Money Tools for Women: A Conversation with LearnVest.com’s Alexa von Tobel

She’s just 27 and she's raised $25 million in funding for her start up website. Alexa von Tobel, CEO of LearnVest.com, talks about what makes her personal finance site for women work. An edited version of the interview follows. As a special for MORE readers: Scroll to the bottom to try LearnVest for free!

Samantha Lear
LearnVest money Advice Center

More: You seem to be everywhere lately, with The New York Times and Fast Company buzzing about LearnVest and its updated layout and tools. Tell me about the new LearnVest My Money Center.
AvT: In less than two minutes, you can link all of your accounts—checking, savings, credit card, retirement—to LearnVest and see them all in one place. It’s designed to look like an email inbox where all of your expenses will come in automatically. You can then drag transactions into folders like bills, shopping, groceries and gifts. It’s customized to what you want, whether you have 50 folders or five folders. And it’s 100% safe and protected by bank level security.

More: You also now have the LearnVest Advice Center. How would our reader benefit from this?
AvT: With the Advice Center, you pay a small fee to talk to a team of financial planners: $4.99 for one-day pass, $39.99 for three months and $129.99 for one year. These are experts who you email directly for help tackling individual problems. We also have a series of videos that act as a financial planner would, giving you the steps to create a five-year financial plan.

More: How did you get the idea for a site like this?
Right before graduating from Harvard, my girlfriends and I were sitting around a table having brunch, and we realized that no one—not in high school or college—had ever taught us things like: What is credit? A credit report? A Roth IRA? And yet we make six to 10 financial decisions every day. In 2008, I took a leave from grad school and moved to New York to start LearnVest with funding from investors like Goldman Sachs. We launched in December 2009 and within two months we’d raised $5 million.

More: And why do you think women needed LearnVest? Is there a shortage of personal finance sites geared towards women?
Alexa von Tobel: There are a bunch of great resources out there, like Suze Orman and Jim Cramer, but none of them were speaking to me. Orman talks about how to get out of debt, but I was looking for a clear path on how to spend my money.

Everyone needs help with money. As a female founder, I wanted to build something that spoke to me directly—nothing intimidating or girly, just straight financial content. I wanted it to tell me what to do if I’m changing my job or having a baby.

Women are getting married much later, running their own finances into their thirties and forties and divorce is at an all-time high. Financial planning shouldn’t be a luxury. Everyone should have a financial plan.

 

 

Enter the promo code LVDAYPASS100 for a free day-pass to the LearnVest Advice Center, or enter promo code VIP60 and you’ll get 60 percent off three-month access, regularly $39.99, now only $16.

 

Related: 10 Ways Smartphone Apps Can Help You Save Money
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First Published September 16, 2011

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