Updated May 9, 2020

Ellevest Review: Is It Worth It?

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Ellevest tailors investment strategies specifically for women's needs. Find out how this robo-advisor make a difference.

Ellevest

Overall Score

4.1

Annual Fee

4.0

Minimum Deposit

5.0

Human Advisors

4.0

Customer Service

3.5
5-point scale (the higher, the better)

Pros and Cons

  • Focused on women's needs
  • $0 minimum
  • Starts at $1/mo
  • Limited account options
  • No tax loss harvesting
  • Uncertain future

Bottom Line

Women-focused robo-advisor tailored to women's life cycles and goals

Ellevest fills a unique space in the investing world. This robo-advisor works off the belief that women need different investing strategies than men.

It considers the wage gap and life cycle of women. Then it creates custom portfolios according to your personal situation. Is this really necessary?

With no minimum and a low membership fee starting at just $1 per month, Ellevest could be cheaper than other popular robo-advisors.

Keep reading to find out if Ellevest is right for you.

What is Ellevest

Founded in 2014, Ellevest is a female-focused robo advisor and money membership. This platform is built for women by women specially for women's unique financial needs.

The investment industry was traditionally run by men. But Ellevest believes that these kinds of "gender-neutral" investment strategies don't consider the different challenges women face. This includes:

  • Women earn less than men throughout their lifetime.
  • Women are more likely to take a career break when they become a mother.
  • Women have longer lifespans than men.

This means that women have less to invest, yet they live longer. Ellevest aims to create custom portfolios for women to address these factors.

Ellevest focuses on goal-based investing. The aim is to help you achieve your financial goals - not to outperform a market index.

Even though Ellevest is founded with women in mind, it's open to men too! It's open to all gender identities and gender expressions.

Pros & Cons

PROS:

  • Addresses the unique needs of women
  • No minimum investment
  • Low monthly membership fee starting at just $1/mo
  • Automatic rebalancing
  • Diverse asset classes, including real estate
  • Positive impact portfolio option

CONS:

  • Limited account types
  • No tax loss harvesting
  • No Android app

Pricing & Fees

Ellevest offers monthly membership pricing. There are three plans. There is no minimum deposit to start investing for all plans.

1. Ellevest Essential: $1/mo

  • Your own personalized managed portfolio
  • Basic tax strategies and automatic rebalancing
  • Access to Ellevest Banking account* with a spend & save account
  • Unlimited access to online workshops and educational resources
  • 20% off one-on-one coaching sessions

As long as have at least $4,800 in your account, this $1/mo fee makes Ellevest cheaper than robo-advisors such as Betterment and Wealthfront, which charges 0.25% of assets under management annually.

2. Ellevest Plus: $5/mo
You get everything in the Essential Plan, plus:

  • Personalized retirement plan, including non-Ellevest accounts
  • 401k or 403b rollover help
  • 30% off one-on-one coaching sessions

3. Ellevest Executive: $9/mo
You everything in the Essential and Plus Plan, plus:

  • Up to six customized investment accounts for your money goals. Create specific goals like buying a goal, starting a business, etc.
  • Free 1:1 professional review of your investment strategy
  • 50% off one-on-one coaching sessions

How to Get Started

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Here's how to get started with Ellevest.

1. Sign up for an account
You must create an account and activate your membership first. Unlike some other robo-advisors, you can't fill out some general information and see if you like the recommendations first before committing.

2. Fill out financial profile
Once you've set up your membership you can start investing. Fill out some simple questions about your age, income, and type of work. Ellevest uses this information to come up with a personalized portfolio for you.

3. Select account type and set up goals
Choose your account type according to your goals. Ellevest Essential members get access to the general Build Wealth goal. Plus members can also set up an retirement goal.

Executive members also get access to more specific goals such as Kids, Splurge, Business and Home.

Ellevest offers the following account types:

  • Individual Taxable
  • Traditional IRA
  • Roth IRA
  • SEP IRA
  • 401K Rollover

4. View your portfolios
Within each goal, you can edit your timeline and how much you plan to save each month. Ellevest will come up with the projections.

You can also see your recommended portfolio mix. Ellevest's recommended portfolios are calculated to give you 70% chance of reaching your goal.

5. Fund your goals
Then all you have to do is link a bank account to fund your goals. You can do one-time transfers or set up automatic deposits.

You can also transfer a taxable investment account from another provider to Ellevest. Ellevest does not charge a transfer fee. However, check with your current provider if they have any transfer or account closing fees.

Portfolios

For each goal, you can choose to invest in two different portfolios:

Core Investment Portfolio
Ellevest's core portfolio is made up of 21 asset classes. This is a diversified portfolio consisting of US stocks and bonds, emerging markets stocks and bonds, and alternative investments like real estate.

Ellevest Impact Portfolio
The Impact Portfolio is specially designed to invest in companies that advance women. This includes:

  • Companies with women leaders and policies that advance women
  • Companies with sustainable and ethical practices
  • Funds providing loans to support women-owned businesses

For any of your goals, you can switch between the Core and Impact portfolios at any time.

Compare Robo Advisors

Ellevest Portfolio Features

Automatic rebalancing
It's normal for your portfolio allocation to drift overtime, since stocks and bonds increase at different rates. Ellevest automatically rebalances your portfolio on a regular basis to help keep you on track with your goals.

Tax Minimization Methodology
This strategy aims to reduce your taxes. You have to have both taxable account and IRA with Ellevest.

It places assets that are taxed less into the taxable accounts. Assets that are usually taxed heavily get placed into IRAs (which offer tax advantages). This minimizes the overall amount of taxes you pay.

Diversified portfolio
Ellevest spreads your investments across 21 different asset classes. This is more than the average robo-advisor offers. It even invests in real estate, which diversifies your portfolio even further.

Ellevest Banking

Ellevest now offers Spend and Save accounts for all users. There is no monthly fee, no initial deposit, and no balance requirements.

The Spend account features:

  • Contactless Ellevest Mastercard debit card
  • Unlimited ATM fees reimbursement**
  • No overdraft fees
  • No transfer fees between banks

The Save account is meant for short term savings. If you have both the Spend and Save accounts, you can turn on automatic round up***. Every time you spend, Ellevest will round up the extra change and put it into your Save account.

Both the Spend and Save accounts are FDIC-insured up to $250,000****.

One on One Coaching Sessions

Ellevest offers private coaching sessions with financial planners for purchase for everyone - both Ellevest members and non-members. Ellevest members get a discount based on the membership tier.

Just some of the possible coaching sessions include:

  • Budgeting & spending ($160)
  • Negotiation strategy ($125)
  • General money questions ($150)
  • Paying down debt ($150)
  • Career transitioning ($300)
  • Retirement checkup ($300)
  • Unlimited access to a Certified Financial Planner ($750)

All coaching sessions will provide you with a realistic and actionable plan for your area of concern.

Discount for Ellevest members:
  • Essential Plan - 20% off
  • Plus Plan - 30% off
  • Executive Plan - 50% off

Downsides

No tax loss harvesting
Tax loss harvesting helps reduce your tax consequences on taxable accounts. It works by offsetting capital gains with capital losses to reduce your taxable income. However, Ellevest doesn't provide this strategy.

Limited account types
So far, Ellevest only supports individual taxable and IRA accounts. There are no joint accounts, 529 Plans, trusts, or custodial accounts.

Unknown future
Ellevest is one of the few companies with a female-focused strategy, so its longevity is yet to be determined. While your investments are insured by the SIPC should Ellevest close, it's still a risk you take. Assets are held through their custodian Folio.

How It Compares

Ellevest vs Betterment
Betterment costs 0.25% annual fee for the basic tier. For accounts with at least $4,800 balance, Ellevest's $1/mo comes out cheaper.

One advantage of Betterment is that it offers tax-loss harvesting for all clients, while Ellevest does not. On the other hand, Ellevest has more asset classes (including real estate), so your investments are more diversified.

Betterment also offers a Checking and Cash Reserve account. Betterment's savings account offers a little bit of interest to help your money grow more.

 EllevestBetterment
 Visit Site
 

Ellevest

Betterment

SPECIAL OFFER
Get up to 1 Year Managed Free - Learn More

 

Benefits and Features

Annual Fee$1/mo for Essential Plan
$5/mo for Plus Plan
$9/mo for Executive Plan
0.25% for accounts under $100,000; 0.40% for accounts $100,000+
Minimum Deposit
$0 for all membership tiers
$0
Phone Support
Yes - normal business hours
Yes
Live Chat Support
No
No
Email Support
Yes
Yes
Human AdvisorsDiscounts for members for coaching sessions
Yes ($100k minimum)
Robo Advisor
Assets Under Management
$280 Million
$14 Billion
Tax Loss Harvesting
No
Yes
Goal Tracker
Yes
Yes
Automatic Deposits
Yes
Yes
Online Platform
Yes
Yes
iPhone App
Yes
Yes
Android App
No
Yes
BankingSpend and Save accounts*; No minimum balance and no monthly service fees 
Mobile App
Yes
Yes
Fractional Shares
Yes
Yes
Taxable Accounts
Yes
Yes
401k Plans
No
Yes
IRA Accounts
Yes
Yes
Roth IRA Accounts
Yes
Yes
SEP IRA Accounts
Yes
Yes
Trust Accounts
No
Yes
529 Plans
No
No
 Visit Site

Blank fields may indicate the information is not available, not applicable, or not known to CreditDonkey. Please visit the product website for details.

Ellevest: Pricing information from published website as of 08/10/2020

Betterment: Pricing information from published website as of 04/04/2018

Ellevest vs Acorns
Acorns is a spare change robo-advisor. Acorns automatically invests your spare change whenever you make a purchase. This is great to get young people into the habit of investing.

Ellevest is more serious about helping you meet your goals. It may be the better choice if you need financial guidance from professionals. Acorns doesn't have any human advisor access.

Both cost $1/month for the basic account.

 EllevestAcorns
 Visit Site
 

Ellevest

Acorns

SPECIAL OFFER
$10 Sign-Up Bonus - Learn More

 

Benefits and Features

Stock Trading Part of service fee. No add-on trading fees.
Annual Fee$1/mo for Essential Plan
$5/mo for Plus Plan
$9/mo for Executive Plan
$1/mo for Acorns Lite (taxable account only)
$3/mo for Acorns Personal (includes IRA and checking account)
$5/mo for Acorns Family (includes investment accounts for kids)
Minimum Deposit
$0 for all membership tiers
$0
Phone Support
Yes - normal business hours
Yes
Live Chat Support
No
No
Email Support
Yes
Yes
Human AdvisorsDiscounts for members for coaching sessions
No
Assets Under Management
$280 Million
$1.2 Billion
Tax Loss Harvesting
No
No
Goal Tracker
Yes
Yes
Automatic Deposits
Yes
Yes
Online Platform
Yes
Yes
iPhone App
Yes
Yes
Android App
No
Yes
BankingSpend and Save accounts*; No minimum balance and no monthly service fees$3/mo for Acorns + Acorns Later + Acorns Spend checking. Free debit card, no minimum balance, no overdraft fees, and unlimited free or fee-reimbursed ATMs nationwide.
Mobile App
Yes
Yes
Fractional Shares
Yes
Yes
Taxable Accounts
Yes
Yes
401k Plans
No
No
IRA Accounts
Yes
Yes
Roth IRA Accounts
Yes
Yes
SEP IRA Accounts
Yes
Yes
Trust Accounts
No
No
529 Plans
No
No
 Visit Site

Blank fields may indicate the information is not available, not applicable, or not known to CreditDonkey. Please visit the product website for details.

Ellevest: Pricing information from published website as of 08/10/2020

Acorns: Pricing information from published website as of 09/28/2020.

Ellevest vs WealthSimple
Ellevest and WealthSimple both offer access to human advisors if you need financial guidance. Wealthsimple's 0.5% annual fee is more expensive.

A unique thing about Wealthsimple is that it offers socially responsible and Halal investment options, so you may appreciate that if those are in line with your beliefs.

 EllevestWealthSimple
 Visit Site
 

Ellevest

WealthSimple

 

Benefits and Features

Annual Fee$1/mo for Essential Plan
$5/mo for Plus Plan
$9/mo for Executive Plan
0.5% for accounts up to $100k; 0.4% for accounts over $100k
Minimum Deposit
$0 for all membership tiers
$0
Phone Support
Yes - normal business hours
Yes - M-Th 9a-8p ET; Fri 9a-5:30p ET
Live Chat Support
No
No
Email Support
Yes
Yes
Human AdvisorsDiscounts for members for coaching sessions
Yes
Robo Advisor
Assets Under Management
$280 Million
$2 Billion
Tax Loss Harvesting
No
Available for accounts over $100,000
Goal Tracker
Yes
No
Automatic Deposits
Yes
Yes
Online Platform
Yes
Yes
iPhone App
Yes
Yes
Android App
No
Yes
BankingSpend and Save accounts*; No minimum balance and no monthly service fees 
Mobile App
Yes
 
Fractional Shares
Yes
Yes
Taxable Accounts
Yes
Yes
401k Plans
No
No
IRA Accounts
Yes
Yes
Roth IRA Accounts
Yes
Yes
SEP IRA Accounts
Yes
Yes
Trust Accounts
No
Yes
529 Plans
No
No
 Visit Site

Blank fields may indicate the information is not available, not applicable, or not known to CreditDonkey. Please visit the product website for details.

Ellevest: Pricing information from published website as of 08/10/2020

Ellevest vs Vanguard Personal Advisor Services
Vanguard has a 0.30% annual fee. Vanguard offers robo-advisory mixed with human oversight. You get a financial professional managing your account to select investments based on your goals and situation.

Vanguard's minimum investment is $50,000. If you don't have that much, Ellevest is the better option since it has no minimum.

 Ellevest
 Learn More
 

Ellevest

Vanguard Personal Advisor

 

Benefits and Features

Annual Fee$1/mo for Essential Plan
$5/mo for Plus Plan
$9/mo for Executive Plan
0.3%
Minimum Deposit
$0 for all membership tiers
$50,000
Phone Support
Yes - normal business hours
Yes
Live Chat Support
No
No
Email Support
Yes
Yes
Human AdvisorsDiscounts for members for coaching sessions
Yes
Robo Advisor
Assets Under Management
$280 Million
$100+ Billion
Tax Loss Harvesting
No
client-by-client basis
Goal Tracker
Yes
Yes
Automatic Deposits
Yes
Yes
Online Platform
Yes
Yes
iPhone App
Yes
Yes
Android App
No
Yes
BankingSpend and Save accounts*; No minimum balance and no monthly service fees 
Mobile App
Yes
 
Fractional Shares
Yes
No
Taxable Accounts
Yes
Yes
401k Plans
No
No
IRA Accounts
Yes
Yes
Roth IRA Accounts
Yes
Yes
SEP IRA Accounts
Yes
Yes
Trust Accounts
No
Yes
529 Plans
No
Yes

Blank fields may indicate the information is not available, not applicable, or not known to CreditDonkey. Please visit the product website for details.

Ellevest: Pricing information from published website as of 08/10/2020

Vanguard Personal Advisor: Pricing information from published website as of 04/04/2018

Ellevest vs Wealthfront
Wealthfront charges an annual fee of 0.25% and has a minimum investment of $500.

Wealthfront supports more account types. It offers 529 Savings Plans, joint account, and trusts, but Ellevest doesn't.

Wealthfront also offers free advanced financial tools for planning your life. It has tools for home buying, savings for college, taking time off work, and retirement planning.

 Ellevest
 Learn More
 

Ellevest

Wealthfront

 

Benefits and Features

Annual Fee$1/mo for Essential Plan
$5/mo for Plus Plan
$9/mo for Executive Plan
0.25%
Minimum Deposit
$0 for all membership tiers
$500
Phone Support
Yes - normal business hours
Yes
Live Chat Support
No
No
Email Support
Yes
Yes
Human AdvisorsDiscounts for members for coaching sessions
No
Robo Advisor
Assets Under Management
$280 Million
$10+ Billion
Tax Loss Harvesting
No
Yes
Goal Tracker
Yes
Yes
Automatic Deposits
Yes
Yes
Online Platform
Yes
Yes
iPhone App
Yes
Yes
Android App
No
Yes
BankingSpend and Save accounts*; No minimum balance and no monthly service fees 
Mobile App
Yes
Yes
Fractional Shares
Yes
No
Taxable Accounts
Yes
Yes
401k Plans
No
No
IRA Accounts
Yes
Yes
Roth IRA Accounts
Yes
Yes
SEP IRA Accounts
Yes
Yes
Trust Accounts
No
Yes
529 Plans
No
Yes

Blank fields may indicate the information is not available, not applicable, or not known to CreditDonkey. Please visit the product website for details.

Ellevest: Pricing information from published website as of 08/10/2020

Wealthfront: Pricing information from published website as of 04/04/2018

Bottom Line

Ellevest has an interesting concept that many women buy into, but is it necessary? This is yet to be determined because Ellevest is still a newcomer to the industry.

Ellevest's membership pricing comes out cheaper for those with higher balances, compared to popular robo-advisors like Betterment. So that could be the determining factor.

You may also be drawn to Ellevest if you agree with its philosophy. The Impact Portfolio is a great way to invest in companies that align with your values. With no minimum to start, Ellevest is a good option for beginner investors.

As always, compare all your options and make sure to read the fine print so you can choose the robo-advisor right for you.

**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.

Note: This website is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

Disclaimer: CreditDonkey has entered into a referral and advertising arrangement with Wealthsimple US, LTD and receives compensation when you open an account or for certain qualifying activity which may include clicking links. You will not be charged a fee for this referral and Wealthsimple and CreditDonkey are not related entities. It is a requirement to disclose that we earn these fees and also provide you with the latest Wealthsimple ADV brochure so you can learn more about them before opening an account.

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