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Is Ellevest available in Canada?
Ellevest won't let you open an account if you live in Canada - but there are other investment services that will.
Choosing a way to invest your money can be tough, and the growing popularity of robo-advisors gives you even more choices. US-based robo-advisor, Ellevest, provides an innovative approach to investing by providing clients – particularly women – with portfolios designed to accommodate their unique, gender-based life goals and challenges.
Ellevest specializes in developing thoughtful and effective financial strategies that take into account such factors as gender-based salary curves and women’s extended retirement needs based on the statistical likelihood they’ll outlive men.
Clients living in the US have been taking advantage of Ellevest’s services since 2014. But can Canadians benefit from this platform’s specially-tailored offerings as well? Are there any competitive services based in Canada?
Is Ellevest available in Canada?
Unfortunately, no. Due to legal restrictions, Ellevest can only accept clients who are US citizens or permanent residents. Clients also need to:
- Have a permanent US residential address (not a PO Box)
- Have a US Social Security number (SSN)
- Have a US checking or savings account
- Be the legal age of majority in their state (18 in most states)
Foreigners living in the States can possibly fulfill these requirements. But if you live in Canada, you’re out of luck. As of the time of writing, Ellevest has not announced any plans to begin offering services to customers based in Canada.
Are there alternatives to Ellevest in Canada?
Yes. In 2019, the first robo-advisor targeting women’s investment needs was launched. Smart Money for Her is similar to Ellevest in that it provides women with investment plans that centre around their unique life needs, which could potentially include taking time off to have children, caring for elderly parents and outliving their male partners.
Founded by a female veteran Bay Street investor, Smart Money for Her offers intuitive financial options, low fees and a low minimum deposit. But this isn’t the only investment company in town that you might want to consider.
There are a number of robo-advisors in Canada offering diverse investment options that can be personalized to meet clients’ needs. Many of these services come with low fees and the option of connecting with real, human professional advisors for advice and guidance.
Robo-advisors are a popular alternative to brokerage firms and self-directed investing platforms because of super low costs and the ability to “set and forget” your investments.
Robo-advisors use advanced algorithms to create and automatically rebalance portfolios customized to suit your individual financial preferences, risk tolerance and investment goals. Some companies offer socially responsible investing options should you want to grow your money while supporting the specific causes you care about.
Check out the table below to compare some of Canada’s most popular robo-advisors, and read our reviews of each to decide which one is right for you.
Compare robo-advisors in Canada
What features should I look for in an investment company?
There’s no investment platform that’s right for everyone, and each comes with its own features, fees, pros and cons. Consider the following points when shopping around to find the right investment service for your needs:
Is there a minimum upfront investment?
If you’re just starting out, chances are you don’t have much to invest upfront. Or perhaps you have accumulated savings and are ready to make it grow faster. Newbies may find themselves drawn to investment companies with low barriers to entry including low (or even $0) upfront investments. Companies that require higher minimum investment amounts are often for investors with some level of experience or who have sizeable portfolios to manage.
Will your investments be managed for you, or do you have to monitor your own portfolio?
If you have some investing experience and enjoy getting your hands dirty tracking stock prices and following the latest business news, you might prefer a little more autonomy in managing your investments. However, if you’re still getting your feet wet and don’t understand all of your options, having securities selected for you based on your own risk-tolerance, financial goals and personality can be enormously helpful. That’s where robo-advisors shine.
What are the trading fees? For managed funds, what is the MER?
Most platforms charge a fee every time you buy and sell stocks. Over time and after many trades, this can add up. If you’re investing in mutual funds or other professionally-managed investment pools, you’ll be charged a fee that encompasses both trading costs and management expenses. This fee is known as a management expense ratio, or MER. The lower the MER, the faster your money will grow.
Are there any monthly or yearly account maintenance fees?
Some investment companies charge no account maintenance fees, drawing profits instead from trading fees, commissions and other forms of revenue. Other companies waive monthly fees if you keep up a certain level of trading activity or earn a certain amount on your investments within a given time period. Some companies prefer to keep things simple with a predictable monthly fee. Check out online reviews and read the fine print of your investment agreement to make sure you know what costs to expect.
What kind of professional help or customer support is available if you need it?
Customer service might sound like a less-interesting facet of an investment company. But don’t underrate its importance. When you want to take advantage of market trends and every passing second affects the value of an investment, having round-the-clock, on-demand service from company representatives can be crucial. Even if you aren’t independently managing your investments, it can be frustrating to be limited by short customer service hours or under-trained representatives when you need to ask a question or make a request.
Compare online trading platforms
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