Anybody use Personal Capital to advise them?

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petestan
Posts: 20
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: 16
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: 4451
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: 95
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: 20
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
Posts: 389
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2016 3:46 pm
Location: Up North

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: 16
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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Joined: Sat Nov 26, 2016 6:32 pm
Location: Hawaii😀 Northern AZ.😳 Retired.

Re: Anybody use Personal Capital to advise them?

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

Vanguard VPAS
j :D

gluskap
Posts: 45
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: 588
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: 379
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.

StlJohn
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:02 pm

Re: Anybody use Personal Capital to advise them?

Post by StlJohn » Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:15 pm

Here is my experience with Personal Capital over the last 14 months. My greatest concern is their apparent failure to protect my login credentials. In short:

> On 2016-12-12, I removed my credit union from the Personal Capital system because failed attempts by Personal Capital/Yodlee caused me to be locked out of my credit union account. Yes, 14 months ago in 2016.

> On 2016-12-15, Yodlee kept trying to access my credit union, I contacted Personal Capital and the logon attempts ceased.

> On 2018-02-15, FOURTEEN MONTHS after I deleted the account from Personal Capital, Yodlee again attempted to logon to my credit union. My credit union logs showed the attempt came from a Yodlee IP address.

> On or about 2018-02-18, after nightmarish attempts to get through to Personal Capital or Yodlee personnel who gave a damn--without my request or permission--Personal Capital deleted my ability to logon to their system. The last communication from them was from James, Feb 16, 5:53 PM PST:

"Hello John,
We have double checked all our databases and did not find any trace of those accounts outside of logs showing the deletion of the accounts with xxxxx Credit Union and we are following up with our aggregation partner, Yodlee to obtain an explanation. "

That is it. I was hoping to get assurance that Yodlee has made sure my credentials and all my financial information was removed. It looks like that is not happening.

User beware. This whole event calls into question the privacy of all of your financial information--any user IDs and passwords you may have shared with Personal Capital may not be protected.

I have all the emails and screen shots for anyone who is interested.

Aside from the above credential concerns, I had 8 months of problems with their free stuff not connecting to my credit union (over 1 billion dollar in assets). Additionally, I did not appreciate being bothered by their investment side who wanted to manage my portfolio.

flroots
Posts: 105
Joined: Tue Jul 08, 2014 3:18 am

Re: Anybody use Personal Capital to advise them?

Post by flroots » Fri Jul 06, 2018 4:53 am

I just received their pitch. This seemed the highlights:
Pros
  • Large number of individual stocks free of expenses
    Maintain equal weighting of sectors and style vs cap weighting
    No proprietary securities or MLPs
Cons
  • High fee, 0.79% quoted
    Difficult to unwind if required downstream
    As mentioned above, tax gains caused by rebalancing
I gave the equal weighting a Pro on faith since I don't have any data to suggest it does better long term compared to cap market weighting.
Last edited by flroots on Sun Jul 08, 2018 2:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Oddball
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu May 03, 2018 9:35 am

Re: Anybody use Personal Capital to advise them?

Post by Oddball » Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:38 am

brad.clarkston wrote:
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.
Same, I listened to the pitch, which was pretty good TBH, and told them thanks but I am going to DIY. That was about a month or so ago, haven't heard back yet. I do love their website.

BlueRidgePro
Posts: 28
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:49 pm

Re: Anybody use Personal Capital to advise them?

Post by BlueRidgePro » Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:56 am

Two thoughts:

They are in business to make money - where does that come from? You?

If they had a sure-fire way to invest for profits. why would they share it with you, instead of investing their own money?

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pointyhairedboss
Posts: 390
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2007 10:47 pm

Re: Anybody use Personal Capital to advise them?

Post by pointyhairedboss » Fri Jul 06, 2018 3:55 pm

BlueRidgePro wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:56 am
Two thoughts:

They are in business to make money - where does that come from? You?

If they had a sure-fire way to invest for profits. why would they share it with you, instead of investing their own money?
Wouldn't that apply to just about any investment advisory business?

nasrullah
Posts: 138
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2017 11:40 am

Re: Anybody use Personal Capital to advise them?

Post by nasrullah » Fri Jul 06, 2018 4:11 pm

petestan wrote:
Wed Dec 06, 2017 2:36 pm
I am 90% in mutual funds (most in Vanguard), and they would gradually sell them off.
Sell them off for what? ETFs? Individual Stocks? I'm 180 days away from being completely out of individual stocks and I couldn't imagine going back.
"We have a lot to do, and very little time, so we must work slowly." Liviu Ciulei | | Thanks vineviz (https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/memberlist.php?mode=viewprofile&u=134698) for the quote.

Hockey10
Posts: 283
Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2016 12:20 pm
Location: Philadelphia suburbs

Re: Anybody use Personal Capital to advise them?

Post by Hockey10 » Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:03 pm

I have always ignored their calls and e-mails for advisory services.

I like their platform and use it almost daily as a means of seeing what is going on with my accounts, especially the multiple credit cards that my wife and I have. It is a good way for me to keep track of our expenses, and to quickly see if there is any fraud activity in our credit cards.

However, earlier this year, one of my accounts stopped updating. I notified them and after about 2 week, the problem was fixed. (This is a checking account at a large regional bank). About a month later, the same account stopped updating once more. I notified PC again. A year ago, they would respond to an issue in about 24 hours. Now they respond in about 4 - 7 days. This account has not been updated in PC for almost 3 months now. (I can log into it directly without any issues). I have asked about it several times and the answer I get back is "we have no idea when it will be fixed".

They have not made any money off me, so I am not protesting too loudly, but I am obviously in the back of their tech support queue. :(

cj2018
Posts: 106
Joined: Tue Jun 12, 2018 3:49 pm

Re: Anybody use Personal Capital to advise them?

Post by cj2018 » Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:25 pm

I just got solicited by their advisory services earlier in the PM and the poor sales rep got flat out rejected by me...

In hindsight, now i feel kinda bad and thought I should've been nicer in my tone and at least praised how awesome the free tracking tool is and appreciated his calling and gently told him i'm a hardcore DIY and not their target customer... Oh well perhaps next time. :(

MnD
Posts: 3567
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Re: Anybody use Personal Capital to advise them?

Post by MnD » Fri Jul 06, 2018 6:54 pm

Do not agree to listen to their pitch. Same goes for pitches from index annuity and timeshare sales reps.
They are experts at breaking down all your natural and well-founded resistances to their products.
.79% ER to make a giant and tax-inefficient mess out of your portfolio which will be (unsurprisingly) very difficult and expensive to unwind.

If you can't use their service without firmly and politely declining their offers to give you the sales pitch presentation, don't use the PC portfolio web service as it may be equally difficult for you to decline signing up for their investment advisory services. If you just can't live with market cap weighting, there are index mutual funds which provide alternatives similiar to PC but cost much less in ER _and_ don't result in you owning 100's of individual stocks. If you can't manage without an investment advisor consider the Vanguard PAS at .30 ER or something similiar.

BlueRidgePro
Posts: 28
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:49 pm

Re: Anybody use Personal Capital to advise them?

Post by BlueRidgePro » Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:01 am

pointyhairedboss wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 3:55 pm
BlueRidgePro wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:56 am
Two thoughts:

They are in business to make money - where does that come from? You?

If they had a sure-fire way to invest for profits. why would they share it with you, instead of investing their own money?
Wouldn't that apply to just about any investment advisory business?
Yup.

viz
Posts: 72
Joined: Fri May 04, 2018 11:22 pm

Re: Anybody use Personal Capital to advise them?

Post by viz » Mon Jul 09, 2018 2:10 pm

BlueRidgePro wrote:
Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:01 am
pointyhairedboss wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 3:55 pm
BlueRidgePro wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:56 am
Two thoughts:

They are in business to make money - where does that come from? You?

If they had a sure-fire way to invest for profits. why would they share it with you, instead of investing their own money?
Wouldn't that apply to just about any investment advisory business?
Yup.
Agree with the first point, not with the 2nd.
Advisors might be investing their own money the same way but they need to invest your money so they can make money to invest :happy
This is not to say that I recommend personal capital. If I were ever to hire a financial advisor, I would want to have an individual:
1. who is recommended by someone I know and not picked randomly by a online or brick-n-mortar brokerage.
2. someone I can talk to and meet in person a few times before signing up

Glockenspiel
Posts: 484
Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2018 1:20 pm

Re: Anybody use Personal Capital to advise them?

Post by Glockenspiel » Mon Jul 09, 2018 3:22 pm

No, but I hope enough others do that they continue to offer such a great website for tracking my net worth, investments, and monthly spending/budget. :D

BlueRidgePro
Posts: 28
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2012 1:49 pm

Re: Anybody use Personal Capital to advise them?

Post by BlueRidgePro » Mon Jul 09, 2018 6:51 pm

viz wrote:
Mon Jul 09, 2018 2:10 pm
BlueRidgePro wrote:
Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:01 am
pointyhairedboss wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 3:55 pm
BlueRidgePro wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 9:56 am
Two thoughts:

They are in business to make money - where does that come from? You?

If they had a sure-fire way to invest for profits. why would they share it with you, instead of investing their own money?
Wouldn't that apply to just about any investment advisory business?
Yup.
Agree with the first point, not with the 2nd.
Advisors might be investing their own money the same way but they need to invest your money so they can make money to invest :happy
This is not to say that I recommend personal capital. If I were ever to hire a financial advisor, I would want to have an individual:
1. who is recommended by someone I know and not picked randomly by a online or brick-n-mortar brokerage.
2. someone I can talk to and meet in person a few times before signing up
If an 'advisor' is that good, they'd run a mutual fund.

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