One of my married life resolutions is to do a better job of organizing and automating our finances. I’ve been using Mint for the past few years along with my net worth spreadsheet but now that I’ve got two people to worry about I wanted to develop a more efficient way to keep track of everything.
In steps Personal Capital. I’ve posted a couple reader testimonials about PC but it wasn’t until I met a couple of the guys who worked at the company during FinCon that it really peaked my interest. They also hosted a good happy hour during the conference so that helped 🙂
But where Mint fails and PC shines is the wide array of fringe benefits. The two services essentially do the same thing but PC has got a much sleeker interface, offers a ton of helpful features and I find it way easier to navigate than Mint. There are definitely a few quirks and areas for improvement which I’ll highlight below, but overall it is a MUCH superior product. I’ve pretty much stopped using Mint at this point and now exclusively use Personal Capital.
That Start-Up Feel
One of the coolest parts about PC is that it’s a successful and growing start-up (you don’t see too many of those in the finance niche). What that means for consumers is that they are less concerned with making money (for now) and more focused on offering an awesome product by catering it exactly towards your needs. I was pretty surprised when I got a phone call from Jacob at Personal Capital and he asked me how I was liking the service and if I had any feedback for them a couple weeks after signing up.
From a blogger point of view, it’s very easy for me to promote a product that will be of huge value to my readers though. And in the interest of full disclosure, I do receive a generous referral bonus for every user that I sign up who has over $100,000 in aggregate account balances. But remember, Personal Capital is 100% free so if you haven’t signed up yet and would like to support the site, please do so today. They do offer advisory services for a cost but there are a wide array of tools that are completely free!
Setting Up Your Accounts
Importing all of your data is pretty straightforward and I was able to take care of everything in less than an hour. So unless you have 35 credit cards, multiple checking/savings accounts and various retirement accounts like I do, it should take a lot less time! The only account I had trouble inputting was my Treasury Direct account (which holds my I bonds) but that’s more a function of TD’s weird verification process than anything. I don’t even check this account anymore because it’s such a hassle to log on.
If you remember, one of the motivating factors for me signing up with Personal Capital was to streamline our finances: so I added all of my wife’s and my accounts under the same logon. I am really big on efficiency and reducing the time I spend on tasks like this so I thought it made sense to combine our accounts into one (although, I’m not gonna lie, it was painful to add her (growing) student loans).
This is one area where PC has a lot of room for improvement though.
You can manually change the title of certain accounts to reflect a different account holder but that’s a huge PITA. I did it, but I’m hoping that PC will add a function in the future that allows you to associate each new account with a user like AwardWallet (a great service for managing all of your loyalty programs) does.
Managing 30 Credit Cards
The other thing that I didn’t like that probably only applies to me is that it’s very difficult to edit multiple accounts. As you guys know, I have a lot of credit cards so it’s a pain if I have to do anything individually. For whatever reason, my Chase personal accounts are under one logon but my Chase business accounts are under a separate logon (but they also include personal). Not knowing this, I added my Chase personal account and then my Chase business account and it created duplicate personal accounts. There was no way to edit all of the accounts for that second logon or even multiples so I had to individually remove the second set of personal accounts.
I’m still getting used to PC and playing around with all of the features but so far I really like what I see. I am hoping that they add some more customization options but I’m also a lot pickier than most people since I have some weird financial shenanigans going on.
Completely unrelated to their actual product, I’ve also found everyone that I’ve interacted with at the company to be very pleasant. They seem to have the right attitude and they’re easily a business that I can support and promote. They haven’t quite made it to Amazon and Amex customer support levels yet, but they are definitely up there. One of the cool things about working with a start-up is that they don’t run like more traditional companies. I’m not sure how to describe it other than they have that “start-up feel”. You’ll have to try out their service and maybe you can explain it better than I can.
In my next article, I’ll detail how the personal complimentary financial consultation works. If you haven’t realized it by now, Personal Capital offers a ton of services beyond just traditional budgeting and tracking your credit card purchases. If you’d like to sign up, please use my referral link and I’ll receive a small commission if you have over $100,000 in aggregate accounts.
Track All Your Accounts With Personal CapitalPersonal Capital lets you see all of your accounts in one convenient place. Sign up now for free.
-Harry @ PF Pro