Wealth management services have become a fad in the financial industry and even beyond. In this Empower review, we’ll go into one of the most popular platforms that can help you in your wealth management journey.
When you hear and discuss financial management, it is more than just monitoring or managing your assets. Wealth management platforms provide various services, features, and benefits, such as setting goals, personalized categories, and strategic budgeting plans.
Today, we will discuss Empower and how it offers the much-needed facilities to help those seeking money management and investment platforms. And we’ll see how this platform will help you with your wealth management challenges.
What Is Empower?
Empower is a digital wealth platform that provides investment planning and management tools to help you with your finances. This site has a free and paid version, where the free version comes with a bunch of tools such as spending and saving analysis, portfolio performance, retirement progress, and checking your overall net worth. You can link your other investment accounts and check your performance for free.
Empower’s users can also enjoy their retirement tool. It is easy to use and plan for your retirement and experiment with various saving schemes to ensure you have enough money.
While Empower’s paid version is for users who are inclined to invest at least $100,000. This version consists of a team of advisors to help you control your wealth, and it has a starting fee of 0.89%
Of course, users can invest more than the minimum amount required and get to enjoy more of Empower’s services. For instance, if you invest more than $200,000, you get to have 2 financial advisors and a custom Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF) portfolio.
Users who invest more than $1 million will get a fee as low as 0.49% and an opportunity to invest in individual bonds.
How Does Empower Work?
Empower works as your financial strategy when it comes to money tracking, investment planning, and other management tools you need. This platform is definitely worth a try for these features alone.
To start with Empower, you will have to create an account or download the Empower app. Once you have created an account, the next thing to do is link your financial accounts to Empower, and you’re good to go.
Suppose you will link $100,000 or more in investable assets. You are qualified for a free consultation with a financial advisor of Empower. You will be asked a series of questions regarding your finances and short-term financial goals. After that, you get to have a personalized strategy plan made for you based on your answers.
To have access to Empower’s Wealth Management level and consult with financial advisors, you will have to invest at least $100,000 with the company to start with. Just to be clear, it will depend on the amount you have invested in your Empower account and not on your external link accounts.
Wealth Management offers the “personal” side of Empower, which means you can find firsthand professional portfolio management. That’s because Empower’s advisors have a fiduciary obligation to clients where they must place their own best interests before theirs.
You can reach Empower’s financial advisor through phone, email, or video chat.
Empower Wealth Management Services
Empower has 3 categories of Wealth Management services based on the assets you hold with them:
- Investment Service: Clients with $100,000 to $200,000 assets can get access to the company’s investing tools and support from financial advisors. Assets are invested in a portfolio of tax-efficient ETFs with a weighted average expense ratio of 0.08%, and that portfolio is professionally managed by the company’s robo-advisor.
- Wealth Management: Clients with assets of over $200,000 get to enjoy the perks mentioned above, and in addition, they can access two dedicated financial advisors. They can also customize a portfolio with individual stocks and ETFs.
- Private Client: The VIPs are those clients that have $1 million or more in assets. They can also access all the services above and have more in-depth financial planning and suggestions. Access to alternative investments like hedge funds, exclusive private equity or private banking services, and the opportunity to invest in individual bonds.
Personal Capital Free Financial Tools
Empower has free tools you can enjoy even if you have no intention of using this budgeting platform. Still, the free version will give beneficial investment support.
Empower’s personal dashboard acts mainly as a financial aggregator where you can add all your accounts. When we say all, it contains investments, checking, savings, credit cards, and loan accounts.
This will allow you to gather your entire financial life in one place. You may include any employer-sponsored retirement plans you have. This is the free version’s strong point, and it is an asset allocation procedure to instantly view your entire financial situation.
Dashboard – Here is a picture of Empower’s dashboard.
Budgeting – This tool can be used on a free or paid version. The budgeting tool monitors your cash flow and spending patterns. You may also review your spending lists and individual transactions.
This tool lets you get monthly overviews of your overall financial transactions. This is to help you locate exactly where your money is going.
Cash Flow Analyzer – This tool creates a budget for you. After you have set up a budget, it will start to track your income and expenses from the various financial accounts you have linked to Empower.
Using this tool, you can also create financial goals such as savings, retirement plans, or paying off debt. Cash Flow Analyzer will help you form strategies to obtain your goals.
Additional Free Empower Tools
Regardless of Empower’s financial dashboard limits on budgeting, you can still enjoy services when it comes to investment management. Here are the following investment tools you can use:
401(k) Analyzer – Many people engage in employer-sponsored retirement plans. However, only a few people are aware of the investment fees that are not stated in those plans. Using this analyzer, you will have access and know exactly what each fee is in the plan and how much it will cost you in total. After that, the analyzer will provide suggestions or alternative allocations for lower-cost funds.
Retirement Planner – This planner uses different kinds of “what if” outlines that are to help you identify if you are on track with your retirement plans. If not, it will advise you, or you can adjust to change your situation, such as changing your career, the birth of a child, or saving for college.
Cryptocurrency Tracking – Empower lets you monitor your cryptocurrency on different crypto exchanges. You may also monitor thousands of token types, including bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum. This is an excellent feature for those adding crypto to their portfolio and for those who want to keep updated on the price.
Investment Checkup – This is the most important tool you must use for investment. Once you have aggregated your investment accounts on Empower, this tool will assist you in optimizing your accounts. It can also provide advice on how to adjust your portfolio to improve your overall investment performance.
Net Worth Calculator – With the net worth calculator, you will have the upper hand in making decisions regarding your accumulating assets. It will let you track your assets and liabilities and determine your net worth. It is important to know one’s networks because these numbers are significant when identifying your overall financial strength.
Personal Advisor – Even though you are using a free version of Empower, you can still contact a personal advisor to help you. However, the advisor could not provide investment advice. It can still help you answer queries regarding the services and provide information on any suggestions you made by Empower.
Empower Paid Client Services
Empower mostly focuses on personal wealth management, and they also give a range of paid services for those who want more than what the free version offers.
These services are:
This roadmap is a customized financial plan that will help you take control of your future. This tool also creates a prioritized category depending on the data you have provided based on your financial history.
Financial Roadmap helps you make critical financial decisions by recommending how much to save for a certain plan like retirement. They also help you to decide when is the best time to pay down your debt and create an emergency fund.
In the financial industry, millions of dollars are invested daily. If you are searching for the best way to diversify your portfolio or even get some great opportunities, then this Personal Strategy tool will help you reach that.
Together with Empower’s advanced technology and team of experts, you can get access to personalized solutions made by them. This means that every individual has their own personalized strategy designed only for them. You can get better returns along with increased risk management.
Clients may also receive a devoted advisor to help them with their plans and keep track of all their progress. Clients can also have a tax optimization game plan and the best possible return for their money.
Their smart withdrawal service is a tool that allows users to create better spending and savings decisions. This allows them to oversee their money while using Empower’s advanced technology. Using Empower’s advanced tax forecasting, clients in retirement can optimize withdrawals for tax efficiency.
Employed Plan Analysis
This service provides clients an insight into their current employer-sponsored plans by giving them an overall inspection of their accounts. This also enables clients to know more about the value and possible risks involved in their Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), 403(b), or 401(k).
They can use this information to make better decisions that may affect both their short-term spending and long-term retirement planning.
The Employed Plan Analysis helps clients estimate the value of their accounts in the future by leveraging Empower’s advanced financial technology and tax optimization strategies. This will also help them understand better how much savings they should allocate monthly to retire comfortably.
Empower Wealth Management
People would say that Empower Wealth Management is similar to robo-advisors, but that’s not entirely correct. Empower does have significant numbers of automated investment tools, but they also have active human management.
Just like robo-advisors, Empower begins by identifying your investment goals, time horizon, and risk tolerance. They also consider your personal preferences in creating your portfolio.
Portfolios are adequately managed according to the Modern Portfolio Theory (MPT) by investing across multiple asset classifications for proper variegation. They also readjust your portfolio regularly to maintain target asset allocations.
Your portfolio is invested in six asset classes:
- US stocks
- International stocks
- International bonds
- Alternative investments, including real estate investment trusts, energy, and gold
- US bonds
The percentage of your portfolio in each of your assets is determined based on your investor profile, such as investment goals, risk tolerance, time horizon, and personal preferences.
Each of the asset classes is invested in a low-cost index-based ETF. This gives you broad market exposure but with a low expense ratio.
Even so, the United States equities portion will be held in a well-diversified sample of at least 70 individual stocks. With this, Empower is able to give tactical weighing and tax optimization.
Empower Wealth Management Features
Here are some features you get to enjoy when you use Empower’s Wealth Management:
Minimum Initial Investment: $100,000 to $200,000 for regular access up to asking for financial advisors.
Financial Advisors: You can reach out to their financial advisors by phone, email, live chat, or web conference on a 24/7 basis. Clients of the Wealth Management services have two committed financial advisors.
They’ll give you full financial and retirement planning, as well as college savings and financial decision support on such topics as insurance, home financing, stock options, and even compensation.
Account Custodian: Pershing Advisor Solutions is the one responsible for your Wealth Management Portfolio. They are one of the largest investment custodians and clearing agencies globally. In addition, the company acts as a custodian for over $1 trillion in assets around the world.
Account Protection: When it comes to protection, Empower went on a different level. All accounts linked for up to $500,000 in securities, including $250,000 in cash, are protected by Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).
This coverage protects you against broker failure but not against monetary losses due to market fluctuations.
Accounts Available: Here are the accounts available you can add to Empower: Joint and taxable investment accounts; traditional, Roth IRA, Simplified Employee Pension (SEP), and rollover IRAs, trusts: advice only on 401(k) and 529 plans.
Empower’s Wealth Management Fees
What a promising offer Empower provides you. However, how much do they charge? Is it free, or does it come in a package?
Empower Wealth Management fees are all-inclusive, and it does not have hidden or trailing fees or even trade commissions.
For the first million dollars, fees are 0.89%. For private clients, fees are 0.79% for up to $3 million, 0.69% for the next $2 million, 0.59% for the next 5 million, and 0.49% for over $10 million investments.
There are 3 tiers of management:
- Investment Services for $100,000 to $200,000 in assets
- Wealth Management for $200,000 to $1 Million in assets
- Private Client with more than $1 million in assets to invest.
Additional Features And Benefits
Besides the tools and Wealth Management features, Empower offers additional features and benefits.
Customer Service: Empower provides 24/7 customer service, which you can reach through phone or email. Customer service is applicable for both the free version and the Wealth Management service.
However, the Wealth Management service comes with access to 2 live financial advisors whom you can reach directly through phone support, and they are available Monday to Friday from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM, Pacific time.
Mobile App: Empower has a mobile app available for both iOs and Android users, along with an Apple watch. You can download the mobile app at Apple Store or on Google Play.
Data Export Features: As of now, there is no option to print reports from the Empower application, and instead, they promise the capability is in the pipeline without providing an estimated time of arrival.
Instead, You Can Export Transactions: If you want to export your transactions, you will have to log into the website or mobile app (iOS users only) using Chrome or Firefox.
Once you have logged into your account, you can now handle the transactions, then click on CSV to export the transactions.
For security measures, Persona Capital offers the following:
- Two-factor Authentication
- The platform is read-only. No withdrawals or transfers can be made.
- The platform requires you to register to any devices you use to access.
- Fingerprint scanning is available for iOS devices (but not Android).
- Military-grade encryption (256-bit AES) keeps your data secure.
- Firewalls and perimeter security.
- Continuous monitoring
Pros And Cons Of Empower
Before considering Empower as your financial management partner, you might want to know first their strengths and weaknesses. Here’s everything you must be aware of:
- Free Financial Dashboard – Empower’s dashboard is free and available for both the free version and the Wealth Management service. This dashboard holds a wide variety of budgeting features and investment tools to help you with your finances.
- Tax Management – One of the best offers of Empower is tax management. High net-worth individuals get to use the online Wealth Management Company, which is tax optimization. Whether you asked for assistance in filing taxes or want someone to help you minimize capital gains and losses, Empower can help you.
- Investment Tracking & Reporting – Empower’s investment tracking and reporting are simple and fast. They can track which assets are performing well or poorly and need adjustments.
- Retirement Planning – Empower provides retirement planning management that is to helps people plan for their goals in their lives. Using this tool, you will have an estimation of how much you should be saving or allocating on the plan with your current investment strategy.
- Lower fees – compared to other financial advisors, Empower charges much lower fees for their services.
- Some Solicitation – Most of the users of Empower are complaining about the constant solicitation to upgrade to the Wealth Management service.
- High Minimum Investment – One of the downsides of Empower that stands out is the high minimum amount requirement. You must have at least $100,000 if you want to gain access to their Wealth Management services.
- Few Budgeting Features – Compared to apps like Mint, YNAB, and Quicken, which primarily focus on budgeting, Empower has limited budgeting capabilities. It is, therefore, not recommended for those who are looking for budgeting tools.
When you talk about financial tools and management apps, there are plenty of them to choose from. Empower is one thing when it comes to keeping up with all your finances. However, there are alternatives that you might want to check out if Empower does not fall into the category you set.
Mint is the most popular financial management tool there is in the industry. It is free and the best choice for you if you don’t have enough resources to invest and meet the minimum amount required with Empower.
Mint is a budgeting app that is simple and easier to navigate, such as tracking your money, setting goals like savings or retirement plans, and, most of all, can calculate your spending habits.
If you want to know more about Mint and its offers, read our full Mint review for those interested to understand more about the platform and how it can help you with your finances. As with Empower, there are plenty of Mint alternatives to choose from.
You Need A Budget (YNAB)
You Need A Budget (YNAB) is another app like Mint. However, it focuses more on your spending behavior. YNAB has zero-based budgeting, where every dollar you spend is placed into a budget list. Check out the full YNAB review for more details about the app.
With this feature, you get to monitor every cent you spend and discover any expenses that you aren’t aware of. YNAB is more about forecasting your budget and planning for the future.
YNAB is an excellent tool that encourages you to save and take your budgeting to an intensive level. YNAB costs $14.99 per month and $98.99 annually. If you want to test the platform, you can do so as it offers a 34-day trial.
You can also check YNAB vs. Mint to know which alternative best suits your budgeting needs.
Simplifi by Quicken
Simplifi collects all your financial information and aggregates it into one location. This lets you sell all your financial transactions, such as expenses, plans, and goals.
This platform syncs with your financial accounts and helps you strategize and calculate your income and spending pattern. Simplifi provides a “Simplifi Dashboard,” just like Empower, and it allows you to view how you’re doing with your goals and overall financial health.
Frequently Asked Questions – Empower Review
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Empower:
Is Empower Safe?
With the security provided by Empower, it is safe to say that all your shared information is secure. The account information you have entered within the platform is stored in a one-way encryption token.
Empower is designed as a read-only platform, and therefore no withdrawals or transfers are made. You can only view all the information, such as transactions, plans, and goals.
Regarding your account information, unless you enter your account information in the comment sections (which you shouldn’t do), your account details will not be displayed anywhere.
Who Is Empower For?
Say you are looking for free financial management tools, then Empower is worth trying. This platform provides many free features and services you can use.
Empower is going after higher-net-worth individuals and squarely competing against high-fee financial advisors such as Edward Jones.
Compared to the traditional financial advisor’s fees, Empower charges much lower fees. Plus, you don’t have to pay trade commissions either. Every account enrolled in Empower gets to have a financial advisor, whether you are in a free version or a Wealth Management service.
How Empower Invest Your Money?
Empower integrates the research of Harry Markowitz, who won the Nobel Prize in economics, and a behavioral finance expert, Shlomo Benartzi. This is to create an asset allocation formula called Smart Indexing™.
Smart Indexing™ is applied to those portfolios with more than $200,000 invested. Smart Indexing is also called Smart Beta. This investment system is created to increase returns and lower risk by allocating equally to all sectors, in contrast to mirroring the Standard and Poor’s (S&P) 500.
Using this method, the results are showing better results by 1.5% annually and reduced volatility compared to investing only in the S&P 500.
The weighted average expense ratio of a portfolio of ETFs in which the assets are invested is in a plausible percentage of 0.09.
If you want to diversify your portfolio more, here are some articles that you may want to read in to maximize investment growth:
- VUG Vs. VOO: A Comparison Of Two Popular ETF Funds
- VTSAX Vs. VFIAX: Which One Is Better?
- FZROX Vs. FSKAX – Which Fund Is For You?
In Conclusion – Empower Review
With the Empower team of experts, you can become either a better investor or a better saver while you go out and get the fine things in life, all while managing your personal finance.
It’s hard to imagine a world without a financial management tool like Empower. As you go out and explore the world, you need help from experienced and knowledgeable individuals that can teach you to understand more about finances.
You really can enjoy the best of both worlds. Maximizing what life offers while being personally responsible for you and your future.
We are thankful for financial software that makes our daily lives easy and out of worry!
Track your net worth and enjoy the benefits of Empower today!
Founder of Spark Nomad, Radical FIRE, Journalist
Expertise: Personal finance and travel content
Education: Bachelor of Economics at Radboud University, Master in Finance at Radboud University, Minor in Economics at Chapman University.
Over 200 articles, essays, and short stories published across the web.
Experience: Marjolein Dilven is a journalist and founder of Spark Nomad, a travel platform, and Radical FIRE, a personal finance platform. Marjolein has a finance and economics background with a master’s in Finance. She has quit her job to travel the world, documenting her travels on Spark Nomad to help people plan their travels. Marjolein Dilven has written for publications like MSN, Associated Press, CNBC, Town News syndicate, and more.