The rise of commercial transaction technologies such as credit/debit cards, subscription services and billing autopay have revolutionized the way people spend their hard-earned money in the 21st century. Unfortunately, this convenience can lead to “set it and forget it” behaviors that make it hard to adequately keep track of one’s expenses and achieve financial goals without sticking to a personal budget.
If you’re looking to better manage your finances, there are a variety of methods available. A simple notebook or Excel spreadsheet is cost-effective but can be cumbersome to maintain. Accountants and financial advisors offer expert advice and help carry the workload, but their services come at a cost.
An increasingly popular method that can be both affordable and provide professional help is the use of budget management applications, of which Mint and Personal Capital are two of the most attractive options. But which one should you choose? Today we’re talking Personal Capital vs. Mint and providing an in-depth comparison to help you decide which is right for you.
All About Mint
Mint, founded in 2006, is one of the oldest and most respected budget management applications available. With a reported 20 million users as of 2016, it’s also certainly one of the most popular. These are the key features of Mint:
While some of these features are certainly not unique to Mint, it does offer distinct benefits. An acquisition in 2009 by Intuit, makers of the respected accounting programs Quicken and TurboTax, has led to improvements and greater usability. In addition, it has provided for cross-compatibility between Mint and Intuit’s other applications. Mint also allows the user to create their own budgetary categories and spending limits, features that aren’t always available in more strict finance programs.
Ready for the best part? Mint is completely 100 percent free to use and offers a highly rated smartphone application that was one of the first to market in the industry. Although features such as these have led many to dub Mint the budgeting app of choice for millennials, the application easily appeals to users of any generation.
All About Personal Capital
Personal Capital is another budget management program that has been on the scene for quite some time, having originally hit the market in 2011. While Personal Capital does include some of the same basic budgeting features as Mint, its primary focus is more centered around tracking investments and long-term financial targets, primarily through features such as these:
Personal Capital is legally registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as an investment advisor, allowing it to provide legal long-term financial services that can be an attractive feature not included in many other applications. This status also means that Personal Capital can help you to manage your assets if desired.
Like Mint, Personal Capital’s software and phone application are completely free and are a great way to personally monitor smaller accounts and limited assets. Personal Capital’s advisory and money management services, on the other hand, do require fees but are highly recommended for those users with larger portfolios (generally $100,000 or more).
The Fee Calculator
An oft forgotten yet costly component of financial investing is the fees, especially hidden ones. One of Personal Capital’s most attractive features is a dashboard, known as the Fee Calculator, which provides in-depth analysis regarding the impact of fees in relation to gains, including percentage of earnings lost.
Now that you’ve got a basic understanding of the features Mint and Personal Capital can provide, it’s time to compare and contrast. We’ve assessed the applications in several key categories that should help with a final decision on which software to choose.
Billing Alerts and Payments
Despite their differences, Mint and Personal Capital do have several similarities. While the shared nature of these features won’t help you decide which to choose, they are nonetheless important and worthy of mention if you’re considering the use of any budget management software:
Also, as previously mentioned, both programs offer highly rated smartphone applications that are available for free.
Our Final Thoughts
Both Mint and Personal Capital are highly respected financial planning applications but are geared towards differing monetary needs. If you’re looking for simple budgeting software to help you set and maintain monthly spending limits and ensure that bills are being paid on time without the need for professional assistance, Mint could be the perfect program for you. If your financial needs are more advanced and include investment portfolios, Personal Capital can help you achieve your long-term financial dreams. Ultimately, it all depends on your own personal financial needs.