Tag: expenses (Page 1 of 4)

Why is Personal Capital Free? The Catch!

Why is Personal Capital Free? The Catch!

I’m sure you’ve seen a number of these already, but here’s my Personal Capital Review. If you’re interested, you can sign up for Personal Capital here.

Why is Personal Capital Free?

Let’s start with the bad. Personal Capital is free because they want to actively manage your money (don’t let them!). When I signed up for Personal Capital over a year ago, the sidebar showed me a picture of a banker under the caption “Your Advisor.” Since then, they’ve heated up the hard-sell a bit more. I now get emails that say things like: “You’re not on track for retirement! Call your advisor today!” When I log in, I often have to click out of a pop-up showing me my advisor and asking me to give him a call. This is all annoying. And things may get worse (who knows?).

Personal Capital makes no money off of you unless you contact your advisor and have them manage your funds. DON’T!

Why Personal Capital is Still Worth the Hard Sell

In my opinion, the free tools Personal Capital gives are still worth the hard sell. Here’s why:

Personal Capital Replaced Manilla for me:

Years ago, I used a service called Manilla. It put all of my accounts (credit cards, bank accounts, investment accounts) into one login. I could check my balances with one log-in. I could check if my bills were due. I LOVED it. Seriously life-changing. Unfortunately, Manilla went under at the same time Lui was born. In the transition of having to log into all of my accounts separately (and having a baby!), I missed a credit card bill and ended up paying a late fee and interest for the first (and hopefully only) time in my life! Personal Capital has replaced this service for me. I can log in, check all my balances, see if bills are due, and even see a list of the charges for each credit card. All in one login! (my lazy self loves this. seriously.) With our conservative travel hacking, it’s nice to be able to see all of our open credit card accounts in one place.

Net Worth Updates in 5 Minutes!

I used to have to log in to each account and add them all together in my net worth spread sheet for each month’s plan updates. Now, I can update my spreadsheet in less than five minutes. It’s BRILLIANT.

Zillow Integration

Recently, Personal Capital paired with Zillow and tracks both my mortgage (through my mortgage lender) and the value of my home (through Zillow). This means I now get a more real idea of our total net worth since it has all of our assets (bank accounts, investment accounts, home value) and all of our liabilities (mortgage, credit cards). Even though I don’t always trust the Zillow valuation, I still love this feature.

The Fee Analyzer

Personal Capital Fee Analyzer

Personal Capital looks at the fees and expense ratios of each of your investments and then looks at how those fees will impact your portfolio long term. You can also adjust the inputs (annual growth, annual contributions, employer match, expense ratio, other fees) and see how those will impact your overall portfolio. (The above image is after I played with all sliders. Since I have my retirement date set for when I’m 45 in my Personal Capital account, it only show the impact of fees until that point.) This feature is awesome. You can see actual projections with your own numbers on how bad those pesky fees can be.

Conclusion:

Should you sign up for Personal Capital? That choice is yours. Personal Capital is free because they depend on people to use their advisory services. And since you are a smart investor, you won’t be doing that. So, you’ll be signing up for the conveniences and the free tools, but you’ll have to deal with the hard sell. For me, the benefits outweigh the costs, but for you, it might not.


The links to personal capital in this post are affiliate links. This means if you sign up through those links, Northern Expenditure earns money at no cost to you. If you are not okay with that, just search for “Personal Capital” in your search engine and sign up directly through them if you still want to sign up.

April 2017 Plan Update

April 2017 Plan Update

It’s officially spring here in Alaska! Other than our two big snow piles on our lawn, all of the snow is gone! We’ve got seeds growing in our window (still risk of frost outside), the kids have been riding bikes outside after school every day, and they have less than a month left until summertime!

The Numbers:

Want to know how easy it is for us to write these every month? I literally just log into my Personal Capital and revel in all the numbers being in one place. Do you like checking numbers? Do you like graphics? Do you like playing with calculators like retirement calculators and how much your fees are costing you? Then, you should obviously use my affiliate link to Sign up here to help yours truly speed toward financial independence! (I assumed bloggers pushed this because of the affiliate income until I started using it myself… worth the FREE pricetag! And Seriously Amazing.)

Can I just say how much I love being a month ahead in finances? It’s only the first month, but it simplifies things so much! I know where my money is going! As for the investments, this market insanity can’t continue, can it? I mean, we’re up to $149,600. So close to $150,000! We’re starting to ramp up extra payments toward the mortgage again. This month was smaller than we hope to do the next few months, but we did manage to get it down to $48,100.

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Why I Don't Shop For Clothes (But am Trying!)

Why I Don’t Shop For Clothes (But am Trying!)

I hate shopping. Especially for clothes. Part of me wishes I was that person that could walk into a store and want ALL THE THINGS! Before moving to Alaska, thrift stores were my jam. Everything I owned was from a thrift store. It was my style, it was cheap, and if it got destroyed, I wasn’t that worried about it. Also, I could walk into the thrift store and look at my size on the rack. When the rack ended, I was done.

Now that I live in Alaska (where the thrift stores are both expensive and terrible), I’ve been forced into buying clothes from stores like regular people. It’s awful.

Clothes are Expensive!

I hear the argument that you should just buy really well made clothes and they’ll last forever. It’s a sane argument. But what if you have 3 crazy kids, you spend most of your year walking through snow, your shirts always manage to get holes in the front, and you are incapable of eating chocolate without having pieces melt into your shirt?* Well, then your argument is crazy. Then I put on said shirt and feel like I can’t live my life. I can’t accidentally rub up against my car (with its inch-thick dirt in the winter and spring). I can’t touch my children. I can’t go outside.

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March 2017 Plan Update

March 2017 Plan Update

March 2017 has been an awesome month! We traveled to Nebraska and Texas to see my sister and Mr. T’s brother and the kids got to play with cousins. We went to museums, parks, zoos, and just generally had a great time. A week after we got back from our trip, school was canceled here in Anchorage because we got nearly a foot of snow on top of all of the break-up ice (not even April Fooling you)!

We’re still discussing the best town to live in if you want to weigh in!

The Numbers:

Want to know how easy it is for us to write these every month? I literally just log into my Personal Capital and revel in all the numbers being in one place. Do you like checking numbers? Do you like graphics? Do you like playing with calculators like retirement calculators and how much your fees are costing you? Then, you should obviously use my affiliate link to Sign up here to help yours truly speed toward financial independence! (I assumed bloggers pushed this because of the affiliate income until I started using it myself… worth the FREE pricetag! And Seriously Amazing.)

I think we’re officially a month ahead in finances between some major hustling in March and our tax return! (but then we went on vacation and so my April paydates will be much lower, so we’ll see if we can maintain it!)

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What's Stopping You From Cutting That Budget Line Item?

What’s Stopping You From Cutting That Budget Line Item?

I am a big fan of making sure I get value from my money. Each month as I look over the month’s spending, I look at where I can improve and where I can optimize and where I’m happy with my spend. Each budget line item should have a purpose. So often, we get stuck with ones that don’t, so why do we avoid cutting them?

Things Change, So Should Your Spending

We used to cloth diaper, but with health problems after Lui’s birth, we stopped. Paying for diapers was worth the expense.

This week, we returned from a 2-week vacation to visit the kids’ cousins in Nebraska and Texas and I realized diapers are no longer worth the line item on our budget. Lui’s 3 now and is ready.

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Daily Spending and Saving in 2016

Daily Spending and Saving in 2016

Several people have suggested putting a certain amount of money in savings every single day, aim to spend less than a certain amount of money on any given day, etc. On a day to day basis, I don’t do well with that. I save in monthly spurts. But I liked the idea of tracking how much I spent and saved on a daily basis. Here are our 2016 expenses broken down into daily spending amounts in each category:

Daily Spending and Savings 2016

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Your Breakfast is Robbing You

Your Breakfast is Robbing You

If you haven’t yet calculated it, your breakfast is probably costing your family much more money than you think it is. Stop eating expensive breakfasts and switch to some cheap breakfast ideas. I’ll share the numbers of how much cereal could cost us and how much we actually spent last year on our inexpensive breakfast alternative (and how oatmeal can actually be yummy).

Cereal is Expensive

About once a month, we eat cereal for breakfast as a family. That’s right. Once a month. The last time we did this, I realized our family of five goes through the equivalent of one Costco box of cereal each time we eat cereal.

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February 2017 Plan Update

February 2017 Plan Update

February was a beautiful, snowy month here in Anchorage. On the home front, it was a crazy month, but good. I got some health answers and am working on finding a good management program (testing which foods impact me and which don’t).

It was also a good, but busy month at work. After quitting my job, things have improved greatly and at least I’m back to loving the work.

My totally awesome survey is up to 367 responses… not close to the 1000+ I’d like to see in order for this to turn in to an actual study… If you have any ideas on how to get more visibility/more responses, I’d love to hear them. (Non-spammy places to share it? A database of thousands of people waiting to take surveys perhaps?) Help a sister out!

We also had the awesome privilege of getting one of this month’s Rockstar Finance Giving Cards. Full story coming Monday!

The Numbers:

Want to know how easy it is for us to write these every month? I literally just log into my Personal Capital and revel in all the numbers being in one place. Do you like checking numbers? Do you like graphics? Do you like playing with calculators like retirement calculators and how much your fees are costing you? Then, you should obviously use my affiliate link to Sign up here to help yours truly speed toward financial independence! (I assumed bloggers pushed this because of the affiliate income until I started using it myself… worth the FREE pricetag! And Seriously Amazing.)

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January 2017 Plan Update

January 2017 Plan Update

I started January all ready to kick this year out of the park! One month in and I’m waning. January was a weird month and I can’t say February is shaping up to be any less weird. We’re watching the daily policy deluge coming out of Washington and bracing for Mr. T’s job to be impacted. Since I’m in research, it’s hard not feeling completely worthless in a climate that ignores research. Neil deGrasse Tyson said it best:

Despite the weirdness, we’ll try to pick ourselves up a bit in February and see how much we can accomplish. I made very little progress on any of my non-financial goals this month. Let’s see how I did on the financial ones…

The Numbers:

Want to know how easy it is for us to write these every month? I literally just log into my Personal Capital and revel in all the numbers being in one place. Do you like checking numbers? Do you like graphics? Do you like playing with calculators like retirement calculators and how much your fees are costing you? Then, you should obviously use my affiliate link to Sign up here to help yours truly speed toward financial independence! (I assumed bloggers pushed this because of the affiliate income until I started using it myself… worth the FREE pricetag! And Seriously Amazing.)

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Tracking Your Finances and Celebrating Wins!

Tracking Your Finances and Celebrating Wins!

If you’ve been around Northern Expenditure awhile, you’re probably aware that I like to celebrate. (If you follow me on Twitter, you’re aware I celebrate with dancing gifs!) If you don’t track, you can’t celebrate!

Tracking Your Finances:

It’s a new year (yay for new!) and it’s time to start tracking your finances FOR REAL this year. Here’s what you need:

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