Alternatives to Personal Capital are not in short supply.
Personal Capital’s main function is as an account aggregator.
You sign up, link your financial accounts, and get to see all your financial accounts in one place.
In one dashboard, you get to look at recent expenses, cash flow, and investments.
If used right, aggregating your accounts is very useful and saves a lot of time.
But, taking a dive deep, are the other alternatives out there that work better?
Let’s dive in…
Personal Capital Alternatives
Where Personal Capital stands out is its ability to keep track of your investments and net worth.
This is very important for me.
I get one dashboard with:
- My IRA
- Spouses IRA
- My 401(k)
- Brokerage Account
- Liquid Cash
For you, this feature may not matter.
Where Personal Capital lacks is in its ability to track and manage expenses.
It has a nice cash flow feature, but, I would rank it’s ability to manage expenses lower than other apps.
Personal Capital Competitors
Personal Capital has its share of competitors. Each competitor then has different features and benefits.
Each of the three alternatives I’ve used and would recommend to friends.
It’s your financial situation that will determine what financial app is best for you.
Once you know what’s important to you, choose the app that’s going to allow you to reach your goals.
Alternative # 1 – Mint
Ideal for someone with not a big investment portfolio, who wants to see where their money is going.
Mint.com is a free app that makes money through recommendations. For example, it may recommend a certain credit card, based on whether you carry a balance.
Mint stands out in its ability to track every transaction, whether an income or expense.
From its dashboard, Mint allows you to see:
- Alerts – Alerts can be anything from upcoming bills due, large transactions, or unusual spending.
- Total Cash, Credit, and Investments – See how much total cash on hand, debt, and the value of your investment portfolio.
- Bills – A reminder of upcoming bills due
- Budget – A status bar of your current budget
- Cash Flow – A breakdown of what you spent vs. made this month
- Spending Breakdown – A pie chart featuring your spending categories
For budgeting and managing expenses, I’d rank Mint above Personal Capital. It’s dashboard and set of features are much more user friendly.
Alternative # 2 – YNAB (You Need A Budget)
Ideal for those whose main goal is to lower your expenses
The one area where Mint.com lacks is changing your behavior.
Yes, you get to see where your money is going with Mint. Mint allows you to keep budgets and gives you alerts when you’re nearing your budget.
But, alerts and actually changing behavior are two different things.
This is where a tool like YNAB or You Need A Budget is useful.
At $6.99 a month, YNAB is a paid app.
What makes YNAB so unique is in its ability to lower your expenses.
With YNAB you use a concept call zero-based budgeting. This is where every dollar has a name and a place.
Every month, your income must expenses must equal zero. So, if money is leftover at the end of the month, it’s still get allocated towards a budgeting category.
For example, you make $5,000 a month and spend $4,500. You then put this extra $500 towards your highest priority financial goal, such as paying off debt.
The concept is powerful because you must keep track of every dollar. If you have $5,000, you must track exactly where $5,000 goes. This allows you to uncover a lot of expenses you didn’t even know existed.
The downside of YNAB is it takes some getting used to. YNAB isn’t a passive app that you’ll check in with on occasion to see how things are doing.
There’s work involved on your end. So it’s up to you to see if the work is worth the effort.
Alternative # 3 – Nothing
Famous management guru Peter Drucker once said, “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”
A question worth asking is whether you should use an account aggregator in the first place.
If your monthly expenses are consistent. If you have a passive investment strategy. If you’re not trying to lower expenses. Then, you’re likely not to benefit from using a financial aggregator.
Keeping track of your net worth on a quarterly or yearly basis may be all that you need.
The goal of a financial aggregator is to help improve your financial decision making. For some people, keeping a closer eye on their financial situation adds more stress and decreases their ability to make good decisions.
Personal Capital Alternatives: Summary
Personal Capital is a very useful tool for keeping track of your investments and money across multiple accounts.
Mint does a great job of tracking expenses and seeing how close you are to certain expense limits.
YNAB is a tool that aims to change your spending behavior.
Decide what’s important to you, then go with the app that gives you the necessary tools.
Personal Capital and Mint are free. YNAB offers a free-trial.
So, it doesn’t hurt to try out one today.