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Ellevest Review

Ellevest’s female-forward approach is more than just PR — the company’s board of advisors employ different strategies to address females’ lag in lifetime earnings compared to men. Ellevest offers goal-based planning and saving for both men and women and additional female-first advising services, including one-on-one career coaching and financial strategy.

securely through Ellevest's website

1 Minute Review

Ellevest, although created with women in mind, is perfect for long-term investors looking to create a portfolio based on their goals, but need a little help. Quizzes, a clean interface, access to education, and low fees make it a great choice for beginning to intermediate level investors.

Best For

  • Beginning to intermediate investors
  • Those looking for goal-based planning
  • Women investors who want to feel financially empowered and supported by their brokerage

Pros

  • Low minimums and fees
  • Free emergency account management
  • Large exchange traded mix available

Cons

  • Limited customer support hours
  • Limited accounts supported

Ellevest seeks to appeal to goal-oriented, women investors in male-dominated field. For many women, this is immediately appealing: let’s find out if it’s worth opening or switching accounts.

Who Uses Ellevest?

Probably the most notable feature of Ellevest is that it doesn’t shy away from the fact that it markets towards female investors. Ellevest encourages female investors to save a larger percentage of their income — this is especially true for older female investors, who must consider a decreased earning potential as well as a longer lifespan when compared to a man of the same age.

For additional support, Ellevest Premium members can take advantage of individualized assistance from Ellevest’s in-house team of career coaches and mentors. Career experts can help women narrow the discrepancy between male and female lifetime earnings by teaching salary negotiation techniques and career transition skills

A Brief History of Ellevest

Ellevest is headed by CEO Sallie Krawcheck, who rose to financial fame as one of the first women to hold a major position on Wall Street. Prior to co-founding Ellevest, Krawcheck was the president of the Global Wealth & Investment Management division of Bank of America, where she led the division to $3.1 million in profits.

In 2013, Krawcheck acquired 85 Broads Unlimited LLC (now operating under the name Ellevate Network) and is currently the company’s chair. Krawcheck also advises a number of startups, and she is well-known as a champion of female business empowerment.

She was recently named to Forbes’ list of most powerful women. With Krawcheck at the helm, Ellevest raised over $44 million in capital from investors.

Types of Accounts Supported by Ellevest

Ellevest currently only supports taxable accounts, IRAs, Roth IRAs, and 401(k) rollover accounts.

Other types of accounts like trusts and college accounts are not supported. This means that those who already have a comprehensive investing profile may lose a complete picture of their finances by switching to Ellevest.

Ellevest Commissions & Fees

Unlike most investing companies, Ellevest does not charge you a fee to open, close, or transfer your account.

There’s also no minimum account balance needed to get started with Ellevest, though if you are interested in Ellevest Premium services, you’ll need to keep at least $50,000 in your account.

Advisory fees are also low when compared with the rest of the industry as well; Ellevest Digital accounts pay a 0.25% fee on managed assets and Ellevest Premium accounts pay 0.50%.

There is no initial fee to open an account.

And, there’s free emergency account management.

These accounts (which are sometimes referred to as “safety accounts” by competitors) hold funds in an FDIC-insured bank account that earns little interest but is not subject to the turns of the market. While holding an emergency fund through Ellevest might not be inherently more profitable than your local bank or credit union, it’s a great way to incorporate your savings into a total picture of your finances.

Ellevest Platform and Tools

Ellevest’s website is a pain to use, favoring design choices over functionality. The user experience ranges from annoying to downright frustrating, as information is spread across a large number of pages. The website could benefit from a massive overhaul, the implementation of an FAQ page for easy access, and perhaps most importantly, smaller text.

However, the platform makes it easy to invest quickly and with your interests in mind. With their basic (free!) account, you tell Ellevest about yourself and goals and they come up with a portfolio for each. Of course, you can tweak their plans to your liking.

You can get more customized options if you have a larger portfolio of $1,000,000 invested or more, with Ellevest Private Wealth Management.

 

Research from Ellevest

Ellevest is happy to explain its model and asset location choices to its customers. You can find information about Ellevest’s model in their Magazine.

But, you won’t find advanced trading and research tools found in other platforms.

Ellevest Customer Support

Ellevest offers a myriad of options when it comes to contacting customer support, including calling, texting, online chatting and email.

However, the hours available for customer service are limited — you’ll need to contact them between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. EST. This means that if you work at a job that requires your attention during the standard business hours, you may be using your lunch break to contact their team. West Coast investors are at an even greater disadvantage.

Ellevest Tradeable Asset Classes

Ellevest offers you a massive mix of 21 exchange traded funds (ETFs) to compose your portfolio. Many of these funds are managed by Vanguard, one of the industry’s leaders in low-cost funds. To learn more about Vanguard, read our review.

Final Thoughts on Ellevest

Ellevest isn’t just for women, despite its marketing strategy. The company’s website may be a bit difficult to navigate, which is a quality seemingly at-odds with its straightforward investing options that favor beginners. Thus, Ellevest is best used by millennial investors; digital natives who understand how to operate a confusing site but who don’t yet “get” the principles of making smart financial investments and who want to plan for their future.