The Ellevest platform is specifically designed to help women take control of their financial futures and Ellevest is one of the best robo-advisors in the industry. Its well-rounded offer suite includes traditional investing services, plus valuable career coaching. In this Ellevest review, we'll take an in-depth look at how the Ellevest robo-advisor platform works, what it costs, and the features it offers.
0.25% management fee
This robo-advisor is a good fit for: People wanting to take the guess work out of investing by using a robo-advisor. Ellevest is also valuable for its career and financial planning services and competitive costs. While it is focused on women, the robo-advisor is a fit for all genders.
Ellevest charges a flat monthly fee, whereas it's common for others to charge a percentage of assets under management. The monthly fee starts at just $1 per month for Ellevest Essential for basic investing, banking*, learning and 20% off coaching. In the middle for $5/month with Ellevest Plus you will also be able to save for retirement and get 30% off coaching. On the high end, membership tops out at $9 per month with the Ellevest Executive plan. The Executive plan includes personalized retirement planning services, goal-specific investment portfolio options (up to 6 goals), and 50% off one-on-one sessions with career coaches and financial planners.
Unlike many robo-advisors, Ellevest's service has no minimum deposit requirement to get started. You can literally open an account with $1.
Ellevest refers to itself as a company "designed by women, for women." Ellevest's data and recommendations take into account factors like gender pay gaps, career breaks, and the difference in average lifespan between men and women. To be clear, while Ellevest was founded with women in mind, the company welcomes clients of all gender identities -- it just places more emphasis on those gender-related issues when analyzing clients' situations.
All Ellevest members can purchase discounted one-on-one consultations with financial planners. Non-members can also purchase sessions at their retail value. Sessions start at a regular price of $125 (all members get some level of discount of 20-50%). All financial planners with Ellevest are Certified Financial Planner® professionals. In addition to one off sessions you can also purchase annual access to a CFP. Unlike with many competitors, Ellevest will do their best to give members a dedicated CFP with that package,meaning they'll talk to the same planner every time. And, depending on your membership tier, the discounts on this service can make it much cheaper than finding a financial planner on your own.
Ellevest offers members access to purchase one-on-one career coaching as well at a discount -- something other services are unlikely to provide.
Most robo-advisors automatically rebalance client portfolios, but this is still worth mentioning. If your portfolio gets out of alignment with your goals, Ellevest will automatically make adjustments. Even better, Ellevest does it on an as-needed basis. Some competitors only rebalance at certain intervals (such as twice a year).
Ellevest invests client assets in low-cost exchange-traded funds, or ETFs. These have expense ratios ranging from 0.05% to 0.10% for Ellevest's core portfolios. For its Impact Portfolio options, the annual expenses are in a slightly higher (but still competitive) 0.13% to 0.19% range. Ellevest's Impact Investing portfolios focus on investment vehicles centered around social issues that involve women, such as funds including companies that do a great job of advancing women in leadership roles.
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Ellevest offers tax minimization strategies, such as using investments like tax-free municipal bond funds in taxable accounts. However, unlike some of its competitors, it doesn't offer tax-loss harvesting strategies. If you have a large amount to invest or are in a high federal income tax bracket, tax-loss harvesting could be a valuable benefit.
Ellevest offers individual brokerage accounts as well as traditional, Roth, and SEP IRAs. It does not offer joint brokerage accounts (in other words, you can't open an account with your spouse). It also does not offer trusts, college savings accounts, solo 401(k)s, and a few other types. However, it's worth mentioning that Ellevest does provide 401(k) guidance to its clients, and will even help you roll them over.
If you want to avoid paying a management fee: SoFi Automated Investing charges no management fee. Importantly, the robo-advisor doesn't water down its feature set at the expense of low costs. It still offers unlimited access to registered investment advisors. This is a rare robo-advisor perk, that Ellevest offers as well, but charges for.
If you need tax-loss harvesting: TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios includes tax-loss harvesting, along with competitive management fees. Where Ellevest outshines TD Ameritrade Essential Portfolios is its lower account minimum and offering access to financial advisors.
To set up your membership you’ll answer a few simple questions about yourself and pick your membership tier. Once you have your membership you will be able to set up investing and banking, or come back to them later. For investing,Ellevest, like most robo-advisors, starts by asking a series of questions about you as an investor. These questions include your age (for retirement planning) and investment goals. It uses your information to craft an investment portfolio made up of low-cost ETFs. Each portfolio is designed to produce maximum returns while staying within your acceptable risk level. You make deposits--Ellevest does the rest. You’ll also get monthly progress reports in your email to keep you on track.
Like all robo-advisors, Ellevest creates custom-made investment portfolios for its clients based on their personal situations. Unlike other robo-advisors, Ellevest holds a particular focus on gender-related factors. The platform also offers:
In addition, Ellevest's unique pricing structure can make investing far cheaper than it is with many competitors. This is especially true for investors with larger accounts (since it's a flat-rate model).
Ellevest also offers Private Wealth Management for those looking to invest $1 million or more. With this service you’ll get a dedicated financial advisor who will work to help you reach your money goals. This service is much more bespoke and not part of the robo-investing service.
Ellevest recently changed its pricing to a flat monthly fee. There are three tiers of service clients can choose from:
|Membership Tier||Cost/Month||What's Included?|
|Ellevest Essential||$1||Access to basic investment and savings services, Ellevest's educational resources, 20% discounts on one-on-one sessions with financial planners and career coaches.|
|Ellevest Plus||$5||In addition to the above, this tier receives personalized retirement planning services and a 30% discount on one-on-one sessions with financial planners an career coaches|
|Ellevest Executive||$9||In addition to all of the above, this tier receives goal-specific investment portfolio options (such as saving for a home), a free one-on-one investment plan review, and a 50% discount on one-on-one sessions with financial planners an career coaches|
The other fee type is expense ratios charged by the ETFs that Ellevest uses to construct client portfolios. These are also annual percentages of assets, and range from 0.05% to 0.19% for the funds Ellevest's robo-advisor service offers.
There are two types of support that clients of a robo-advisor could need: investment advice from a human being, and help with technical issues. Let's take a look at how Ellevest stacks up.
All Elevest members have access to platform support and general questions from the Ellevest Concierge Team. In Ellevest Plus and Executive this team will also help you roll over your 401(k), even including calling your provider together.. Ellevest Executive members also get a free investment planning session with the Ellevest Concierge Team. All paying members get discounts on one-on-one sessions for more specific money or career advice
Ellevest offers technical support and account help by phone, text, and Facebook from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST, as well as email support.
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*Banking products and services are provided by Coastal Community Bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to license by Mastercard International.
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