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The Best Way To Track Your Finances: Personal Capital vs. Quicken

December 19, 2015 | David Douglass
KEY POINTS
  • We break down how to choose which financial tool to use.
  • Determine how accessible or adaptable each tool is.
  • Compare pricing plans & features to help you manage your financial life.

5 Things You Should Consider When Choosing Between Your Personal Finance Tool Options

For so long, one kind of financial tool dominated the market. Quicken was considered the gold standard. But with Intuit’s recent announcement that it will be selling Quicken, the question of which personal finance tool is best for investors has become a critical question for anyone seeking a Quicken alternative.

To help you narrow down your choices, we’ll focus on five key elements to consider when you’re selecting a new personal finance tool – adaptability, accessibility, price, comprehensive investment tracking, and features – comparing Quicken to Personal Capital. So read on for a closer look at what the experts have to say about these two contenders:

1. Adaptability

The financial markets are in constant change, and how you manage and invest your money must stay current to make sure you make the most of your investments.

When it comes to iterating to market changes, Investor Junkie says, “Intuit never makes radical changes with their annual software updates, as they incrementally add features to Quicken, and the enhancements tend to be evolutionary rather than revolutionary. This year, the biggest new feature was to automatically track bill payments. That’s it!”
As you become a savvier investor, it helps to have a personal finance tool that adjusts to your needs. That’s why Personal Capital rolled out Retirement Planner this year – to provide you with an easy way to set retirement goals, add important life events to your retirement plan, and help you evaluate if you’re on track to having the retirement of your dreams.

2. Accessibility

You don’t turn off your portfolio when you leave your home or office. And strong financial tools should be able to go with you wherever you are. Look for anytime, anywhere access. The market doesn’t care where you are when it makes a move – and neither should you.

As personal finance blogger Cash Cow Couple says, “Personal Capital can be used on the computer, tablet, or smart phone. They have apps available and all integrate seamlessly. This makes it easy to check or track accounts on the go.”

Quicken Deluxe, on the other hand, “faces the same remote access problems that all desktop software does, but its ease of use, comprehensive account access and flexible, detailed managing of transactions can’t be found elsewhere.” (PC Mag)

Both Quicken and Personal Capital offer mobile applications, but their ease of use differs. When you’re choosing a personal finance tool, look for an option that provides you with robust, anytime, anywhere updates on your portfolio, so you can stay in control of your net worth at any time.

3. Price

Today, there are dozens, if not hundreds, of personal finance solutions to choose from. Some come with a steep price tag, others are free. Which is right for you? Make sure to review all of the features and services available for the savvy investor before you decide. Personal Capital’s tools are free, and Quicken has a range of costs depending on which version you go with.

Cost Overview

The cost to use Personal Capital’s tools: 100% free.

The cost to use Quicken’s software: not free. There are three versions, one of which might meet your needs and price point:
• Starter Edition ($39.99)
• Deluxe ($74.99)
• Premier ($104.99)

Frugal Rules comments, “Managing your finances is important, to say the least. There are many tools you can use to do that and you need to find the one that fits you and your needs most. With that being said, I’ve had a great experience using Personal Capital – even more so because it’s completely free to use!”

Whatever your choice, financial tools and calculators are great assets for investors who want to better manage their entire financial life.

4. Comprehensive Investment Tracking

A complete view of your portfolio is critical for a successful retirement plan. To understand where you really stand, you need to be able to see all of your financial accounts in one place – from your checking and savings accounts, to your investment accounts, IRA’s, mortgage, home equity loans and credit cards.

But just seeing your accounts aggregated – without understanding how your investments are doing versus the market – will not help you be a successful investor.

And that’s where Quicken falls short. “We are no longer recommending Quicken as the best personal finance software tool. We are recommending Personal Capital for individuals who need tools to focus on investment tracking,” says Investor Junkie.

In the words of blogger Cash Cow Couple, “Personal Capital… exists to help you track and understand your financial accounts. After connecting your various accounts, including your mortgage, credit cards, bank accounts, investment accounts, and whatever else you may have, the free service will explain your situation and offer basic investment guidance.”

Both Quicken and Personal Capital will help you view your investments, but you should review both to see which goes further in helping you understand your net worth and build your retirement portfolio.

5. Features

In addition to basic services like financial account aggregation and investment tracking, you should look for a personal finance tool that provides you with deeper investing insights. Quicken and Personal Capital fill this need to different degrees.

The benefit of Personal Capital is that, “rather than just being able to track your investments, Personal Capital allows you to “see how well your investments are performing and, most importantly, see how your investments could be doing better.” (AdvisoryHQ)

Feature by feature, here’s how Personal Capital and Quicken stack up:

quickenGraph (1)

Make sure you’re not only able to track your investments, but that you can also compare your results to the markets, analyze your holdings by asset category or explore your investments and holdings in depth within each asset class. Most investors find it difficult to track what they’re saving and spending month over month without the help of a personal finance tool.

Choosing the best personal finance tool for your goals
Selecting the right personal finance tool for your life is critical for achieving your goals – understanding your net worth, supporting or growing your lifestyle, and building an attainable retirement plan.

Quicken and Personal Capital are two of the leading personal finance tools on the market. We recommend you try out both and see what works best for you.

Here’s what the experts say when they compare the two:

“I’ve been a longtime user of Intuit’s Quicken… But due to the lack of new features, functionality, the software’s quirkiness, constant upgrades and bugs, it’s unfortunately time for me to say good-bye to Quicken. In my testing, I’ve always enjoyed using Personal Capital as it allows me to see my entire financial picture and investment portfolio at a glance. So much that I even recommend it as one of the best investment apps available today.” (Investor Junkie)

“Over the years, I’ve used and tested dozens of different personal finance apps, but most lose their novelty after a while. I keep coming back to Personal Capital because it’s the one program I’ve found that gives me insight into my entire investing portfolio… The net worth dashboard is also a great way to see an approximation of my net worth without manually updating a spreadsheet.” (Money under 30)

Based on the five most important criteria for picking the right personal finance tools for your life – adaptability, accessibility, cost, comprehensive investment tracking and features – it’s clear that Personal Capital provides you with the tools you need to think long-term and develop better financial habits. And, it’s available through the convenience of mobile, tablet and desktop apps. So if you’re looking for a Quicken alternative, give Personal Capital a try.

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