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LearnVest: Financial Planning For Women

POYEL: How I’m (finally) Planning for our Financial Future

If you’re visiting this site then you are most likely a grown person, probably with kids.  Which also means that you have a working budget and emergency fund as well as a solid plan for paying for your retirement, their college, any remaining school loans of your own, and other debt… along with adequate life insurance, disability insurance,  up-to-date beneficiary forms, a living will, power of attorney documents, and a last will and testament  – right?  No?!  Did your blood pressure rise just reading that long and increasingly frightening sentence?

Spoiler: Don’t panic, today we’re offering up a prize worth $299 – a personalized 5 year financial plan put together via a one-on-one consultation with a LearnVest financial planner. So be sure to click through for your chance to win.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Do you have your will, retirement plan, and the kids’ college savings all figured out?

I know just how you feel.  There’s a whole section of the original Project Organize Your ENTIRE Life list devoted to this type of thing that I’ve been whole-heartedly avoiding until recently.  Not even just avoiding, but running away shrieking from.  Why?  Because a lot of this stuff feels both vitally important but also really hard at the same time. It also sounds intimidatingly expensive.

Which is why, I was so very happy to find the LearnVest site.  I’ve been working with them over the past few months and I already feel so much lighter when I think about planning for the future.  After a little hard work, and some sage advice, we now have a solid plan to work towards with concrete goals and tangible steps to complete.  And here’s the best part: the majority of the info. we needed was totally free.

LearnVest, the leading personal finance and lifestyle website for women, was created by Harvard business school student Alexa von Tobel with the goal of “building a Weight Watchers for personal finance”.  Visit the sight and you’ll see, it has a ton of tools available.  My absolute favorites are their financial boot camps and their Smart Budget Tool (think a more intuitive version of Mint.com).

Both services are completely free and actually go hand-in-hand.  If you’re looking to get a budget and start working towards some financial goals but just aren’t sure where to start I would HIGHLY recommend the Take Control bootcamp which will help you get all set up.  But they also have lots of other nicely tailored bootcamps like Cutting Costs and Baby on Board.

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So what exactly is a bootcamp?  It’s a free training course delivered to you via email over the course of 10 days.  I took the Take Control course when I first signed up for LearnVest and loved all the tools it had such as a calculator to tell me exactly how much my time is worth (in order to figure out if I should outsource some things like lawn care, etc.), a retirement planning calculator, and even a grown up version of one of my favorite girlhood games; MASH.  It also guided me in linking all of my banking and other financial accounts to the Smart Budget Tool so that now I can easily track all of our spending and saving.

My husband and I are savers by nature so we have been dutifully squirreling away for both our retirement and the kids’ college fund.  The problem is, we’re 32 and the kids are toddlers – these things are a long way off and we really have no idea how much we should be saving for them.

Same goes for how much life insurance and disability insurance we really need.  It’s been clear for a while that we’ve reached that time in our lives when a financial planner would be beneficial.  But the potential cost of enlisting one has always scared me off.

The going rate of a financial planner is $150 – $250/hour and setting up a financial plan can take 10 hours or more.  The thought of dropping that kind of money makes me feel a bit peaked.  It’s not like I’m looking for detailed investment strategies.  Just some sound advice on how much we should be saving towards our goals, and what debt we should prioritize – as well as what legal documents and how much insurance we need to be able to sleep at night.

As I said, the Smart Budget tool and Get Control bootcamp were huge in getting our finances in order, and were both 100% free.  If you’re interested in taking things to the next level, LearnVest also offers a range of personal financial planning services provided one-on-one over the phone.  Plans include everything from a $69 budget starter package to a $399 portfolio builder package.  As part of LearnVest’s partnership with MPMK, I was able to try their mid-level 5 year plan, which was exactly what I was looking for.  The steps involved included:

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  1. Linking up my accounts to the smart budget tool and giving my personal LearnVest expert an accurate picture of all incoming and outgoing funds.
  2. Filling out a questionnaire about all of my financial holdings and debts as well as our family’s saving goals.
  3. Having a phone call with my expert to go over all of the information and to fill in any blanks.

And that was it.  About 2 1/2 weeks later I had a follow up call and a wonderfully detailed financial plan (44 pages to be exact).

I’m telling you I could have wept when I got it.  It was just such a relief to finally have a plan.  To know that I now had some real steps to get rid of that nagging feeling of not having all my ducks in a row.

Are you ready to have that same happy feeling?  Get started today with the free smart budget tool and the Take Control bootcamp and don’t forget to enter our giveaway.  One winner will receive a personalized 5 year financial plan worth $299.  Good luck!


This post is part of MPMK’s “Project Organize Your ENTIRE Life”. You can read all about it here, check out all of our projects here, and join thousands of POYEL facebook group members here.



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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Jessica March 12, 2013 at 8:55 am

I need all of those things, help!!


Jessica March 12, 2013 at 12:46 pm

I love LearnVest!! I’ve already done several of their bootcamps and I use the budgeting tools every day! I would LOVE to actually work with one of their financial planners. We don’t have any real retirement or college savings plan whatsoever.


Carey March 12, 2013 at 8:09 pm

My husband and I have been talking about finding a financial planner for about a year now. We have a will that we had written a few days before we left for a trip to Haiti three months after the earthquake, and it isn’t really what we want. Th retirement plan and college fund plan could use some work!


Jackie March 18, 2013 at 10:33 pm

We are a homeschooling family of four kids. We’ve always lived debt free with exception of a small home mortgage.. As my older kids get, well, older I am getting more nervous about college, savings, retirement, the whole thing. I’d like help with a consolidated effort because even my husband’s retirement accounts are confusing to me and I don’t see them growing. We also don’t have a will drawn up and that makes me nervous.

I really don’t want to return to the workplace and also don’t think it would be the right thing to do. We need help with short term and long term financial planning.


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