Slowly Sipping Coffee

Personal Capital just saved me a gazillion dollars!

OK, ok, not a gazillion but quite a bit. Roughly $45,000 in fees from now until I turn 60.  If I extrapolate it out to say age 90 (I plan on a long life!) they helped me save over $400,000.

Let’s back up the story. One of my goals for this year was to test out Personal Capital, currently I have a Mint and Excel workflow that I follow for budgeting.  Right now, I am going to say I like my Mint-Excel workflow more than Personal Capital for monthly budgeting…but, I am totally digging Personal Capital for investments. Anyways, after a month or so of passively playing around with Personal Capital, I had a slow Friday at work, and I decided to dig around into it more.  Primarily I wanted to check out their Investment Check-up and Retirement Fee Analyzer. And all I have to say is — I LOVE YOU PERSONAL CAPITAL!!!!

Mr. SSC and I have a variety of retirement funds – among them are two 401ks, a Rollover and a Roth IRA.  In my previous life, I thought anything with a fee of 0.75% was acceptable. Honestly, I had never really bothered to sum it all up.  Especially since I was just starting out, and only had a few thousand in retirement funds.  Anyways – I went into their Retirement Analyzer Tool and was greeted the flowing chart which told me I would be losing $114,000 to fees by the time I was 60.

Whoa!  That's alotta fees!

Whoa! That’s alotta fees!

WHOOOOOA NELLY!  $114,000 in fees!?!?  I mean, it is wonderful to have funds to put my money in and I appreciate all the hard work those fund managers do to grow my money… but that is over two years of retirement income!  My outrage at seeing all these fees summed up so succinctly in a beautiful chart, even at the relative low average fee rate of 0.19%, had me logging into our 401ks and IRAs and researching some even lower-cost, well-performing index funds.  This next chart shows what I did – and all this only took me about 45 minutes to accomplish:

Excel chart for PCYeah, 45 minutes of work saved me roughly $839 in fees for this year.  As I already mentioned in the beginning – if you extrapolate this out with 7% growth on those funds, I will save about $45,000 in fees by the time I am 60 and can even start tapping into these retirement funds. That is about a year of living expenses.  Think about that. I spent 45 minutes moving around some funds when I am 37, and this will result in almost an extra year of living expenses when I’m 60!   Maybe I should’ve spent some more time thinking about fees when I was younger, but I didn’t, and I am just so grateful that I stumbled upon that chart in Personal Capital that blew my mind and made me take action!


**Ok – so this is our first run at an affiliate link – since I am so thrilled with Personal Capital right now!  So, I guess if you click here, sign up, we can make like $1 or so and maybe if we get five of y’all to sign up we can spurge and take our kids out for Fro-Yo!!!


***Well, apparently this affiliate link doesn’t work anymore – so I’m trying to work that out with Personal Capital!  Ahhh… beginner’s luck!

15 thoughts on “Personal Capital just saved me a gazillion dollars!

    1. Mr SSC

      Yeah, they have a new retirement calculator tool too – but I wasn’t as impressed with that. I’ve seen some PF bloggers raving about it – but it just still seemed more simplistic than my super awesome Excel spreadsheet that I use.

    1. Mrs SSC Post author

      I’m curious – do you (aka Canadians) have other col tools that we don’t have access to in the US?

  1. Fervent Finance

    I love PC. I did the same analysis a few months ago. Luckily my 401k was in Vanguard and I had all Vanguard funds, so no changes were needed :) I tried using their retirement analyzer that they just came out with, but I haven’t found it user friendly unfortunately.

    1. Mrs SSC Post author

      Yeah, that retirement analyzer was very disappointing!!!! Glad it wasn’t just me who thought that!

  2. Steven Goodwin

    I will have to give Personal Capital a closer look. I’ve been dabbling in them just like you and love my Mint + Google Spreadsheets for my budgeting. But there is something different about PC. Thanks for the tips and glad to see you found such a great deal!

    1. Mrs SSC Post author

      NOthing beats Excel + Mint for budgeting. I would love if Personal Capital would come out with a better budgeting tool – it would be great to just have one online tracker.

  3. OnlyKetchup

    Fees can be pretty devastating especially in a low performing market, you could lose a significant portion of your gains. I’ve been watching mine pretty closely, so haven’t seen a driver to try personal capital yet.

    1. Mrs SSC Post author

      I agree – they do chew up a bunch of your money. I had thought that my fees were low – even before I tried PC…. I was just surprised with low fees how much was still being spent.

  4. Our Next Life

    So good to know! We’ve long been aware that we’re getting ripped off by our 401(k) investment banks, but can’t do anything about it as long as we’re still employed. But as soon as we quit in a few years, we’re switching things over! Our taxable stuff is all in Vanguard, but with those low fees on PC, it seems like we have to check that out too. Thanks for the detailed rundown!

    1. Mrs SSC Post author

      Yeah, that is one issue with 401ks – sometimes you just don’t have a choice. I’m lucky, and my current employer uses Vanguard for our 401k, but my husband isn’t so lucky.

  5. Alexander @ Cash Flow Diaries

    Ha! Sorry to hear about your affiliate link problems. I use mint and PC and I definitely like PC better. Its way more visually pleasing. At least to me it is so that is what I use mainly. Glad to hear it showed you the light on those fees. Fees are killer!

  6. Anthony

    I love PC’s fee analyzer tool. A little earlier this year I went onto Google Finance and used their ticker lookup chart to compare the choices in my 401(k) and found that not only was Vanguard’s Mid-Cap Index Fund the cheapest fund we had, but also the best performing… by a lot!!!

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist checking your funds to see how they stacked up to one another. and I historically, unless I’m missing something, it looks like the Fidelity fund in your IRA is an underachiever. Sorry for the unsolicited advice, but a Vanguard Small-Cap Growth or Mid-Cap ETF looks like they’ll give you much better returns and help you get to your Freedom date sooner.

    As a fellow Houstonian I must say that I love the blog and hope that y’all achieve major financial success!!

    1. Mrs SSC Post author

      I agree about Fidelity… those are from a rollover 401k way back when. I actually moved it out of that fund recently and into FSTVX. I had been waffling lately about closing out with Fidelity and moving it all to Vanguard. Maybe someday!

      Oh! Another Houstonian! Exciting :)

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