Ellevest Review: Is It the Best Robo-Advisor for You?
Breadth of Products
- No account minimums
- Inclusive for all gender identities
- Managed investment portfolios that are among the most diversified of all robo-advisors
- Female-focused investing goals
- No account fees for checking and savings accounts
- Roundup feature moves spare change from every transaction to your savings or investment account
- Flat-rate membership fee replaces percentage-based commission
- Doesn't support trading
- Tax-loss harvesting unavailable
- Email support only unless you're paying for a higher membership tier
Investing has been traditionally known as a man’s world. According to Ellevest, 99% of investment management firms are owned by white males, with women comprising about 8% of investors. Ellevest hopes to change this by providing financial services “built by women, for women.” Ellevest’s investment algorithm takes into account gender-specific factors such as career and pay gaps, as well as longer lifespans.
Some of the most unique features of Ellevest include the following:
- Anyone can purchase one-on-one sessions with a career coach or certified financial planner.
- Three plans, which range in price from $1 to $9 per month, that automatically invest your contributions and manage them for you
- FDIC-insured, low-fee banking consists of a spending and savings account plus a debit card.
How Does Ellevest Work?
Ellevest wants to make investing possible for everyone. You don’t need experience — Ellevest’s investment platform uses algorithms to automatically invest and manage your money.
There are no account minimums, although portfolio minimums of $1 to $240 apply. All you need to do is choose a membership level and the type of investment you’re comfortable with. Here’s how to get started:
- Answer questions about your financial goals and current situation.
- Pick an investment plan. Your options are:
- Ellevest Essential, $1 per month: Features include a 20% discount on coaching, group workshops on budgeting/finance and Ellevest Save and Spend accounts with a cash-back debit card
- Ellevest Plus, $5 per month: Adds an IRA and retirement planning advice and bumps up the coaching discount to 30% off
- Ellevest Executive, $9 per month: Includes all the features mentioned so far but adds five additional investment accounts you can use for specific financial goals. One-on-one coaching is 50% off.
- Open an account.
- Fund the account manually via ACH transfer or set up direct deposit.
- Decide how much to contribute toward your investment account.
- Turn Roundup on. Each time you make a debit card purchase, it will automatically round up and the spare change will be sent to your investment account.
Ellevest invests your funds in one of the most diversified portfolios available. Most robo-advisors use a mix of low-cost ETFs and mutual funds. Ellevest does as well, but it also adds alternative funds, global real estate investment trusts, Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities and other investments to provide 21 different asset classes. Doing so improves the chances that your money is protected against inflation and volatility.
What makes Ellevest unique is its female-focused approach to long-term investing. Once you set an investing goal, Ellevest’s algorithm takes over. Here’s a look at the targets you could choose from to help fine-tune your investment plan:
|Investing Goal||Key Details|
|Start a Business||
|A Place to Call Home||
|Kids Are Awesome||
|Retirement on My Terms||
Once you sign up for Ellevest, you’ll have your own Spend and Save accounts. These accounts feature no minimum balance fees and come with a linked debit card that can help you earn cash back on your purchases at select merchants.
Personalized Investment Advice
Ellevest coaches can give you one-on-one advice on money and career topics such as job hunting, budgeting, career planning, retirement and investing. Coaching comes with a fee to anyone interested, but Ellevest subscribers qualify for a discount of 20% to 50%, depending on your subscription level.
There are no additional monthly fees beyond the subscription fee of $1, $5 or $9 per month.
What Ellevest Is Best For
Ellevest has some unique features that could be ideal for newer investors who want to get started building wealth.
A good financial plan starts with goals. You may need multiple goals for various important life milestones such as college, buying a home and retirement. Ellevest provides preset goals and allows up to six investment accounts in the highest-tier subscription plan to support saving for several goals at the same time.
Ellevest’s investment algorithm makes investing a hands-off experience. Once you set it, you can forget it. Ellevest’s portfolios are among the most diversified around, with 21 different asset classes to lower your risk and hedge against inflation.
Ellevest ties it all together by offering banking with no monthly maintenance or overdraft fees. Your funds are FDIC-insured and it’s easy to move money around from your Spend, Save and investment accounts.
Where Ellevest Falls Short
Although Ellevest sounds ideal so far, investing with the robo-advisor isn’t for everyone. Some things to consider include the following:
- You won’t be able to buy and sell stocks or your own funds of choice. If you’d like to do some trading, you’ll need to open an account with a brokerage.
- You may be able to earn a higher interest rate on your savings elsewhere.
- There is no integrated budgeting or expense tracking.
Ellevest vs. Competitors
Ellevest isn’t the only personal investment app available. There are several worth considering. Here’s a look at how Ellevest and its competitors compare.
|Investment App||Key Details|
|Schwab Intelligent Portfolios||
Is Ellevest Right for You?
Ellevest is best for investors who are just getting started and don’t have a lot of knowledge about investing. You can set up automated investing for a variety of goals, such as building an emergency fund, saving for a house or setting up a retirement plan. Plus, you can take advantage of its banking accounts without worrying about minimum balance fees.
The best time to start investing is today. Even if you can only set $5 per month aside, the funds can compound into something significant as long as you commit to regularly contributing to your investment account.
Ellevest FAQHere are the answers to some commonly asked questions about Ellevest.
- Can you trade on Ellevest?
- Ellevest doesn't allow you to actively trade stocks, mutual funds or crypto. It's a robo-advisor that uses algorithms to automate investing on your behalf.
- Ellevest vs. Betterment — which is better?
- Betterment may be better for automated investment when you have more money to invest. However, you'll pay a commission of 0.25% of your balance instead of a monthly fee. Ellevest shines at investing for beginners, offering plans for $1, $5 or $9 per month regardless of your balance.
Daria Uhlig contributed to the reporting for this article.
Information is accurate as of March 18, 2022.
Editorial Note: This content is not provided by Ellevest. Any opinions, analyses, reviews, ratings or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author alone and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by Ellevest.