There’s an overwhelming number of options out there when it comes to online tools to help you stay on top of your personal finances. Maybe you’ve tried a number of them, including Personal Capital or apps similar to Personal Capital.
Personal Capital is a popular financial tool that helps you keep track of your net worth and organize your financial life. And while it has something for everyone, people’s finances seldom are a one-size-fits-all.
Perhaps you’re already using the app, but are wondering if there’s anything better. In this post, we discuss our nine best Personal Capital alternatives.
What is Personal Capital?
Personal Capital is an online financial planning and advisory platform that helps you understand, track and manage your net worth. The main areas where Personal Capital excels are money management and long-term financial planning.
The money management component of the platform helps you to:
- Track your net worth. Your net worth is the sum total of what you own net of what you owe. Easily calculate and track this key financial metric through your free personal Dashboard.
- Plan savings goals. The savings planner feature helps you track how much you’re saving vs how much you should be setting aside to reach your savings goals.
- Set budgets. Set spending targets and quickly see if you’re over or under your planned goal.
- Manage your cash flow. Easily review your past 30 days spending and income and track your progress towards your financial goals.
The financial planning aspect of Personal Capital includes the following tools:
- Retirement planner. Set a retirement date and check if your savings are on track to meet your retirement goals. Run different retirement scenarios, anticipate large expenses and see their impact on your retirement plan.
- Education planner. Get help planning how much you should be saving to cover future education costs and link an existing account to monitor your contributions.
- Investment checkup. With this tool you can review your investments performance and the risk you’re taking in your portfolio. Review your holdings and goals and get a customized plan based on these.
- Fee analyzer. Uncover hidden fees in your investment accounts. Research low-cost investment substitutes for your portfolio.
You get free access to Personal Capital’s tools and Dashboard by opening an account. After you sign up, start by linking your bank, credit card, investment and retirement accounts. On average, users link 6 accounts. We found the process to be quite fast and easy.
As you link your accounts, the platform immediately begins calculating your net worth. For example, your linked investment accounts go into your asset side and your linked credit card bills go into your liabilities side.
You’ll get an easy-to-read overview of your financial life through the software’s Dashboard under the “Overview” menu item.
In addition to free financial tools, Personal Capital provides access to registered financial advisors at a fraction of their typical cost. They can help you craft an individualized well-diversified investment portfolio aligned with your goals.
In our view, it’s this marriage of technology with old-fashion advice that sets Personal Capital apart.
But what if you need help with your investments and financial goals? Personal Capital also offers wealth management services. You’ll need to commit at least $100,000 of your financial assets and their all-inclusive annual management fee is 0.89% for the first $1 million. The fee has a sliding scale and decreases as you commit more money to the platform.
If you become a wealth management client, you’ll get access to additional exclusive financial tools.
Is there anything better than Personal Capital?
Personal Capital is an easy-to-use platform to keep track of your financial life. While its tools are free and the web and app interfaces are clean, you still may be asking yourself: are there better alternatives?
The answer to that question really depends on your individual needs and preferences. For example, if you’re someone who likes working with spreadsheets to keep track of your money, an app like Tiller Money might be an alternative for you.
Or maybe you do need help with your investments, but aren’t ready to commit to Personal Capital’s minimum investment required. In that case, your definition of “best alternative” will incorporate that particular need.
Perhaps you’re someone who only needs to get your family’s budget under control at this time and wants a personal finance app that focuses on creating budgets.
You get the point. People have different financial needs. Which is why we’ve crafted this list of Personal Capital alternatives.
Best Personal Capital alternatives
The following list of Personal Capital alternatives covers a range of features that might suit your needs. Here it is, in no particular order.
Betterment is a low-cost robo-advisor that offers automated investment management plus a checking and cash reserve account. If you’re interested in reaching specific financial goals, Betterment might be a good fit.
As with other robo-advisors, you start by telling Betterment about your spending, goals and other financial information and the app provides you recommendations to manage your money.
For example, you might be interested in saving and investing to:
- Build your emergency fund
- Make major purchases like a home or wedding
- Save for college
- Build your wealth
This financial app caters to a broad customer base regardless of whether you’re in school, pursuing your career or in retirement.
Their investment and retirement accounts have an annual fee of 0.25% based on your balance, which comes out to about $25 per year for every $10,000 invested. When you open an account, there’s no minimum balance required.
Other benefits of Betterment include:
- Personalized financial advice
- Automatic rebalancing to maintain your target allocation
- Tax-saving strategies
- Customer service
Betterment provides financial advice with licensed experts. And their advisory packages come with a live call, educational materials and a written plan.
Unlimited access to certified financial planning professionals is standard in their premium service, which might be a better alternative for those with larger portfolios.
Wealthfront is another robo-advisor similar to Betterment. Their app provides software-driven investment strategies plus interest checking.
Once you open an account, you’ll need to answer a few questions and the app builds you a portfolio based on your goals. Their approach is driven by passive investing coupled with global diversification. The investment portfolio consists of low-cost investments from 11 global asset classes using exchange traded funds.
These asset classes include U.S. stocks, real estate, municipal bonds, corporate bonds and U.S. government bonds, among others. The minimum you need to invest is $500.
Wealthfront has no trading commissions, withdrawal fees, minimum fees, or transfer fees. Their advisory fee is 0.25% on your account balance plus a fund fee that ranges from 0.06% to 0.13%
Unlike Betterment, Wealthfront offers lending. Accounts that meet a minimum investment threshold receive a line of credit automatically. And since loans are backed by investment balances, there’s no credit check. You can borrow up to 30% of your account balance.
Another difference is that Wealthfront does without live financial planning. Instead, they provide an automated advice engine they call Path, which is free. It helps you project your net worth over time and calculate your all-in costs for certain milestones such as home ownership.
3. Mint by Intuit
Mint, also known as Intuit Mint, is a free personal financial management website and app with a long track record, having been founded in 2006. If budgeting is important to you and you need to stay on top of your spending, Mint is a sensible alternative to Personal Capital.
In addition to creating budgets, Mint allows you to set financial goals and track your bank, credit card, investment, loan balances and transactions through a single dashboard.
But unlike Betterment and Wealthfront, Mint doesn’t provide access to investments or investment strategies. Instead, you can link your investment accounts to get a consolidated view of your finances. Here’s a summary of services that Mint offers:
- Bill payment tracker
- Free credit score
- Investment portfolio tracking
Mint does a better job as a personal financial hub the more accounts you link to it. That’s because it updates and categorizes your information automatically and can connect to virtually every US financial institution.
Since Mint is free, they make money by recommending loans, checking, savings, credit card, brokerage, and even life insurance offers. So you get a great free product in exchange for receiving marketing offers.
Another alternative to consider if you’re looking for a comprehensive budgeting tool is You Need A Budget. YNAB is a well-regarded personal budgeting software that links to your financial accounts to track your budget using a modified version of the envelope method.
With YNAB you decide which of your spending categories is most important to you. So if you overspend in some areas, your YNAB budget will adjust in others to help you come out ahead. The software helps you prioritize, plan and take control over your paycheck and manage your money more effectively.
Also, their mobile app syncs with your online budget spreadsheet to track your spending in real-time from any device, helping you keep an eye on your goals. Its main distinction versus competing products is that if you go over-budget during a given month, it’ll force you to cut back somewhere else, keeping your spending in check.
YNAB’s budgeting method is based on four simple rules:
- Give every dollar a job. That is, prioritize your dollars to whatever is most important to you
- Break up big infrequent expenses. Car repairs, holiday spending, and other large infrequent expenses enter your monthly budget by breaking them up and funding them every month.
- Address overspending. As circumstances change and you overspend in one category, you adjust another category to keep a balanced budget.
- Spend old money. Spend money you earned last month to cover this month’s expenses. It forces you to build a cushion, get a month ahead, and spend less than you earn.
YNAB comes with a 34-day free trial. When it expires, it’ll cost you $11.99 a month or $84 a year.
5. Tiller Money
Are you more of a spreadsheet person? If so, Tiller Money might be a good option for you. Tiller is an automated personal finance tool that updates Google Sheets and Microsoft Excel with information from your financial accounts.
Because Tiller automates spreadsheets, you can use it to work up a realistic budget, track expenses, payoff debt, monitor your net worth, or check other aspects of your daily finances. But you won’t need to build your own spreadsheets from scratch: This tool comes loaded with templates and you can link up to five spreadsheets at a time.
Triller helps you track your daily finances by connecting all of your accounts with banks, credit cards, loans and brokerages in one place. The software allows you to:
- Link and unlink accounts to your sheets
- Make your own categorization rules
- Choose auto or manual data updates
You have unique financial goals. The platform allows you to organize all your transaction data to suit your own needs. It features automated transaction updates, automatic categorization, and customizable personal finance templates to help you manage your financial goals.
Tiller Money comes with a 30-day free trial. After it expires, it’ll cost you $79 annually.
6. Simplifi by Quicken
Simplifi takes a straightforward approach to budgeting. This mobile and web app by Quicken helps you craft a personalized spending plan based on your income and expenses to take control of your finances.
The app connects to your financial accounts to provide multiple insights and help you stay on top of your money, including:
- A simple dashboard to check all your accounts: banking, credit card, loans and investments
- A high-level personalized spending plan based on your income and spending
- Automatic projected balances based on your earnings and bills
- Watchlists to help you monitor what you actually spend on any activity you choose
- Saving goals you can easily create and add to your monthly spending plan
While this alternative to Personal Capital is developed by Quicken, it’s not the same product as the Quicken mobile app. So if you already use Quicken, Simplifi won’t be compatible.
Simplifi offers a 30-day free trial and costs $35.99 annually thereafter. If you prefer a monthly plan, it’s $3.99 a month.
Moneydance is a personal finance application designed for desktops. It comes with online bill pay, banking, account management, budgeting and investment tracking.
One important distinction of this platform vs others highlighted here is that it connects to a limited number of financial institutions. So if one of your banks is not supported, you’ll need to enter your information manually.
On the flip side, once you buy the software, that’s it. You don’t have to pay an annual fee. In addition, you’ll get regular updates.
The software’s features include:
- Summary overview. The summary dashboard gives you an instant overview of your finances in one place.
- Online banking. Download transactions and send payments online.
- Account registers. This is where you enter your financial information. It works like a paper checkbook register where you enter, edit and delete your transactions.
- Investments. Downloads current prices for stocks, bonds, CDs and mutual funds, allowing you to track their performance.
- Graphs and reports. Moneydance comes with a graphing tool to generate visual reports of your income and outlays.
- Budgeting. Easily create weekly, biweekly, monthly and annual budgets. The application displays “budget bars” to monitor how much you’ve spent for a given category.
- Reminders. You can set up recurring transaction reminders.
Moneydance sells for $49.99, but you can download a limited free trial to see if it’s right for you. It’s available for macOS, Windows, and Linux. Moneydance also has a free mobile app which allows you to enter or edit transactions and view balances on the go. It’s available for both iOS and Android devices.
Another budgeting app that helps you track your savings and net worth is Banktivity. Similar to YNAB, Banktivity uses the envelope budgeting system to help you plan your money more effectively.
But unlike YNAB, with Banktivity you can also do online bill pay, retrieve quotes, analyze your investment portfolio, print checks and other useful features. Banktivity also connects with your financial data to bring your banking, credit cards, loans, investments and retirement accounts under one roof.
In addition to budgeting, the software makes it easy to calculate your key financial health metrics such as your:
- Savings rate: Banktivity tracks your savings rate automatically – an invaluable piece of information if you want to build wealth.
- Net worth: The app tracks your net worth through time
- Investment performance: Add your investment accounts to track their performance
The platform provides technical support through live chat 7 days a week, which comes in handy if you run into an issue. They also provide free weekly webinars to help you get started with Banktivity and master envelope budgeting.
Unlike other platforms, this software only works with Apple devices. However, this specialization means that the app works well with the latest versions of macOS and iOS. Banktivity’s price is $69.99 and comes with a 90-day risk-free guarantee.
PocketSmith is another alternative that takes a fresh look at budgeting and personal finance software in general: you can schedule your bills and manage your budgets through a calendar interface.
PocketSmith’s budget calendar is a visual way to help you plan the future. Its intuitive interface:
- Is simple to understand with its click, drag and drop functionality
- Allows you to calculate projections and forecasts in minutes
- Can compute daily projected cash balances
- Helps you spot future potential gaps in your cash flow
But that’s just one aspect of this tool. With PocketSmith you can track and stay on top of your daily expenses across different bank accounts. So if you are a double-income household, you can see exactly how much each person earns and spends and match it against your budget.
The tool’s dashboard provides a quick summary of your money. You’ll find information about your bank, credit cards, loan accounts, budgets and an overview of your earn / spend categories.
With PocketSmith you can easily review your actual closing balances compared to your forecast for different categories. This helps you check how you’re doing on your monthly spending in each category.
PocketSmith has three plans: basic (free), premium and super. The basic version accommodates the casual budgeter and comes with manual imports and limited functionality. The premium version is $9.95 / month and offers
full functionality. The super version has all the premium features plus unlimited accounts and 30 years forecasts for $19.95 a month.