Luisa Rollenhagen is a journalist and investor who writes about financial planning for Wealthsimple. She is a past winner of the David James Burrell Prize for journalistic achievement and her work has been published in GQ Magazine and BuzzFeed. Luisa earned her M.A. in Journalism at New York University and is now based in Berlin, Germany.
Personal capital is the foundation for your financial goals, that little cushion that lets you sleep easier at night, a springboard for big dreams and goals. There’s also a financial management company called that: Personal Capital. They also want to be that kind of springboard. But are Canadians able to sign up?
What is Personal Capital and is it available in Canada?
The company offers wealth management services that take the form of a “freemium” service—meaning that there’s a free version (called the Financial Dashboard) but you have to pay if you want to access more services. At its core it’s a robo-advisor with additional personalized live support from financial advisors for a fee. You can download their free app on iPhone or Android or use their desktop version.
The Financial Dashboard, which the majority of Personal Capital users use, is essentially a robust budgeting app, with additional investment tools that provide “holistic” financial support. You can link your existing financial accounts to the Dashboard, including any investment accounts, checking accounts, savings, and credit cards. Personal Capital’s focus is retirement strategies, and the free version encourages you to plug in your employer-sponsored retirement plans for a whole overview of your financial life. The Dashboard includes an investment checkup tool that will analyze your investment account and give you advice on how to optimize it. With the premium service, you get assigned two financial advisors who can be contacted 24/7 and will provide you with in-depth financial and retirement planning. However, you will need to have an account minimum of $100,000 to use their Wealth Management service. All this personalized service also comes at a price: Personal Capital’s premium service has fees that are higher than your average robo-advisor (0.89%, to be exact).
The company was founded in 2009 and is headquartered in San Carlos, California. While managing over $10 billion USD in assets and being used by nearly two million people (who primarily use the free version), Personal Capital is currently not available to Canadian investors. In order to sign up, you need to be a U.S. citizen—and there doesn’t seem to be any indication of them branching out anytime soon.
Other financial planning companies in Canada
But we’ve got good news for anyone looking for the ease of an online robo-advisor coupled with expert financial advice and a platform that even newbies will be comfortable with in minutes. Wealthsimple will create for you a diversified portfolio consisting of low-cost ETFs with a low-fee structure that can help anyone get started with investing, no matter what your personal capital is.
You don’t need an account minimum to invest with Wealthsimple, and yo u can easily transfer over your existing investment account. Like Personal Capital, Wealthsimple has options for your retirement plans too—you can start a TFSA or an RRSP or transfer your existing one. Wealthsimple is a major player in the financial services world, having received $265 million in investment from some of the world’s largest financial institutions in Canada and Europe, but you’ll still get that personalized service to help you realize your financial goals.
Are there any limitations to Wealthsimple?
Personal Capital’s premium service offers each user two dedicated financial advisors there to offer a type of bespoke service usually associated with pricey financial managers. Furthermore, Personal Capital’s free Financial Dashboard offers tools such as a 401(k) fee analyzer, a spending tracker, and investment checkups. While we at Wealthsimple believe that sustainable saving habits are a cornerstone of a healthy financial future, we’re focused primarily on helping you grow your savings instead of tracking them—whether that’s through a high-interest savings account, an investment account, or a retirement account.
We might be a little biased, but we’re pretty confident that the best place to invest for your financial future is with Wealthsimple. We offer state-of-the-art technology, low fees, and the kind of personalized, friendly service you might have not thought imaginable from an automated investing service. Get started or learn more about our portfolios here.