LearnVest’s Money Center
is new, improved and ready to provide you with truly personal financial advice. Your budget tops the account “dashboard” and breaks down your monthly spending into three major categories: essentials (such as mortgage, rent, groceries and utilities), lifestyle (including restaurant dining, bar tabs and clothes shopping) and priorities (for example, goals of paying down debt or saving for retirement). LearnVest recommends spending 50% on essentials, 30% on lifestyle and 20% on priorities. With your current budget displayed alongside LearnVest's optimal budget, you can clearly see where you have room for improvement.
For further financial guidance, you can talk to an expert
-- free. "Financial advice is not a luxury item," says founder Alexa von Tobel. "It should be available to the masses." A free financial checkup includes a phone conversation with a certified financial planner, who will evaluate your finances and offer some advice on what steps you can take next. If you'd like to get more professional assistance, you can sign up for one of LearnVest’s three premium memberships, ranging from $89 for three months of basic budgeting guidance to $599 for a year of investing advice. With these subscriptions, the planner will be able to view your LearnVest account with you and get into your financial nitty-gritty without any extra effort from you.
For more free resources, you can tap the site’s Knowledge Center
, which is filled with articles, personal finance basics, and helpful checklists and calculators. It's geared toward women, but, says von Tobel, “It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, young or old, educated or not. Most people’s questions about money tend to be the same.” You can also try LearnVest’s free Bootcamps
, ten- to 15-day e-mail programs that guide you through various financial situations, such as getting out of debt, getting married or simply taking control.
LearnVest: Best for Financial Newbies