Best Alternative to YNAB and Mint – A Review.
Personal Capital is a website and app (Android, Apple) offering financial management tools and asset management services. While we have never paid for investment advice at Personal Capital, we have been using their free tools for several years now.
You don’t have to be a fat cat to use the free Personal Capital tools. In fact, gaining control over your personal finances is the first step towards financial independence.
You already know that we are big fans of You Need a Budget because it is a great tool for budgeting the money you already have. However, when it comes to long-term planning, we use Personal Capital.
Tools You Get With Personal Capital
After you create your free Personal Capital account and add all your financial accounts, you will see a dashboard with a quick overview of your finances.
In addition, you will have access to the Banking, Investing, Planning and Wealth Management sections of the website.
The Personal Capital Dashboard
Each section of the Personal Capital dashboard contains a quick overview and a link for more details.
Personal Capital tracks your net worth across all your accounts, assets, and liabilities. Click on the Net Worth link in the dashboard for a more detailed chart. You can specify a time period and include or exclude certain accounts.
Below the chart, you will see a list of transactions included in the net worth calculation. Drill down by selecting a category, such as Cash, Investment, Credit, Loan, or Mortgage.
Personal Capital’s budgeting tool pales in comparison to YNAB. You can see where your money is going, but you cannot set goals. We recommend ignoring this area and sticking to YNAB for budgeting.
The Cash Flow widget in the dashboard shows how much funds have been transferred and withdrawn from your accounts in the last 30 days.
Selecting the Cash Flow link will take you to a more detailed graph. By default, it includes data from all your accounts except :
- loan or mortgage accounts
- Transactions classified as transfers
- < li> Credit Card Payments
- 401k Contributions
- Securities Trading
You can also select Revenue or Expense to view charts organized by category and time period.
Once again, YNAB offers similar reports, especially if you have the Toolkit extension for the YNAB browser. If you really want to use Personal Capital to track this information, you need to categorize your transactions so that they appear in the correct categories.
The Portfolio Balance dashboard widget shows the balance in your investment accounts for the last 90 days. More on this below.
This dashboard widget displays a daily snapshot of your investments (called “Your Index”) compared to the S&P 500 Index, US stocks, foreign equities and US bond markets.
The retirement savings widget shows you how much you need to save each month until the end of the calendar year to meet your retirement savings goals.
Read more about retirement savings below.
According to Personal Capital, your emergency fund is the total amount you have in your listed bank accounts, which is not nearly as useful as having a budget tier dedicated to your emergency fund. Again, we recommend using YNAB to track your emergency fund.
The Debt Payoff widget shows the progress in repaying loans for the current year.
Click on the Debt Settlement link to view a list of transactions included in the schedule.
The Banking menu contains links to Cash Flow, Budgeting, Accounts and Open Account. We have described cash flow and budgeting above. The Invoices page displays all upcoming invoices from your linked accounts.
Open Account opens a page where you can sign up for the Personal Capital Cash program, which is designed to provide you with higher interest rates than traditional banking products.
Personal Capital investment tools are what you need.
As with the Market Drivers section, Holdings show your investments in comparison to other indices such as the S&P 500.
Below the ownership chart, you will find a list of your holdings, marked with a ticker, and information on the number of shares you own, share price, day-to-day changes, and total value.
As you would expect, Balances displays the balances of each of your investment accounts for the time period you choose.
Performance shows how each of your accounts is performing in each asset class.
Below the chart is a list of your accounts and information about cash flows, income, expenses, changes over time, and the balance of each account.
Distribution shows how your investments are distributed across asset classes.
You can delve deeper into each asset class for more information on what types of investments you have in that class.
This is especially useful if you invest in index funds and want to know how they are invested.
This section displays a bar chart showing the US sectors you invest in, such as technology, industry, and healthcare.
If you have a 401K account or another investment account that does not have a stock code, you can manually specify which sectors of that account are invested in.
Personal Capital’s scheduling tools are some of its best features, in particular the retirement planner.
First, you tell the retirement professional when you want to retire. Then add your expected income events (such as retirement, social security, or property sales) and your spending goals during retirement. He will use Monte Carlo simulations to predict your chances of success.
You can create multiple scenarios with different assumptions. What if you want to retire early? How will a few years of part-time work affect your retirement? This tool will help you imagine different options for the future.
The Savings Planner will tell you if you are nearing your savings goal. It breaks down your savings into taxable, deferred, and tax-free categories.
You will also see a list of all your investment accounts and the type of each account, the amount saved last year, the amount saved this year, and the account balance.
Pension Fee Analyzer
The Pension Fee Analyzer displays information about the fees associated with your investments, to the extent that Personal Capital has access to this information. At the very least, this is an easy way to view the spending ratios for each of your funds.
Investment verification and money management
Finally, the “Investment Verification” and “Capital Management” sections are essentially just an advertisement for the services of a financial advisor Personal Capital. You can schedule a “free” call to a consultant, but be careful: once they identify you as a potential paying client, Personal Capital will relentlessly haunt you. For most users, it makes more sense to use free tools and manage their money on their own.
Best Alternative to YNAB and Mint – A Review
Best Alternative to YNAB and Mint – A Review