Empower App Review 2024: Pros, Cons, How it Compares

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‌Empower is a financial services company offering retirement plans and comprehensive wealth management to both individuals and organizations. Launched in 2014—but with Canadian roots dating back to 1891—Empower is currently the second-largest retirement plan provider in the country, with more than 17 million customers.

In 2020 Empower acquired Personal Capital, a popular investment robo-advisory platform, bringing together one of the top digital personal wealth management platforms with its own retirement plan services and integrated financial tools.

TIME’s Take

‌Empower is a robust investment platform offering various free financial tools, including a budget analysis and net worth tracker, along with completely customizable investment advisory services for eligible investors. Financial tools are free to use, and Empower has an easy-to-navigate mobile app with high ratings. Investment portfolio advisory services are not at all cookie-cutter, like many other financial management apps, but they do have a relatively high minimum investment requirement.

Who is Empower best for?

‌Empower can be a good option for anyone wanting to learn more about their financial situation, create a budget, track their monthly spending, analyze their retirement progress, view and watch their net worth, or create a customized portfolio. You can also earn a top-of-the-market rate on an Empower Personal Cash account, currently 4.70%, which is more than 10 times higher than the national average of 0.46% as of Feb. 20, 2024.

The financial tools are free to use and can be accessed through a top-rated mobile app or web platform. If you want personal advisors or a customized investment strategy, you’ll need to have $100,000 or more to invest to really unlock the best features. For this reason Empower is best suited for those with six figures or more on hand.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Free money management tools
  • High yield cash account with no fees
  • No minimum deposit requirement
  • Wide range of advisory services and personalized options

Cons:

  • Focuses heavily on retirement planning
  • No access to debit cards or paper checks
  • Wealth advisory services require a deposit of $100,000 or more
  • Fees can be higher than AT some other platforms

Empower services

‌Empower offers many different financial and investment services, depending on your needs and preferences.

Free money management tools

‌Empower gives you access to a robust mobile app complete with a number of different money tools through its Personal Dashboard. These include:

  • Financial calculators.
  • Budget generator and tracker.
  • Net worth tracker.
  • Cash flow tool.
  • Retirement planner.
  • Portfolio analyzer.

There is no charge to use any of these tools, and you aren’t required to meet a minimum deposit or hold a specific balance.

High yield cash account

Your parked funds can earn a competitive return—currently 4.70% annual percentage yield (APY)—with the Empower Personal Cash account. It serves as a blend between a checking and savings or money market account, with no minimum balance requirement and no maintenance fees.

It is a bit limited in that you won’t have a debit card or access to paper checks. However, you can easily link a checking account to transfer out cash for bills and other expenses. Also, there are no withdrawal limits, as you might find from other savings accounts.

Wealth management and investment services

Deposit $100,000 or more and you’ll get access to Empower’s wealth advisory and investment services. There are three different tiers of advisement, depending on how much you deposit, which offer customized portfolios, personal advisors, and unlimited retirement advice.

Benefits of Empower

There are many benefits to using Empower. Here are the most notable.

Multiple money management features

No matter where you are in your financial journey, Empower can help you manage your cash and plan for the future. With retirement planning tools, a net worth calculator, investment accounts, and budget planners, you can track the funds you have today while optimizing your financial strategy for tomorrow.

Personal Cash program with high interest returns

With Empower Personal Cash you can earn up to 4.70% APY on your money with no minimum deposit and no monthly fees. Insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) up to an aggregate amount of $5 million, this cash management account can provide your family with a joint option for direct deposits, BillPay, or even savings. It’s not really a checking account and not really a savings account, but it can be a great way to earn top interest on your funds with no withdrawal or deposit limits each month.

Wealth management and investment services

As long as you meet the minimum investment requirement of $100,000, you’ll have access to unlimited retirement planning advice and managed exchange-traded fund (ETF) portfolios. For customers with $250,000 or more under management, Empower allows for a completely customized portfolio and dedicated wealth management advisors to help you plan for the future in the most personalized way.

If you have $1 million or more under management, you’ll unlock the private client tier. This includes priority specialist services and dedicated financial advisors, along with access to Empower’s investment committee, which is responsible for designing and maintaining the company’s strategic portfolios.

What can be improved with Empower?

Of course, no advisory platform is perfect. Here’s where Empower could improve.

High minimum investment for wealth management and investment services

While $100,000 isn’t the highest minimum investment around, it is a threshold that limits how accessible this part of its platform is to its customers.

Heavy focus on investing vs. everyday finances

Some of Empower’s competitors offer strong budgeting platforms and everyday money management services. Though Empower does offer these, its forte is really investment planning. If you want to use the platform simply for budgeting or daily cash flow, Empower may not be the right choice.

Management fees can be high

‌Empower charges a tiered flat management fee that depends on your total assets under management (AUM). For your first million invested it’s 0.89%. From $1 million to $3 million it drops to 0.79%, going as low as 0.49% for investors with more than $10 million. Depending on how much you have saved and how you plan to manage your money, this might be more than you’d pay elsewhere.

It’s worth noting that fees apply only to investment management services. The Empower investment app , budget planner, net worth tracker, and portfolio analysis tools are all free to use. There also aren’t any monthly fees on the Personal Cash account.

How does Empower compare?

Empower Personal Cash, budgeting tool, personalized retirement portfolios, wealth advisory

Spending analysis, budgeting tool, savings automation, bill negotiation, net worth tracker, subscription manager

Budgeting tool, guides, workshops

Budgeting tool (“spending plan”), savings goals, investment analysis, tax reporting

Curated and strategic portfolios or personalized advice

$8.25 to $14.99 per month

Available by phone or through the app and web platform

Online chat or email support

In-app messaging or email

Empower app: In-depth review

In addition to a web platform, Empower offers a mobile app for both iOs and Android devices. Both apps are highly rated and provide the same features and tools as online.

Usability

The Empower mobile app is available for iOs or Android devices through the App Store or Google Play Store. Both apps have high ratings and allow for one-touch access to your retirement accounts, investment portfolio, health savings account (HSA), and Empower cash account. You can also use the app to analyze your overall financial picture, contact your financial advisor, and adjust your retirement contributions.

Options/services

The Empower investment app enables you to make changes to your retirement portfolio, watch your Personal Cash account, transfer funds, adjust your contributions, select investments, track your net worth, link external accounts, and more.

Technology

You can access the Empower platform online or through a mobile app. Both offer the same features and account access,

Costs

There is no fee to use the Empower investment app. All of the available financial tools are also offered at no cost. (Your only fees could be related to wealth management services.)

Education

Do you want to learn more about investing, managing your money, or planning for the future? Empower’s financial tools make this easy and convenient. You can use the available free tools to analyze your spending and budget and make changes to your everyday spending and saving. You can get real-time snapshots of your net worth and cash flow or check in on your retirement portfolio progress.

‌Empower’s advisory teams are available to answer any questions you have or, if you qualify, create a customized portfolio and investment plan to meet your needs. They can run different scenarios for you to show how you can meet specific goals and which strategies will get you there in the best way.

Customer service

‌Empower financial advisors are available to not only help you create a financial plan but also manage and troubleshoot it along the way. You can contact your advisor through your account by logging in online or through the mobile app.

If you have general questions about Empower, you can contact customer service by calling (877) 630-4015.

Social features

There are no social features embedded in the Empower app .

Security and reliability

‌Empower security is robust. It never sells customer data. Your personal information is encrypted with AES-256 multilayer key management, and Empower also uses multifactor authentication to ensure your account security. There is also an Empower Security Guarantee, which states that the company will restore any losses that occur to your account due to unauthorized transactions through no fault of your own.

Company reputation

‌Empower’s platform was formerly known as Personal Capital, a popular and well-respected personal finance and money management platform. Since being acquired by Empower, the platform’s new reputation has been good but slow-growing. It is not Better Business Bureau accredited, and there are very few online reviews.

However, the mobile app is well reviewed, with a 4.7 out of five stars rating from over 148,000 users on Google Play.

How does Empower make money?

‌Empower charges fees for its wealth advisory and investment management services. These range from 0.89% of AUM for assets under $1 million to as low as 0.49% of AUM for those with $10 million or more invested.

Bottom line

If you’re looking for an app to help you gauge your current financial situation, track your progress toward retirement, and earn you a high return on your cash, Empower might be the answer. With many free financial tools and financial advisors available to those with $100,000 or more to invest, Empower makes it easy to assess, change, and track your financial strategy to meet your goals.

Empower Financial Advisor

Assets under Management

$1.3 trillion

Accounts offered

Empower Personal Cash, budgeting tool, personalized retirement portfolios, wealth advisory

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Is the Empower app legit?

‌Empower is a legitimate investment app and platform, offering a variety of financial tools, accounts, and advisory services to investors of all levels.

Does Empower have a good reputation?

‌Empower’s platform was formerly known as Personal Capital, a long-standing and highly respected personal finance platform. The new Empower app continues that tradition with a 4.7 star rating (out of five) on Google Play.

How much is Empower monthly?

There is no charge for Empower’s financial tools, mobile app, or web platform. You also won’t pay any monthly maintenance fees on Empower Personal Cash accounts, if you choose to open one. Fees are assessed on wealth management accounts, which range from 0.49% to 0.89% of AUM.

Empower Personal Wealth, LLC (“EPW”) compensates Time Stamped for new leads. Time Stamped is not an investment client of Empower Advisory Group, LLC.

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