Managing money properly is an important life skill. While it can feel overwhelming trying to keep track of all of the money that comes and goes on a daily basis, modern technology can make the job a little easier.
There are plenty of software tools available these days – many of them free to use – that can help you monitor your financial life more accurately than ever before.
One of the most popular personal finance apps is Personal Capital. If you have been researching options to work on your financial organization and planning, Personal Capital is likely one you have found.
What is Personal Capital?
As mentioned quickly above, Personal Capital is a personal finance and wealth management app that has a prominent place in the market. In fact, calling it an ‘app’ is selling short the overall power of this platform.
Money management, long-term financial planning, and insight from financial advisors are all part of what you can experience with Personal Capital. Whether you are trying to get on track for a timely and comfortable retirement, or you just want to monitor your net worth to make sure you aren’t spending more than you earn, Personal Capital has tools suited for those needs.
One of the best things about using Personal Capital is the suite of free tools you can access. Even if you don’t spend any money at all with this platform, you can still benefit from the tools they offer. You can easily connect all of your various accounts so you can see the complete financial picture for your whole life right on one dashboard. The interface is clean, professional, and easy to use.
Personal Capital is particularly strong for those who are interested in investing, or who are already actively investing. You can display your portfolio and look for ways to adjust your strategy. At the same time, if you aren’t an investor and don’t plan to be, this part of the platform may not appeal to you in any meaningful way.
In all, Personal Capital is a well-rounded tool that makes it easy to assess your financial health, track progress, and set goals for the future. This platform is extremely popular for a reason, and many individuals and families will find it to be right for their needs.
Best Personal Capital Alternatives
As you can see, Personal Capital has a lot to offer. Yet, it might not be the right pick for you, depending on what you are hoping to accomplish. Below, in no particular order, I have listed eight of my favorite Personal Capital alternatives. Check out these alternatives to see what makes them different and why they may be a contender for your business.
Related: M1 Finance vs Stash
You Need a Budget
The plainly named You Need a Budget is a set of apps that can help you gain control over your financial life. Where Personal Capital is marketed to those with their eye on the big picture of investing and retirement, You Need a Budget has a different focus. With these apps, you can simplify the process of budgeting to work toward eliminating debt, reducing financial stress, and making sure things add up properly at the end of the month. You can use You Need a Budget virtually anywhere you happen to be digitally, including on the web, on iPhone, Android, iPad, and even Apple Watch.
It is budgeting that is the core feature of these apps, and the Four Rules that this budgeting software uses to keep you on track. It’s easy to share information with your partner, monitor your progress toward goals, and view your data in handy reports. You Need a Budget may be the perfect choice for someone who has long understood that they needed to start a budget, but they just haven’t done it. If that sounds like you, check out these apps and what they can do for your financial well-being.
Mint is a service from Intuit that aims to simplify your financial tracking and budgeting process. Similar to You Need a Budget in terms of its focus on tracking your budget and helping support good decisions, Mint can connect all of your accounts, so everything stays updated automatically. Unlike You Need a Budget, Mint is a free service, so that point alone will be appealing for those who are already on a tight budget each month.
Whether or not Mint is a good fit for your needs depends on what you want out of a personal finance app. The biggest selling point here is convenience – once you connect all of your accounts to your Mint account, you can just log in to the app and check out how everything looks. The app will even automatically categorize your transactions, making the act of tracking performance on a custom budget goal as simple as could be.
Since Mint is a free service and getting started is as easy as downloading the app via the App Store or Google Play, there isn’t much standing in your way of giving this a try. You can be up and running with Mint in a matter of moments, and you can test it out from there to see if it will be right for your needs over the long run.
Tiller Money offers an interesting take on the process of tracking personal financial transactions. Rather than operating as a stand-alone app, Tiller Money is a service that feeds information for your financial institutions to existing spreadsheets. With the data passed from your financial accounts directly to your spreadsheets, you won’t have to manually update those sheets any longer. This could be a huge timesaver and can eliminate the possibility of data entry errors when you copy information from one place to the next.
This is a cool service, to be sure, but it is not for everyone. The obvious hurdle here is that you will need to have spreadsheets in place that you use for your financial tracking, or you will need to create those sheets. If you are a total newbie to the world of personal finance and you aren’t comfortable with spreadsheets, Tiller Money is not going to be right for you.
With that said, if you already keep track of your finances and would like to streamline your process, Tiller Money is certainly worth consideration. At just $79 per year after a free trial, this is an affordable service that stands to save you significant time month after month. And, since the service works with both Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets, it should be simple to integrate it into your existing process. The free trial for this service lasts 30 days, so you will have plenty of time to test out how it works before making a payment.
The stated goal of Savology is to make financial planning easier than ever. Rather than simply providing an app that you can download and do as you will from there, Savology takes a more nuanced, personal approach. It all starts with a survey that can be completed in only a few minutes of your time. Based on the answers you provide in the survey, a customized financial plan will be provided. This plan will include action items for you to consider, as well as planning modules. You can keep coming back to this plan time and again to review how you are doing, make changes, and continue to strive for various financial goals.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about using Savology is that it’s free. There are no premium tiers or packages available with this service – it’s free for anyone to use. If you are interested in getting some helpful financial planning advice without incurring the expense of paying for an in-person consultation with a planner, this could be a nice balance. You won’t use Savology to track the ins and outs of your daily spending like you can do with some of the other tools, but this is a useful big picture platform to help you bring a healthy financial outlook into focus.
Managing your money properly is the name of the game at Betterment. While the same could be said in some sense for all of the other options on our list, Betterment has its own approach. Sure, you will still answer some questions here like you do with other apps, and you can also sync your other accounts to automatically bring in accurate data. However, you can also access money with Betterment, using their Checking account service. The Checking accounts have no monthly account fees, withdrawal fees, or maintenance fees, and ATM fees are reimbursed.
You can also use Betterment to invest your money in a variety of places. Building a diversified portfolio is something that is on many people’s to-do list for financial planning, but it’s not always easy to execute that plan. Using Betterment is one way to get recommendations on how to craft a portfolio that will lead you to your goals.
The draw of Betterment is the suite of services that it offers all in one place. No matter what kind of financial goals you have in mind, you can work toward them with the help of Betterment and its various services. This is likely not the right tool if you want nothing more than a simple budgeting app, but it’s worth a closer look if you would like to leverage some of the powerful tools they have available.
If you are currently using a collection of apps to manage your financial life, Wealthfront offers an opportunity to bring that all together in a single place. This is not the only option for such a consolidation and organization of your financial picture, but it is a good choice that also comes with some other powerful features.
For starters, if you want to use Wealthfront as your bank on a day-to-day basis, you can open a Wealthfront Cash Account with a debit card and other perks (no account fees, bill pay, etc.). You can also use Wealthfront to set up an investing account with a personalized portfolio of index funds. Going in another direction that is not usually seen with the other companies on our list, you can also seek a line of credit from Wealthfront. This might not be your primary motivation for using the platform, but it is a nice perk to have available should the need arise.
If you like the collection of tools and services offered by Betterment, you will want to take some time to consider Wealthfront, as well. There is a lot that you can do with these powerful platforms, so take your time to review the features of each and see if either one is the right choice to work toward your upcoming financial goals.
Simplifi by Quicken
With this entry in our list, we get back to the theme of financial tracking tools along the lines of You Need a Budget and Mint. This one comes from Quicken, so it has a large institution behind it, and one with a known presence in the financial management software space. If you are drawn to the idea of seeing everything about your financial life in a single place, this is another app that can deliver that experience.
You’ll find that this app – which also offers website access to your account – includes many of the same features that are present with other popular options. With your accounts linked up, you will be able to see balances, transactions, and much more all in one place. You can create your own spending plan to stay on track, and you can set goals within the app, as well.
Pricing for Simplifi is very reasonable, but it is a premium product, and it does not offer an ongoing free version. You can use the tool for free for 30 days to test it out. After that, you will need to pay $3.99 per month, or $29.99 per year. With the ability to try it out for 30 days and the modest monthly price if you decide to stay, this is yet another tool that is worthy of your attention.
The last entry in our list of Personal Capital alternatives is Pocketsmith. This is another personal finance software contender that promises to save you time while presenting all of your financial information in one handy location. As with other platforms, you can connect your various accounts here and just login to one account to check out account activity, balances, etc.
It is the flexibility of this tool that may cause you to choose it over the many competitors. You can use the software for cash flow forecasting, what-if scenarios, budgeting, and even tracking accounts in various currencies. The powerful potential of this software is not going to be needed for all users, but those who value flexibility may be drawn to Pocketsmith.
In terms of pricing, there is a free tier of Pocketsmith available. You will not get all of the features at this level, meaning you will have to manually import data. Upgrading to the Premium tier for $9.95 (or less when paid annually) gives you access to automatic bank feeds, automatic importing of your transactions, and unlimited budgets. There is a Super tier available as well for those with particularly significant financial planning and budgeting needs.
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Final Thoughts on the Best Personal Capital Alternatives
It is your personal use case that should determine which of the financial management software tools is going to be best for you. Do you like to get deep into the nitty-gritty of your finances month after month, or do you just want a big picture view of how you are doing? Also, do you want to bring in a financial advisor to help you make decisions, and how much are you willing to pay for those services?
There is no one right answer for every customer, which is why so many of these products are on the market. Some of the platforms do little more than track your transactions and allow you to make budgets, while others have full-fledged banking tools with debit cards, investment accounts, and more.
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