Barron’s said in its latest cover story that Wells Fargo is the bank “most likely to find the safest, fastest route through the U.S.’ dangerous credit mess.”
The weekly magazine noted that Wells was stronger than most big banks for a number of reasons, including less exposure to subprime mortgages, a smaller capital markets operation, the only bank triple-A rated by both major credit agencies, and one that hasn’t had to turn to foreign investors for help.
Last year, the nation’s fifth largest bank ranked number one among the top five U.S. banks for return on equity and return on assets, despite trading at around 10 times 2009 earnings forecasts recently, Barron’s said.
The mag added that Wells relies on its retail platform to cross-sell, providing greater benefits to its already existing customers while offering a wide array of products that hedge exposure.
Wells CEO John Stumpf noted in the article that diversification was the key if banks wants to stick around, saying one-trick ponies like Countrywide probably won’t be around long.
“It’s the death of the monolines,” Stumpf told Barron’s.
Instead of chasing after subprime offerings, Wells took a more calculated approach, reducing the max loan-to-value ratio on many products while eliminating other higher-risk loan programs as the other big banks got more aggressive.
Despite the caution, Wells Fargo was the biggest retail mortgage originator last year and the second largest mortgage servicer, but its financial results were a far cry from those of Countrywide’s, thanks in part to its avoidance of exotic loan programs.
“With German banks buying these subprimes that we wouldn’t touch, it was no wonder it blew up,” former CEO Dick Kovacevich told Barron’s. “It’s just a stupid bubble that you have to work through.”
Barron’s also interviewed Goldman Sachs’ Managing Director Lori Appelbaum who believes the stock could gain as much as 15 percent in the next 12 months.
Shares of the mortgage lender were up 17 cents, or 0.57%, to $29.86 in midday trading on Wall Street, still well off its 52-week high of $37.99.
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Empower Personal Wealth, LLC (“EPW”) compensates Money Bliss for new leads. Money Bliss is not an investment client of Personal Capital Advisors Corporation or Empower Advisory Group, LLC.
You are looking for the best investment app to help you save money, but all of them seem too complicated. You want something that is simple, easy to use, helpful, and even better if the app is free.
Empower is an online service for tracking your finances. Before a merger, the company began in 2009, and to this day it has been growing exponentially with a user base of over two million people.
Personal Capital is now Empower.
The app works on desktop as well as mobile devices, giving users the ability to track their spending easily wherever they go.
Empower also offers a suite of tools that help you get out more information about how you are using your money so that you can make better financial decisions.
On this Empower review, we will focus on what they do well, how it works for those who use it, and where Empower could improve.
Don’t forget… here is a list of all of the budgeting apps on the market.
If you are looking for an easier way to monitor your financials and see how healthy your finances really are, then you may want to check out what Empower has to offer.
What is Empower?
Empower is an online tool for tracking your finances.
It has been called the best financial app out there, and I agree with that statement. But, I personally use it as one of the money management tools to help guide our financial decisions.
I have used Empower to track my investments for over six years now, which probably makes me a bit of an expert on this topic because I use it on a regular basis.
Overall, Empower is a financial planning and wealth management tool that users can use to manage their net worth. The product offers tools for managing investments, retirement, debt payoff, and other personal finance goals.
How does it work?
First of all, Empower is a FREE app that helps you keep track of all your accounts. It can help you to invest better and did we mention… it is free to use!
To get the most out of this app, you’ll have to link each of your financial accounts one by one so that Empower can learn how you spend money.
It takes a couple of minutes to create an account and verify your identity.
The longest step is linking accounts to the Empower app. Just make sure you do this step within 7 days to get the most out of the app.
Features of Empower
The features of Empower include the ability to visualize your overall financial picture, keep track of your investments in a dashboard, and see which companies you are invested in.
Most people associate Empower as one of the best tools to help with investing, like a stock screener and an investment calculator.
But, there are many great features available for free including:
Net Worth Planner
Cash Flow Management
College Savings Planner
Pros and Cons of Empower
First of all, Empower is free to use. So, you might as well test drive the system and check out if the Empower app fits what you are looking for.
Just like any of the Empower reviews will tell you, there are positives and negatives with every type of money management app available.
You just have to decide the most important features for you. As well as what you are willing to pay.
Pros of Empower:
Free portfolio management tool.
Good for new investors who want a free-to-use tool with minimal features.
Easy to use and can be accessed on multiple platforms.
Can track investments across multiple accounts.
Tracks over 23,000 securities and over 1,000 mutual funds. – check
Offers a free app for on-the-go access.
Offers in-depth analysis and investment research on stocks, bonds, and ETFs.
Free to use!
Cons of Empower:
Sales call from staff
Wealth management service is more expensive than a traditional advisor or simply investing in index funds.
High wealth management fee
Unable to reconcile your bank statements with Empower, but since they are coming from your bank directly, they should already be in sync.
No credit health information
Budgeting Tool needs improvement
Limited transaction management and budgeting
No import option for transactions from any platform including YNAB, Quicken or Mint
Many people report that the Empower app requires $100,000 in investment assets to be eligible. That is untrue. In fact, it works best for those who have at least $100k in some form of investments – 401k, IRA, brokerage accounts, or even cash!
Empoweris incredibly easy to use and has helpful financial planning tools.
Overall, it is one of the many great tools to help further push you to financial freedom.
While Empower is free to access personal finance tools, it does come at a small price of annoyance.
Empower is free
Empower is a free online portfolio platform that helps people save and invest their money. It offers tools to track net worth, create investment plans, compare retirement accounts, view savings goals and cash flow, and more.
This is the great part of using this app!
The downside is to make these dashboards free is they are trying to entice you to move to their wealth management services.
You do not need to invest your money with Empower to use this platform.
It is best to keep everything invested where it currently is and use their free tools to analyze and make the necessary changes.
As such, once you sign up, you will receive calls on a reoccurring basis offering you a free analysis. There is no pressure to do this. Once you have said no enough times, they will stop calling you.
For those under $1 million in investable assets, their fee is 0.89%.
As you can read in this book, there are many ways to invest yourself without paying that fee.
In fact, this is my favorite book explaining how much harder and longer you have to work by paying someone a 1% wealth management fee.
However, for a small percentage of people, this may be a more cost-effective way of receiving professional advice, as it eliminates hidden costs from this type of service.
Empower is a financial management platform that provides tools to help individuals manage their personal finances. The platform offers tools for portfolio tracking, performance analysis, and retirement planning. The company also provides its users with educational resources on financial topics.
Under their free dashboard, these are the tools you can use for free.
Net Worth Calculator
This simple tool will keep track of your net worth. Very simple and always available.
Know where you stand, by downloading the free app to see your true net worth in real-time.
Understanding your personal financial statement is important.
One of the most asked questions is how much I need to save for:
To Pay Down Debt
Calculate how much to save each year with a 70% chance of reaching your retirement goals. Learn how much you are currently savings and how much you need to start saving.
Cash flow is the amount of cash available for expenses at a certain time. This term used in personal finance describes the rate at which one’s income and expenses change over time.
The Cash Flow tool is easy to use because Empower automatically tracks deposits and spending. The time saver feature allows users to see their cash flow, balance sheet, net worth, asset allocation over a period of time.
Cash flow is a budgeting tool that offers limited information on spending. It provides a second check when using another program that gives you more details like Quicken or Simplfi.
This is the #1 reason I recommend Empower especially if you are looking to stay away from a financial planner.
Trying to figure out how much you need for retirement by yourself seems like picking a random number from the sky.
The retirement planner is used by millions of people to figure out how on track they are for retirement. Plus get tips on what they can do to improve their chances of success.
Budgeting is a method of allocating financial resources by identifying and evaluating needs, prioritizing them in order to meet goals, and monitoring the achievement of those goals.
Empower includes a budgeting section to help you set monthly spending targets and track your spending. They automatically import the information from linked accounts such as checking, savings, and credit card statements.
Using their free online financial dashboard, allows you to track your spending and investments. There are interactive charts, graphs, pie-charts, and even widgets. All to make sure your budgeting is on track.
This portfolio analysis is the process of measuring performance and risk in order to develop a strategy for capital allocation. The goal of portfolio analysis is to improve return on investment, which can be achieved by increasing return on assets, decreasing the risk of losses, or reducing the variance.
The Empower app lets you explore your entire portfolio visually. It also provides asset allocation tools and tax optimization tools to help manage a person’s financial life.
A fee analyzer helps people to determine the annual fees they are paying in their retirement plan.
401K Analyzer also calculates how much your retirement is costing you and provides a breakdown of any hidden fees that may be present within mutual funds with which it has been linked. This Retirement Planner tool uses assumptions about account holdings and investment behavior for calculating expenses against an estimated portfolio value.
Consequently, these fees add up over time and will drastically put a drag on your portfolio and reduce your retirement savings.
Empower Dashboard is Free
Just remember, you do not need to hire an advisor to use the platform.
Empower is a free tool for individual investors.
Empower provides users with access to all of the above-mentioned advanced tools for free. In addition, they offer free financial advice through their blog and social media pages.
It allows users to track their investments and get a personalized financial plan. The service also offers apps for iOS and Android devices, which makes it easy to manage finances on the go.
Empower Wealth Management Review of Services
In addition to offering free financial tools, Empower provides wealth management services.
You get to work one-on-one with an advisor who will give you personalized advice based on your situation.
They help you to invest, save money and track your financial goals.
Their advisors start by determining your risk tolerance and goals in order to construct the best personal financial plan for you.
If you are interested in getting a better understanding of your financial situation, Empower is an excellent option. It gives users the tools to understand their investments, budgets, and cash flow all with one app.
All it requires is that you sign up for free without any obligations or commitments from them whatsoever. You do not have to agree to use their wealth management program.
Personally, I cannot comment on an Empower advisor review as I have not used this service personally.
Empower Investment Strategy
The Empower investment strategy is a simple way to invest your money for the long-term.
This means that you will be able to retire and live a comfortable life without any concern about how you will be able to live.
They employ the tactic called Smart Weighting because they invest equally across all sectors and industries, which can provide diverse returns with minimal risk. The best part of this strategy is it’s easy to use as Empower has created an interface that makes portfolio management simple for users on any device or platform.
Empower’s software is able to identify tax-loss harvesting opportunities (opportunities where the investor sells an investment after it has fallen in value and pays fewer taxes than if the sale had occurred earlier) than investing on their own.
In addition, Empower invests passively for cost efficiency which means that they don’t take any active management into account.
The best part about Empower and one of the key areas I prefer, is they include socially responsible investments as well as an investment strategy to fit any budget.
They identify which companies are doing good work for society and invest in them accordingly. This feature makes personal finance much more interesting and easier than ever before!
Wealth Management Tiers
Many people invest in various financial services and products, such as mutual funds or stocks. They are promised that these investments will generate a good return, but they do not always make the best choice. Wealth management services are a way to help people manage their personal investments. They may charge fees for their service, but that is not always the case.
Depending on your level of assets, will determine the amount of services you will receive.
This is the most basic level to receive financial and retirement planning guidance from their team of experts.
$100K in investment assets
Unlimited advice from any of the available financial advisors
Managed ETF portfolio
This is where you can receive more personalized services and dedicated support to manage your money as you move through new financial challenges.
$200K minimum in investment assets
Two dedicated financial advisors
Access to specialists in real estate, stock options, and more
Regular reviews on your customized portfolio
Private Client :
This is the most exclusive level at Empower to help you receive comprehensive financial planning. They will help build a customized investment plan to reach your lifestyle goals.
over $1 million in investment assets
Two dedicated financial advisors
Priority access to specialists
In-depth retirement and wealth planning
Wealth Management Fee Structure
Empower charges only an all-inclusive annual management fee at a fraction of the cost of traditional financial institutions. In addition, they do not charge hidden fees, trailing fees, or trade commissions.
First $1 million = .89%
First $3 million = .79%
Next $2 million = .69%
Next $5 million = .59%
Over $10 million = .49%
Overall, if you want a financial advisor or a second opinion, using Empower wealth management services may be for you.
Even if you don’t join, you can still use the tools for free, no questions asked.
My Empower Review from Experience
I have had a lot of experience using Empower in the past. They provide snapshot financial pictures of your personal situation that are very informative.
Plus it is a free tool to use, which is always a bonus.
Empower is one of my favorite online tools to see all your finances in one place.
It is eye-opening to see the overall picture. Also, tracking investments across multiple accounts can be overwhelming, but they make the process seamless and help you stay on top of things.
Personally, my favorite tools are the net worth, fee analyzer, and retirement planner.
I use Empower in conjunction with Quicken. Read my Quicken review.
My Empower dashboard is my overall financial picture whereas Quicken tracks all of my day-to-day spending and helps me remember when we purchased something for a return.
The app has a convenient interface that makes managing your personal financial situation easy, even if you’re not familiar with finance jargon or investing terminology. With this tool at hand, keeping track of where everything stands financially becomes easier than ever before!
Just to note… to get the best financial picture, you must include all of your accounts. The more time you spend in the Empower dashboard, the more helpful analysis you will get from the tool.
In addition to Empower, there are other financial apps that can help you allocate your portfolio.
These include Betterment with Wealthfront also being a viable option for those who want the best of both worlds by tracking their investments in stocks and bonds. However, these alternatives have much higher fees than what is charged by Empower which makes it an appealing alternative if the fee does not bother you.
Also, if you are looking for budgeting capabilities you may want to look at Quicken, Mint, YNAB, or Simplifi.
At the end of the day, you have to decide what your goals are and what you are looking for.
From all of the free and paid budgeting apps, here are our top budgeting apps to check out!
This section may contain affiliate links, which helps us to continue providing relevant content and we receive a small commission at no cost to you. Please read the full disclosure below.
Personal Capital Advisors Corporation (“PCAC”) compensates Money Bliss (“Company”) for new leads. (“Company”) is not an investment client of PCAC.
Personal finance and money management software allows you to manage spending, create monthly budgets, track investments, retirement and more.
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Personal Capital is wealth management for the Internet Age. The online platform combines digital technology with highly personalized service to provide a holistic view of a unique financial picture (AKA your net worth).
Make sure to connect all of your accounts within 7 days to set up your Personal Financial dashboard.
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Automate your financial plan with set-and-forget money tools that fit right into your daily life.
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Your automated financial assistant and budget tracker are designed to put you back in control of your money.
Stay on top of your spending, easily track bills, cancel unwanted subscriptions, and find ways to improve!
HoneyMoney increases your awareness about your money habits. Being fully aware of your money naturally changes how you spend it.
Great way to use cash flow budgeting. Plus uses “envelopes” to budget.
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Moneyspire is user-friendly personal finance and small business accounting software that brings your entire finances together in one place.
Have total control over your financial life in one click.
Is Empower right for you?
Empower is a company that offers tools for personal finance management. This app has more than one hundred different tools to help you with your finances, including monthly budgeting and investing tracking.
Empower also helps people manage their credit card debt, establish emergency funds, track retirement savings progressions, calculate their net worth, and much more!
The smartphone app integrates locations, bank accounts, and credit scores which allows users to access current information on their financial situation.
The online portal allows for comparing available investment options.
This tool allows people to plan out the future of their money as well as provides them with valuable financial information in an easy-to-read format so they can make informed decisions.
As stated before, Empower is a financial app that can help you manage your investment assets. It has many features and it’s not perfect, but it’s the best out there in terms of value for money.
You can always test drive it and see what you learn about your personal finance situation.
Now you can try it free (no credit card required!)
Know someone else that needs this, too? Then, please share!!
Return on Equity vs. Return on Assets: Key Differences
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Return on equity (ROE) and return on assets (ROA) determine how efficient a company can be at generating profits. Both formulas that can help investors determine how good a company is at turning a profit. Let’s take a look at both metrics, how to use them, how they differ and what their limitations are.
If you’d like personalize investment advice, consider working with a financial advisor.
Return on Equity Definition
According to the Corporate Finance Institute, return on equity (ROE) is a percentage that expresses a company’s annual income relative to its total shareholder equity. The equation for ROE is the company’s net income for the year divided by its shareholders’ equity. ROE is a great way to calculate a company’s profitability—put simply, how good it is at making money.
A company’s net income is the amount of money it brings in after paying all its financial obligations, such as taxes and operating expenses. Shareholder equity is the sum of a company’s net worth. The idea is that if the company shut down and liquidated its assets and paid off its debts immediately, the shareholder equity would be the remaining amount that would be distributed to those who owned stock in that company.
Here’s a simplistic example to illustrate how ROE works: Let’s say Company A has a net income of $10 million. Meanwhile, their total stockholder equity—the amount the company would pay to stockholders if it liquidated all its assets and paid off its debts—is $80 million. The ROE for Company A would be 12.5%.
Thus, ROE can be a valuable metric to use as an investor. If you’re considering investing in a company, you can look at their ROE over the years to see if its growing or diminishing, which can point to whether leadership is making wise decisions that benefit shareholders. You can also compare that company’s ROE to other companies in the sector to see how their financial performance matches up.
Return on Assets Definition
Return on assets (ROA) is a different equation but serves a similar purpose: determining how effective a company is at utilizing their assets to create more value. The equation used for ROA is taking the company’s net income and dividing it by their total assets.
A company’s total assets include everything that company owns that can generate money. That might be plain old cash, inventory, intellectual property such as patents, real estate and more. If they could sell it for a profit, that’s an asset.
Let’s take a look at what a simple example of ROA might look like. Let’s say Company B has a net income of $5 million and owns $25 million in assets. When you do the math, you see that Company B has an ROA of 20%. That means for every dollar of assets, the company generates 20 cents in profit.
ROA can be helpful because it shows how a company is using its current investments to generate profits. Higher percentages mean the company is better at its assets to make more money; lower percentages mean that its worse at it.
How ROE and ROA Differ
If both of these measurements sound pretty similar to you, you’re not wrong. They do have a lot in common — both in what they measure and the purpose they serve. But they do have some important differences.
The single biggest difference between ROA and ROE is that ROA takes into account a company’s debt, while ROE doesn’t. If a company doesn’t have any debt, these two numbers would be the same for that company. Debt can add new assets to a company’s balance sheet, but of course the company also now has a financial obligation to its creditor.
Companies can use debt to artificially boost their ROE. Companies can generate profits by borrowing large amounts of money and using that to drive greater income. Of course, that money isn’t free and a company with too much debt isn’t healthy. Make sure you examine both of these metrics rather than just relying on ROE.
How to Use These Metrics
It’s important to know that there are some limitations to these metrics. Investors should not make decisions based on any one number. Any one number may not be representative of the company as a whole, and there are many ways that numbers can be manipulated by unethical accounting methods.
ROE particularly can be manipulated due to the fact it’s not impacted by how a company is leveraged—that is, how much debt it has. As mentioned above, company can borrow extensively to boost profits and artificially inflate their ROE. Stock buybacks can have a similar effect. Make sure that you’re taking a look at the company’s entire balance sheet and wider strategy before making any investment decisions.
And you may be asking: How will I know whether a certain percentage is “good?” For ROA, over 5% is good and over 20% is great. For ROE, 15-20% is considered good — in 2022, S&P 500 companies averaged a ROE of just over 21%. However, these standards can differ greatly between sectors and industries.
The Bottom Line
ROE and ROA can both extremely useful metrics for investors determining the financial health of a company. These formulas can help you determine whether a company is using their assets in a productive and efficient way—and thus, whether or not you should invest in them.
Tips for Investing
Investing isn’t always easy to get into, especially for beginners. But you can get personalized, detailed financial advice from a profession to help you build an investment strategy for your current and future life. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
One of the most important lessons in investing is to maintain a diverse portfolio. A variety of investments in different sectors, industries, locations and risk levels can help you create a portfolio that minimizes risk while still generating strong profits. Use SmartAsset’s asset allocation calculator to help determine a well-diversified portfolio that works for you.