This is a list of legit alternatives to Empower, formally known as Personal Capital.
In this post, we’ll cover:
- Seven viable alternatives, categorized based on who they’re best for.
- The financial circumstances and goals for which these alternatives make sense.
- How each tool works, so you can make an informed decision going forward.
So if Empower hasn’t worked for you, give one of the options below a try.
|Best Alternative For…||Company|
|Basic budgeting:||Rocket Money|
|One-on-one financial planning:||Facet Wealth|
|As-needed financial planning:||Betterment|
|More customizable portfolios:||M1 Finance|
|Alternative retirement planning tool:||T. Rowe Price|
|Savings withdrawal calculator:||FIRECalc|
#1. Best Basic Budgeting Tool: Rocket Money
Most free budgeting tools generate revenue from selling ads and promoting financial products like credit card offers. This clutter makes for a bad user experience.
But Rocket Money makes money by selling a service: negotiating bills on your behalf (see how the pricing works in our Rocket Money review). This service is optional, so you can use Rocket Money’s budgeting tool for free.
The limitation of sticking with a free plan is that you’re only allowed to get alerts for going over budget in two categories. With the premium plan (which starts at $3 per month), you can get alerts for unlimited categories.
Empower’s budgeting tool is also ad-free, making for a great user experience. But the dashboard explains a lot about the type of user Empower is good for: you’ll find your net worth, portfolio balances, retirement savings, market reports and more.
Rocket Money’s budgeting tool is simpler, focusing on monthly cash flow and recent transactions.
So if you’re looking for a simple way to track your income and expenses, and don’t need these in-depth investing tools, Rocket Money is my suggestion.
Visit Rocket Money to learn more.
#2. Best Comprehensive Budgeting Tool: YNAB
Most people looking for a budgeting tool want something simple. Mainly, an app that allows them to keep track of income and expenses (and to make sure there are no surprises). In other words, they want something to check in on once a week to make sure everything is on track.
YNAB (short for “You Need A Budget”) offers a much more comprehensive solution for people who want more insight into their budget.
It’s the budgeting tool for those who want or need to closely monitor every dollar that comes in and goes out of their life.
That’s why I often recommend this app to people who are struggling with debt, living paycheck to paycheck, or who are highly focused on saving for a specific goal (like a down payment on a home).
There’s a learning curve to using YNAB, as the goal isn’t just to track your finances — it’s more about setting priorities and then managing your cash flow throughout the month to make sure your spending matches those priorities.
This act in itself is really the core of what good financial planning is about.
As with Rocket Money, YNAB is strictly a budgeting tool with no investment services or investment tools offered. However, unlike Rocket Money, there’s no free version — you’ll need a subscription (which starts at $11.99 per month).
If you’re looking to transform your relationship with money and gain much more control over your cash flow, I’d highly recommend giving YNAB a try.
There’s a free 34-day trial to get started.
#3. Best Alternative for Investors Who Want One-on-One Financial Planning: Facet Wealth
At 0.89% for the first $1 million you invest, Empower’s fee is on the higher side compared to most robo-advisors. One benefit of paying that fee is that in addition to the platform’s automated investing tools, you also get unlimited advice from Empower’s team of financial advisers.
If you’re looking for a similar level of one-on-one advice, along with portfolio construction, Facet Wealth is a potentially less expensive alternative.
Like Empower, Facet Wealth manages your portfolio and offers one-on-one financial advice. All the advisers you work with at Facet Wealth are fiduciaries.
Clients of Facet Wealth start by paying a flat fee for their services, which begin at $1,200 annually and increase up to $6,000 based on complexity.
Facet Wealth then constructs a portfolio based on your goals using low-cost ETFs, where you’ll also pay a small fee. For example, VOO — Vanguard’s ETF Fund that tracks the S&P 500 — has an expense ratio of 0.03%.
A flat fee vs. an annual management fee can be a pro or a con based on how much you invest. Higher net-worth investors can save money by paying a flat fee for advice, while those with smaller balances may end up paying more.
Here’s how the annual fee would work out on a million-dollar portfolio:
|Fee Structure||Annual Fee|
|Empower||0.89% management fee||$8,900|
|Facet Wealth||$1,200 flat fee + 0.05% ETF expense ratio||$1,500|
A $100,000 portfolio would have the following fee structure:
|Fee Structure||Annual Fee|
|Empower||0.89% management fee||$890|
|Facet Wealth||$1,200 flat fee + 0.05% ETF expense ratio||$1,230|
Facet Wealth doesn’t require a minimum balance to work with the company.
Related: How to get cheap or free financial planning.
#4. As-Needed Financial Planning: Betterment
With Empower, you get unlimited access to either a team of financial advisors (if you have under $200,000 in assets) or two dedicated financial advisors (if you have more than $200,000 in assets).
Betterment offers similar unlimited access to a team of CFPs for accounts with at least $100,000 in assets, for an additional 0.15% management fee. While these advisors are not dedicated, the total all-in fee for this access would be 0.40% (which includes the platform’s robo-advisor services).
The difference between Facet Wealth’s financial planning services (which we mentioned above) and Betterment’s financial planning services is that with Facet Wealth, you work with an individual CFP® to develop a financial plan from the ground up. Betterment Premium is more for those who have questions throughout the year and want to get feedback on whether they’re doing the right thing.
Betterment also offers a la carte financial planning services to cater to those who only need to speak to a professional every once in a while.
#5. Best Alternative for Investors Seeking More Investment Options: M1 Finance
A robo-advisor’s primary offering is simple: hands-off portfolio construction.
For those who want more control over their portfolio — like access to individual stocks and cryptocurrencies — a good brokerage to turn to is M1 Finance.
The platform has an automated investing aspect, which offers optimized portfolios similar to what you’d get with Empower. But you also have the ability to invest in individual equities, ETFs and crypto.
Like Empower, M1 offers access to both a traditional and Roth IRA.
Learn more in our M1 Finance review, and see the current M1 Finance promotions (which usually include a decent bonus for creating a new investment account).
#6. Best Alternative Retirement Planning Tool: T. Rowe Price
What really sets Empower’s retirement planning tool apart from many of the free options you’ll find online is that it uses real data. Specifically, you sync up your actual accounts, which then get pulled into the Empower dashboard.
With this data, along with your average income and expenses, Empower gives you a percentage of how likely you are to achieve your goals.
It’s for this reason that Empower is my favorite retirement planner.
At the same time, it does have its downsides.
First and foremost, you have to be comfortable syncing your accounts. In addition, if you have over $100,000 in your portfolio, you will get a call from Empower trying to up-sell you to their premium services.
While it doesn’t have the level of complexity that Empower offers, I like T. Rowe Price’s retirement calculator as an alternative.
There’s no sign-up required. And in the end, you get a similar projection of how well you’re on track for retirement.
While this does not automatically update throughout the year based on current account balances, it’s a great alternative if you’re looking to check in every few months and see how well you’re doing toward your retirement goal.
Click here to access the T. Rowe Price calculator.
#7. Best Alternative Savings Withdrawal Calculator: FIRECalc
If you’re looking for a savings withdrawal calculator to help you understand how long your money will last during retirement, one free tool that’s worth a look is FIRECalc.
Provide FIRECalc with your portfolio size, your annual spending and your projected years of withdrawal, and you’ll get a snapshot of how your portfolio would have performed with a “couch potato” portfolio (75% stock index funds and 25% bond funds, with a .18% fee to the fund).
The picture below shows that in 95% of scenarios, my portfolio didn’t run out of money. The best-case scenario was ending up with a balance of $4,259,606 at the end of 30 years, while the worst-case scenario was a negative balance of $300,739.
If you’re not in retirement yet, head to the “Not Retired?” tab on top and adjust your target retirement date. The calculator will then assume you won’t be making withdrawals until then.
The UX on FIRECalc isn’t nearly as good as on Empower, and there are limited options for adjusting your asset allocation. But used correctly, you can gain a lot of valuable information from this free tool.
Related reading: The best free financial independence calculators for tracking early retirement.
Empower Alternatives FAQ
Personal Capital, a popular digital wealth management company, was acquired by Empower Retirement in 2020. Empower Retirement is one of the largest retirement services providers in the United States.
In 2023, Empower Retirement decided to transition all of the former Personal Capital naming rights to the Empower brand. This means that the Personal Capital brand name will no longer be used and all products and services will now be offered under the Empower brand.
There are several free Empower alternatives to consider. On the budgeting side, one option is Rocket Money, which offers simple budgeting tools to help users track their spending and save money.
On the investment side, a free alternative is M1 Finance, which is a popular investment platform that offers commission-free trading and a wide range of investment options. With M1 Finance, users can create a custom portfolio of stocks and ETFs and automate their investments, making it a great choice for those who want to take a more hands-off approach.
There are several paid Empower alternatives that offer advanced features to help manage your finances. Simplifi by Quicken is a popular option for personal finance management, offering features such as bill tracking, investment tracking and budgeting. YNAB is another top budgeting app for those looking to save money, offering a comprehensive budgeting tool that helps users manage their spending and plan for future expenses.
Companies like Facet Wealth and Betterment offer financial planning combined with investing, with a different fee structure. Facet Wealth offers personalized financial planning services with a dedicated certified financial planner (CFP), while Betterment is an online financial advisor that offers unlimited access to CFPs for an additional 0.15% management fee for accounts over $100,000.
Final Thoughts on the Best Empower Alternatives
Empower does a lot of things very well. Looking at the free services it offers, it’s one of the best overall financial apps around.
I find their retirement calculator to be best-in-class. And I like their budgeting tool for keeping track of transactions and account balances with one snapshot; it’s not the best, but for someone who likes the investment aspect and who doesn’t want to download another budgeting app, it’s still very good.
You can learn more about all of the platform’s features in my Empower review.
The biggest downside to Empower — and the reason why so many people search for alternatives — is its high asset under management fees (AUMF). For the majority of investors, there are a lot more affordable alternatives for having an optimized portfolio along with access to a qualified financial adviser.
You also might not meet their minimum investment size of $100,000. It’s here where alternatives like Facet Wealth, Betterment and M1 Finance come into play.
So, if for whatever reason you don’t see Empower as a fit, there are plenty of alternatives to choose from.