An investment company that works toward closing the gender gap women face in the market.Ellevest is a membership-based robo-advisor designed to help women invest while taking into consideration the unique challenges women experience, such as career breaks, differences in pay and lifespan. But the flat-rate membership-based pricing could be a turnoff for new investors just looking to test it out.
Minimum deposit to open
$1 per month
Heather Petty is a writer at Finder specializing in banking, investments and insurance. She's a self-proclaimed word nerd who worked as a technical writer and editor for the casino systems industry and is an internationally published young adult mystery author. Heather earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Nevada, Reno.
Expert reviewEllevest is best for those looking for a personalized investment portfolio that takes into account the challenges women face. Its dedication to reducing the wealth gap between men and women is admirable, as is the company’s commitment to socially responsible investments in companies that are promoting women in leadership, women-led businesses and community programs.
What makes Ellevest unique?
Ellevest carves out a unique identity for itself in the robo-advisor sphere by guiding investors towards female-focused socially-informed investments. The platform uses gender-based salary curves and pay gaps to customize its investment suggestions and educational resources. It states that its resources are designed to help close the money gap that separates men and women in the workforce.
The platform is open to all gender expressions but offers goal-based investing designed to support women and non-binary individuals pursue their financial goals.
How does Ellevest work?
Ellevest offers 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 membership-based pricing first launched in June 2020. Investors who were already working with Ellevest before that change had the option to switch to a membership plan or continue with their current investing plans and fees.
What is the Ellevest membership program?
The Ellevest membership program aims to consolidate 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. Each tier builds on the products and services of the tier below it.
All tiers come with two FDIC-insured bank accounts and provide access to the core of the Ellevest platform: its robo-advisor service. Monthly membership fees range from $1 to $9.
How do the Ellevest bank accounts work?
All Ellevest memberships come with a checking account, a savings account and a World Debit MasterCard. The debit card connects to the checking account and comes equipped with an optional rollover program: transactions are rounded to the nearest dollar and the difference is automatically deposited 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.
Membership costs and fees
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What are the benefits of Ellevest?Ellevest includes a host of perks, including:
- Socially responsible investments. If you choose an Impact portfolio, Ellevest invests your money in funds working to meet higher sustainability and ethical standards and 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 minimums for portfolios, generally ranging from $1 to $240.
- Dedicated CFP with premium. If you sign up for a premium account, you gain unlimited access to a dedicated certified financial planner assigned to your account.
- Complimentary debit card. New Ellevest members receive a World Debit MasterCard 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 a variety of financial topics.
- ATM fee reimbursements. Ellevest members receive unlimited ATM fee reimbursements for withdrawals made at ATMs within the US.
What to watch out for
The following are some things to consider before opening your account:
- 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.
If you’re interested in joint investments or to start a trust, you’ll need to shop around for another option.
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Customer reviews and complaints
Overall, Ellevest investor feedback is fairly positive. It lacks Better Business Bureau (BBB) accreditation but earns a B+ rating, despite its 10 BBB customer complaints. It has no complaints on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and its mobile app earns 4.7 out of 5 stars in the Apple App Store based on 1,600 reviews.
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 get started?
Open an Ellevest account in seven steps:
- From the home page, click Get Started.
- Enter your email and password, accept the terms and click Create Profile.
- Follow the prompts to enter your information, including name, age and education level.
- Select your monthly membership plan and click Choose Plan.
- Confirm your email address.
- Enter your full name, residential address, phone number and date of birth. Click Continue.
- Enter information about your bank and investment accounts. Click Continue.
- Connect your bank account through Plaid.
- Select your main investment goal and click 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, click 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 (or 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
Ellevest customer service
Contact Ellevest using one of the following methods:
- Email email@example.com.
- Call 844-355-7100 on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.
- Submit a request through its online form.