Personal Capital Review 2020: An Online Reputation Scam and Terrible Service
Personal Capital is an online wealth advisory firm. They are widely popular because of their free financial tools. But apart from their financial tools, they also offer investment management services to high-net-worth individuals. They have many reviews online and have many customers.
Still, the question is, “Is Personal Capital legitimate?”
While they seem great from a distance the reality is much worse. Many reputation scams are going on these days such as this one, so when I looked into Personal Capital I was really intrigued. I couldn’t find any Personal Capital negative reviews either, so it puzzled me further.
I really like this website so I thought I should share my thoughts on Personal Capital. Here’s the summary for anyone who doesn’t want to read this entire review:
Most of Personal Capital’s positive reviews are from affiliates. In reality, they have a ton of complaints from users which they don’t address. They are UNRELIABLE and UNTRUSTWORTHY
Why You Can’t Trust Positive Personal Capital Reviews:
When you looked up Personal Capital, you must’ve seen a ton of articles that rate it 9/10 or 4.9/5. Honestly, I was quite intrigued to see so many positive reviews too. But a common theme among all of those reviews is that they are not from the customers of Personal Capital.
All of the positive Personal Capital reviews you see online are from bloggers, not from actual clients
I wanted to see if these were reliable or not. And as it turns out, none of the positive reviews are reliable.
Because all of the reviewers are affiliates of Personal Capital. An affiliate is someone who earns compensation if you buy the product through their referral. Affiliate marketing is a huge industry and many blogs are solely dependent on it for generating their revenue.
Here’s how affiliate marketing works:
Suppose you’re an affiliate for XYZ chocolate and you write a blog about chocolates. On your website, you write an article on that product and add a link to the buying page of XYZ chocolate so a person can click on it and buy it directly from there.
The link you’ve added is exclusive to you and when someone buys the chocolate after clicking on that link, you get compensation from XYZ chocolate’s company.
It’s like a referral network but with links.
All of the positive reviews on Personal Capital are from its affiliates. That’s why you can’t trust their ratings.
Here, the review gives Personal Capital a nearly-perfect rating of 4 out of 5 stars. They praise the investment strategy of Personal Capital, and how the tools are amazing. To appear genuine, they have kept the rating one-star below perfection and have cited the high fees to be the reason behind their deduction.
Throughout the article, you’ll find plenty of links that tell you to ‘Open Account” on Personal Capital’s website.
All of these links are affiliate links. In other words, this website will get paid if you set up an account after clicking on those links.
Here’s another review site which gives Personal Capital a fantastic 9.5/10 rating. They have also used affiliate links in their articles.
They have added an ‘Advertiser Disclosure’ at the top-right corner of their website to let you know that they get paid from these links.
This is the last site I’m going to show you. The same stuff is going on here. They have given Personal Capital a great rating and have written many praises for its tools and services.
But, they claim that all of these opinions are free from the fact that they get paid for recommending you the product.
There are many others and they all follow this approach. They are affiliates of Personal capital, and get compensated if you use one of their affiliate links to open an account with this provider.
However, they all claim that their opinions are independent.
If Someone Gets Paid From Recommending You a Product, Can You Trust Their Review?
How can you trust the authenticity and honesty of these reviews I discussed above? If they will earn money from their referral links, why would they say bad things about Personal Capital. Isn’t it a huge conflict of interest?
They all say that their review has nothing to do with the fact that they get paid for it, but that’s just to avoid any legal issues. It’s in fine print and 99% of readers won’t even read that.
How many times does a person read the Terms & Conditions of a company before clicking ‘I Accept’? Not many, I guess.
These websites know this and they take advantage of this tendency. Here are some more reasons why I don’t think these reviews are reliable:
None of these reviewers have used Personal Capital’s services before writing their articles nor have they checked any user reviews
If they would’ve even mentioned any user reviews of Personal Capital, I could’ve trusted their opinions. But none of them haven’t. They have simply re-written what Personal Capital says about their services on their website.
All in all, Personal Capital only has positive reviews from their affiliates. That’s why you can’t trust those reviews
Numerous Complaints Against Personal Capital
When you’d check the user reviews of Personal Capital, you’d see that there are many complaints against their services. All of those 4 out of 5 and 9/10 reviews create the illusion that there’s nothing wrong with Personal Capital.
The truth is the opposite. After going through the user reviews of Personal Capital, I saw that they harass their users with spam, provide below-par advisory services, and are rated 1 out of 5 on average.
Here are some user reviews of Personal Capital:
THEY made money, not me
According to this review, after availing Personal Capital’s services for a year, this person didn’t get any good returns. Moreover, all the praises those articles laid out for the personalized advisory services seem fake because this person only had the advisor’s email, and no other contact method.
This person gave personal capital 2 out of 5 stars because the app and customer service was good. However, this nice person has also complained about the wealth managers.
Apparently, Personal Capital’s advisors gave them 9.6% lower returns than the account they had managed themselves. Also, Personal Capital sold their stocks and mutual funds without consulting them. I don’t think that’s a sign of a good financial advisor.
I did better managing my portfolio myself
This person lost money when they hired Personal Capital to manage their account. They lost around $600 within a year, which was around 7-8% of their total account’s balance. This person had grown their portfolio substantially when they managed it themselves and when they hired Personal Capital, they lost money.
What Do These Reviews Indicate?
There were many other complaints against Personal Capital and its financial advisors. Another common theme among people was of multiple calls and emails they got after using Personal Capital’s free tools. I didn’t share them here otherwise this article would turn into a book.
It’s obvious that Personal Capital isn’t that great. It’s actually horrible. Using their tools exposes you to the risk of getting calls from their salespeople. On the other hand, if you get their advisory services, you face the risk of losing your hard-earned money. They are not worth it.
In the section below, I have discussed the basic details about Personal Capital so if you haven’t heard of them, you don’t have to go someplace else to read about them.
What is Personal Capital? Everything You Need to Know
Personal Capital is an online financial services company based in Redwood Shores, CA. They also have offices in Dallas, TX, Denver, CO, and Atlanta, GA, and in San Francisco, CA. These people are popular for their online tools ranging from a retirement planner to a budgeting app.
Apart from apps, Personal Capital has a team of financial advisors too. Only those who opt for their wealth management get access to these advisors.
You need a minimum investment of $100,000 to be eligible for their investment services. While their advisory services are notorious in the market, their tools are quite popular.
Personal Capital’s Tools:
All of their tools are present under their app. It has multiple features such as a net worth calculator which shows you your net worth. In other words, if you’d sell all of your assets and pay off the liabilities, the net amount you’re left with would be your net worth.
Some other features include Savings Planner, Retirement Planner, Fee Analyzer, and others.
The Savings Planner is a tool that helps you set goals for saving money according to your income and expenses. It also gives you projections for how much you’re saving for your retirement.
Cash Flow is another tool that lets you compare the inflow and outflow of your funds.
Education planner is a tool that tells you how much you should save to cover any education-related costs in the future.
Many other tools are available on their platform. The only problem with using them is that you’ll have to provide your contact details to them, which exposes you to their aggressive salespeople. As you would’ve noticed in the reviews I discussed above, many people complain of the spammy promotions Personal Capital does after they start using their free tools.
Using Personal Capital’s free tools exposes you to their aggressive sales staff which is a huge headache
Personal Capital Wealth Management:
Probably the worst aspect of Personal Capital is their investment services. While I liked the tools, the financial advisory services are the main pain point of this company. After seeing the numerous complaints against them, I don’t recommend signing up for their financial advisory services.
Their Minimum Investment
The minimum investment required to get their financial services is $100,000. I believe it’s quite high and restricts many people from accessing this facility. It was the first sign of Personal Capital’s greed.
For a financial services company like Personal Capital, it seemed quite a bit off to keep such a high minimum investment. Why would they limit the number of people who can avail their advisory services? They certainly have the necessary resources.
After I saw the scam they are running through their fake reviews, I realised what’s really going on.
The $100,000 minimum investment limits the access of Personal Capital’s advisory services to many promising clients
While most of their apps and tools are available for free, their advisory services aren’t. And they are the primary reason why I’m even writing this review. The fee structure of Personal Capital is quite greedy when you compare it with other financial advisors.
Personal Capital charges 0.89% management fee for account management if you have lower than one million in your account. Then, it charges 0.79% upto $3 million, 0.69% upto $5 million, 0.59% upto $10 million, and for accounts with investments over $10 million they charge 0.49%.
If you’re a person who’s willing to invest more than $100,000, then Personal Capital’s fee structure would disappoint you. It is excessive and shows that these people are a little greedy.
Clients with less than $1 million in investment have to pay 0/89% of the managed assets. When you compare it with other online financial advisors you’d see that this number is substantially high. For example, Vanguard is another prominent online finance advisor and it charges only 0.30% for clients with investments up to $5 million.
Personal Capital makes pretty big claims about its investment strategy. They say they offer higher returns with lower risks and even outperforms the S&P 500 index. Any wise investor might think these are some ‘too good to be true’ claims.
They claim that they use individual securities and that’s why they can deliver on these claims. However, after seeing the complaints against their advisory services, I don’t think their strategy is any good.
Personal Capital emphasizes on using Tactical weighing which is quite popular among hedge fund managers and investors. Tactical weighing looks stellar on paper and that’s why anyone might be convinced into believing that Personal Capital’s wealth management services are worth the price even though that might not be the case.
Personal Capital’s advisory services are divided into the following sections:
The lowest tier is Investment Services where they provide financial and retirement planning services. You need to have a minimum of $100,000 to $200,000 worth of investment assets.
Personal Capital claims to offer dedicated specialist support in this tier. You need to have $200,000 to $1 million worth of investment assets to enroll in this tier.
The highest tier is named Private Client and they claim to build customized investment plans for you. You need to have more than $1 million worth of investment assets to be eligible for this section.
Personal Capital Review 2020: Conclusion
Personal Capital is running a reputation scam. Most of the prominent blogs of this niche are their affiliates so they can’t share objective reviews, even though they claim to be.
Through affiliates, Personal Capital has built a fake reputation of being near-perfect. They are not an online wealth management company, no, they are an online fake reputation scam.
All of the users’ Personal Capital reviews indicate that this broker doesn’t provide good services.
Why would a company with great products rely on affiliates for getting positive reviews? Clearly they are doing something fishy. Their intentions don’t seem good. I wouldn’t recommend availing their services.
Personal Capital is running a reputation scam and they are not worth trying. Avoid them.
Personal Capital's users get spam calls from their salesmen, lose money because of their advisors, and get zero returns. All of Personal Capital's positive reviews are from affiliates! AVOID THESE PEOPLE!!
- Users praise their free tools
- Spam users of free tools through emails and phone calls
- Poor advisory services
- Hiding negative reviews through affiliate-network
- Running a review scam