LearnVest.com – The Leading Women’s Personal Finance Website

by News Guy on May 13, 2010

LearnVest.com: The leading women’s personal finance website focused on education, tools, games & community—a virtually untapped market, until now.

By 2010, women are expected to control $12 trillion, or 60% of the country’s wealth (they currently account for 80% of all spending by U.S. households) but aside from difficult to read personal finance books and traditional media types like Suze Orman, there has been nowhere for women to go to find unbiased personal financial information in a simple, engaging & easy-to-understand manner where they can learn how to make the best financial decisions possible—until now.

With high school and college graduation just around the corner in May/June, recent college grad are finally about to enter the “real world” and start earning a REAL salary and an apartment to call their own. Sounds nice right?  But we need to ask them if they’ve thought about what they’re going to do with their new salary? Are they ready to put down a deposit for their first apartment and how much will their electric and cable bill be?  Will their new job provide health insurance?  What about taxes?! These are the daunting questions that we all face when we graduate.  But who is there to help us make the right financial decisions?  LearnVest was created specifically to provide people (especially women) with a trusted place to get their questions answered.  The LearnVest website is one-stop online resource to help manage your personal finances and enjoy it too.

LearnVest has created a checklist just called “I Just Graduated” – now what the heck do I need to think about around my finances? If you follow our easy-to-digest checklist of the financial steps you need to take after graduation, you’ll be fully equipped to deal with Health Insurance, Taxes, 401k’s, Cable and Electric bills, and more! Think of it as a “cheat sheet” for your finances.  As graduation nears and we get closer to the outside world, it’s imperative to learn what financial responsibility actually means – so let’s have fun doing it!

COLLEGE GRADUATE FAST FACTS:

  • College seniors graduate with an average of $4,138 in credit card debt, up 44% from 2004
  • On average, majority of people between the ages of 18 to 24, spend nearly 30% of their monthly income just on debt repayment. (A recommended amount is 10% of net income.)
  • The number of 18 to 24-year-olds declaring bankruptcy has increased 96% in 10 years
  • Over 80% of graduating college seniors have credit card debt before they even have a job!
  • 19% of the people who filed for bankruptcy last year were college students which means that one in five bankruptcy filings were by very young people
  • The total amount student debt owed today, including both federal and private loans, stands at $763.4 billion.

“2010 COLLEGE GRAD FINANCIAL SURVIVAL GUIDE”

  1. Regardless of your situation after graduation, mark your calendar with important dates that impact your finances.  You can easily download LV Financial Milestones Calender here. http://blog.learnvest.com/learnvest-daily/boot-camp/financial-resolution-calendar/
  2. Figure out your healthcare plan. Figure out when your healthcare expires and be sure to take the appropriate steps to find new a good insurance plan for you.  From a financial (as well as a humanitarian!) perspective, we strongly urge you not to let your health insurance lapse.
  3. Create a Budget. How much will my life actually cost?  How much should I spend on rent, utilities, food & dining and entertainment? Manage your spending by creating and sticking to a detailed budget.  Use the LV Budget Calculator, to figure out how much your life costs (i.e. all that you spend), and how to cut those costs.
  4. Make the move. You are well on your way to becoming self-sufficient and financially savvy. Now it’s time to finally move into your new apartment and start life in a new city.  Here are some things to think about in preparation for the big move.
    • Find an apartment and negotiate a lease
    • Factor in unexpected costs (Gym, Laundry, Groceries)
    • Register to vote in your state.  If you are moving into a new state, you will need to register to vote again
  5. Understand that salary. Unfortunately, once you have a job, not all of your earnings will go directly into your wallet. Some will go to taxes, some should go directly into your savings account, and some should be put into a retirement account. That’s why it’s critical that you understand how much money you actually have to spend each month.
  6. Understand and manage your employee benefits. Many firms will offer a variety of benefits and it is your responsibility to read through and select the insurance plans that best work for you.  There is a submission deadline for all employee benefits so read carefully and be sure to get your paperwork in on time!
  7. Fill out a W-4 Form.  Filling out a W-4 is one of the first things you do when you start a new job and you will use your W-4 Form at the end of the tax year to figure the right amount of federal income tax to have withheld from your paycheck.  Your employer will provide you with this form before your start date but you can also access it here: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fw4.pdf
  8. Pay your bills on time! It is imperative that you pay your bills on time in order to maintain a good credit score.  Sign up to receive your statements via e-mail. Getting your bills e-mailed to you will help keep you 100% on top of them: you will have them all in one place, instantly accessible to you at any time.  If you fail to pay your bills on time, your credit score will take a major hit.
  9. Check Your Credit Score. Check your credit score (now) for free at Credit Karma and set up reminders to check it every three months. You have the power to improve your credit score, so make it your goal to raise your score above 760!
  10. Set up an Emergency Fund. An emergency savings account is money set aside in case of a financial pothole, such as losing your job. You should aim save up enough money to cover six to nine months of your living costs, including rent. We understand that this is tough, but you never know when you might need to dip into your emergency stockpile. Especially in this economy.
  11. Start Saving..NOW. You must, must, must have a retirement account (a 401(k) or an IRA). If you open an account now, look for no opening or annual fees, a low minimum balance requirement, trades for under $10, and accessible customer service. Then, start saving!

MORE ABOUT LEARNVEST.COM:

To give you some background on the site itself, LearnVest.com, a TechCrunch 50 company, focuses solely on 18-50 year old women at all stages of their life (from college graduation to having a baby to job retirement) fills the gap between impersonal, overwhelming books and expensive financial advisors and caters directly to women who are by and large, holding America’s purse strings—(70 million 18-50 year-old women control 80% of the household financial decisions). Now more than ever, it is crucial for women to have a roadmap towards personal financial independence. By providing trusted and easy-to-navigate, aspirational tips and tools via step-by-step LearnVest Checklists (which cover 35 financial life events), a customized financial profile (which helps the user determine how much they can save, spend and play with each month), the Financial Resolution Bootcamp program (LearnVest holds 4 week-long Bootcamps that bring thousands of women together to tackle specific financial challenges, such as taxes, via daily action-oriented orders) and “The LearnVest Daily,” a bite-size email guide to living a hip lifestyle on a budget, the site educates, organizes and empowers women to tackle life events and become more financially savvy. LearnVest.com (whose sign up is fast and free) can be likened to Suze Orman online but with a young, hip, sophisticated edge. To date, LearnVest has educated well over 100,000 women and has raised over $5.5 million in seed funding from venture and angel investors including Accel Partners (the VC firm responsible for originally funding Facebook, Glam Media and others).

About Alexa von Tobel

Alexa von Tobel, LearnVest.com’s 26 year-old founder and CEO is an incredibly dynamic, Florida native and Harvard grad (Class of ’06) who went to work at Morgan Stanley (MS), in proprietary trading but soon realized that even as she understood the big numbers there, she (as well as many of her friends and colleagues) were pretty clueless about their own personal finances. So she quit Wall Street, went to Harvard Business School, and entered and won a business-plan contest staged by Astia, a Silicon Valley not-for-profit that helps fund women entrepreneurs. She raised $1.1 million and met the right people, including former DailyCandy COO Catherine Levene and ex-Huffington Post CEO Betsy Morgan, who now serve on LearnVest’s A-list advisory board team along with former InvesTools CEO Lee Barba. Soon after winning the Astia prize, von Tobel took a leave of absence from HBS, invested $75k of her own money that she earned while at Morgan Stanley, and launched LearnVest.com in the middle of the biggest recession in 80 years.

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