Alexa von Tobel: How To Be The Master Of Your Financial Future

Jan 20 2014, 8:47am CST | by

Alexa von Tobel: How To Be The Master Of Your Financial Future

I recently caught up with personal finance guru, Alexa von Tobel, on the tour for her New York Times bestselling book “Financially Fearless: The LearnVest Program for Taking Control of Your Money“. Tobel is the founder and CEO of LearnVest.com, a company that intends to bring financial literacy to women everywhere.

A graduate of Harvard College, she was a trader at Morgan Stanley on their Proprietary Trading Desk, before leaving to be the Head of Business Development at Drop.io. From there, she attending Harvard Business School up until she took a leave of absence to launch her company. Tobel has received a lot of recognition in the past years including being listed on the Forbes 30 Under 30.

In the following interview I did with her, she talks about the origins of her company, her 50/20/30 financial plan that she offers people, her view on how Hollywood has portrayed her industry and her best advice.

Dan Schawbel: How and when do you originally create the LearnVest program and what did you do in order to get people to start looking at it as a viable option?

Alexa von Tobel: The LearnVest Action Program has been in the works for the past few years—it highlights best-in-class financial planning principles and puts them into a format that allows people to really make progress on their money.

Critical financial planning steps—like making sure you have the right insurance—can be daunting. Our 7-Step Program makes these steps actionable, and our team of LearnVest Experts holds our members accountable to take action.

Traditional financial plans cost something in the $3-$5k range, which is out of reach for most Americans. We think it’s important that financial planning not be a luxury, so we’ve worked hard to leverage technology to offer a subscription service with affordable pricing.

Since we’ve started, we’ve been spreading the word about LearnVest and Financially Fearless is a great way for people to engage with the company. Each copy of the book comes with a free check-in call with our LearnVest Experts and a $50 credit toward the Action Program.

Dan: Can you explain the 50/20/30 plan and share an example of someone who used it successfully?

Tobel: There are a lot of budgeting frameworks out there, but this is the method I like best as it gets straight to the big picture of your finances. Budgets don’t have to be synonymous with deprivation. This budget is about making room for your important financial goals, while also leaving room for you to enjoy what you earn. What’s the point of creating a budget if it’s not possible to follow through?

The 50/20/30 formula is a macro-level budget. It suggests that 50% of your take-home pay goes to your essentials (rent/mortgage, utilities, groceries and transportation to work), 20% goes to your future (emergency savings, debt repayment, retirement funds), and 30% goes to your lifestyle (travel, shopping, eating out, etc.).

One of the most important times to think through this method is when you’re in the process of moving. It’s so tempting to overspend on our homes, but whatever your home costs you, it’s recommended that it stays within your essentials. If you get the big stuff right, it’s much easier to stick to everything else.

Dan: What impact do you think movies like The Wolf of Wall Street and Boiler Room have on the financial industry and your business?

Tobel: Movies like The Wolf of Wall Street and Boiler Room often show the glamorous, “sexy” side of the financial services industry. They suggest that there’s massive wealth to be had with the right investment decisions and perhaps a few shady moves. The financial services industry has had a rocky reputation over the past few years, and that’s something LearnVest is actively trying to change. We’re committed to being a trusted and unbiased resource for people nationwide. Our mission is to help people feel amazing about their money—that’s what excites me and that’s what I’m passionate about.

Dan: Why do you believe that financial literacy isn’t taught in our school system? Do you have any plans to partner with schools?

Tobel: I can’t tell you exactly why personal finance is not part of our education system today, but I can tell you that it absolutely should be. I have a whole TED talk on the topic; there’s a negative domino effect to not educating our younger generations about money. I’m talking basics here—the importance of saving for retirement early, checking your credit score, being thoughtful about student loan debt.

As LearnVest grows, financial literacy will remain a core mission of ours, and I hope to do more with bringing money education to schools. That’s part of why I’m so excited about the Financially Fearless America book tour—we’re speaking to thousands of people, students included, to spread the word.

Dan: What are your top three career tips?

Tobel

1. When everyone zigs, zag. Be a risk-taker. I dropped out of Harvard Business School in the heart of the Recession to launch LearnVest. Was it a crazy idea? Probably. But I was passionate about my mission and had a solid business plan in place. Diving in is a scary move, but the rewards make it all worthwhile.

2. It may sounds silly, but one of my favorite work mottos is get up, dress up, show up. It’s important to be ready to go, whatever day you have ahead of you. Show up with a smile and a great attitude.

3. Be OK with failure.

Dan Schawbel is a workplace speaker and the New York Times best-selling author of Promote Yourself. Subscribe to his free monthly newsletter for more career tips.

Source: Forbes Business

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Korea Ship Tragedy: Parents Go From Anger To Acceptance While Nation Wallows In Shame
On the crowded floor of the gymnasium in the incredibly pleasant town of Jindo, on the southwestern Korean coast, hundreds of people are going through all the stages of grief. There has been anger, denial, bargaining...
 
 
How To Choose The Right Medium For Your Message
From music streaming services to magazine mobile apps, the last few years have brought us an array of options when it comes to choosing a message’s medium. New platforms, like Vine, have even reinvented publishing...
 
 
New Medicare Data Reveal Startling $496 Million Wasted On Chiropractors
Ten days ago, the federal government released a huge data set detailing how it spent $77 billion in Medicare funds in 2012 to over 880,000 health care providers. The release of this data is part of a new transparency...
 
 
Vault-Like Services Could Be Next Fantasy Sports Success Stories
Billions of dollars are being exchanged among fantasy sports participants, which has led to the rise of subsectors within the fantasy gaming industry.  The most well-known subsector is the rapidly rising daily fantasy...
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Korea Ship Tragedy: Parents Go From Anger To Acceptance While Nation Wallows In Shame
On the crowded floor of the gymnasium in the incredibly pleasant town of Jindo, on the southwestern Korean coast, hundreds of people are going through all the stages of grief. There has been anger, denial, bargaining...
Read more on Business Balla
 
What's Japan's Guiltiest Secret?: (Hint) It's Not The Comfort Women
For anyone who follows East Asia, here’s a question: what is Japan’s guiltiest secret? The “comfort women” scandal? The Nanking massacre? Official homage to war criminals at the Yasukuni shrine? No, no, and no. If by a...
Read more on Auto Balla
 
How To Choose The Right Medium For Your Message
From music streaming services to magazine mobile apps, the last few years have brought us an array of options when it comes to choosing a message’s medium. New platforms, like Vine, have even reinvented publishing...
Read more on Business Balla
 
New Medicare Data Reveal Startling $496 Million Wasted On Chiropractors
Ten days ago, the federal government released a huge data set detailing how it spent $77 billion in Medicare funds in 2012 to over 880,000 health care providers. The release of this data is part of a new transparency...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Vault-Like Services Could Be Next Fantasy Sports Success Stories
Billions of dollars are being exchanged among fantasy sports participants, which has led to the rise of subsectors within the fantasy gaming industry.  The most well-known subsector is the rapidly rising daily fantasy...
Read more on Business Balla
 
The Pain & Pleasure Of Branded Social Media
During a recent Bulldog webinar on the subject of media relations 2.0, a senior communications professional from the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) noted that when the organization wanted to announce news, it simply...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Counting Jack Ma's $5 Billion Shopping Spree In 2014
So, how is your 2014 going? For Jack Ma, the past five months were one crazy shopping spree. The 49-year-old billionaire founder and executive chairman of Alibaba Group has been involved in eight major deals with a...
Read more on Business Balla
 
The Weekly Oil & Gas Follies
The Weekly Oil and Gas Follies – Volume 42, April 21, 2014 In which we drill down into the @GDBlackmon Twitter feed to briefly chronicle the week’s silliness, shenanigans, fake news and real news related to the oil and...
Read more on Business Balla
 
The Challenges Of Remote Management: One Manager's Perspective
Sometimes it seems you can learn more about management from sitting at a bar than from reading a textbook. I was recently sitting at a bar at a resort with my wife, and began to chat with the man sitting next to me. ...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Weekend Box Office: Johnny Depp's 'Transcendence' Flops, 'Heaven Is For Real' Soars
Heaven Is For Real is to The Grudge as God’s Not Dead is to The Ring. As the first major Christian-centric film to drop after the surprisingly successful God’s Not Dead, Heaven Is For Real got to capitalize on being the...
Read more on Business Balla
 
 
Auto Balla Sexy Balla Sport Balla TV Balla Politics Balla Movie Balla Apple Balla Business Balla Ad Balla Celebrity Balla