In the last few years, there has been a move toward using software and web-based applications to help consumers manage their finances. However, many of the tools are somewhat lacking in sophistication. Applications like might be attractive and easy to use, but they lack access to total cash flow analysis, as well as a good way to track your investments.

The reality is that you need to do more than just cut back and live frugally. If you want to build long-term wealth, you also need to look into ways to make more money, as well as invest for the long-term. One of the tools that can help you ease into investing, and learn how to better manage your cash flow is Personal Capital.

What is Personal Capital?

Personal Capital is more complete application that can help you take your money management to the next level. The company is working out some of its performance issues, but overall, this application offers some powerful tools to help you better get a handle on your total financial picture. Personal Capital can link to your accounts, automatically updating from a wide variety of accounts, including bank, credit card, and investment accounts.

It is a freemium application, which means that most of its offerings are free. However, if you want more in-depth help — including money management services — you can pay a fee for them. Most people, though, can make use of a number of free tools that are offered.

Really, it’s more about understanding cash flow, and building your wealth with the help of better investing. It goes beyond budgeting to help you really take control and manage your finances. If you are ready to integrate investments into your total cash flow picture, and if you are ready to take your finances to the next level, Personal Capital can be a great place to start.

Here is a screenshot of Personal Capital dashboard that shows your your Income, Spending, Investments, Asset Allocation, Bill Payments, and Net Worth.

personal capital dashboard

Tools Offered By Personal Capital

The best features of Personal Capital are those that help you work out your own personal strategy, and help you optimize various parts of your financial life. Here are some of the interesting tools that Personal Capital offers for free:

  • Cash flow analysis: Once you get all your information set up, you can see a cash flow analysis. This analysis lets you see how money is moving through your personal economy. It’s a great way to get a better idea of where you are at, and where you are headed if things keep on this way.
  • Investment strategy help: If you want to create your own investment strategy, Personal Capital will help you for free. You can get help building personal funds, or help formulating a complete investment strategy. If you want help executing the strategy, though, and asset management help, you will have to pay for those services.
  • Asset allocation tips: You can get free, personalized advice on how to allocate your assets. This can be helpful as you decide when it’s time to rebalance your portfolio — or even if you just want to get started with the basics of asset allocation.
  • Investment fee analysis: Personal Capital will look at your investment accounts, and analyze the fees. Then, you will receive personal recommendations for avoiding high fees and improving your real returns.
  • Tax optimization: Access to free strategies and tips for legally reducing your tax liability.

Personal Capital offers a number of other tools, both free and paid, that can help you make the move from a budgeter to a money manager. From a savings concierge service to help find the best yields (and even diversify internationally), to a stock option tracker, to basic information on how to get started as an investor, Personal Capital offers a number of resources that you can use to your advantage.

Bottom Line

Budgeting isn’t a bad thing. However, budgeting alone won’t put you ahead with your finances. If you want to truly take control, and if you are interested in achieving optimal results with your financial accounts, the advice offered — for free — from Personal Capital can help. Take your money management beyond budgeting and to the next level.