Introducing the Education Planner

in Personal Capital News by

Sometimes life goes as planned, and sometimes it throws us curveballs. Whether expected or unexpected, certain events have a large effect on our financial lives. So, this week, we’ve added a new feature to Personal Capital’s Web Dashboard to prepare you for anything that may lay ahead.

Our new planning features take the guesswork out of financial decisions by allowing you to create multiple income or spending scenarios. You can immediately see the impact of hypothetical income events like inheritance, the sale of a home, or going back to work after retirement. Similarly, you can input expenses like travel, a child’s wedding, home renovation, or making a charitable donation. Maybe you or a spouse want to take a year off or stop working entirely. What impact would this have on when you can retire, or how much you save? Our new scenario and comparison tools allow you to plan for multiple potential outcomes. Best of all, you can save different scenarios and compare the impact of various decisions versus your current financial plan.

This feature works together with our newly launched ‘Education Planning’ tool, which helps you understand and compare the costs of a specific college or overall in-state vs out-of-state college costs, as well as determine your annual savings needs while you track your progress. Forty percent of college students take a fifth year to graduate, and you can model what impact that would have on your annual spending. You can also see how hypothetical changes to education goals impact your overall portfolio and retirement readiness.

How it Works

Step 1:

Sign in to your Personal Capital account and select ‘Retirement Planner’ under the ‘Planning’ tab in the header menu.

Step 2:

In the Retirement Planner, select the ‘+’ next to Spending Goals, and select the ‘Education’ icon.

Step 3:

Create a ‘New Education Goal’. Select or add your student, their birth year and their education type – private school (pre-college) or higher education.

Step 4:

Add in any and all savings toward this goal by linking any current associated accounts or you can manually enter the amount. However, we encourage you to link any existing accounts so you can designate all or a portion of those given accounts toward an education goal. This allows you to monitor your progress and contributions and helps you keep on track for hitting your goals. Our Average costs calculator – which includes tuition, room and board, and books – will help you determine an appropriate amount to save.

Our planner accounts for inflation by deflating future returns on your college savings to today’s dollars for an easier comparison with today’s college costs, to help you most accurately compare.

Step 5:

Our planner helps you calculate how much you need to save per month or per year, from now to the time your student starts college. Personal Capital recommends saving for 70% of the total costs.

Step 6:

Select ‘Done’ and you now have your final education analysis. You can see your projections and edit contributions, select specific schools to see how your savings will net out, and see your “Fund-it-all” amount and your projected tax savings from a 529 plan.

Step 7:

You can now complete your final analysis. For example, you can save it as a new scenario such as, “Katie goes to Stanford” under ‘Retirement Planner’ and see how it affects your retirement readiness and your overall financial plan. This is how you can compare all different types of scenarios (home-buying, inheritance, etc) and see how it impacts your plan.

It’s that easy! Stay tuned for more exciting new product updates coming soon.

Use our free tools to manage your financial life from one place.

For a video demonstration, click here.

This communication and all data are for informational purposes only and do not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell securities. You should not rely on this information as the primary basis of your investment, financial, or tax planning decisions. You should consult your legal or tax professional regarding your specific situation. Third party data is obtained from sources believed to be reliable. However, Personal Capital cannot guarantee that data’s currency, accuracy, timeliness, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose. Certain sections of this commentary may contain forward-looking statements that are based on our reasonable expectations, estimates, projections and assumptions. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks and uncertainties, which are difficult to predict. Past performance is not a guarantee of future return, nor is it necessarily indicative of future performance. Keep in mind investing involves risk. The value of your investment will fluctuate over time and you may gain or lose money.

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Jim Del Favero
Head of product for Personal Capital. I spent 17 years at Intuit working on Quicken,, Quicken Online and other direct to consumer financial offerings.
Jim Del Favero

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  1. Joseph Elwell

    The suggested numbers for tuition don’t include room & board. Your screenshot for Katie has you saving for a 50K/year budget. Which is more than the private institution amount. Seems like it would be helpful to point out the discrepancy and how savers might want to include room & board saving.

    • Gene Feldman

      @Joseph. The goal number of $50K is a user-set number. If you look at step 4 screenshot, the tool shows the user state’s average as well as out-of-state average college costs that *include* tuition and fees, books and supplies, room and board. The user can then decide how much of the costs they want to cover for their student. 50%, 70%, or the entire amount. In this particular example they also wanted to see what it would cost for Katie to go to Stanford, which seems to be close to $70K.

      • Joseph Elwell

        I didn’t realize the new tool includes room & board. I must be saving too much then. Or the last tool I used gave me a significantly larger target number than your tool does (inflation?). I just used the #1 google result for “college savings calculator” and it shows the cost of college for my 8 year old (for in state public) to be 148K.

  2. Kyle Allingham

    The scenario and assumptions used by the system assume you have one or more children at present time. I’m in my 20s and don’t plan on having any children for a while. The system doesn’t seem let people assume they will have children in the future. This makes it difficult if one has the ability to save money to plan how much they need to save. It would seem that this is a major miss by the system. A simple way to say I plan on having a child say at age 30, what could I save now?

    Since time equals more time for money to grow in investing it seems like it would be useful to plan for a future child.

  3. Kyle Allingham

    I wanted to try out this new tool for children that I may have in the future. The system does not let one put in children that one might have at a future point in time. This seems like a miss if your someone who is starting out and likes to plan ahead. Money saved ahead of time has more time to grow. Is there a way to use the system to account for children one might have in the future.

    • Jamie Balkin

      Hi Kyle,

      Thanks for your question. You can create different scenarios in the Scenario Planning feature where you can plan for “Future Child #1”, for example. From there, you can set financial goals for their future/hypothetical education and how much you would need to save to hit those goals.

  4. gk questions

    Thank you for sharing such valuable info.


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