- Free retirement and savings planners
- Free portfolio management
- High-yielding savings account
- Professional investment advice
- Intuitive mobile app
- Minimum investment for specialist services
- No live chat
During childhood, taking care of our finances usually involved saving up spare change throughout the week to indulge in candy every Friday. As a teen, pocket money was carefully budgeted to ensure a weekend escape to the movies.
Our lifelong relationship with money has naturally led us to fear what old age may bring and dream of a safety net to ensure those golden years can be enjoyed. With Empower’s wealth management tools, planning for retirement is reassuringly easy.
Renowned for its comprehensive financial dashboard, Empower is a hybrid wealth management service that offers an array of free tools for retirement planning, net worth tracking, and budgeting, as well as paid portfolio reviews for users with over $100,000 in investments. The company was founded in 1891 with everyday investors in mind and has since become one of the biggest retirement planning providers in the U.S. It’s important to mention that Empower provides many other services in addition to its wealth management services, such as IRAs and investment accounts.
Empower’s suite of tools gives users a 360-degree view of every aspect of their finances. The free features are countless, from a fully-packed personal dashboard and cash management account to a number of handy financial calculators for measuring monthly budgets, investment returns, life insurance, pensions, and more.
The first step to using Empower is providing your age, the age you plan to retire, and the amount of money you have saved. After linking your checking, savings, investment, credit card, loan, mortgage, and other accounts, you should schedule a conversation with a financial advisor for onboarding support.
If your total assets surpass $100,000, you’ll be eligible to enter one of Empower’s wealth management plans and curate a strategic investment portfolio with the help of professional advisors. However, the platform’s free version is so generous that users can still benefit significantly even without one of these wealth-management plans.
The easy-to-navigate free dashboard and its handy tools are enough to manage a basic investment portfolio, analyze your cash flow, cut down on unnecessary fees, and plan for all future scenarios.
Empower’s free financial dashboard can cover nearly every aspect of your finances, with a particular emphasis on investments and retirement plans. All tools are organized into one place, where you also have access to any linked account (checking, savings, mortgage, etc.) along with your listed assets (home, vehicles, jewelry, and art).
The free version also includes:
- A bills management section, which reminds users about upcoming credit card charges, due loans, and more.
- A budgeting tool that breaks down expenses by category and is perfect for managing overspending.
- A cash-flow analyzer, which charts inflows and outflows, comparing them by month.
- An education planner to help users save for college tuition.
- A fee analyzer that shows how much money is being spent on fees, with future projections that reveal how many years of retirement income can be lost to them.
- An investment checkup tool to educate users on asset allocation, helping them optimize their portfolios and define targets while considering their needs, desires, and ability to take risks.
- A net-worth reporting tool that tracks data from every linked account and asset for easy monitoring.
- A retirement planner that designs possible scenarios based on income and expense events to deduce whether your retirement goals are realistic. Income events include inheritances, pensions, and property sales, while expense events refer to home purchases, support for a dependent, and education costs.
- A savings planner, which pulls information on retirement savings, cash, and debt to guide decision-making. This planner features an emergency fund section and a debt paydown tab that displays existing debts and their interest rates.
However, the portfolio tracker is arguably the most comprehensive feature on Empower’s free dashboard. This tool displays all types of data on your investments, from the quantity and share prices of your holdings to the performance of your portfolio, asset class weights, and equity holdings in the U.S.
Cash Management Account
Empower Personal Cash is a free cash management program that earns users higher interest rates than with regular checking accounts. Essentially, it’s a high-yield savings account that comes with the added perks of offering up to five million dollars in aggregate FDIC insurance coverage without fees or a required minimum balance.
This one-of-a-kind program promises to earn you 4.70% APY, one of the higher rates out there. However, Empower is still working on debit cards for this service, so the only way to withdraw money is by linking your Personal Cash account to an external bank. Fortunately, there are no limitations on the number of deposits or withdrawals you can make.
Personal Strategy™️ Wealth Management
Investing at least $100,000 opens the doors to Empower’s Personal Strategy™️ Wealth Management programs. These consultative services use both robo-advisors and experienced fiduciaries to manage your net worth and investments in the best way.
Three different plans cater to distinct levels of wealth:
- Investment services: Clients investing $100,000 and $250,000 get access to unlimited retirement planning advice and professional exchange-trade fund (ETF) portfolio management.
- Personal Strategy™️ Wealth Management: Customers with $250,000 to $1 million receive more than a customizable portfolio with regular reviews. These users get two personal financial advisors, tax optimization services, and specialist support in real estate, insurance, and other areas.
- Private: Clients bringing at least $1 million to the table can get the best financial planning on the market. This exclusive tier unlocks priority access to Empower’s specialist support for retirement and wealth planning and private equity investment options (for clients with over $5 million to invest).
Mobile and Add-ons
Along with its state-of-the-art web-based dashboard, Empower offers a mobile app that’s just as modern and accessible. Available for Apple Watch and iOS and Android devices, the app groups all your financial accounts together, including the Personal Cash account.
Much like the desktop version, the Empower app provides tools for net worth and cash flow reporting, retirement planning, budgeting, and managing your portfolio. Users can even access the various saving, spending, and planning calculators. The only missing feature is the investment checkup tool.
To give clients added peace of mind about the highly sensitive data they share, Empower offers multiple layers of security on its mobile app, such as multi-factor authentication and AES-256 encryption, along with the promise that no information is sold to third parties.
With Empower, the only services that have a price tag are the three wealth management tiers. Both Empower Personal Cash and the financial dashboard, along with all its features and the financial calculators, are completely free.
All three plans are subject to an annual management fee based on the size of the customer’s investment portfolio. Empower is committed to transparency, promising no trade commissions or hidden or trailing fees.
Only clients with $100,000 or more to invest are eligible for a call with Empower’s advisors inviting them to join the wealth management programs. The Investment Services tier caters to investments of $100,000 to $250,000 and costs 0.89%. The second plan, Personal Strategy™️ Wealth Management, is tailored to balances of $250,000 to $1 million. It also charges 0.89% but offers support and regular portfolio reviews.
At the top, the Private Clients tier is designed for users with investments that surpass $1 million, and the fee stays the same for up to $2 million. However, the fees decrease to 0.79% for the first $3 million, to 0.69% for the next $2 million, and then 0.59% for the following $5 million, until at $10 million, it’s 0.49%.
For payment options, Empower supports over 12,000 financial institutions, so users won’t encounter any problems finding their bank or paying their bills.
Although it lacks a live chat feature for 24/7 support, Empower’s customer service team is available by phone or email, generally responding within a day but advising that there can be delays on evenings and weekends. Phone support is advertised more on the website than email, and there are several numbers to contact for different queries.
Fortunately, the extent of support doesn’t end there. The website has extensive FAQs for every service, and there’s a learning center filled with interactive tools, calculators, and expert insights on retirement, saving, and investing.
Best of all, Empower has a daily publication called ‘The Currency’, which features informal articles answering common questions and delving into relevant topics. This light-hearted way of communicating with clients extends to Empower’s social media, particularly its Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, X, and YouTube accounts.