A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of interviewing, Sallie Krawcheck is the Co-Founder and CEO of Ellevest, a newly launched digital investment platform built for women. Sallie is a total bad ass and a true role model. After the interview, I was invited to attend the Denver Launch Party of Ellevest at Union Station. It was so fun to meet Sallie and the rest of the Ellevest team in person. Hear Sallie speak and talking with the team individually you can see how proud and excited they are about the Ellevest platform and changing the way woman think and invest.
Ellevest is more than an investment platform it’s a conversation starter. Everyone has heard of the Gender Pay Gap but just as big of a problem is the “gender investing gap”. If every woman was investing an appropriate % of her paycheck from day one would 2008 been so bad? Read more about the gender investing gap on Ellevate.
Of course, I read up on Sallie before our mini-interview and like I said total bad ass. Sallie has previous been the CEO of Meerril Lynch and Smith Barney before exiting the corporate world for startup life. Sallie is now also Chair of Ellevate Network, the global professional women’s network.
What makes Ellevest different than other EFTS – Like betterment?
Ellevest is completely Woman focused. Women tend to live longer, take more breaks in our careers and our salaries peak sooner than men’s do. With Ellevest – our investment plans takes these factors into account.
We plan for all of them and we can trade these off. With Ellevest, women have a 70% chance of reaching their goals or better (much higher than the 50% of most other platforms. If you fall off track to reaching your goals, Ellevest will reach out to you to let you know you are off track and tell you how to get back on track. As you mature, your risk path should change, which is why we have a patent pending “Glide Path” to reduce risk as you get closer to meeting your goals.
You said you had mix reviews upon first pitching Ellevest?
At first, a lot of women were like ewww “Women Only” that’s condescending, you’re dumbing it down. We think “Woman” and think it’s gotta be dumbed down – rather than this is more bad ass, more sophisticated, more beautiful and just plain smarter. That is what we have created.
Why rolling invites?
Because we are learning so much with each user. We are a fiduciary, so we are required to act in our clients’ best interests; we want to make sure these financial plans WORK for you. The technology is so powerful it was moving too fast for us, so we have slowed things down so that we can learn as we go. Plus, we want to start a larger conversation on the gender investment gap, as well.
How do you feel about credit cards?
Don’t do it. If you cannot buy it without a credit card, than you shouldn’t buy it. Plus, you are paying off the credit card high interest with your after tax dollars.
Pay off Credit Card debt or Save?
Don’t save anything – pay off your debt. Why? Your emergency fund or savings is earning close to nothing in interest. Pay down your debt first, and if you get in an emergency, put it on your credit card. If you had no saving and if you had no credit card debt? Would you take out money on your CC to put it in the bank and sit there? No!
What was your biggest take away from your time at in Corporate America? What has the transition been like to the startup world?
The startup world is harder – You know the big company is going to be there through the mistakes but you don’t have that with a start-up. You are 2 or 3 mistakes away from being out of business. Hiring is the hardest, you don’t even know if they are a good fit. Running a startup is harder than running Merrill Lynch! I never woke up at 3 am in the morning worrying about Smith Barney. I am happier, more fully alive. You gotta be on every day and have to be fully present too.
I am hearing now days that companies look for someone with a lot of experience in a variety of area, what are you thoughts on that?
You don’t want to hire someone who is always changing. You want to see a sense of commitment, but you do want to see motion and activity in their career and hear the reasons for each move. Hard work still really matters but doesn’t always come through as clearly. Hard work equals success.
How do you balance work life and family life?
I have never had balance, ever. Never shot for it. There were points in my life where work was overwhelming and points where it was all about the kids. I’m not complaining, I had a blast the entire way. What example am I setting for my kids? This was more important than having a spotless kitchen and killing it at work.
Do you still think it’s imperative to go to business school? What about racking up the student loan debt?
Depends – it’s a great decision if you’re on the wrong career path and you need to make a switch. For those on a happy and successful career path – why change?
If there was one or 2 piece of investing advice you knew at 18 what would they be – could be life advice too
- Why are you dating him if you’re not going to marry him? Don’t date him for all of college.
- Don’t you dare accept that credit card and pay for the exercise class that you’re never going to take.
What about 29? (How old your’s truly currently is!)
Give her a hug. Tell her you don’t have to have it figured out yet. You think you should because cause 30 is leaning on you. But give yourself some time and space so you can figure out what you want to do.