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Using Personal Capital as an Expense Tracker?
Old 11-24-2020, 04:24 PM   #1
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Using Personal Capital as an Expense Tracker?

To Personal Capital Users... I briefly used PC a few years ago for some of its portfolio analysis tools, but really did not use it as a budget/expense tracking tool as I was still using Quicken at the time. I only stayed on PC a short time as I was not a fan of all the sales calls, despite really liking many of their investment tools/reports.. Over the last few years I transitioned over to Mint, which is fine for some basic budgeting/expense tracking, but I still spend some time editing expenses correctly, and other than an excel data dump, not much there from a reporting standpoint. So now, as I have transitioned more into an expense tracker as opposed to a hard core budgeter (as I was in the accumulation/raising a family days), I was considering going back to PC. A few questions for you PC users...

- As an expense tracker, does it assign categories and/or allow you to "train it" to fill in categories similar to Mint. Regarding expense tracking, where does it perform better/underperform Mint?

- Has there been any real improvements/changes in the last 3 years?

- Is there a way to quickly shut down the sales calls? I am assuming the PC advisors see all the account info/balances once you link up the accounts? That concerns me some, but I suppose that is part of what you "agree to" to use their platform?
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Old 11-24-2020, 04:38 PM   #2
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- Yes, it does assign categories and "learns". My experience with Mint is old, but the tracking seemed about the same to me.

- I use it exclusively for my overall dashboard for investments and expense tracking. I haven't received a marketing call in several months after ignoring them for a while. They generally don't bother me anymore, it seems like.

One thing that may not be specific to PC, but a lot of the dual-factor authentication and security makes their automatic updating less automatic, so it can be a hassle if it's something you log into daily. But it's free, soooo...


Overall, I would rate PC as "good enough". Sure, you can be more detailed, but for a free platform, it's pretty fantastic IMO. Especially since they don't seem to bother me any longer.
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Old 11-24-2020, 04:44 PM   #3
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The last point Nash031 makes is a really good one. I only use PC for portfolio analysis. But itís becoming rather difficult to get the account links to update. Requires multiple attempts and patience. If I were to use with expense tracking on a more regular basis, I wouldnít have the patience to put up with similar issues if they exist.
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Old 11-24-2020, 04:52 PM   #4
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The last point Nash031 makes is a really good one. I only use PC for portfolio analysis. But itís becoming rather difficult to get the account links to update. Requires multiple attempts and patience. If I were to use with expense tracking on a more regular basis, I wouldnít have the patience to put up with similar issues if they exist.
I have noticed Mint can take "a minute" to update accounts from time to time, sometimes days with certain accounts, but it eventually gets there. How bad is the delay in updating account info?

Like others, I did like the portfolio analysis part of PC, but was hoping I could get something equal to/better than Mint as an expense tracker to simplify my life with one primary site/app for these functions.
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Old 11-24-2020, 05:00 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by MuirWannabe View Post
The last point Nash031 makes is a really good one. I only use PC for portfolio analysis. But itís becoming rather difficult to get the account links to update. Requires multiple attempts and patience. If I were to use with expense tracking on a more regular basis, I wouldnít have the patience to put up with similar issues if they exist.
My 401K is with Empower, who also owns PC, and it loses connection regularly for weeks at a time.

Having said that, PC is very convenient for a portfolio overview and expense tracking. I think they try to call me once every 4-6 months, but I generally don't answer unrecognized numbers so avoid them.
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Using Personal Capital as an Expense Tracker?
Old 11-24-2020, 05:02 PM   #6
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Using Personal Capital as an Expense Tracker?

My experience is not that itís slow. Although it isnít speedy. It requires multiple attempts. First attempt to link fails. Gives you error. Click on error to initiate second attempt where it asks for your 2FA verification code, or whatever else it thinks it needs. Then it might work. Or maybe not. Itís inconsistent for me. Only a problem on some accounts, like my Capital One card.

The whole process can sometimes take 10-15 minutes. An eternity in internet time
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Old 11-24-2020, 05:14 PM   #7
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My experience is not that itís slow. Although it isnít speedy. It requires multiple attempts. First attempt to link fails. Gives you error. Click on error to initiate second attempt where it asks for your 2FA verification code, or whatever else it thinks it needs. Then it might work. Or maybe not. Itís inconsistent for me. Only a problem on some accounts, like my Capital One card.

The whole process can sometimes take 10-15 minutes. An eternity in internet time
Man! Not much of a sales pitch here fellas!
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Old 11-24-2020, 05:26 PM   #8
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I use Personal Capital, but I still rely on Quicken to maintain my financial records. I can't get comfortable with Personal Capital or Mint because you can't download any transactions to your own computer. This may not seem like a big issue, but I can see a few big problems with it:

1) Let's say you cancel a credit card and close the account. You will no longer be able to access past transactions once the account is closed. With Quicken your transactions are maintained in your personal file.

2) Banks may only keep several years of financial records available to you. Are you comfortable with losing access to those records after your bank archives them?

If you could download transactions these apps would be much more useful to me. I do like looking at the overall view of my accounts in Personal Capital though. it has a nice clean interface.
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Old 11-24-2020, 05:29 PM   #9
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What about Every Dollar from Ramsey ? Haven't looked at it, but heard him talk about it.
thanks
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Old 11-25-2020, 08:14 AM   #10
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I'll be watching this thread. I've been using PC for investment tracking and Mint for expense tracking for years. Would be nice to have one site for both.
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Old 11-25-2020, 08:35 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by DawgMan View Post
To Personal Capital Users... I briefly used PC a few years ago for some of its portfolio analysis tools, but really did not use it as a budget/expense tracking tool as I was still using Quicken at the time. I only stayed on PC a short time as I was not a fan of all the sales calls, despite really liking many of their investment tools/reports.. Over the last few years I transitioned over to Mint, which is fine for some basic budgeting/expense tracking, but I still spend some time editing expenses correctly, and other than an excel data dump, not much there from a reporting standpoint. So now, as I have transitioned more into an expense tracker as opposed to a hard core budgeter (as I was in the accumulation/raising a family days), I was considering going back to PC. A few questions for you PC users...

- As an expense tracker, does it assign categories and/or allow you to "train it" to fill in categories similar to Mint. Regarding expense tracking, where does it perform better/underperform Mint?

- Has there been any real improvements/changes in the last 3 years?

- Is there a way to quickly shut down the sales calls? I am assuming the PC advisors see all the account info/balances once you link up the accounts? That concerns me some, but I suppose that is part of what you "agree to" to use their platform?
We're big PC fans. I have no experience with Mint. I'm also not an IT genius, so others here certainly can offer wiser views. With those caveats and in answer to your questions:

1. PC Expense Tracker: Yes, you can assign categories for expenses, income, you name it. I don't know how this compares to Mint, but my sense is that PC's budgeting capabilities are powerful, flexible and easy to use.

2. PC Sales Calls: The PC calls ended after a couple of years for us. Even when they called, I didn't consider them to be a burden because they were infrequent and non-pestering. I still find it amazing that PC is free, so I don't fault the company for trying to generate additional revenue. Tools like PC have convinced me that fields like investment/financial advising are in fact slowly being consumed by automation; fields such as accounting likely aren't far behind. I don't know why anybody would ever hire a financial advisor when free tools like PC exist.

Others have noted that sometimes a specific account fails to update via PC. With respect to that: (1) PC's help desk via email is exceedingly prompt and helpful; and (2) I view those update issues as a "good thing" because they suggest that financial firms are always updating their security systems. One of our credit card accounts stopped updating via PC, for example, precisely because the bank had changed its security protocols. PC's help desk walked us through how to make the fix, and I'm glad the bank is always changing its security.
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Old 11-25-2020, 09:15 AM   #12
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I tried PC many moons ago and it wasn't working for smaller banks at the time. Mint has been my go to for tracking spending & now I also have a spreadsheet for history (almost 9 years now). I make notes on anomalies in spending, track y/y differences and have a 40 year plan sheet too.

Mint works best for me.
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Old 11-25-2020, 09:38 AM   #13
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I too use PC for portfolio analysis and I also really like their free, built-in Retirement planner, because it is simple to use and has the most attractive and modern graphics Iíve seen.

For daily expense tracking and planning, I have used You Need A Budget (YNAB) for years, with which I manage only our central checking account. Personal Capital is OK but it jumbles all expenses from across all of our checking and savings accounts, which confuses our particular budgeting process.
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Old 11-25-2020, 11:08 AM   #14
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Can transactions be downloaded from PC? Something I do at the end of every year is download the previous 12 months of transactions in CSV format so I can analyze them in a spread sheet.
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Old 11-25-2020, 11:44 AM   #15
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Can transactions be downloaded from PC? Something I do at the end of every year is download the previous 12 months of transactions in CSV format so I can analyze them in a spread sheet.
I just checked and yes you can. They only keep last year and this year online, so for long-term tracking you must download.
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