Have a Command View of Your Finances

10/07/2013 7:00 am EST

Focus: MONEY MANAGEMENT

Bill Harris

CEO, Personal Capital

Founder and CEO of Personal Capital, Bill Harris, helps you stop leading an unexamined financial life, and brings you out of tactics and into strategy.

SPEAKER:  Hi, my guest today is Bill Harris.  Hi, Bill and thanks for coming by.

BILL HARRIS:   Thank you.

SPEAKER:  Now your company, Personal Capital, you started what a couple of years ago, is that right?

BILL HARRIS:  We started building it a couple of years ago.  We actually came out live with the product about a year and a half ago.

SPEAKER:  I have been on the website and frankly, I was really impressed.

BILL HARRIS:  Thank you.

SPEAKER:  Now it takes a lot to impress me because I go on hundreds of websites every day.  Having been a long-term investor and advising other people with your money, it is chaotic because people, and I am just as guilty as everyone else, I have an account here, I have an account there, my 401(k) is over here and I have IRAs over here and if I want to pull that together myself it is hours of paperwork in trying to determine am I going in the right direction.  Somehow, you seem to have managed to sort of pull it all together.

BILL HARRIS:  First of all, I agree with you completely that is the biggest challenge that many people have in their financial life.  As a result, because it is such a big challenge, most people just ignore it. 

SPEAKER:  That is right.

BILL HARRIS:  They are living unexamined financial lives and money is too important to let that happen.  What we have done is try to create something where easily and quickly you can come on the site, link all of your accounts and then every night we go grab the data, bring it back, normalize it, put it all together in one big spreadsheet, so you have not only on the web but also on your smart phone or your I Pad, you have all that information always up to date.

SPEAKER:  Tell me about the analysis part because that is what intrigues me, because obviously I can pull up my Fidelity account and I can see exactly what I have and what my returns are, but that is where it stops.  Your website talks about fees, cost and if you are on the right track.

BILL HARRIS:  You bet.  We analysis, as you say, of fees and the rest.  Let me tell me what I think is probably the most important, asset allocation.  Most people will agree that the single biggest decision you make for your long-term financial health is asset allocation of your investments and yet, walk down the street and ask how many people know what their asset allocation is.  Almost no one.  “Oh well, gosh I have some mutual funds over here and some stocks over there”, but they do not know what their exposure is to various markets.  If you come to our site, in five minutes you can link all of your accounts, so you bring all that information together and then we will instantly, one minute six, we will show you this big heat map of what your exposures are internationally, domestically, stocks, bonds, large CAP, small CAP and so for the first time most people are seeing how diversified they really are.  Diversification is hugely important.  Most people look at that and go, “Oh my gosh, I did not realize that.”  Most people are overexposed to large CAP domestic equities, overexposed to cash and there is a problem with both of those.

SPEAKER:  Sure.

BILL HARRIS:  As simple as it is, what we are really doing is bringing people out of the tactics, out of the buy Pfizer and sell Merck, to the level of strategy where you can take the command view of your finances and then do something about it. 

SPEAKER:  Is this a subscriber fee and is that how we access?

BILL HARRIS:  No, that piece is completely free.

SPEAKER:  That is amazing!

BILL HARRIS:  Completely free.

SPEAKER:  Super!  Well everybody should go on that site.  Thanks for joining me. 

BILL HARRIS:  Thank you.

SPEAKER:  Thanks for being with us at the Money Show.com Video Network.