIC-insured company and offers several services. In terms of cash management, Personal Capital Cash is a good fit for those who want to track their spending, investments and overall net worth on a single platform. For users with a net worth of over $100,000 who want to grow their wealth, Personal Capital offers personalized investment management with low fees.
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The free tools have been great for me, so when I saw a promotional free 6 month offer I thought I'd try out the services. Everyone I talked to was nice, although unreliable as far as following up on questions I had. A few months into what I thought was my promotional period, my advisor left the company and I got a new one. Coming up on five months, I asked my new advisor when my promotional period ended (multiple times) and found out that I had actually been charged the entire time. According to them, I didn't meet the $250k account balance to get the promotional offer. Terrible communication on their part. The offer says "$250k in investable assets" at the time to qualify. I thought I met this, but apparently they don't count the 401k that can't be transferred to a PC account, even though they were still managing it. Nobody mentioned this. From the conversations with my advisor, I thought I was on a 6 month promotional period still.
When I asked for a refund, they offered me 6 months of free services starting now. This company is an absolute joke. Besides them duping me into paying them for 5 months of service, the allocations they gave me are under performing the S&P500 (historically over several years) when I said I want an aggressive portfolio. All trust has been destroyed.
As most people familiar with their tools will tell you, their free tools are great and they incessantly market their investment advisory services to you. They recently ran a promotion for their Private Client Wealth Management where they would create a "personalized wealth management strategy" after a discussion and review and a $200 credit.
First, no one was available to meet with a potential new client. After requesting that a different advisor be assigned, I had a couple of reasonable conversations where they made multiple pitches for my business. They'll tell you that if you're looking to be the index, they are not helpful. I appreciate the transparency there, but when you ask them why they charge you 0.8-1% to "manage" investments, their answer is: a) We are cheaper than big Wall Street firms b) We have great customer service. So I'll tackle each of them.
The first is mostly true, but that doesn't justify giving them your money. They are much more expensive than other advisory firms from Betterment to Facet Wealth to even a human advisor at Vanguard. But Morgan Stanley charges 0.95% or lower and gets you access to a much broader range of investments. The second is definitely not true. 4 months after they were supposed to provide the promotional credit, there is no sign of action despite multiple emails to multiple people on their teams. And having worked with Betterment and Facet Wealth in parallel, their customer "service" is pretty useless. The irony in all this was when I asked about some of the negative customer reviews, they tried so hard to defend themselves about how clients have immediate access to their money, etc. They don't even pony up what they were committed to.
And going back to their "personalized investment strategy", I kid you not, this was their proposal. 1) Open IRA, Trust (which they should know I already have! They are linked to my account). 2) Consolidate accounts and transfer to Personal Capital (Absolutely no bias/conflict of interest there of course). 3) Implement in a tax conscious manner (How? Pay them and they'll tell you!). 4) Address other financial needs. Save yourselves a great deal of money (invest in index funds, or use a cheaper/better wealth management firm) and headache. Don't ever engage with a live person at Personal Capital. I will admit their free tools are mostly great, and would recommend them to anyone.
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I so wish I would have read these reviews prior to opening an account with PC in 2020. I have had Financial Planners for 40 years. I was looking for something a little more hand-on (for me). From the initial sales call (over an hour), when the representative over-promised their company services (legal and taxes; aside from financial performance), I had to talk to his boss. The first representative I was assigned to (not the sales guy as I was told), condescended to me and then also used terms like the "mean average..." I was referred to another rep who I liked very much. Unfortunately, even after a long conversation making me feel comfortable about my decisions, shortly emailed me, condemning me for a poor choice. I admonished him in writing... Then he did it again over the phone.
In the six short months I was fully invested in their "portfolio", even with an excellent market (May 2020 to November 2020), I lost about 5% of my investment, due to poor performance and high advisory fees. Also, my dashboard never functioned properly, because it contained the original investments that I funded my account with; they were never able to technically resolve this. Whether you are just beginning to invest, or have invested for years, this isn't the company for anyone.
I thoroughly enjoy the free product and tracking tool, and still 5/5 recommend that. The financial advisor (LD) is hostile to questions I would ask any financial advisor. He had been condescending on calls when I ask questions on how they came to conclusions for me. He would ask insultingly simple questions and had a bored and annoyed tone the whole call.
I would prefer to scroll/click through a robo-advisor than talk to condescending advisors who are offering the same types of recommendations a robo-advisor would anyways. Bottom Line: Customer service does not make up for their higher fees. Their recommendations do not outshine what a robo-advisor can give you (My opinion based off the sales pitch. I did not want to work with them) for asset allocations (market cap weight vs. equal weights etc).
My review is about their advisory service (if you sign up for an investment account with them). Their free tools are great, so use those. I fell for their marketing spiel 2 years ago and signed on to their advisory service. I truly regret that decision. After dealing with them for 2 years, I'm finally closing my investment account with them for good. If you don't want to manage balancing your own index funds and stock/bond allocations and tax optimization, I recommend going with a cheap robo-advisor like Betterment, which I've used happily for 6 years. Here's why I'm fed up with PC:
1. Personal Capital charges 6 times the fee of Betterment. They justified the significantly higher fee by telling me that their returns outperform Betterment, and that they provide a financial advisory team that can help me with retirement planning and other financial advice.
2. I don't know where they get the data saying they outperform Betterment, but when I crunched the numbers, they definitely don't. Both during strong market rallies and market crashes, they've underformed Betterment.
3. The most infuriating feature of PC and the primary reason I'm closing my account for good: you can't withdraw funds from your PC investment account without going through their advisory team first! I actively invest in alternative assets such as real estate or business loans, so a few times a year I need to move funds. Betterment lets you withdraw whenever you want with a few clicks in their online portal. PC forces you to make an appointment with them (and you will almost never be able to book a same-week appointment). I understand making appointments for financial planning, but this is just a simple transaction to withdraw some funds! During the appointment they'll make you discuss your situation and why you want to withdraw and they'll try to talk you out of it. They tell you to think on it and schedule another follow up appointment next week.
It literally used to take me 2 weeks to be able to withdraw funds from the account! They even once FORGOT to make the transaction until I asked them more than a week later why I didn't see the withdrawal being processed. After I asked to close my PC account because I was fed up with these immense barriers to make such a routine transaction, they finally agreed to not force me to make appointments anymore, and told me they'll process a withdrawal if I write them an email or directly call their advisory number (but I have to specifically state in the email or on the call that I don't want to discuss my reasons for the withdrawal). This worked a few times, but now I just get the answering machine for 2 days straight, and no one responds to my emails. Since they're forcing me to once again only speak to them via appointment, my next appointment will be to close my account with them forever.
4. PC's promise of providing you a team of financial advisors seems like it would be worth the higher fee, but it turned out to be entirely useless. They told me they could provide me investing advice. When I ask them for advice (for example, about my alternative investments), the only advice they will give is to tell me to liquidate my assets and transfer those funds into my PC investment account. They even told me more than once to get rid of my crowdfunded real estate investments because "we have REITs in our portfolio so you don't need other real estate investments". It was laughable when one advisor tried to scare me out of my alternative investments by claiming "they likely charge very high fees", and I informed him that PC's fees are 3x higher.
Before I signed on for their advisory service, they also had promised that their financial advisors could help me with retirement planning. I've repeatedly tried to get them to help with that, and they keep just pointing me to their free retirement planning tool (you don't need a PC investment account to use it). I told them I've already tried the free retirement planning tool but it makes a lot of assumptions that don't fit my situation, which is why I wanted a financial advisor in the first place. They basically told me "Tough luck, our tool isn't designed for people who want to retire as early as you, and we can't provide you any help beyond showing you how to use the tool". So what the hell am I paying these advisors for??? PC's "human touch" (their supposed advantage over robo-advisors like Betterment) have proven to be nothing but an impediment, a barrier to making simple transactions. Good riddance when I finally can close the account.
Personal Capital assigned Matt ** to my account and the portfolio has done nicely during the 2019 year and has fared pretty well during the Covid19 Pandemic with only minor drops followed by gains. I rolled over my IRA to a Roth which then offset the Taxes in short order.
I tried Personal Capital from summer of 2019 until the beginning of August 2020 and I found I did better managing my portfolio myself. I'm mostly disappointed with my joint account performance. I started it with $500 in 2016 and grew it to $9699.47 when it was transferred into Personal Capital's hands last summer, it's balance now is sadly only $9093.83. So not only has it not seen any growth in 1 year but it's lost money and we're currently in an UPmarket.
I had 2 SEP accounts that were also transferred and unbeknownst to me, all my holdings were sold. The pitch I was sold on the phone led me to believe we were diversifying a little bit but stocks I held like AMZN should never have been let go. 2 stocks I was holding that were sold off are up a total of $48,602 today. The total gain on my 2 SEP accounts over the last year is only $24,142.23 which is half of only 2 of the stock's gains I previously held. I'm in IT so I held many tech stocks which are all doing amazing and I cannot reap the benefits of that because I chose to let Personal Capital manage my money.
I first read of this online service (with associated UMB Bank) in a business advertisement. It specifically said it paid 2.3% with no restrictions. I also kept that hard copy ad. So I went ahead and signed up. When I went to make the activation deposit/registration, they send me an email that added the statement that the 2.3% was only available to "advisory clients". All others would receive a paltry 0.05% interest rate! I double checked the original ad: no mention was made of any such restrictions. This is simply fraud. I closed my account. What a disappointing waste of my time.
Good. Just looking more information like eligibility of the applicants who can apply for a loan. But the rest is good. Just hoping you can give me some information that can help me what I'm searching. Thank you.
I don't want their poor investment services and they constantly call me and email me after I have repeatedly ask them not to. Never get involved with them or you won't be able to shake them. Totally unprofessional. They NEVER pick up their (855) number to help you. STAY AWAY!!!!
Personal Capital Company Information
- Company Name:
- Personal Capital
- 726 Main Street
- Redwood City
- Postal Code:
- United States
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