LearnVest Readers’ Success Stories

Gabrielle Karol
Posted

Five Financial Makeovers

Yesterday morning, LearnVest launched an exciting new set of tools and services designed to help women take control of their finances (see our CEO’s announcement letter here).

New users are already signing up in droves for the new My Money Center, the Take Control Bootcamp and the LearnVest Advice Center, all of which will help women follow the LearnVest method: “Get Informed, Get Organized, Get Support.”

See, we at LearnVest are on a mission to democratize personal finance. In the past, not everyone has been able to afford a financial planner—now, LearnVest is here to change that.

But don’t take our word for it. Take it from our users …

A couple of weeks ago, we gave a few users a sneak peek at our new products and services. Learn how they used our tools to give themselves a financial makeover, and follow them through their progress over the next few weeks. (Then, try our new products and services for yourself, so you can see what all the hype is about!)

In Their Own Words …

EleanorName: Eleanor
Age: 25
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Occupation: Management consultant

What are you working on when it comes to your personal finances?

Paying for business school and figuring out the best strategy when it comes to loans. Before using the new LearnVest tools, I already had a rough budget that I tried to follow, but I wasn’t always successful. My biggest expense, by far, is rent.

How did speaking with a financial planner help you make over your finances?

It was great! Stephany answered all of my questions and gave me a confidence boost on top of it all. I’ve reread her email a couple of times because there was a lot of great information in there. It was very clear that she spent time thinking through my individual situation; she didn’t just give me generic answers. Realizing that she had done her homework on my unique situation to give me the best advice possible was really reassuring.

Would you recommend My LV to your friends?

Oh my gosh, yeah! I love that LearnVest is a hub where I can not only keep track of my money but also learn more about how I can stay on top of my long-term financial well-being.

Lyn PetersName: Lyn
Age: 44
Location: Tacoma, Washington
Occupation: Director of communications, financial education & outreach

What’s one major financial goal you hope to achieve?

I need to create a will, get life insurance and start investing more for retirement.

Before using LearnVest My Money Center, did you have a budget?

I had a budget, but I haven’t been totally sticking to it because of vacations. Paying for eating out, hotels and event tickets add up.

How has the Advice Center changed the way you think about your money?

I love the courses: I’ve been working them into my busy schedule. It’s really easy to do a couple of them during my lunch break. In the 5-Year Plan course, they talk about saving six to nine months of living expenses for an emergency fund. This made a lot of sense to me, especially when you start thinking about today’s economy.

How have you personalized your budget in the My Money Center?

It’s removed an immense amount of pressure off my marriage to have someone else clean the house rather than my husband, so I’m budgeting for house cleaning. Looking at my budget, I realized that I need to cut back on going out if I want to spend more on having my house cleaned. I also created a folder specifically for my Starbucks expenses. It’s the one thing I know I need to cut back on, because it’s so easy to remove! I created a folder so I can easily see how much money I spend there.

TopeName: Tope
Age: 27
Location: New York, New York
Occupation: Lawyer

What are you dealing with in regard to your personal finances?

Paying off student loans, figuring out if I’m saving enough and looking for non-liquid investments so I don’t keep taking cash out of my savings.

How would you describe your relationship with money?

I can’t live without it. I worry about it all the time: where it’s going, where it’s coming from and how long it will stick around.

How will you use the My Money Center to help your finances?

I love, love, love the Budgeting Tool! It’s so easy to use. I was able to see how much money I have coming in—my positive cash flow. I now know I have money to play with.

DeboraName: Debora
Age: 28
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Occupation: Fashion designer

What’s on your mind when it comes to your personal finances?

I’m trying to pay down my credit card debt and build up an emergency fund. It can be very difficult to stick to my budget if there are any unexpected expenses, like a doctor’s bill that insurance didn’t cover. There’s also no room in my budget for “fun,” so anything additional that I want to do like seeing a concert, buying a pair of shoes or going on vacation will have to come from the money I allocated toward paying off debt.

What’s your #1 goal for your finances?

That would be to get out of credit card debt. I was completely debt-free when I moved to New York from Seattle five years ago. But I used credit as a crutch to live through a pay cut I received during the recession.

How does LearnVest fit in with your life?

My favorite thing is that the whole site is geared toward women. Women often feel uncomfortable with finances, but the overall feeling of the site is personal, like you’re getting feedback from a friend. And the look of the site is very trendy! It doesn’t feel like you’re entering your budget into an Excel document.

How has the LearnVest Advice Center changed your finances?

I talked to a Certified Financial Planner who responded within the same day with great advice. There was such instantaneous feedback that I responded back with more questions. I talked to the same CFP, which was great, because she knew my history, what advice she had already given me and what I should do now.

AshleyName: Ashley
Age: 22
Location: Edmond, Oklahoma
Occupation:  Recently graduated—now assistant manager at a country club

What are you struggling with when it comes to your personal finances?

I struggle with how to keep myself financially stable and balanced in the post-grad period.

Before using the My Money Center, what tools did you use for your finances?

I was using Mint.com … I had all these budget sheets that I was very good at filling out, but I never seemed to be able to stick to them or follow up. It was in theory only.

How will you use LearnVest to revamp your finances?

My Money dived deeper into my personal finances, whereas other tools only scratched the surface. It was an eye-opener to see that I’m not sticking to my budget. It will be a struggle to stick with it, but LearnVest’s My Money Center let me see that I can take care of my bills.

  • Shannon Palmer

    I’ve been make an effort to learn more about finances and investing since college. I have run into the same obstacles as millions of other people though. I have debt, I am underpaid, I live in an expensive area and struggle to pay all the bills and still have a life. It’s WONDERFUL to have a resource such as Learnvest that serves as my online resource for advice, education, and sanity! Keep up the great work!

  • http://www.stylebaggage.com/ Nellene

    For me managing money is like dieting. I’ll do really well, see progress and occasionally slip up. When I slip up it can be hard to get going again because I get discouraged. Learnvest is the first financial site that actually keeps me motivated and back on track even when I slip up. I think it’s because of it’s simplicity. Just like a diet, if it’s doable and simple it’s easier to keep at it.

  • Kshagee

    I have high-speed Internet, but your pages take a long time to load. Too many ads?

  • Joani_c

    I like what was said about Mint.com.  I use the site and feel like it’s pretty good, but I’m constantly returning to LearnVest.  Are there other mint.com users out there that like this more or less?

  • A_Paul

    I started with Mint.com and then found LearnVest.  I’m actually changing how I act based on what I’ve learned with LearnVest.  I haven’t logged into Mint in months.  I actually use a Google spreadsheet on a monthly basis to track expenses – I can access it anywhere and customize it however I need it to look.  It also allows me to log unexpected expenses and adjust my other costs accordingly very quickly.  For me, the trip was to budget everything – it looks like I have a small amount free cash from my paycheck, but in reality I’m covered myself for all my typical expenses with a bit of a cushion – savings, debt payoff, yoga classes, coffee money, etc. – it is all accounted for.  It’s the only system I’ve found so far that has worked for longer than a month.  If anyone knows of a flexible app for the iPhone that would work in the same way, I’d love to know about it!

  • Jennifer

    My biggest problem with money at the moment is that I don’t have very much. I get $3 from doing surveys with Pinecone, but other than that I’m broke. I mostly base my budget on both my and my fiance’s finances. It’s easier, since the only real bill I HAVE is our internet/ phone. I have more of the debt than him though. He’s got credit card debt, and internet debt, but I have school, med bills, and a couple other things here and there. He makes the money, because he’s a contractor, and I’m the homebody. I wish I had a job, and I look, but I don’t look as much as I should I think. It’s a little harder now to do so, since my phone got stolen. I love Learnvest though. I read it every day. I know that when I do get a job, and can make my money right, then I will be ok. Until then, I’m just basically keeping up with our bills, so I know what they are and so that we don’t get too far behind. I love the new look and the new tools. :) Keep it up!

  • Jennifer

    My biggest problem with money at the moment is that I don’t have very much. I get $3 from doing surveys with Pinecone, but other than that I’m broke. I mostly base my budget on both my and my fiance’s finances. It’s easier, since the only real bill I HAVE is our internet/ phone. I have more of the debt than him though. He’s got credit card debt, and internet debt, but I have school, med bills, and a couple other things here and there. He makes the money, because he’s a contractor, and I’m the homebody. I wish I had a job, and I look, but I don’t look as much as I should I think. It’s a little harder now to do so, since my phone got stolen. I love Learnvest though. I read it every day. I know that when I do get a job, and can make my money right, then I will be ok. Until then, I’m just basically keeping up with our bills, so I know what they are and so that we don’t get too far behind. I love the new look and the new tools. :) Keep it up!

  • Jennifer

    My biggest problem with money at the moment is that I don’t have very much. I get $3 from doing surveys with Pinecone, but other than that I’m broke. I mostly base my budget on both my and my fiance’s finances. It’s easier, since the only real bill I HAVE is our internet/ phone. I have more of the debt than him though. He’s got credit card debt, and internet debt, but I have school, med bills, and a couple other things here and there. He makes the money, because he’s a contractor, and I’m the homebody. I wish I had a job, and I look, but I don’t look as much as I should I think. It’s a little harder now to do so, since my phone got stolen. I love Learnvest though. I read it every day. I know that when I do get a job, and can make my money right, then I will be ok. Until then, I’m just basically keeping up with our bills, so I know what they are and so that we don’t get too far behind. I love the new look and the new tools. :) Keep it up!

  • Jennifer

    My biggest problem with money at the moment is that I don’t have very much. I get $3 from doing surveys with Pinecone, but other than that I’m broke. I mostly base my budget on both my and my fiance’s finances. It’s easier, since the only real bill I HAVE is our internet/ phone. I have more of the debt than him though. He’s got credit card debt, and internet debt, but I have school, med bills, and a couple other things here and there. He makes the money, because he’s a contractor, and I’m the homebody. I wish I had a job, and I look, but I don’t look as much as I should I think. It’s a little harder now to do so, since my phone got stolen. I love Learnvest though. I read it every day. I know that when I do get a job, and can make my money right, then I will be ok. Until then, I’m just basically keeping up with our bills, so I know what they are and so that we don’t get too far behind. I love the new look and the new tools. :) Keep it up!

  • Jennifer

    My biggest problem with money at the moment is that I don’t have very much. I get $3 from doing surveys with Pinecone, but other than that I’m broke. I mostly base my budget on both my and my fiance’s finances. It’s easier, since the only real bill I HAVE is our internet/ phone. I have more of the debt than him though. He’s got credit card debt, and internet debt, but I have school, med bills, and a couple other things here and there. He makes the money, because he’s a contractor, and I’m the homebody. I wish I had a job, and I look, but I don’t look as much as I should I think. It’s a little harder now to do so, since my phone got stolen. I love Learnvest though. I read it every day. I know that when I do get a job, and can make my money right, then I will be ok. Until then, I’m just basically keeping up with our bills, so I know what they are and so that we don’t get too far behind. I love the new look and the new tools. :) Keep it up!

  • Jennifer

    My biggest problem with money at the moment is that I don’t have very much. I get $3 from doing surveys with Pinecone, but other than that I’m broke. I mostly base my budget on both my and my fiance’s finances. It’s easier, since the only real bill I HAVE is our internet/ phone. I have more of the debt than him though. He’s got credit card debt, and internet debt, but I have school, med bills, and a couple other things here and there. He makes the money, because he’s a contractor, and I’m the homebody. I wish I had a job, and I look, but I don’t look as much as I should I think. It’s a little harder now to do so, since my phone got stolen. I love Learnvest though. I read it every day. I know that when I do get a job, and can make my money right, then I will be ok. Until then, I’m just basically keeping up with our bills, so I know what they are and so that we don’t get too far behind. I love the new look and the new tools. :) Keep it up!