Ellevest

5 out of 5

Managed by: Ellevest

At A Glance

Ellevest is a fully-automated investing platform that caters uniquely to the career paths, lifespan, and earnings trajectory that women are likely to experience, but the platform is open to all genders. The standout benefits of Ellevest include one-on-one career and financial advice.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Personalized, goals-based investment strategy
  • Invest in up to 21 asset classes
  • Personalized advice for women
  • $0 minimum account balance
  • 1:1 financial and executive coaching

Cons

  • In-depth investment plan might be too complicated for some investors
  • No joint taxable accounts
  • No tax-loss harvesting

Ellevest is best for:

  • Female investors
  • New investors
  • Personalized investment plans
  • Investors seeking CFP and executive coach access

Ellevest Key Details

Account minimum

$0, but some portfolios have a minimum deposit of between $1 and $240.

Management fee

No monthly management fee. Your monthly membership fee of $1-$9 includes all advisory services, execution, custody, and banking services.

  • Essential: $1/month
  • Plus: $5/month
  • Executive: $9/month
Account fees
  • Full account transfer out: $100
  • Partial account transfer out: $5 per security ($25 minimum/$75 maximum)
  • No overdraft fees or account fees for Save and Spend accounts, and you’ll be reimbursed for ATM fees in the US
Portfolio mix and average expense
  • Up to 21 asset classes with some customization. Core portfolios draw on up to 20 ETFs
  • Intentional Impact Portfolios draw on up to 27 ETFs and mutual funds
  • Average expense ratio is 0.05% – 0.10% for core portfolios
  • Average expense ratio is 0.13% – 0.19% for Intentional Impact Portfolios
Account types
  • Individual taxable
  • Traditional, Roth, Rollover and SEP IRAs
  • Trusts
Tax-loss harvesting

Tax-optimized asset location, rebalancing, and withdrawal sequencing

Automatic rebalancing

As needed

Human advisor option
  • Ellevest Plus and Ellevest Executive members receive personalized one-on-one retirement advice
  • Anyone can purchase one-on-one coaching sessions, and members receive a 20-50% discount according to their membership level.
Socially responsible investing

Yes, the Intentional Impact portfolio

Fractional shares

Available

Access

Online and Android or iOS mobile app

Customer support

Phone, live chat, and email

Promotions

No promotion available at this time

Ellevest Review

Our Experts Take
Josh Patoka - Spade Business Team
Josh Patoka
December 8, 2020

Ellevest is designed by women, specifically for women, although all genders are invited to use it. Ellevest is unique in using an algorithm that takes into account women’s career breaks, salary curves, pay gaps, and longer lifespans when calculating the ideal investment plan. Ellevest recently overhauled their pricing and membership structure, so existing members can continue with their current plan for now, or switch to a new one.

It offers goals-based investing plans that maximize your likely returns and help you to plan your savings future. You’ll also find women-oriented private wealth management for high net-worth individuals worth $1 million or more, where the all-female team will work with you on long term strategy, and choosing where to invest.

Ellevest has three membership tiers, beginning with the Essential tier at $1/month, and moving up to the Plus plan at $5/month, and then Executive for $9/month. Every membership includes one or more personalized investment portfolios, plus you can choose to invest in the Intentional Impact portfolio for socially responsible investing.

The Plus and Executive tiers benefit from free retirement planning guidance. It’s unusual for a robo-advisor as small as Ellevest to offer personalized investing guidance, but that’s what you’ll find. Everyone is welcome to book paid sessions of one-on-one career and financial planning advice, but Ellevest members enjoy graduated discounts on the session price.

How Does Ellevest Manage Your Money?

Ellevest allows you to take a totally hands-off approach to investment. You simply choose how much to invest and leave the rest to Ellevest’s algorithm. There’s no minimum deposit, so you can start investing with as much or as little as you like.

However, some specific portfolios have their own minimum deposits. You won’t receive the entire portfolio, and the portfolio won’t be rebalanced until it meets the minimum amount.

Ellevest’s investment accounts invest in up to 21 different asset classes, including:

  • US and international real estate
  • Emerging market bonds
  • US municipal bonds
Socially Responsible Investing

If you invest in the Intentional Impact fund, your money will be allocated across up to 27 ETFs and mutual funds. Ellevest is careful to filter out any funds that have a negative impact on the environment, are connected with the prison population, or harm diversity. 53% of the funds are invested in causes that disproportionately impact women, like climate change, racism, gender inequality, and companies with more women leaders, policies that advance women, and that positively impact on women’s lives.

Goals-based Investing

Goals-based investing has been shown to be more effective than non-differentiated investing, and Ellevest allows Plus and Executive members to create up to 6 different goals-based accounts. Some of the goals it includes are:

  • “A place to call home”: Plan for a home purchase based on local home prices
  • “Start my own business”: Save up to 24 months of your take-home pay plus inflation
  • “Kids are awesome”: Save up to 9 months of your take-home pay
  • “Retirement on my terms”: Plan to retire based on your gender-specific salary and education level

Aside from these popular structures, you can find a range of goals with a variety of planned withdrawal dates. This means that no matter what you’re looking for, you’ll likely find a plan with Ellevest.

Although Ellevest only directly manages traditional, Roth, and SEP IRAs, Ellevest Plus and Ellevest Executive members receive personalized, one-on-one advice on retirement planning, including choosing the best investment vehicle and how to roll it over when the time comes. Ellvest’s advisors will give you full support in choosing between and setting up 401(k) and 403(b) accounts

Female-oriented Financial Advice

Like many other robo-advisors, Ellevest offers a fully-automated investment platform delivering streamlined and instant access to your portfolio and trade options. Where Ellevest really shines is in personalizing your investment plan.

Many standard robo-advisors just use your current age, planned withdrawal date, and risk tolerance to determine your stock to bond asset allocation, but Ellevest uses factors like your gender-specific pay, potential career breaks, and longer life expectancy to tailor your account needs.

The first step in receiving a personalized investment plan is to answer some initial questions. Then Ellevest uses the Morningstar projection engine to run a Monte Carlo simulation of potential market outcomes, factoring in your likely tax burden. Using this algorithm, your plan has a 70% likelihood of achieving your initial investment goals.

Ellevest doesn’t try to track market performance as closely as most robo-advisors. Your portfolio may not outperform the stock market during bull runs, but you‘ll also be less likely to lose money during declines.

Advantages of Ellevest

Educational resources. Ellevest offers a range of online workshops, email courses, in-app learning, and video courses to help you invest more wisely, make better career choices, and guide your financial decisions.

Banking benefits: When you use your Ellevset debit card to shop at select local and national brands, you’ll enjoy 5% cashback. Your Ellevest Spend account also offers free banking, contactless card payments, and reimbursements for your ATM fees.

Extra help to save: Whenever you use your Ellevest debit card, it automatically rounds up the extra change to the nearest dollar and deposits it in your Save account.

One on one guidance: Ellevest offers personalized financial and career coaching sessions with experts to anyone, not just Ellevest members, for $125/session. Ellevest members enjoy 20-50% off, depending on your membership level.

Multi-goal investing: Craft your investments according to your savings goals in up to 6 separate goals. You can experiment with different factors to simulate the impact of adjusting your goals.

Mobile app: You can check on your Spend and Save accounts, book one-on-one sessions, and track the progress of your investments on the go, using the Ellevest mobile app.

Disadvantages of Ellevest

No tax-loss harvesting: Ellevest only offers tax minimization by investing in tax-sensitive assets, but doesn’t include tax-loss harvesting, choosing to focus on long-term performance instead of offsetting short-term taxable gains.

Limited free advice: Only Ellevest Plus and Executive members receive free personalized retirement advice. Although everyone can book one-on-one expert sessions, they aren’t free.

No joint taxable accounts: Ellevest only offers individual taxable accounts. Married spouses will need to open separate accounts if they both want to use Ellevest.

Is Ellevest Safe?

Ellevest takes user security very seriously. It has high standards for data security, including encryption, network security, two-factor authentication, and strict password requirements, and complies with the California privacy law and other data privacy regulations.

You’re always taking a risk when you invest in ETFs, but Ellevest is a fiduciary, which means it’s legally required to put your interests first. Ellevest always does all it can to maximize your returns. Your Ellevest Spend and Save accounts are FDIC insured for up to $250,000, which is the legal maximum, although, like all other investment accounts, your other accounts are not covered by FDIC.

Ellevest also has robust anti-fraud policies and makes it easy for you to lock your card and reset your PIN if you’re concerned that your card has been stolen.

Is Ellevest Right For You?

If you’re a woman looking for a more personalized investment strategy that fully understands your life goals and needs, this could be a great option. It’s also a good fit for male or female investors looking for a hands-off, yet customized, investment platform, and anyone who wants to get started investing for the long or medium term but doesn’t have a huge deposit.

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