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Empower (formerly Personal Capital) Review: A Full Suite Provider

Empower (formerly Personal Capital) Review: A Full Suite Provider

July 23, 2020



When it comes to saving money buying stuff that will last a while, is easy to repair, or has an amazing warranty, can really go a long way. Here we will collect product reviews so you know where I stand on some of the products I've owned.

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Empower Review

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In the dynamic world of personal finance apps, staying informed about the best tools for managing your money is paramount. One name that has been gaining traction among avid finance enthusiasts is Empower. With a slew of features tailored to meet the diverse needs of its users, Empower promises a comprehensive approach to money management.

Whether you're searching for a high-yield savings option with the Empower Cash Management Account or aiming to optimize your budgeting strategies with Empower SmartDollar, this review aims to shed light on all facets of the app. Read on to discover whether Empower is the right financial companion for you.

Empower Personal Cash

Top Picks for:

Best Budgeting Apps

Empower Review: Key Points

  • While Empower doesn't want to be considered a robo-advisor, they really do have a great robo-advising tool

  • Empower is awholly-owned subsidiary of Empower Retirement, a retirement services provider, as of August 2020

  • In June of 2020 they built a cool "Recession Simulator", which shows how your investments would have performed during past recessions (tons of fun!)

  • The Empower financial planning program can be used at no charge.

  • Investing with Empower takes $100,000 to get started so it certainly isn't an investment tool for everyone (if your 401(k) needs to be rolled over and is above $100k then this could work for you, but most of us don't have $100k sitting around other wise).

Pros of Empower:

  1. Easy-to-use app: The Empower app is user-friendly and intuitive, providing helpful visuals to represent the overall financial picture.

  2. Great security: Empower employs two-factor authentication, ensuring that when you log in from an unknown device, you receive a text message or phone call with a PIN to enter along with your password.

  3. Free app: While there are fees associated with having Empower financial advisors manage your money, the app itself is completely free to use.

Cons of Empower:

  1. Wealth management fees: Empower charges fees for its wealth management services. Although the article mentions that these fees might be worth it, they can be considered hefty.

  2. Upsells: Empower may reach out to its users to try and sell its wealth management service, especially after users reach balances of $100,000. This can be perceived as annoying by some users.

Empower Budget Planner

What is Empower?

Empower is a personal finance software suite that offers a variety of tools and an online financial advisor. Their suite of tools is free for use and their advisors will cost you money. That is how they stay in business, you pay if you choose to use their financial advisors. If you choose not to use their advisors then you still get access to a ton of great software.

They offer human advisors and robo-tools that help you get the most out of your investments. The downside is you need to have over $100k to invest and the management fees are pretty steep if you compare them to other similar advisors and especially the robo-only advisors out there.

For those who want robust DIY personal finance tools then I would give Empower a look. To get that rolling first you set up an account and answer some basic questions about your current personal financial situation.

How can Empower help you?

There are a number of ways that Empower can help you. First, is the suite of free personal finance software tools. Budgeting, saving, and retirement planning are just a few of the free tools that are offered to help you get your finances in order.

Next, is their stable of financial advisors. What's great about Empower is they give you a questionnaire, ask about your financial goals, then connect you with someone that specializes in what you are looking for. It's like Tinder for financial advice. While this service does cost money, if you are in the right situation this could be great for you.

How to set up an Empower Account

Setting up an account is really easy, click here, to get started then follow the steps below. The link above will take you to the sign-up page which should look like the image below, click the middle section called "Create Dashboard".

From there, it's really basic, just add your email, create a password, and provide your phone number. The phone number is to make it easier for your future financial advisor to contact you, if you choose to work with them.

Empower Sign Up Page

Next, you will walk through a few steps where you inform Empower about your financial goals. These are critical to aligning your goals with the proper advice.

Empower Goal Setting

Then you will connect your accounts. The powerful combination of your personal finance goals and your account information will allow Empower to help guide your finances toward optimal health.

Empower Link Accounts

Once you have that set up they will offer you a free session with a financial advisor which is pretty great. Better still, they give you a few available dates/times right there on the screen!

Empower Free Consultation

For them it serves two purposes, they get a chance to sell you on what they have to offer, and they get to evaluate your potential as a good client for them. It is a minimal time investment on their side and they can potentially gain a lot.

There are also benefits for you to get a free session with a financial advisor. First, you get free financial advice and we could all use some of that. Second, you get to evaluate whether or not Empower is the right fit for your situation. I'm sure there are more benefits, but I'll leave those up to you to find out.

Now you can opt-out, that is entirely up to you. After this free session offer, things get really personal. Now you need to connect your financial accounts to Personal Finance. You can add a bank account, credit card, investment account, whichever you prefer. If you are going to get the most benefit out of their suite of tools I suggest you connect all of them. This is the point in the process where you need to make a firm decision about whether or not Empower is for you. Handing over the username and password of your financial account(s) is a very personal decision and I for one don't take it lightly.

Overall, Empower is an outstanding solution for a wide range of folks and something I suggest you consider for your own situation.

Empower Features

Empower Dashboard

Key Features of Empower

Automated Savings

Empower's standout feature is its automated savings. With this feature, the app intelligently studies your income and spending patterns and automatically sets aside a certain amount to save. It's a boon for those who find it challenging to save manually. This kind of automation is particularly useful for beginners diving into the world of personal finance. If you're just starting out and need a bit of guidance, features like this make Empower ideal for beginners.

Instant Cash Advance

Ever found yourself a little short before payday? Empower's Instant Cash Advance can be a lifesaver. Unlike traditional payday loans that come with exorbitant fees, Empower provides this feature with user-friendly terms. However, while it’s a handy tool, always remember to borrow responsibly.

Spend Tracking and Analysis

Monitor your expenses effortlessly with Empower's Spend Tracking and Analysis. It categorizes your spending, allowing you to spot trends and make adjustments. If you're familiar with Goodbudget, you might see some similarities, but Empower’s AI-driven approach offers a more personalized experience.

Personalized Recommendations

Tailored to your unique financial situation, Empower's Personalized Recommendations can be a game-changer. Leveraging AI, it offers insights and actionable advice to improve your financial health, whether that’s optimizing your savings or identifying wasteful subscriptions. If you've ever wished for a personal financial advisor without the hefty fees, Empower's AI-driven suggestions could be the answer.


Empower isn't for everyone, but for some folks, it is a great service and a series of tools. They manage over $14 Billion so clearly, there are people out there who appreciate what Empower offers.

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