YNAB vs Personal Capital

Budgeting is a very important thing if you want to manage your money in a more organized way. Budgeting is no longer as tedious and complicated as before, because there are now various software applications that aim to help you to do the task. Then again, choosing the right budgeting app for your need can be a tricky task of its own. In this article, we are going to compare YNAB vs Personal Capital, two popular choices for personal budgeting. There are different pros and cons that you need to consider when choosing between YNAB and Personal Capital.

What is YNAB?

YNAB, which stands for “You Need A Budget”, was developed by a CPA named Jesse Mecham in order to help himself and his wife deal with real-life financial difficulties. It started as a spreadsheet file, but it worked very well that he began rolling it out to the public.

YNAB is now a web-based app that is very popular for personal budgeting. It does only one job, and it does the job very well. It is so popular because of the powerful features and helpful guides. It has monitoring mechanics to keep track of your income and expenses, and it also provides guides and instructions for dealing with the root causes of financial difficulties. In addition, YNAB is also available as mobile apps for Android, iOS, and even Apple Watch. (See also : YNAB vs EveryDollar)

Why Choose YNAB

So, why would you choose YNAB vs Personal Capital? First of all, one advantage of YNAB is that it is simple and focused. It is all about budgeting. It helps you to split your money for all different purposes, and it helps you to keep track of how you spend your money – whether you are following the budget plan or not. By keeping things simple and focused, YNAB is very easy to use, and yet it is quite powerful for the task.

If you are a beginner in the world of budgeting, YNAB is probably the best choice for you. Besides the fact that it is simple, focused, and easy to understand, YNAB also goes far beyond the mechanics of budgeting. Having powerful tools and features is one thing, and providing helpful strategies and advices is another thing. YNAB comes with many guides that can help you plan your budget properly and stick with the budget plan all the way to the end of the month.

The next advantage of YNAB is that it continues to evolve. The developer team is actively developing the service to improve the performance and features, and you can expect YNAB’s continued improvements in the future. In other words, YNAB makes a great choice for long-term use.

YNAB’s Disadvantages

There are just a few disadvantages of YNAB vs Personal Capital. First, YNAB is not a free service. Well, you can get a trial for 34 days, and you can even get to use the service for free for the first two months. But you will have to subscribe once the trial and promotional periods are over. YNAB costs $6.99 per month. That’s actually quite affordable. But, if you really want to use a free service, YNAB is not for you.

The second disadvantage of YNAB is that it is not a one-stop for all financial needs. It is focused on budgeting, with some capabilities of tracking your transactions. But it cannot do other things; for example, it cannot analyze your transaction history for trends and tendencies. So, YNAB is not the best choice if what you want is a one-stop financial service.

What is Personal Capital?

Personal Capital can be described as a “financial account aggregator”. With Personal Capital, you can connect all your bank accounts, credit cards, investment accounts, mortgage and auto loans, and any other financial account. It will then summarize your financial condition and offer financial planning guidance.

Personal Capital was founded by Bill Harris. It is a comprehensive budgeting solution with a robust set of tools and resources that can also help you manage your investment portfolio, asset allocation, as well as retirement planning. The whole service is free!

Personal Capital features a powerful dashboard where you can quickly get information regarding your income, expenses, net worth, budgeting, portfolio, asset allocation, and retirement savings. The interface is very neat, organized, and intuitive. There are also security features that can help you safeguard your important data, such as additional log-in verification, AES-256 encryption, and strict internal access controls.

Why Choose Personal Capital

There are several reasons why one prefers Personal Capital when choosing between YNAB vs Personal Capital. First of all, unlike YNAB, Personal Capital is a comprehensive service. It not only helps in budgeting and tracking your transactions, but also in several other tasks such as portfolio management and retirement investment planning. This is a great choice if you are looking for one service that can help in almost all financial works.

For a total beginner, the interface of Personal Capital may look a little overwhelming at first. But it is actually easy to use. The interface is neat and intuitive, and some financial information is displayed as graphs and charts that are easy to understand. Personal Capital gives you its full set of powerful tools and features, including the advanced security capabilities, without any additional cost.

Personal Capital’s Disadvantages

If you only need a simple budgeting app, Personal Capital is not exactly the best choice for you. The advanced capabilities are great, but there is no point of having them all if you are not going to use them.

Personal Capital is relatively new, so having bugs and glitches is not a surprising thing. Over the years, Personal Capital has greatly improved and eliminated most bugs and glitches. But there are still some users who find issues when linking some financial accounts.

Finally, although Personal Capital is basically free, it does charge some fees for the investment management services. The fees are not horribly priced, but they may be a little higher than some other competitors who are focused on investment management only.

YNABPersonal Capital
- Focused on budgeting and tracking your income and expenses- Rich functionality for budgeting, portfolio management, and retirement planning
- Simple and easy to use, has guides for beginners- Has a lot more features that may be overwhelming for beginners
- $6.99 per month- Free, but the investment management services have fees


If we talk about the best value for the money, Personal Capital is definitely the best choice. It is free, and it provides robust features and capabilities right away. If you are looking for a powerful service that can help in budgeting, portfolio planning, and other things, Personal Capital is the way to go. However, if you prefer a simple yet focused service that only does budgeting and transaction tracking, YNAB is more suitable for you.

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