LearnVest was founded in 2009 by Alexa von Tobel with the goal of bringing financial planning to women. They would eventually expand their target market to include everyone. Once thought to be the domain of the rich, many Americans found professional financial planning out of reach – LearnVest was designed to overcome this.
Through online education and a suite of investing and budgeting tool, LearnVest raised a little under $25 million with this goal in mind.
In 2015, LearnVest was acquired by Northwest Mutual for a reported $250 million dollars.
In 2018, we've learned that LearnVest will be pivoting in some capacity though it's unclear where their future will be – this is the message on their homepage:
Here at LearnVest, we're all about progress, not perfection.
And we're a work in progress, too. We’re working on taking our content to the next level, but we’ll be back soon to help you keep making progress on your money.
If there’s anything we can do to help in the meantime, you can reach us at [email protected]
If you are looking for an alternative to LearnVest, there are a few options that can help you track your spending and investing, though I'm not aware of any companies that will offer their core product of a $299 financial plan plus $19 monthly fee. It'll be hard to completely replace them, but you may be able to find a few ideas in the list below.
Personal Capital is the closest you can get to LearnVest's free version. It offers all of the same investment and budgeting tools plus a retirement planning tool based on that data. There's a rich suite of tools that will remind you a lot of LearnVest. It's a free service, even for automated transaction aggregation, and you can get a complimentary call with a financial expert.
Personal Capital also has an advisory service that is similar to LearnVest's Premium version. They manage over $6.5 billion in assets and you a personal advisor at a cost of 0.89% for managed assets over $100,000 (0.79% to 0.49% for assets over $1mm). This advisor and their team will help you come up with a plan much like LearnVest's Premium version.
It's not as comprehensive as LearnVest's offering, but LearnVest was charging $299 plus a monthly fee. Personal Capital is free to use, the planning aspect is based on assets under management.
Betterment is one of the biggest robo-advisors out there and through their tools you can create a personalized financial plan that includes everything from buying a house, having kids, retiring, and more.
Once you build this plan, which is completely free, you can give them your savings to manage or you can link your outside accounts to see how your plan is progressing. You can link everything from investment accounts to bank accounts, so they get the full picture (and they can even make recommendations to improve your financial situation).
Mint's strength is as a budgeting tool (but they also track investments, just not as well as some others like Personal Capital). If you used LearnVest primarily as a budgeting and spending tool, you'll want to give Mint a look because they're one of the strongest in budget tracking. Unfortunately, they took away one of their greatest strengths, Bill Pay, recently but their other services are still quite strong.
BrightPlan is a goal based planner that lets you create a variety of goals, link up your accounts, and see if you're on track to meet these goals. Whereas a financial planner may ask you for your goals, calculate how much you'll need, and establish a savings and investing plan to meet it – BrightPlan uses algorithms to speed it up. They will manage your money if you want (at an account with TD Ameritrade) or just give you suggestions for your asset allocation.
Here's a brief marketing video of their service:
Their service costs $20 a month.
Financial Planning Days
Financial Planning Days are free events held around the country where financial planners will help Americans create a plan for free. It was started by four non-profit organizations, Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.®, Financial Planning Association®, the Foundation for Financial Planning, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and you can find events all across the country.
Go to http://financialplanningdays.org/find-an-event to find an event near you. They also have a lot of free resources for you to fill out ahead of the events to maximize their value.