Last Updated: September 16, 2020
Ellevest is known in the financial technology industry for being the only robo-advisor designed specifically for women.
So, what makes Ellevest stand out from competitor gender-neutral robo-advisors? Is there truth to their women-specific strategy or is it all just a marketing ploy?
Our Ellevest review will cover all the advantages and disadvantages of using the platform, as well as a summary of Ellevest reviews from clients.
- No account minimum
- Affordable cost
- Access to financial advice
- SEC-registered investment advisor
- iOS app
- Private wealth management service
- Automatic rebalancing
- Impact investing
- Women focused investing
- Limited account types available (no 529 Plan accounts, joint taxable accounts etc)
- No Andoird app
- No tax-loss harvesting
Number of children
What Is Ellevest Best For?
Co-founder Sallie Krawcheck set up Ellevest with the idea that the investing industry has been created by men for men, and that women need a different type of investing strategy.
Women’s salaries peak earlier than men’s, and women live longer than men on average. This means that women need a bigger retirement nest egg. What’s more, due to childbirth women have breaks in their careers, which further widens the wage gap.
Ellevest is a robo-advisor that focuses on investing for women. They employ the modern portfolio theory while taking into account the gender pay gap and the longer life span, to create a diversified and customized portfolio for women. This type of automated investment management is perfect for beginners and less confident inventors.
Ellevest also implements a passive asset allocation strategy instead of an active asset allocation strategy, which is less risky.
- Account minimum: $0 (there are portfolio-specific minimums ranging from $1 to approximately $240)
- Membership fee: $1/month, $5/month, $9/month
- Accounts supported: individual accounts, traditional, Roth, and SEP IRAs
- Automatic rebalancing: Included
- Fiduciary: Yes
Setup & Ease of Use
To be able to use Ellevest’s investment services, you need to meet the following requirements:
- You are an adult U.S. citizen or U.S. Resident Foreign National with a permanent U.S. residential address (not a P.O. Box) in the contiguous United States, Alaska, or Hawaii
- You have a social security number
- You have a checking or savings account with a U.S. bank
When setting up your account, you will need to provide some basic information such as:
- Marital status
- Number of children
You would also need to state your money goals and career focus.
Then, you will need to pick your plan:
- Ellevest Essential — easy investing and banking services
- Ellevest Plus — investing, banking and retirement planning
- Ellevest Executive — multi-goal investing, banking and retirement planning
Creating your Ellevest account is pretty straightforward. The platform has managed to make it seem less daunting for people that are brand-new to investing.
Ellevest has two portfolio options:
- Core portfolio
- Impact portfolio
The investment portfolio offered by Ellevest contains exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds. It is personalized and customized — a portfolio made for you.
Ellevest also uses a tax minimization methodology to strategically reduce your taxes.
The difference between the Core Portfolio and the Impact Portfolio is that up to 53% of the Impact portfolio is invested in ESG and impact funds.
They mainly focus on:
- Investing in companies with women leaders
- Investing in sustainable and ethical companies
- Investing in women-owned businesses and companies that provide community services.
You won’t have the option to pick the stocks in your portfolio, but rather, Ellevest will recommend a personalized and diversified portfolio for you.
To manage your portfolio, go to the Investments tab from your account. From there, you can adjust the risk level of your goals or change the portfolio type (Core or Impact).
Investment and finance management have many aspects. Ellevest takes care of most.
Tax Minimization Methodology
This is a method used by Ellevest to help clients reduce their taxes, if possible.
Automatic Portfolio Rebalancing
Ellevest will rebalance your portfolio to bring it back in line with your target.
With Ellevest banking, you get a Spend account, Save account, and a Mastercard.
If you enable the Roundup setting on your Spend account, the transactions will be rounded up and the change will be transferred in your Save account.
You get unlimited access to workshops, courses, video resources, as well as on-demand learning to help you with your career and investing decisions.
You will get access to one-on-one financial planning and career coaching sessions. Members get a discount.
Limited Account Types Available
Compared to competitors, Ellevest doesn’t offer a lot of account types. You cannot open joint, trust, and 529 accounts.
No Android app
Android and iPad users can only access the site using a browser. Ellevest only has an iOS app.
No Tax-loss Harvesting
While Ellevest does use a tax minimization methodology, they don’t offer tax-loss harvesting. According to a blog post by the company, automated tax-loss harvesting only defers paying taxes and doesn’t completely avoid it.
Clients can reach the Ellevest support team on the phone number 1-844-ELL-7100. The support team is available during normal business hours.
Customer service can also be reached by text (315-ELL-0123) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We tried contacting support, and we received an answer within a day. So, overall, we believe that it is easy to get in touch with a customer service representative.
Lastly, Ellevest has an extensive resource center on its website. The FAQ section has detailed answers about everything you need to need about Ellevest, from investing to using the mobile app.
What makes Ellevest great about beginner investors is the learning and coaching services included in the plans. As these are covered in the Ellevest fees, clients can learn more about investing, money, and career choices, besides getting an investment service.
At an extra cost, clients can also schedule sessions with financial planners and career coaches.
Commissions & Fees
There are three Ellevest pricing plans:
Ellevest Essential – $1/month
- Coaching access — 20% discount
Ellevest Plus — $5/month
- Coaching access — 30% discount
- Retirement planning
Ellevest Executive — $9/month
- Coaching access – 50% discount
- Retirement planning
- Multi-goal investing
The expanse ratios for the ETFs are:
- Core portfolio: 0.05% — 0.10%
- Impact Portfolios: 0.13% — 0.19%
The Ellevest app supports iOS 10 and above and can run on devices newer than the iPhone 5. Unfortunately, there is no Android app. Android users can visit Ellevest.com from their browser.
The app can be used by all Ellevest members, besides Private Wealth clients – they can access the site using a web browser.
Ellevest User Reviews
We looked up Ellevest reviews on Google, Reddit, and the Better Business Bureau, and we will sum up what clients had to say about their experience.
There are only 19 Ellevest reviews on Google, giving the company an average rating of 3.7 stars.
The majority of the positive reviews of Ellevest were left by clients who were amazed at how simple investing was using the app. Customers were also happy with the informational emails they received, and they recommended subscribing to Ellevest’s newsletter.
Most of the Ellevest reviews on Google from 2020 were positive.
Customers mostly complained about the Ellevest promo code and referral program. They were promised a bonus if they referred a friend and some of them complained that they either didn’t receive the bonus or their accounts were blocked.
Sadly, there weren’t a lot of positive Ellevest reviews on Reddit. Users of the site were skeptical about the platform, wondering why this robo investing service is targeted at women. Only a few clients chipped in with their positive experiences.
Is Ellevest the Best for You?
The services offered by Ellevest are affordable and their performance is average. So, what makes Ellevest stand out?
Ellevest is right for you if you prefer to learn more about finances and how to achieve your goals. Then, if you would like to invest your money for a good cause, you can do so by choosing the Impact portfolio.
This company has definitely simplified investing for women!
Alternatives of Ellevest
How does Ellevest stack up to competitors?
Ellevest vs Betterment
Betterment is one of the first companies that started offering low-cost robo-advising services. Founded in 2008, Betterment has years of experience under their belt.
Let’s start with their pricing model. Unlike the flat fee charged by Ellevest, Betterment charges a 0.25% or a 0.40% fee, depending on their plan.
Betterment also shines in the account types offered. Ellevest only supports individual taxable accounts, traditional, SEP and Roth IRA accounts. In addition to these accounts, Betterment supports joint taxable accounts and trusts.
Ellevest vs Acorns
The Ellevest membership fees are slightly higher than Acorns, though they have a similar pricing model. Acorns charges $1 to $5 per month, depending on your plan.
Another similarity is the round-up feature — Acorns rounds up your transaction and invests the spare change, whereas Ellevest saves it.
The issue with robo-advisors that charge a flat fee for all account sizes is that investors with little money in their account can end up paying more in fees.
There is one aspect in which these robo-advisors are similar: both offer socially responsible investing.
To decide which one is right for you, compare our Betterment review with our Ellevest review.
Is Ellevest Worth It?
Judging by Ellevest user reviews, most clients are satisfied with the service they offer.
Ellevest has a competitive pricing model and being able to speak to registered investment advisors is a big plus for beginner investors. The option to invest in ESG and impact funds is great for passionate investors that want to give something back to the community.
We hope our Ellevest review has helped you decide if this is the right robo-advisor for you.
FAQ About Ellevest
What is Ellevest?
Ellevest is a financial company, created for women by women. The Ellevest robo-advisory service provides low-cost high quality investing, which can help you reach your financial goals. The company mainly focuses on creating personalized investment plans for women, however, men are also welcome to use the Ellevest investing services.
Is Ellevest a good company?
While Ellevest isn’t deemed as successful as the top robo-advisors in the industry, it is the only company that focuses on women and strives to help them achieve financial independence.
Who started Ellevest?
Ellevest was co-founded by Sallie Krawcheck and Charlie Kroll.
Can men invest in Ellevest?
While Ellevest is a company targeted at women investors, they do not exclude men. The reason why most of their clients are women is that they use gender-specific salary curves and longevity data to create personalized portfolios. Or in simpler words: they take into account that women tend to live longer than men on average, and their salaries peak earlier.
Is Ellevest FDIC insured?
The funds in your Spend and Save accounts are FDIC insured. The funds in your investment accounts are not FDIC insured.
Is Ellevest a fiduciary?
Yes, Ellevest is a fiduciary. This means that the company is required to act in your best interest.
Is Ellevest safe?
1. Ellevest safeguards your personal information, and they never sell it for marketing purposes. They use encryption and other security measures. 2. The assets of Ellevest Premium, Digital, and membership clients are held by Folio and are SIPC insured. The value of your investments is not guaranteed, however, your ownership is. 3. The funds in your Ellevest investment accounts are not FDIC insured, though the funds in your Save and Spend accounts are.
Which bank is partnered with Ellevest?
The Ellevest Debit Card is issued by Coastal Community Bank.
Can I put 401k into Ellevest?
Yes, you can rollover a 401(k) or 403(b) into Ellevest. For more details, check out their FAQ.
How much money does Ellevest manage?
Ellevest has $634,326,573 assets under management (AUM).