This investment company works to close the gender gap women and non-binary individuals face in the market.
Ellevest is a collection of financial services designed to help women invest and includes automated investment services, bank accounts, financial coaching and more. The platform makes a name for itself by offering resources designed to combat the unique financial challenges women experience, like pay inequality. But its flat-rate membership-based pricing could be a turnoff for new investors simply looking to test it out.
- Choose Ellevest if you’re seeking a flat-rate robo-advisor.
- Consider something else if you prefer to research and execute your own trades.
What we think of Ellevest
Ellevest is one of the more unique investment services on the market, and for that reason alone, I think it’s worth a look.
How many platforms can say they actively work to reduce the wealth gap for women and non-binary individuals with female-focused, socially-informed investments? Not many. And that’s precisely what Ellevest offers.
This platform’s focus on promoting women-led businesses, and educational resources makes it a fitting choice for any socially conscious investor. And to be clear, I do mean any investor. Ellevest’s doors are open to everyone: All gender identities are welcome to join.
Oh, and Ellevest isn’t only a robo-advisor. It offers membership-based pricing tiers that bundle numerous financial services, like savings accounts, financial coaching and educational resources. So if you’re looking for a straightforward robo-advisor, no strings attached, Ellevest may not be for you.
What is Ellevest?
Ellevest is a membership-based money management and investing service. It includes access to banking, an investment robo-advisor, retirement accounts, discounts on financial coaching and more. But how useful it is and how many features you can access depends on what membership tier you sign up for.
Ellevest’s robo-advisor is an automated investing service that builds and maintains an investment portfolio on your behalf. It invests exclusively in exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which are funds that invest in collections of stocks. Your portfolio’s asset allocation strategy will hinge on your risk tolerance and investment goals, but you can expect to see a mix of ETFs that invest in stocks, bonds and real estate.
The platform uses gender-based salary curves and pay gaps to customize its investment suggestions and educational resources. The platform is open to all gender expressions but offers goal-based investing designed to support women and nonbinary individuals in pursuing their financial goals.
How do the Ellevest bank accounts work?
All Ellevest memberships come with a checking account, a savings account and a World Mastercard Debit Card. These accounts are backed by FDIC-insured Coastal Community Bank. The debit card connects to the checking account and comes equipped with an optional rollover program: It rounds transactions to the nearest dollar and automatically deposits the difference into the investor’s Ellevest Save account.
The accounts have no minimum balance requirements, no transfer fees, no overdraft fees and unlimited ATM fee reimbursements for withdrawals made within the US. Use of the accounts isn’t mandatory — Ellevest investors can stick with the robo-advisor service without using the accounts.
Who is Ellevest best for?
With Ellevest’s membership-based pricing structure and unique blend of investment and banking features, the platform is ideal for:
- Passive investors. Ellevest’s robo-advisor can help you manage your portfolio for as little as $1 monthly.
- Women and nonbinary investors. Ellevest’s financial coaching is designed to empower women and help them navigate gender-based salary curves and pay gaps.
- Socially conscious investors. Ellevest’s educational resources and investment suggestions are geared towards closing the gender gap between men and women in the workforce.
To be clear, you don’t need to identify as female to sign up for Ellevest — all gender identities are welcome to become a member. That said, the platform’s offerings are specifically geared towards those interested in narrowing the gender pay gap and dismantling prevalent barriers women and non-binary individuals encounter on the path to financial freedom.
Fees and costs
The Ellevest membership program consolidates investment, financial planning and educational resources under a single umbrella. Investors new to the Ellevest platform must select one of three membership tiers during the application process. All tiers provide access to its educational resources, robo-advisor service, an FDIC-insured Save account and a checking account with debit card. Additional perks by tier include:
- Essential: $1/month. Get a 20% discount on financial coaching sessions.
- Plus: $5/month. Retirement account recommendations, management and advice; plus a 30% discount on coaching sessions.
- Executive: $9/month. Multigoal investing across up to six accounts, retirement account recommendations, management and advice; plus a 50% discount on coaching sessions.
Ellevest’s financial coaching
Ellevest’s financial planning and coaching is available to anyone interested in some one-on-one guidance. Its coaches can help you create a budget, save for a house, fine-tune your resumé and more. And it doesn’t matter whether your investments are housed with Ellevest or not — its advisers can help you with any investment accounts, regardless of broker.
You also don’t need to be an Ellevest member to access its financial coaching. Nonmembers are welcome to use its planning services — it just costs more.
|Package||Cost for members||Cost for nonmembers||Description|
|Budgeting and spending session||$87.50 – $140||$175||30-minute call with an Ellevest financial planner|
Receive a one-page budget plan
|Money checkup||$95 – $152||$190||30-minute call with a certified financial planner to check on investments, money goals or retirement funds|
|Home-buying strategy session||$112.50 – $280||$225 – $350||One to two sessions with an Ellevest money coach to discuss the homebuying process and how to prepare for homeownership expenses|
|Budgeting and debt-planning session||$150 – $240||$300||One session with an Ellevest financial planner to develop a budget strategy and debt plan|
|Career clarity coaching||$175 – $280||$350||Two sessions with an Ellevest career coach to create an actionable career roadmap|
|Home-buying strategy and budgeting session||$175 – $400||$350 – $500||One or two sessions with an Ellevest money coach to discuss the homebuying process, mortgage budgeting, down payments and more|
|Resumé review session||$180 – $288||$360||One session with an Ellevest career coach to review your resume and provide feedback|
|Unlimited access to a CFP||$447.50 – $716||$895||Up to four phone calls and unlimited email support with a certified financial planner for one year|
|Investment review package||$897.50 – $1,436||$1,795||Two sessions with an Ellevest investment adviser to review and refine your investment accounts|
|Full financial planning package||$897.50 – $1,436||$1,795||Two calls with an Ellevest financial planner to develop your personalized financial plan|
How do I sign up?
The Ellevest account application process begins on the Ellevest website.
- Select Get Started.
- Enter your email and password, accept the terms and choose Create Profile.
- Follow the prompts to enter your information, including name, age and education level.
- Select your monthly membership plan and hit Choose Plan.
- Confirm your email address.
- Enter your full name, residential address, phone number and date of birth. Select Continue.
- Enter information about your bank and investment accounts. Choose Continue.
- Connect your bank account through Plaid.
- Select your main investment goal and hit Let’s Go.
- Whichever goal you choose, Ellevest provides a calculator so you can figure out how much you need to invest and the timeline of your investment to reach your goal. When you know what you’d like to invest, select Continue.
- Determine your monthly investment and how you’d like to fund your account.
To become an Ellevest member, you must have the following qualifications:
- US citizen or US resident
- At least 18 years old (19 in Alabama and Nebraska)
- Residential address
- Social Security number
- Checking or savings account with a US bank
Before you sign up, have the following information ready:
- Personal information like your name, address and birthdate
- Identification information, like your Social Security number and citizenship status
- Employment information
- Bank information
Pros and cons
Weigh out the perks and possible drawbacks.
- Socially responsible investments. If you choose an Impact portfolio, Ellevest invests your money in funds working to meet higher sustainability and ethical standards with those that give loans to women-owned businesses and businesses focused on expanding community services.
- No minimum deposit. There’s no minimum deposit to open an account and no required minimum balance to maintain it. But there are portfolio minimums, generally ranging from $1 to $240.
- Complimentary debit card. New Ellevest members receive a World Mastercard Debit Card when they sign up.
- Courses and workshops. No matter which membership tier you’ve signed up for, you’ll receive free access to numerous courses and workshops on various financial topics.
- ATM fee reimbursements. Ellevest members receive unlimited ATM fee reimbursements for withdrawals made at ATMs within the US.
- Low-interest emergency fund. Its 0.01% interest rate is low. You’ll see better returns placing your money in a savings account.
- No joint accounts. Ellevest currently offers no trusts or joint account options unless you choose the Ellevest Private Wealth Management plan.
- No tax-loss harvesting. Where most other robo-advisors offer offsets for taxable accounts, Ellevest does not. Instead, the company tries to balance tax expenses through its Tax Minimization Methodology.
- Mandatory membership. Investors strictly interested in getting set up with a robo-advisor may be put off by Ellevest’s mandatory membership and numerous service add-ons.
Is Ellevest legit?
Yes, we’ve done thorough research and confirmed that Ellevest is a legitimate brokerage registered with the SEC, the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Funds in Ellevest Spend and Save accounts are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) through Ellevest’s partner bank, Coastal Community Bank.
Ellevest was founded in 2014 and is headquartered in New York City, New York. It is not an accredited business with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) but has no complaints to its name with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Ellevest reviews and complaints
Overall, Ellevest investor feedback is fairly positive. As of June 2021, it lacks Better Business Bureau (BBB) accreditation but earns a B rating, despite its 16 BBB customer complaints. Its mobile app earns 4.7 out of 5 stars in the Apple App Store based on more than 3,100 reviews. Its also well-liked by Android users, scoring 4.8 out of 5 after 283 reviews left on Google Play.
Redditors praise the platform’s goal-based investment suggestions and informative newsletters but complain that the platform has a clunky interface that’s difficult to navigate. A majority of the platform’s BBB complaints reference a $50 bonus offered to new investors for signing up or making referrals. While Ellevest no longer offers the bonus, it has responded to all BBB complaints.
How do I contact Ellevest support?
Contact Ellevest using one of the following methods:
- Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Call 844-355-7100 on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.
- Submit a request through its online form.
Alternatives to Ellevest
Ellevest occupies a unique space among investment services with a strong focus on supporting women and non-binary individuals along their financial journey with socially informed investments. But it won’t be a practical fit for everyone.
Or maybe you want more sway over your investments? M1 Finance monitors your account but lets you pick your holdings so you have more control over your portfolio.
No platform has it all and the right account for your investments depends on your financial goals. Review your options by features and customer feedback to find the service best equipped to meet your needs.