Personal Capital vs Mint: Which Is Better For Your Financial Goals?

Your money is a mess and you realized that it’s time for you to get all of your finances sorted out. After a quick Google search, you’ve come across numerous lists of the best budgeting apps that can help you with this dilemma. This research exercise is almost in its conclusion with you ending up with your top two choices: Personal Capital and Mint.

But which one should you choose?

At first glance, the two apps are outwardly very similar. Both Personal Capital and Mint promise you that they can link and put together all of your financial accounts for you in one place, allowing you to have a quick overview of where you’re at money-wise.

However, if you go beyond their initial marketing copy and actually use these apps, you’ll soon discover that they function very differently. You can probably find this out for yourself after using the apps for a few weeks but because we want to save you the time and effort, we’re going to give you an easy-to-understand breakdown to help you decide if Mint or Personal Capital is better for your financial goals.

How is Mint different from Personal Capital?

Okay, we’re not going to bore you with irrelevant details about Mint and Personal Capital. By this time, you’ve probably read about these apps already on their respective websites or the app store. Perhaps all the financial gibberish is just confusing you further and not making it easy for you to understand better. Chances are, you’re now reading this because you want a straight-up answer on which one should you choose, not a history lesson on who founded what.

So, let’s get down to business and straight to the important stuff. How are Mint and Personal Capital different from each other?

These two apps are very different because while both are financial tools, they serve a different primary purpose. How Mint is different from Personal Capital can be explained in two simple sentences:

Mint is a BUDGETING platform.

Personal Capital is an INVESTMENT platform.

Even if you don’t know much about finance, you probably know enough that budgeting is not the same as investing. But so that we’re all on the same page, budgeting is the process of calculating and planning how to spend your money based on a particular amount or budget. For example, if you earn $5,000 a month, budgeting is when you earmark portions of that amount towards your daily expenses like rent, bills, shopping, groceries, travel, etc.

On the other hand, investing is when you allocate your money or resources in order to gain future profit or financial return. Let’s say you have an extra $2,000 a month and instead of just letting it sleep in your current account, you decide to invest by purchasing stocks or bonds to grow that money and profit from it.

By understanding these two terms and where you currently stand at this stage in your life, you can pretty much tell already which app will answer your needs.

Do you need an app that will help you budget your money? Choose Mint.

Do you need an app that will help you invest and grow your money? Personal Capital is for you.

Of course, it’s not always as simple as it seems. So, in the next sections, we’re going to detail the similarities and the strengths of each app to give you a better understanding of which one is more suited to your financial needs and goals.

The Similarities Between Personal Capital and Mint

 Mint and Personal Capital have similarities which may cause users to think that they function alike. Here is a quick overview of how these two apps are similar:

With both Mint and Personal Capital, there’s no need to manually enter all your financial activities because you can sync your financial accounts with these apps. Both Mint and Personal Capital also place your transactions into default categories like Bills & Utilities, Shopping, Gas & Fuel, etc.

Because both apps can aggregate or put together all of your financial accounts in one place, it makes it easy for you to see and get a quick overview of your financial situation. This can save you a lot of time as you don’t need to go through different online accounts, bills, or excel sheets.

Both Mint and Personal Capital are free to use. This makes them great choices even for newbies who want to test out budgeting apps.

Both Mint and Personal Capital are available on iOS (IPhone, IPad) and Android devices.

What Are The Strengths of Mint Over Personal Capital?

When you create a Mint account, you can link up all of your financial accounts like your bank account, credit card, mortgage, loans, investments, etc. Once all of your accounts are synced in, you can maximize Mint’s awesome features.

Looking at these two scenarios, the Mint app will better benefit John in Scenario 1. This is because his primary concern is how to better control his spending so that he will not go over budget at the end of the month. With the help of the Mint app, he will be able to track all of his expenses, get notifications about his bills, and see exactly where he is overspending. Knowing his expenses will also help him see how much additional income he needs to generate to stay on budget. Since he does not have any investments, the Personal Capital app is not the right fit for him.

In the second scenario, James will definitely benefit more if he uses the Personal Capital app. His problem is not like John’s as he is not really running out of money or going over budget. His concern is that with all of his financial accounts all over the place, it is hard for him to have an accurate assessment on his current financial standing. By using Personal Capital, he will have a more complete picture to help him decide whether he should pursue further investments.

The Bottomline
Mint and Personal capital are both financial tools that can help you manage your money better. If your objective is to have a tool that will help you stay on budget month after month, then Mint is preferable. However, if your goal is to grow your money, then you will find that Personal Capital is more suited for you

1. Mint Recommends and Lets You Create Budgets

As Mint is mainly a budgeting tool, it’s superpower is recommending a budget for you based on your past spending habits. This is very useful if you have never created a budget before and you don’t have any idea where to start. You can then adjust the budget and personalize it as you want.

The budgeting features of Mint will also allow you to see how much you’re spending per category, add a limit per category, and it will tell you how your spending decisions will affect how much money you’ll have at the end of the month. This gives you an idea of where your money is going and allows you to adjust the budget as necessary.

Mint wins over Personal Capital when it comes to budgeting features because Personal Capital’s budget tracker is just a cash flow report on what you have spent so far. Other than showing you your expenses, it does not give you any other budgeting capabilities within the app. In short, you cannot create a budget with Personal Capital.

2. Mint Offers More Customization

While both Mint and Personal Capital will automatically categorize your transactions, Mint offers a more customizable experience. Personal Capital only allows you to add up to 30 custom categories in addition to the default categories. On the other hand, Mint goes further because aside from being able to customize main categories, you can also choose from over 100 sub-categories or create your own to further personalize your dashboard.

3. Mint Tells You About Your Credit Score – For Free!

No idea what your credit score is? With Mint, you can get this information with no hassle. It also allows you to get a free credit report within minutes. Additionally, Mint will educate you and give recommendations on how you can improve your credit score.

4. Mint Helps You Find Savings

One cool feature that Mint offers is giving recommendations on how you can save money based on your lifestyle and financial goals. These are alerts and suggestions to recommend cheaper options. However, you have to be careful because some may just be sponsored ads.

What Are The Strengths of Personal Capital Over Mint?

When you create a Mint account, you can link up all of your financial accounts like your bank account, credit card, mortgage, loans, investments, etc. Once all of your accounts are synced in, you can maximize Mint’s awesome features.

1. Net worth Calculator

Net Worth refers to how much money you have after considering all of your assets and subtracting all your liabilities. In popular culture, the term “net worth” is often associated with billionaires, celebrities, and other popular personalities. With Personal Capital, you can also determine your own net worth which is displayed in your dashboard. Knowing your net worth is important because it can help you plan future financial moves and decisions.

2. Investment Checkup

Many users of Personal Capital sing high praises about the app’s Investment Checkup feature. If you have investments, this tool will allow you to review the performance of your investments and at the same time get recommendations on how you can get the greatest returns. While Mint also has an investment feature, many users report that it is very basic compared to the in-depth reporting and analysis offered by Personal Capital. 

If you’re serious about investing, there is an option to get professional investment management services from Personal Capital’s financial advisors but this will require a $100,000 minimum investment.

3. Retirement Planner

Another great feature that Personal Capital offers is the ability to see where you stand when it comes to your retirement. Based on your financial information, it will help you forecast whether you can retire on your target age. Having this information early on is very useful because it allows you to reevaluate your lifestyle, your source of income, and your spending habits in order to achieve your retirement goals.

4. Planning Tools 

Do you plan on buying a house? Starting a business? Or maybe going on a European holiday? These are just examples of major life decisions that can significantly impact your finances. Before you take the plunge, you can use the planning tool in Personal Capital to help you see how this decision will affect your current financial status. By testing these hypothetical scenarios, you can make informed decisions and minimize risks at the same time.

Should I Choose Mint or Personal Capital?

Because they have different primary uses and strengths, you can actually use both Mint and Personal Capital at the same time. However, if you can only choose ONE app, which one is right for you? 

The answer to this question will depend on your current financial lifestyle and your goals. Ask yourself what your priority is when it comes to your money and what is the primary need that you want to address.

To better understand how to do this, let’s look at different scenarios to illustrate who will benefit better with a Mint app and a Personal capital app.

Scenario 1
John is an office executive with a salary of $3,000 a month. He also earns a few hundred dollars to a couple of thousands a month from his side gigs as a party DJ during weekends and passive income from his YouTube music channel. He does not have any investments or real estate property. His problem is that no matter how many side gigs he books, he always finds himself short on cash month after month with not enough money to pay his bills and expenses. He is also getting penalized with late payment fees because he is unable to track his bills correctly.

Scenario 2
James has been working in the tech industry for a few years as a software engineer. He is currently paid $15,000 a month and has several investments in stocks, bonds, and real estate. He is thinking of buying a new property in France and also investing more in stocks but he is not sure whether he can still afford to do that after paying his bills, expenses, student loans, mortgages, etc. Since he’s very busy with his day job, he barely has the time to update all of his accounts and check each one individually.

Looking at these two scenarios, the Mint app will better benefit John in Scenario 1. This is because his primary concern is how to better control his spending so that he will not go over budget at the end of the month. With the help of the Mint app, he will be able to track all of his expenses, get notifications about his bills, and see exactly where he is overspending. Knowing his expenses will also help him see how much additional income he needs to generate to stay on budget. Since he does not have any investments, the Personal Capital app is not the right fit for him.

 In the second scenario, James will definitely benefit more if he uses the Personal Capital app. His problem is not like John’s as he is not really running out of money or going over budget.  His concern is that with all of his financial accounts all over the place, it is hard for him to have an accurate assessment on his current financial standing. By using Personal Capital, he will have a more complete picture to help him decide whether he should pursue further investments. 

 The Bottomline

Mint and Personal capital are both financial tools that can help you manage your money better. If your objective is to have a tool that will help you stay on budget month after month, then Mint is preferable. However, if your goal is to grow your money, then you will find that Personal Capital is more suited for you.

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