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The Ellevest Investing Platform

Here’s an honest review of Ellevest, an investing platform designed specifically for women. What are the pros and cons, how does it work, and should you use them for investing your hard-earned money? Let’s go for a tour of my account.

After trying out a bunch of different investing apps, I can say that Ellevest offers quite a unique experience. In this article:

  • I’ll point out the pros and cons
  • I’ll show you exactly how your money gets invested when you open an account at Ellevest
  • And finally, I’ll make recommendations on who it’s for and who it’s not for

So let’s get right into it!



  • I’m going to first talk about the pros. My absolute favorite thing about Ellevest and something that differentiates it from other roboadvisors is its GOALS BASED APPROACH TO INVESTING. What this means is that instead of organizing your investments by account type, the platform lets you organize your investments by GOAL.
  • Most of the other platforms out there typically organize your investments by account type – so Roth IRA, Traditional IRA, Rollover 401k, Brokerage Account, etc. etc. So when you open an account anywhere, the first question they usually ask you is what type of account you want to open. And if you’re not sure, it can be kind of overwhelming to get started.
  • But when you open an account at Ellevest, the first thing they ask you is what financial goals you’re saving for. You can pick things like “saving up for a house”, “for retirement”, “an emergency fund”, or “start my own business”, or just “building wealth”. With this approach, you don’t have to worry about opening the right account type, because Ellevest will guide you through that, depending on which goals you pick. The app makes it SO easy for you to get started, and I was able to set up my accounts correctly and get started investing within minutes.
  • I also think that organizing everything by GOALS keeps you more motivated. Every time you log in and see your Ellevest dashboard, it reminds you that you have concrete financial goals in your life that you’re investing for. It’s easy to stop your monthly auto-deposit when you’re not clear on what it’s for, but with Ellevest, you’ll probably think twice before doing that because it makes it so clear what you’re working towards.


  • Another pro is that Ellevest is really good about helping you budget and make projections so that you know how much you need to save every month towards each of your goals.
  • For example, one of my goals is to buy a house for my parents in the next 6 years, and I need to decide how much money I’m going to invest initially and then for the ongoing monthly auto-deposit. And rather than guessing at the numbers and hoping & praying that I’ll have enough to ACTUALLY buy the house in 6 years, Ellevest TELLS me what to do. Ellevest always tells you the suggested amounts, but you can also plug in your own numbers and see where you’d end up.
  • To have enough for a downpayment on a house in 6 years, Ellevest is recommending that I make a one-time deposit today of $15,492 and then regular monthly deposits of $1,240. And if you don’t have $15k to deposit right now, you can lower the amount to see what happens. If I only do $5k for the initial deposit, then Ellevest recalculates it for me and I’ll have XXX instead of XXX in 6 years. So Ellevest gives you a LOT of guidance when budgeting for your goals and planning your financial life, which I think is super helpful and one of the main reasons I love this app.
  • Now are their projections reliable? There are no guarantees with the stock market, but there are high-probability outcomes and low-probability outcomes. So if Ellevest is forecasting that your investment will be worth X amount of dollars in a certain number of years, they’ve crunched a ton of historical data to show you the highest probability outcome. So this number here is what Ellevest’s algorithm is telling me I have a 70% chance of ending up with this amount.
  • It’s better to make budgeting decisions based on high probability outcomes vs shooting in the dark, and with Ellevest’s budgeting recommendations and projections, you can make informed decisions to maximize your chances of ACTUALLY being able to buy that house in 6 years, or to retire comfortably, or to go on that dream vacation, or whatever your goal may be.



  • Now for the cons. The one that jumps out at me most is that the app doesn’t give you a lot of flexibility in terms of investment options. At Ellevest, you only have TWO types of portfolios to choose from – their Core vs. Impact portfolio. You can’t buy individual stocks, and you can’t pick your own mutual funds or ETFs WITH your Ellevest account. So if you wanted to buy AMZN stock because you think it’s a great company, or you really want to add XYZ stock to your portfolio because you think it’ll do well, you can’t.
  • Now while I’ve listed this as a con, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Frankly, most people don’t have the know-how to pick their own stocks anyway. If you don’t know what factors to consider when picking your own investments, then you’re definitely better off sticking with one of Ellevest’s ready-made, professionally designed portfolios. Roboadvisors like Ellevest are perfect for newbie investors who just want a well-diversified portfolio and want to put money to work in the stock market with as little involvement as possible.
  • But of course, if you DO know how to pick your own stocks and you want to be able to do that, then you won’t be able to do it in your Ellevest account. For that, you can check out other investing platforms like Stash, Robinhood, or Fidelity.


  • Another con is the annual fee. While the app makes investing as easy for you as possible, these benefits do come at a cost. In return for managing your investments, Ellevest charges an annual fee of 0.25%, and this is pretty much in line with what other roboadvisors charges.
  • What this means is that if you have $5k invested at Ellevest, your fee will be 0.25% x $5k for the year. And next year, if your account balance goes up to say $6k because the stock market went up and you deposited more money, then your fee in Year 2 will be 0.25% x $6k.
  • If you want to avoid paying roboadvisor fees, your only other option is to DIY on another investing platform. But obviously it does take time and energy to manage your own investments, and since time=money, I don’t necessarily think it’s better to try and avoid paying fees. For the average investor, I definitely think it’s worth it to have the convenience and expertise of Ellevest.
  • To put it into perspective, traditional human financial advisors charge annual fees of 1-2%. So although I listed the 0.25% fee as a con, paying a roboadvisor 0.25% to do the same work is really not that bad.

How your money get invested

  • Ok, now I want to show you how your money gets invested when you open an account at Ellevest. I mentioned earlier that Ellevest offers 2 investment options, the Core portfolio or the Impact portfolio. Each portfolio is a combination of ETFs and mutual funds that have been carefully chosen for having the lowest fees, best liquidity, and exposure to the right asset classes. Both portfolios are very similar, except that the Impact portfolio incorporates socially responsible investing.
  • For my HOUSE goal, I’ve chosen to invest in the IMPACT portfolio. You can see a list of the exact ETFs and mutual funds in this portfolio by tapping here. The portfolio gets stock market exposure from these ETFs, and the bond exposure comes from these ETFs.
  • And because it’s socially responsible investing, one of the funds in the IMPACT portfolio is the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Leadership Fund (PXWIX), which contains only women-led companies. Another fund in the IMPACT portfolio is ESGD, which contains only companies that meet high environmental and social standards. So the Ellevest IMPACT portfolio helps me build wealth while also making sure that my investment dollars are supporting companies that make the world a better place.
  • The way Ellevest determines what percentage of the portfolio to allocate towards stocks vs bonds is by looking at your timeline. The more time you have to reach your goal, the more Ellevest is going to weight towards stocks. For my goal to buy a house in 6 years, Ellevest has 36% in stocks and the rest in bonds. But for my goal to retire in 30 years, Ellevest has 100% in stocks.
  • The logic behind this is that a typical market cycle lasts about 5 years. If your timeline is 6 years, your investment will only go through about 1 market cycle. And with 1 market cycle, it’s hard to know where you’ll be when it’s time to cash out your investments. Whereas if your timeline is longer, say 30 years, your investments will go through roughly 6 full market cycles. And since stock market levels generally rise higher and higher with each new market cycle, stocks do really well over long time horizons. The shorter your time horizon, the less Ellevest will weight your portfolio in stocks, and the more Ellevest will weight towards bonds and cash. These percentage allocations are not just random numbers pulled out of somebody’s ass. There’s a lot of research behind this and it’s designed to maximize your chances of reaching your goals, no matter what happens to the stock market. Then, as you get closer to the 6-year mark – or whatever timeline you’ve set for your goal, Ellevest gradually adjusts these percentages according to what’s called a Glide Path, so that by the end of the 6 years, your portfolio is 100% cash.


So in summary, who is Ellevest for and who is it not for?

Ellevest is for YOU if:

  • You have multiple financial goals and you need help planning and budgeting for those goals. The Ellevest dashboard where you can see all your goals in one place and the app’s data-backed recommendations on how much to save every month towards each goal are super helpful and probably what I love most about Ellevest.
  • Ellevest is also perfect for you if you’re a “lazy” investor and you want your investments to be automated because once you set up your goals and set your recurring deposits, you literally won’t have to lift a finger until it’s time to cash out on your investment.
  • And finally, if you like the idea of socially responsible investing, then Ellevest has a portfolio called the IMPACT portfolio that was designed exactly for that.

Ellevest is NOT for you if:

  • You’d rather avoid the 0.25% fee and go DIY, and you don’t mind doing the extra work
  • You want to be able to pick your own investments because the platform only offers its two signature portfolios and it doesn’t let you buy individual stocks.
  • You’re looking for a get-rich-quick scheme. Ellevest is for long-term investors, so it will definitely help you build a lot of wealth over time, but you’re not going to 10x your money overnight or even in a couple of years.

My final thoughts:

If you think Ellevest is a good fit for you, I highly recommend you give it a try. Ellevest is the only roboadvisor out there right not that is designed by and for women. The founder and CEO Sallie Krawcheck is a badass female entrepreneur on a mission to make investing more accessible for women.

Even in this day and age, there’s still a big gap between men and women when it comes to money and investing. Women tend to keep more of their money in cash, and they generally have less money in retirement than men.

But with a beautiful app-like Ellevest that makes investing SO easy for you, there is no excuse for becoming a bag lady. Ok? Regardless of whether you go with Ellevest or not, just promise me you’ll DO SOMETHING. Pinky swear? Put your hard-earned money to WORK, and get invested.

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YouTuber, Money Expert, Educator, Traveler, Rebel, and #1 Book Nerd. My mission is to empower you with the mindset and financial know-how to create a life of TOTAL freedom.


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YouTuber, Money Expert, Educator, Traveler, Rebel, and #1 Book Nerd. My mission is to empower you with the mindset and financial know-how to get more of what you want out of life.

The weekly email that spills all the secrets on what it really takes to create a life of total financial freedom

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