One of the most powerful steps in taking control of your finances, growing your money, paying off debt, and owning your future, is facing the truth.
Fear of the facts — whether the actual sum of debt you owe, or how far you are from retirement, home ownership, or other goals — means women often avoid the numbers. They leave bills unopened, don't check their investments, and turn a blind eye to their financial truth.
One simple, free and POWERFUL tool for turning this around is an app that pulls all of your financial data into one beautiful screen, and hands you the truth about where you are at with your money.
From there, you can make changes, set goals, and take real steps to owning your money — and life.
With a single log-in Personal Capital allows you to see every account you own along with relevant details like the interest rates on your credit cards, last year’s investment returns, and progress towards retirement.
Personal Capital is a free website/app that pulls in all of your financial information into one place, in real time, to help you see all your income, debt, investments and expenses in one place. Personal Capital also offers several unique features including financial tracking tools and a paid financial advisory.
What does the Personal Capital 2018 free version offer?
When you open a free account with Personal Capital, you’ll need to divulge an array of personal and financial details. Prepare to fork over your bank and investment account log-ins, as well as log-ins for your mortgage and car loans.
From there, Personal Capital aggregates all your personal information and keeps track of it for you. Your account balances and other information are updated daily in most cases, meaning you can log in to see all kinds of data ranging from how much you owe on your credit cards to how well your Roth IRA is doing.
Personal Capital lets you see your bills, cash flow, and net worth in real time, making it easy to monitor your growing wealth over the years. Some of the features included in the free service include:
- Budgeting: Personal Capital lets you see how much you’re spending and where across all your accounts. It also groups your spending into specific categories that can help you stay on track with your budget and financial goals. Related: How single moms can pay off debt in 14 easy steps
- Cash flow: Personal Capital makes it easy to track your cash flow online, including how much you earn, and how much you spend.
- Investment tracking: Personal Capital lets you see all your investments in one place for superior tracking and financial planning purposes. If you have different types of financial accounts, such as a Roth IRA with one company, an account with Ellevest, and a work-sponsored 401(k), you can track them all side-by-side within the app. This can save you a ton of time versus having to log into each individual account separately.
- Asset allocation target: This feature allows you to find out if you’re on track to achieve your ideal asset allocation. It can help you decide whether to stay on track with your current investment plan or if it’s time to rebalance your portfolio.
- Upcoming Bills: If you sync all your monthly bills with Personal Capital, you can monitor them through the app. This can help you prepare for upcoming bills and due dates while monitoring your cash flow in real time.
These features are the very basic offerings that come with the free version of Personal Capital, but there are some seriously valuable tools that can help you grow your wealth as well. Some of the most valuable tools offered include:
Personal Capital’s free retirement planner can help you figure out whether you are on track to achieve your retirement goals. With this feature, you will enter your ideal retirement age, create a new retirement savings goal, and determine how much you want to spend in retirement. Personal Capital then ties it all together to figure out if you are on track to achieve your retirement dreams — or if you need to make some changes or lower your expectations.
Personal Capital’s retirement planner also takes into account the money you already have saved for retirement, which is easy since your investment accounts should already be synced. From there, the app helps you determine what percentage of likelihood you have of being able to retire when you want.
While this tool may not be as comprehensive as the advice you would get from a real-life financial advisor, it can help you determine whether you are on track to reach your goals or whether you need some help. Plus, unlike a human advisor, this information is unbiased and free. Free, I said!
Related post: How to get started investing for women
Retirement fee analyzer
Another valuable tool offered via Personal Capital’s free account is the retirement fee analyzer tool. This tool is extremely valuable because it helps you determine whether the fees you’re paying on your investments are reasonable — or if you're getting ripped off.
Why is this important? The fees you pay for account management play a huge role in how well your investments perform over time, which is why it’s important to know how much you’re paying year after year. Even if a certain fund is performing like magic, it can all be lost if fees are too high.
After you sync all your investments with Personal Capital, you’ll get a holistic view of your investing fees and how they stack up to the average. If you’re paying too much, Personal Capital will let you know. If you’re paying less than the average investor, on the other hand, you can rest assured that at least this piece of the puzzle is perfectly in place.
The investment checkup feature offered by Personal Capital was created to help you figure out whether you are being aggressive enough — or too aggressive — in terms of your asset allocation. Maybe you’re too heavy in stocks for your age or not nearly heavy enough due to a long investing timeline. Either way, Personal Capital’s insights will help you see where you stand.
Net worth tracker
One of the most valuable tools offered by Personal Capital is its net worth tracker. Your net worth is the total sum of your assets minus your liabilities, and one of the truest measures of your wealth.
Since your net worth takes both your assets and your liabilities into account, this figure is one that should always be growing over time. You may borrow money to buy a home or finance a business, but your assets will ideally increase over the long run — even if there are some bumps in the road. If your net worth isn’t increasing, this is a detail you should absolutely know.
Since all your investment and bank accounts are connected to Personal Capital at all times, the app does a good job of helping you monitor your net worth and its changes as the years tick by.
How much does Personal Capital cost?
Everything I just described is free. However, if you want personal help managing your investments, Personal Capital does offer a paid version. This all-inclusive fee for their investment management and advice based on the balance of the assets you have managed: 0.89% for your first $1 million in assets. Pro: Personal Capital comes with no hidden fees, no trailing fees, and no trade commissions. They are straight-up and have a great reputation as a result. Personal Capital has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Personal Capital fees
You get access to an advisory team who can answer your questions and give specific investment advice while Personal Capital offers a ton of free tools you can use to monitor your wealth and stay on track toward your financial goals, there are some notable benefits that come with using their paid service. Those benefits include:
- Personal Capital advisors are fiduciaries, meaning they are legally and morally required to work in your best interests
- Build a tax efficient ETF portfolio
- Receive automatic rebalancing
- No hidden fees
- Receive other types of financial advice, such as the best ways to save for college
- Get live help saving for retirement
Is Personal Capital safe?
The company has a great reputation for safety and security. Personal Capital has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, which is important to me.
All of the data collected by and stored within Personal Capital is “encrypted with AES-256 and multi-layered key management, including rotating user-specific keys and salts,” the website notes. Plus, there are strict internal access controls, meaning it is impossible for an individual at Personal Capital to gain access to your important personal details.
Ultimately, this means you can sign up for Personal Capital and access all its tools without worrying about your banking or investing account information getting into the wrong hands.
Should you sign up for Personal Capital?
If you have been wishing for a free way to see all your accounts in one place, Personal Capital may be exactly what you need. By signing up for a free account, you can monitor your investments, bills, and cash flow without having to log into several different websites. Plus, you can use free tools like their retirement planner and retirement fee analyzer to see if the decisions you’ve made so far in your investing journey have been good ones.
Finally, you can sign up for paid retirement planning help from Personal Capital if you choose to do so, but it’s obviously not required. At the end of the day, Personal Capital is available to help you in whatever fashion you see fit — even if that just means using their free tools and watching your wealth grow on your own.
This post was created in partnership with LendingTree. I never recommend products that I don’t truly believe in. Seriously – I get asked to write about stuff all the time and turn down hard cash if I’m not feeling it.
Emma Johnson is a veteran money journalist, noted blogger, bestselling author and an host of the award-winning podcast, Like a Mother with Emma Johnson. A former Associated Press Financial Wire reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Glamour, Oprah.com, U.S. News, Parenting, USA Today and others. Her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was named to the New York Post's ‘Must Read” list.
Emma regularly comments on issues of modern families, gender equality, divorce, sex and motherhood for outlets like CNN, Headline News, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fox & Friends, CNBC, NPR, TIME, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine and The Doctors. She was named Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web,” “Top 15 Personal Finance Podcasts” by U.S. News, and a “Most Eligible New Yorker” by New York Observer.
A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Read more about Emma here.