Why I Switched from Mint to Personal Capital

Managing your money is complicated in the current year. You have to keep tabs on your checking, savings, and credit cards. You also have to track your tax-advantaged and employer-sponsored accounts — your 401(k), IRA, HSA, and 529. On top of all that, you probably have a mortgage and a car loan to think about.

Enter the brilliant idea of online account aggregators, applications that securely link all of your account data and present it in a dashboard where you can easily track your expenses, net worth, and investment portfolio.

To date, Mint.com and PersonalCapital.com are the two best money-management applications available, and they’re completely free.

While I would recommend either one as an essential app, I’ve recently decided to retire Mint and move to Personal Capital as my exclusive account aggregator. Here’s my reasoning:

  1. Personal Capital is more focused on investing.

As you get older, you should spend more time worrying about your portfolio, net worth, and retirement savings, rather than simply budgeting how much money comes in each month. Both platforms handle investing, but Personal Capital’s tools are far more robust than Mint’s. And because investments are front and center in Personal Capital, you’re much more likely to think about them — which is exactly what you should be doing.

My favorite feature? Personal Capital’s ability to accurately aggregate all of your accounts and analyze your portfolio balance. It shows how much you have invested in US stocks, international stocks, bonds, alternatives, etc., and it works even if you are widely invested in diverse mutual funds or ETFs.

By contrast, the investment tools in Mint are primitive and don’t always categorize your funds correctly. And they require Adobe Flash.

2. Personal Capital connects and retrieves your data more reliably, even for income and expenses.

Since I use Personal Capital for myself and my spouse, I connect to banks using different logins and shared accounts, shared logins and shared accounts, and different logins and different accounts — and sometimes there are overlaps at the same bank. (This situation is more common that you’d expect. If you both have IRAs and a shared checking account at the same bank, you’re likely a candidate.)

This scenario can cause a lot of data duplication. Fortunately, both applications have tools to help you resolve this. On Mint, however, I had to spend a lot of time manually hiding accounts, and sometimes hiding them again and again. Personal Capital is mostly smart enough to handle this for you. I barely even think about duplication anymore.

3. Personal Capital has better support.

If you are having connectivity issues, you’re not out of luck with either application. Both have support departments and knowledge bases. But in my experience Personal Capital has been way more responsive. With Mint, it was always a tossup, or would take forever to be fixed.

I’ve also noticed that connectivity with Personal Capital keeps getting more reliable over time. Accounts that used to disconnect and require me to re-enter my password suddenly start working without any problems. In Mint, if something didn’t work, it usually stayed that way.

4. Personal Capital just looks and feels better.

I’m a sucker for a slick user interface. Mint kind of looks like it was designed by Microsoft’s Windows 10 team. The menus are busy, chock full of alerts, and the ads can be intrusive.

Once again, Personal Capital bests Mint. When you log in, it feels like you’re in a personal command center, a real dashboard. You have your accounts on the left, your net worth front and center, and your day’s gains on the lower right. Almost everything is clickable and will lead you to more details. Sure, there’s the occasional ad to deal with, but it’s usually just a friendly alert that you can talk to an advisor.

I have to hand it to Personal Capital. It does everything Mint can do and more. Which is why I’ve decided to use it as my sole money aggregator from now on.


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