Personal Capital review: It's more about managing money than teaching financial skills

The budgeting tool is good, though it lacks some of the nuts-and-bolts guidance novices need.

Credit: Personal Capital

The brainchild of former PayPal and Intuit CEO Bill Harris, Personal Capital will help you budget and track monthly expenses, savings, and debt, but its real focus is investments. Still, there’s plenty here for household budgeters who just want to better manage their spending and sock away some money for college, retirement, or that dream vacation.

Personal Capital is really two tools: a free personal finance manager and a paid investment management service. The personal finance manager, which we reviewed, allows you to keep tabs on your income, spending, assets, and investments from a single portal.

Once you log in and link all your financial accounts, Personal Capital aggregates all the data on your dashboard. In a clean layout of graphs and charts, it gives you an at-a-glance overview of your net worth, investable cash, cash flow, top spending categories, portfolio allocation and balances, and a stock market snapshot. Clicking any one of these categories takes you to a more detailed analysis.

screenshot 2017 11 29 11.16.52 Michael Ansaldo/IDG

Personal Captial’s retirement planner shows you where you stand relative to your goals.

As far as budgeting is concerned, Personal Capital provides plenty of transparency into your money’s movement. It tracks your balances and transactions in real time, generates income and spending reports, and breaks down expenses by account and category. Armed with this information, you’re undoubtedly better able to plan how to spend and save your money if you have some experience with using a budget. But Personal Capital doesn’t include the kind of hands-on tools for allocating income to specific categories that would help newbies learn the nuts and bolts of budgeting.

In fact, Personal Capital’s budgeting tools feel dwarfed by its investment features. These include a retirement planner that shows you where you stand relative to your goals based on data it pulls from your linked accounts; an “investment checkup,” which analyzes your portfolio allocations and helps rebalance them to maximize returns and minimize risk; and a feature that ferrets out costly hidden fees in your mutual fund, investing, and retirement accounts.

While a free account is plenty for do-it-yourself money managers, if you have $100,000 or more in investments you can sign up for Personal Capital’s wealth management service. You’ll receive access to a team of registered financial advisors who will help you put together a personalized investment plan. The fee is based on a percentage of your deposit amount.

Bottom line

By aggregating and analyzing all your accounts in one place, Personal Capital provides the most comprehensive view of your expenses against your earnings. If you just want to track your monthly income and outflow, Personal Capital is probably overkill. But those interested in managing—and growing—their money over time will find plenty to love here.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Ansaldo

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

PC World Evaluation Team Review - MSI GT75 TITAN

"I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it."

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?