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Women-Focused Robo-Advisors Poised to Launch

December 30, 2015

Next year will see the introduction of two robo-advisors tailoring wealth management services specifically to women, according to the Atlantic. The offerings are aimed not only at meeting the different financial needs of women vs. men but also at addressing the lack of products that women are happy with, one of the founders tells the magazine.

WorthFM and Ellevest, if properly designed, should be able to offer women-specific automated wealth management services without being condescending, according to one female personal-finance expert who spoke to the Atlantic. Sure enough, she says, women do have financial requirements different from men, as they typically live longer, have a “maternity penalty” if they decide to have children, and are more likely to end up disabled, the magazine writes.

But the point of launching WorthFM was also to fill a niche that co-founder Amanda Steinberg says is not being met because none of the offerings out there “resonates with women,” she tells the publication. To that end, the platform does not tailor to women by going into “feminine” design — the magazine reports that the color palette of the website is “muted and sensible as a pantsuit,” for example. But the Atlantic takes issue with the questionnaire, comparing it to a “high-brow Cosmo quiz” and pointing out questions and wording that would not appear on a site directed at men, such as “Totally not me” as one of the options for an answer.

One area the two platforms cannot address is the income gap between men and women. In an earlier story on the two robos, the New York Times pointed to a Vanguard finding that women are in fact better savers than men, but because of the discrepancy in pay end up with less savings on average — a problem unlikely to be resolved by robo-advisors, the paper wrote.

By Alex Padalka
  • To read the New York Times article cited in this story, click here.
  • To read the Atlantic article cited in this story, click here.