According to the Census Bureau, 70% of the nation’s personal financial advisors are male. Ask the CFPB, they’ll tell you that numbers closer to 77%. Others estimate the figure is over 80%. You think that might be a problem for women looking to invest their hard earned dough? Women’s salaries are different than men’s, but not in the way you might initially think. Women’s salaries peak at age 40, versus men’s salaries which peak at 55.
The below graphic illustrates the differences in salary by gender in today’s dollars for men and women with bachelor’s degrees and a starting salary of $85k at age 30.
Ellevest was founded in 2014 by Sallie Krawcheck and Charlie Kroll after they realized the investing industry had been built ‘by men, for men.’ Sallie’s life mission has been to unleash women’s financial power to get them invested in their biggest goals. Partnering with tech entrepreneur Charlie Kroll, she assembled a diverse team of product, engineering, design, and finance backgrounds. Together, the created Ellevest to prove that gender-neutral investing hurts women and they’re on a mission to fix it. Ellevest is tackling major problems. Because of the gender pay gap, the average woman will have saved about $320,000 less when she retires at 67. She’s also likely to live 3-5 years longer than the average man. Ellevest calculates financial targets that take into consideration the differences in salary and age between men and women.
Unlike other investment advisors, Ellevest was conceived and designed with and by their clients. Sallie and Charlie worked with real women to determine what they needed. They built Ellevest based on 200 hours of interviews with real women and 1875 hours of design iteration. After tedious research, the solution they designed became a robo-advisor for women.
Robo-advisors are digital platforms that provide automated, algorithm-driven financial planning services with little to no human supervision. A typical robo-advisor collects information from clients about their financial situation and future goals through an online survey, and then uses the data to offer advice and automatically invest their assets. Robo-advisors like Wealthfront and Betterment launched around the time of the great recession, providing clients the ability to automate portfolio allocation in a way that human wealth managers had been doing for nearly a decade. The main advantage of using a robo-advisor is that they are low-cost alternatives to traditional advisors. By eliminating the cost of human labor, online platforms can offer the same services at a fraction of the cost. Think like 0.2% to 0.5% as opposed to 1% to 2% charged by human financial planners. Furthermore robo-advisors are available 24/7 and can sit in your pocket, providing clients with a closer connection to their money.
On September 18, 2017 Ellevest announced a close on its Series A round, through which it raised $34.6 million in new funding, bringing the company’s total funding to $44.6 million. The round was led by Rethink Impact, and includes participation from PSP Growth, Salesforce Ventures, CreditEase Fintech Investment Fund, LH Holdings, SK Impact Fund, Morningstar, Khosla Ventures, Mellody Hobson, Ulu Ventures, Contour Venture Partners and Astia Angels.