Ellevest Review 2021

An Investing Site For and By Women

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Ellevest Ellevest has made a name for itself as an investing tool for women. The company is known for incorporating an “algorithm that factors in important realities in women's lives, such as pay gaps, career breaks and longer average lifespans”. This Ellevest review will provide an overview of what to expect, as well as the benefits of its Money Membership program.

Commissions & Fees - 9
Customer Service - 9
Ease of Use - 9.5
Tools & Resources - 9
Investment Options - 8

9

While Ellevest can work for anyone of any gender, the company has made it a point to focus on women and their unique challenges. If you're hoping to get a more personal touch when it comes to your investing and your overall money management, Ellevest can be a solid choice, depending on your needs.

What Is Ellevest?

Ellevest offers a suite of investing and banking* products and services, along with access to financial planning and career resources. In addition to helping you invest your money, you can get one-on-one financial planning meetings, as well as free resources related to various financial and career topics.  Ellevest's investment methodology will help make sure you account for gender pay gaps and a longer lifespan when helping you plan out your future.

In general, Ellevest is aimed at those who identify as women. The company claims to use an algorithm that tweaks asset allocation and other models to account for issues like the fact that women are more likely to take career breaks and start out their careers with lower pay.

Ellevest Features

Minimum Investment$0
Stock Trades$0
Options TradesN/A
Mutual FundsN/A
Investment TypesStocks, OTC/Penny Stocks, ETFs, Mutual Funds, Bonds, Options, Forex, Cryptocurrencies, Futures
Accounts Types
  • Taxable
  • Joint
  • Traditional IRA
  • Roth IRA
  • Rollover IRA
  • SEP IRA
  • SIMPLE IRA
  • 401(k)
  • Solo 401(k)
  • Trusts
  • Limited Partnerships
  • Partnerships
  • Coverdell
  • 529
  • Custodial
  • Non-Profit
  • Annuities
  • Checking
  • Savings
  • Money Market
  • CDs
AccessWeb Based, iPhone App, Apple Watch, Android App, BlackBerry App
Broker Assisted TradeN/A
Virtual Trades
No Fee ETFs
Customer ServicePhone and email 9 AM- 6PM EST Monday- Friday.
  • Account minimum: $0
  • Account types: Taxable investment, retirement, banking
  • Customer service: Phone, email
  • Access: Web-based, iOS
  • Fees: Tiers based on membership — $1, $5 or $9 per month
  • Investment: Robo advisor

How Does Ellevest Work?

In the past, Ellevest worked similarly to other robo advisors. You'd sign up for an account, and then you'd be charged an annual fee based on your account size. Recently, though, Ellevest has revamped its model to be subscription-based. Now you choose which features you want and pay a monthly fee, and Ellevest takes care of the rest.

You can sign up for Ellevest through the website and choose your level of services. When signing up, you need the usual identifying information, and also need to link your bank account to pay for your membership and fund your accounts when you’re ready.

In addition to the ability to start investing, Ellevest offers a debit card with “enhanced banking”* features. You cannot spend directly from your investment account – the debit card is linked to your spend and save accounts. But you can seamlessly transfer funds between accounts. All accounts come with the spend-and-save option.

Investing

Like many robo advisors, Ellevest will consider your risk tolerance and goals when putting together your portfolio. However, the company also takes into account specific challenges around identifying as a woman in today's financial world. The robo advisor mainly uses exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to build and manage your portfolio.

Ellevest also offers its Impact Portfolio as an option to select instead of the core portfolio. The Impact Portfolio is geared more toward socially-responsible investing. And you can get access to automatic rebalancing and tax minimization strategies when using Ellevest to invest.

Spend and Save

Ellevest accounts come with a Mastercard debit card that you can use for spending. The card also includes contactless tap to pay, ID theft resolution, extended warranty, and a satisfaction guarantee. On top of that, it's possible to round up your purchase amounts and deposit the difference in a save account.*** This allows you to save in an FDIC-insured account**** without thinking about it.

The company doesn't charge overdraft fees or minimum balance fees and offers free card replacement. You can also receive ATM reimbursement on domestic ATM fees when you set up direct deposit and a deposit has been made in the prior 30 days.**

The banking products are provided by Coastal Community Bank, which is a FDIC member, so your accounts are insured up to $250,000 per depositor. 

On-Demand Learning

In addition to these financial services, Ellevest provides the option to learn about important career and financial topics. You have to pay separately for a session with a financial planner, but being an Ellevest Money Member provides you with a discount on 1:1 services.

However, you can get access to free live workshops. There are also email courses available to learn about different topics on your own time. These benefits are included based on the membership level you choose.

Fees

There are three membership levels with Ellevest:

  • Ellevest Essential ($1 per month): You can open an investing account and take advantage of spend-and-save benefits. Plus, you get access to on-demand learning and 20% off when you meet with a financial planner or career coach.
  • Ellevest Plus ($5 per month): On top of everything that comes with the Essential plan, you get personalized help with retirement planning. And you can get help transferring your accounts from other custodians. The one-on-one planning and coaching discount is 30% with this membership.
  • Ellevest Executive ($9 per month): You can access different personalized portfolios for different goals, such as starting a business or buying a home. And you get one free 1:1 review session and a 50% member discount on future sessions.

These fees include the robo advising and portfolio rebalancing services. However, it's also important to understand that the ETFs used will have their own expense ratios.

Resources

Here are some of the resources available with Ellevest:

  • Investment accounts: You can open taxable or retirement accounts to invest for various goals. The retirement accounts are only available with Ellevest Plus and Executive membership levels.
  • Debit card: Access to banking services via debit card and fee reimbursement for using ATMs.**
  • Save account: FDIC-insured**** savings account.
  • Educational materials: Access to workshops, courses and other materials that can help you learn about various topics ranging from beginning investing to salary negotiation.
  • Coaching: You can meet with a financial planner or career coach to help you figure out how to make your next move, although you will need to pay extra for it. Some of the sample sessions include negotiation training and sessions with a CFP professional on your retirement goals.
  • Different goals: At the Ellevest Executive level, you can save for different goals, including starting a business, buying a home, retirement, and even a vacation. Or you can work toward paying down debt.

Customer Service

Ellevest offers customer service access via phone during traditional business hours. It's also possible to connect with Ellevest via email. And of course, there are FAQs as well. Ellevest offers one-to-one meetings with experts, but those are managed separately and could be subject to an additional cost. For 401(k) transfers you can get one-on-one assistance included with your plan including things like calling your provider together.

Security

Like other financial services companies, Ellevest makes use of bank-level security and encryption and engages in best practices designed to keep your data as secure as possible.

Plus, Ellevest's bank product accounts are FDIC-insured****, and investment funds are SIPC-insured.

HighlightsPersonal CapitalBettermentEllevest
Rating9.5/109/109/10
Minimum to Open Account$100,000$0$0
401(k) Assistance
Two-Factor Auth.
AdviceAutomatedHuman AssistedAutomated
Socially Responsible Investing
Ellevest Review

Ellevest Pros & Cons

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Final Thoughts on Ellevest

If you're looking for a robo advisor that focuses on those who identify as women and a more personal touch, Ellevest can be a good choice. Ellevest offers services designed to take into account the challenges you face as a woman, including a pay gap, an employment break, and the fact that, statistically, you're likely to live longer than a man.

If you're trying to figure out how to get started investing and you want help learning how to fit investing into your long-term financial plan, Ellevest could be a good choice. However, it is a robo advisor. If you want to make individual trades and invest in a wide variety of individual stocks, it might not work for you.

Carefully consider your needs, and then figure out whether Ellevest is the right choice as you start investing and learning to more effectively manage your money.

Disclosures  

*Banking products and services are provided by Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to license by Mastercard International.

**Domestic ATM transaction fees will be reimbursed if a payroll direct deposit has been received within the prior 30 days of the ATM transaction settlement. International ATM withdrawal fee of $5 will apply.

***If you opt in to the Roundup Program for debit card purchases, each settled (i.e. fully completed) purchase transaction made with your Ellevest Debit Card will be rounded up to the nearest whole U.S. dollar. The Roundup amount will be transferred from your Spend account to your Save account. Foreign purchases are rounded up to the nearest whole dollar after the purchase is converted to U.S. dollars. ATM withdrawals and transactions in whole US dollars, e.g. $20.00 are excluded from the Roundup program. If, at the time of settlement of a purchase, your Ellevest Spend Account has insufficient available funds to cover the full amount of the Roundup transfer, the Roundup Transfer will not be made. If a purchase is canceled or reversed for any reason (including disputes), the corresponding Roundup Transfer will not be reversed.  You can opt out of the Roundup Program at any time.

****The Ellevest Spend and Save accounts are FDIC-insured up to $250,000 per depositor through Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC.

Kat Peach

Although Katherine Peach originally intended to become an archaeologist, she has now been working as an editor in the financial publishing industry for more than 10 years. (Unearthing ideas about improving your personal finances isn’t such a bad career alternative!)

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