Anybody use Personal Capital to advise them?

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petestan
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2015 7:18 pm

Anybody use Personal Capital to advise them?

Post by petestan » Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:36 pm

I was wondering if anyone uses Personal Capital to advise them or heard anything good or bad about them. I use their free tracking services and got a call to set up a phone discussion. I decided to hear their pitch and they use tactical weighting and tax loss harvesting and invest primarily in individual securities.

I am 90% in mutual funds (most in Vanguard), and they would gradually sell them off. For this, I would get 2 dedicated advisers and would be charged .079 percent of assets which would cost me anywhere from $8,000-$12,000/year depending how much I would put in.

At this point I am taking care of my own investments, but was just looking for feedback, both pro and con.

Thanks

adman_c
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2016 8:35 pm

Re: Anybody use Personal Capital to advise them?

Post by adman_c » Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:41 pm

From another Personal Capital thread I posted in:
I have nothing particularly bad to say about PC, but I don't think they're well-suited to Bogleheads. If you (or your SO/family) want the "security" of having an actual human financial planner, they are certainly less awful than most AUM shops. Their investment plan is fine, but I doubt it would beat a 3-fund portfolio over time, and certainly not by enough to justify paying the AUM fee forever.

I had my assets managed there for about 18 months, including a sizable taxable account. I had transferred to PC from Morgan Stanley, where I was getting absolutely fleeced: 1.5% AUM, plus high expense-ratio funds. So PC's 0.89% with no garbage funds seemed like a bargain in comparison. Of course, after a couple of months with PC I discovered Bogleheads, and I realized that even 0.89% was too expensive. I recently moved the bulk of my funds out of PC and into a low-cost brokerage, where I'll slowly rebalance away from the individual stocks and into broad market ETFs. It'll happen pretty slowly unless and until we have a pretty significant correction, however. With the rise in the market over the last 12 months, I have a lot of unrealized gains. The individual stock portion of the portfolio does a decent job of tracking the broader market since it's so many stocks (just under 100), so for now, I'm holding my existing positions while adding new money to VTI/VXUS/BND.
Let me know if you have any specific questions about the service that I can answer for you.

-Adam

bloom2708
Posts: 2912
Joined: Wed Apr 02, 2014 2:08 pm
Location: Fargo, ND

Re: Anybody use Personal Capital to advise them?

Post by bloom2708 » Wed Dec 06, 2017 3:52 pm

I would pass. You are not their target customer.

You are DIY and already have low cost broad based Vanguard funds.

Stay the course. I use the Personal Capital app/website. I am happy with the cost ($0) and features. That is as far as I will go.
"We are here not to please but to provoke thoughtfulness" Unknown Boglehead

Gary Guss
Posts: 90
Joined: Sun Jan 05, 2014 11:44 am

Re: Anybody use Personal Capital to advise them?

Post by Gary Guss » Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:02 pm

I used their app for awhile and also heard their pitch. I decided to keep doing what I've been doing by rolling my own. They call at least once a quarter to try to get me to sign up and it's been about 5 years since the original pitch. Be aware if you sign up for them to look at your portfolio, that you will be in their tickle file forever.

petestan
Posts: 16
Joined: Thu Nov 19, 2015 7:18 pm

Re: Anybody use Personal Capital to advise them?

Post by petestan » Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:26 pm

Everyone, thank you for your feedback, I appreciate it and I feel that they are expensive.

Adam,

Thanks for telling about your experience. I was thinking that if I went with them and was placed in mostly stocks and then wanted to get out, I would have to slowly sell to avoid a huge tax bill with gains and since I am 60, that's not something that is appealing.

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PhysicianOnFIRE
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Location: Up North
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Re: Anybody use Personal Capital to advise them?

Post by PhysicianOnFIRE » Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:35 pm

Gary Guss wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:02 pm
I used their app for awhile and also heard their pitch. I decided to keep doing what I've been doing by rolling my own. They call at least once a quarter to try to get me to sign up and it's been about 5 years since the original pitch. Be aware if you sign up for them to look at your portfolio, that you will be in their tickle file forever.
I use the free portfolio tracking service, but not the AUM management service.

Personally, I don't think I've taken one phone call from them since I sat trough the phone call / online presentation where they presented their strategy and recommendations. Maybe an occasional e-mail.

I think Vanguard hounded me even more when I became a Flagship member. The rep called repeatedly until I took the time to speak with him and let him know I was happy with Vanguard's services.

:beer
-PoF

adman_c
Posts: 12
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2016 8:35 pm

Re: Anybody use Personal Capital to advise them?

Post by adman_c » Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:24 am

petestan wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 4:26 pm
Everyone, thank you for your feedback, I appreciate it and I feel that they are expensive.

Adam,

Thanks for telling about your experience. I was thinking that if I went with them and was placed in mostly stocks and then wanted to get out, I would have to slowly sell to avoid a huge tax bill with gains and since I am 60, that's not something that is appealing.
Actually, taking a look at my gains/losses in anticipation of year-end tax prep, I will contradict what I said above, and I will say one (pretty significant) bad thing about the managed portfolio at Personal Capital. It generates waaaaay more taxable events than a good tax-efficient ETF like VTI (or the equivalent mutual fund) would. Because their strategy is to equally weight market sectors instead of simply cap weighting, they end up periodically selling your big winners to "rebalance" between sectors. They would probably say that they can make up for these tax gains by tax-loss harvesting, but during the past 12-18 months of this bull market there really haven't been that many opportunities. As such, even without unwinding my ~100 stock portfolio, I've seen low 5 figures in realized capital gains the past two years in a ~400k taxable account, not counting the typically-expected dividends.

-Adam

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Sandtrap
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Location: Hawaii😀 Northern AZ.😳

Re: Anybody use Personal Capital to advise them?

Post by Sandtrap » Thu Dec 07, 2017 11:27 am

Vanguard VPAS
j :D

gluskap
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Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2017 2:07 pm

Re: Anybody use Personal Capital to advise them?

Post by gluskap » Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:27 pm

I heard their market pitch too and was tempted thinking that maybe they knew something I didn't. But upon reading more about investment here at this website I've realized that simple is better. I don't need to eek out the best performance. Just buying VTSAX and trying to minimize expenses and taxes is enough. I don't like the added complexity of their model or the increase in capital gains taxes.

brad.clarkston
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2014 8:31 pm
Location: Kansas City, MO

Re: Anybody use Personal Capital to advise them?

Post by brad.clarkston » Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:35 pm

Ditto to rest, listened to the pitch but didn't bite.
Love the free stuff tho can't recommend them enough.

KSActuary
Posts: 172
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 10:53 pm

Re: Anybody use Personal Capital to advise them?

Post by KSActuary » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:38 am

PC is just another in a long line of robo advisors hiding behind a free financial platform. As many have said, you can do just as well at Vanguard.

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