Personal Capital is one of the leading financial apps, offering a variety of functions, including wealth management, personal finance, and budgeting.
The popularity of this app is likely a result of the number of services offered and its easy-to-use layout. However, if it doesn’t meet your needs, there are plenty of viable Personal Capital alternatives, which we’ll explore in more detail here.
The Personal Capital Basics
Personal Capital is a finance app that offers wealth management and financial planning tools. There are free and paid versions. The free version offers a variety of personal finance tools, including spending and saving analysis, retirement progress, net worth tracking, and portfolio performance.
This Personal Capital dashboard is a great option for those who want to link their accounts (checking, savings, brokerage, retirement, credit card, etc.) to view everything from one place. You can analyze your assets and spending to make decisions and appropriate changes.
Personal Capital wealth management clients (minimum investment of $100,000) get access to a team of advisors and customized options, with a tiered fee structure depending on your investment.
However, if you don’t have at least $100,000 plus to invest or desire help from a Personal Capital advisor, this paid service may not be the best choice for you, and you may need to consider Personal Capital alternatives.
It’s important to note that anyone can use the free Personal Capital app. You don’t have to be one of their wealth management clients.
The Best Personal Capital Alternatives
Because Personal Capital offers several different things, the best alternative depends on your specific needs. We’ll list alternatives ideal for different purposes so you can choose what’s right for you.
Mint: Best for Free Budgeting
If your primary reason for looking at Personal Capital is its budgeting tools, a good alternative for you would be Mint. Mint is a popular budgeting tool that has been around for over 15 years.
Mint acts as a financial aggregator, so you can link your financial accounts in one place to get a complete picture of your current financial situation (similar to Personal Capital). Your accounts and transactions are sorted into different spending categories, so you can easily track where your money goes each month. The platform also alerts you for potential late payments or upcoming bills.
While Mint is primarily an aggregator, it does have some nice additional resources. For example, they offer free credit score monitoring. You can track your VantageScore from TransUnion. While this isn’t your FICO score, it does track your credit and has similar parameters to FICO.
So, if you’re looking to build your credit and boost your score, this is a nice feature that can let you know how you’re progressing. Mint will even offer notifications if there’s a change in your personal information, such as a new credit inquiry.
Although Mint doesn’t have investment management, there’s an investment tracker tool. This can be used to track your portfolio, including helping to find any hidden fees in your portfolio, such as brokerage fees, 401k fees, or investment advisory fees.
You can also use the tool to compare your investment portfolio with common market benchmarks to see how your portfolio performs compared to other investors. As with other Mint services and tools, the investment tracker is free.
YNAB: Best for Comprehensive Budgeting
If you’ve moved beyond basic budgeting tools and are looking for premium budgeting software, YNAB is a superb Personal Capital alternative.
YNAB provides a comprehensive budgeting app to help you get control of your finances. It tracks your spending and organizes it into different categories, and YNAB helps you direct funds to work toward your financial goals. The software aims to break the predicament of living paycheck to paycheck.
There are basic rules that control how YNAB works. The first is that every dollar in your budget has a purpose. You’ll set aside funds for your basic living costs and decide what you want to do with what’s left.
YNAB also encourages users to look at the true cost of their expenses. Many budgeting tools focus on the typical monthly expenses, forgetting about those infrequent yet significant expenses, such as car repairs or annual insurance premiums. The YNAB tools help you to budget for these expenses to even out your costs and eliminate financial humps that appear with the potential to derail your plans.
One of the best features of YNAB is the flexibility built into the budgeting tools. While many consider a budget a rigid structure, there must be some flexibility. So, if you go over budget in one category during the month, there are ways to compensate by lowering other categories so you can avoid breaking your budget completely.
YNAB is a subscription service, but there’s a discount if you pay for an annual subscription instead of paying monthly. There’s also a free trial period of 34 days, so you can test out the full functionality of the app before you commit to paying for the service.
Betterment: Best for New Investors
One of the potential drawbacks of Personal Capital is that you need a significant amount ($100,000) to gain access to advice. Personal Capital wealth management isn’t a viable option if you’re a new investor with a modest fund.
This is where Betterment could be a viable Personal Capital alternative. Betterment does not have financial account aggregation or budgeting, but it’s a top-rated robo advisor. You can access low-cost auto investment management regardless of your portfolio size.
They also offer a high-yield cash reserve, similar to Personal Capital cash management. You’ll earn a return for your uninvested cash.
You can open a Betterment investment account with no cash and accumulate your funds. After you begin, your investment is separated into six stock and eight bond allocations. Each of these allocations has an ETF according to the asset class.
This means that even if you only have a few hundred dollars, your portfolio could include U.S value stocks, high-quality U.S bonds, municipal bonds, corporate bonds, and stocks for international developed and emerging markets. Betterment also offers tax loss harvesting, which can minimize the tax liability that your investing activities may generate.
Betterment offers several portfolio options, so you can select the asset allocation that appeals to your interests or investment goals. However, regardless of your choice and the size of your portfolio, the portfolio management fee remains very low. If your portfolio is larger, you can upgrade to Betterment Premium and, for the slightly higher fee, have unlimited access to the team of certified financial planners.
Wealthfront: Best for Semi-Experienced Investors
Wealthfront is one of the major Betterment competitors and is another great option. The platform operates similarly to Betterment, with online, automated investment management for a low annual fee. However, Wealthfront also offers a portfolio line of credit. If you have a larger account, you can also access tax loss harvesting and Smart Beta.
Like Betterment, Wealthfront uses ETFs tied to different asset classes to create your portfolio with U.S. and foreign stocks, dividend stocks, emerging market stocks, municipal bonds, U.S. government bonds, and corporate bonds.
However, Wealthfront also offers alternative investments in its portfolio mix. This includes real estate and natural resource allocations. As a result, Wealthfront could be an attractive option for those who want a more diversified portfolio.
Instead of offering access to a team of certified financial planners, Wealthfront has its Path program. This series of software financial advisors can help you plan for retirement, save for college, and accrue a down payment for a home or other life goals. Path is a part of the overall Wealthfront package, so it’s available at no additional cost.
Although Wealthfront does have a minimum investment, it’s a very reasonable $500, so it should not provide a barrier to entry for most investors.
Vyzer: Best for Asset Tracking
Vyzer is a sophisticated financial management dashboard designed for the high-net-worth individual who needs to manage various investments. It’s the best Personal Capital alternative for investment tracking and monitoring your net worth.
One of the main limitations of Personal Capital and many other free financial dashboard tools is that while they work well with brokerages and banks, they may not work as well with other investments. So, if you own cash-flowing real estate or have a partnership, you must manually track all these assets with Personal Capital.
Vyzer has its “magic box,” which allows you to track these non-standard assets automatically. You can simply upload your financial documents, and Vyzer will input them. This is as close to automatic tracking as you’ll get with an app, which is why this service does carry a premium subscription cost.
However, Vyzer does allow you to analyze your portfolio, track your net worth, and manage your cash flow as all your assets are tracked. So, if you’re struggling to keep track of all your assets and perform the necessary analysis to ensure everything is on track, Vyzer would be well worth the cost.
NewRetirement: Best for Retirement Planning
If you have found that the financial planning tools on Personal Capital are a little weak for you, you may want to consider an upgrade to NewRetirement.
This is more than a mere personal finance dashboard. It is a suite of financial planning tools designed to impress. It is quite comprehensive, so it may be a little intimidating at first. However, it’s worth the small learning curve. The retirement planner does walk you through building your plan, and you can set up a comprehensive plan in less than ten minutes.
After you build a plan, you can play around with it to compare how different decisions will impact your future. There are lots of different factors that can be taken into consideration, even if you prefer to work with a quick plan initially.
NewRetirement is free to create plans and organize your finances, but if you want to start checking how different scenarios will impact you, there’s a PlannerPlus paid tier. There are additional higher tiers that also provide access to financial planners if you need further help.
Facet Wealth: Best for One-to-One Financial Planning
One of the main draws of Personal Capital is that you can access unlimited advice from a financial advisor. If you’re looking for this level of advice, in addition to portfolio construction, it may be possible to beat the costs of Personal Capital with Facet Wealth.
Facet Wealth offers portfolio management and one-on-one financial advice from fiduciaries, but the services are offered with a flat fee. This fee is charged annually and increases according to the complexity of your portfolio and financial situation.
Facet Wealth will also charge a small fee for constructing your portfolio according to your goals with low-cost ETFs. Depending on your investment, the flat fee vs. a percentage annual fee may be positive or negative.
If you’re a higher net worth investor, you could save money with Facet Wealth’s flat fee, but smaller investors could pay more. However, Facet Wealth does not have a minimum balance requirement to use its services.
Final Thoughts on Personal Capital Alternatives
Personal Capital is a versatile platform offering an excellent selection of services and tools, but if you’re looking for one particular area, some superb alternatives may offer a more comprehensive service or more affordable tools.
Just be sure to check the full terms and conditions so you’re fully aware of any service limitations and potential fees before you sign up. This will ensure that you don’t make a costly mistake or waste time working with a company that you’re not going to develop a long-term relationship.
If you are looking at financial platforms, consider what services you need both now and in the future to find the ones best suited to your needs. The Personal Capital alternatives covered in this article have a lot to offer, so it’s just a matter of deciding which ones fit your needs.