Getting your finances under control isn’t easy. Young Americans have a lot of expenses. It isn’t as simple as learning to balance your checkbook, no matter what your parents might tell you. Empower and Mint are two of the most popular online services for managing your personal finances. Both offer a variety of services and tools you can use to get a hold of what your money is doing and to make improvements to your personal habits so that you are getting the most out of your situation. Here’s a breakdown of what each offers.
If you prefer more hands-on assistance in navigating your financial life, consider working with a financial advisor who serves your area.
Empower, formerly known as Personal Capital, is an online financial advisor service based in Colorado. It is a privately-held company. It has a number of tools and services available to help customers get a better grasp on their finances and better manage their money.
The most basic tool available is the dashboard. This gathers all of your various account information into one consolidated page, allowing you to see what transactions you are doing with your money — payments, deposits, transfers and more. If you have multiple accounts, as most people do — checking accounts, savings accounts and retirement accounts, for example — seeing it all on one page allows you to get a holistic view of your financial situation without having to navigate through various accounts.
The dashboard also shows your total net worth, tracks your spending and lets you know about any investable cash you have. Budgeting and cash flow are part of the dashboard’s suite of tools. This includes the ability to see what you are spending in different categories.
Another tool is the retirement planner, which lets you see if you are on track for your retirement goals. The education planner works similarly to planning how to pay for education. The Investment Checkup tool is also available, which lets you compare your portfolio to the ideal asset allocation mix for someone in your situation.
One tool that many young investors will appreciate is the Fee Analyzer, which finds hidden fees in your investments. For young people who don’t have time to read all the fine print, seeing where they’re paying extra money could be a very handy feature.
All of these tools are free. For a fee, Empower also has various levels of wealth advising. The “Investment Service” feature is for those with up to $200,000 in investable assets and includes access to a financial advisory team.
“Wealth Management” is for those with between $200,000 and $1 million in investable assets and includes two dedicated financial advisors. “Private Client” is available to those with at least $1 million in investable assets. It includes priority access to advisors, certified financial planners (CFPs) and the investment committee.
Mint is a Mountain View, California-based company. It is a subsidiary of Intuit, the technology company that also owns Quicken and TurboTax. It is a personal financial management company offering a suite of tools allowing users to get a better understanding of their finances.
Mint lets you put together all of your accounts into a single page, so you can see your total assets and all of the transactions you make. It also breaks all of your spendings down into categories so you can see how much you are paying for different things. Categories include things like shopping, food and fuel.
The app also gives you custom tips for savings. For instance, it will show you how much more money you could make if you put money into an investment instead of letting it sit in a low-yield savings account. Three is also a budget goal tracker, a bill payment tracker and an investment tracker, all of which are designed to give users the most information possible to get their financial life under control.
Empower vs. Mint: Fees
The big difference is that Empower is also an investment advisor. It is registered with the SEC and can help you make investment decisions. It does this in exchange for a fee, calculated based on a percentage of assets under management.
Empower vs. Mint: Which Is Best For You?
A lot of the choice between Empower and Mint is going to come down to personal preference. The tools each provide similar offers, and it isn’t clear that one is hands down better than the other. Try out each of them — download the apps and look at the tutorials. From there, you’ll get a sense of which platform seems more user-friendly to you.
There is one major exception to this — Empower also offers wealth management for a separate fee. If you want to work with a financial advisor and get financial management technology provided through the same company, Empower may be a better choice for you.
- Investing isn’t always easy, and sometimes it helps to get someone to help. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
- Want to see what an investment could look like after you hold it for a few years? Consider using SmartAsset’s free investment calculator.