Comparison: Quicken vs Personal Capital

I’m a bit tired of Wells Fargo, but they offer a nice integration with Quicken. If I were to switch banks, I’d want to keep the benefits of Quicken use or something like it. I’ve used Quicken for over 20 years, but Quicken is not the only option anymore. The New York Times suggests Personal Capital as a good tool.

OK, so I did a quick comparison this morning. My situation. My opinion. Your situation may differ. Here’s my assessment:

Quicken (2020) Personal Capital (2020)
Pros

 

  • Paycheck splitting (mostly the tax & 401k categories)
  • Automatic linked transactions (i.e., 401k contributions reflected in 401k account)
  • Tax categorization (key reports for filing business taxes)
  • Retirement Planning
  • Good security
  • Investment rebalancing aid
Pros

 

  • Free
  • Quick & easy setup
  • Every bank can be connected automatically (I had no significant difficulties, even for my 401k and 529)
  • Retirement Planning
  • Good security
Cons

 

  • Annual Fee ($109.99 as of 09/20)
  • Not every bank can be connected automatically (For me, one bank and 401k are direct downloads)
  • No tax advantaged investing guidance
Cons

 

  • Paycheck splitting (mostly for tax & 401k categories)
  • Tax reporting (no reports for filing business taxes)
  • They only want to sell investment services, so no rebalancing aid
  • No investment rebalancing assistance
  • No tax advantaged investing guidance
  • Doesn’t handle pre-retirement retirement checks (annuities, essentially) – handled as reduction to retirement expenses
My assessment of key features in the comparison

Notes: They both did a credible job of retirement forecasting. Q seems a bit more optimistic, but that may be due to my assumptions. I was pleased with how quick PC was to set up, but then I have 20ish years of Q use and know my details by heart, mostly. I suspect Q would have been pretty quick, too, but I already had that running, so can’t report on its ease of setup. My main bank charges a fee for Q access, and I’m not sure if PC access would require that fee, too.

Clearly, their business model revolves around investment management. How else could they offer this product for free? They get your info, help you manage basic tasks, and hope to get a share of your assets to manage for a fee. I get it. I don’t like it. If you’re just a bit astute at finding low fees for modestly performing investments, you don’t need help. (Dare I say it: Vanguard?)

Bottom Line: Quicken still wins, even with the annual cost. I HAVE to have those tax reports for small business accounting. I’ll keep PC in place, since it DOES have a decent app that I don’t have to update by hand, but for the heavy lifting, I’ll stick with the old Q.