When LearnVest originally began offering its services, they were aimed primarily at women. Recently, LearnVest has been moving away from a gender-based approach to financial management. The web site has been undergoing changes to be more gender neutral. The financial management tools have always been just as applicable to men as to women, but the content on the site is undergoing a change.
LearnVest vs. Mint
As with Mint.com, it’s possible to link your accounts so that your transactions are automatically pulled. It’s possible to manually enter transactions if you don’t want to link your accounts, unlike Mint.com. Both services are free to use, and also provide you the ability to set up categories to help you get an idea of what your spending looks like.
Mint seems to have a little less trouble identifying your recurring bills and due dates, though. LearnVest relies on your estimates for recurring bills, and if you are into automating your budgeting application, Mint has a bit of an edge.
In a lot of ways, the two services are very similar. They offer breadth of accounts available, as well as detailed budget information that you can use to get a snapshot of your budget — and whether or not you are on track. LearnVest adds a little more to Mint, though. LearnVest has an advice center, where you can get answers to questions, and LearnVest is also very active in offering basic education on such topics as finance 101, investing, and more. You can sign up for “Bootcamps” as well as educational newsletters. Mint.com doesn’t have the same breadth of education, nor does it offer the same level of advice.
Mint and LearnVest also both have editorial sections that offer interesting news and information.
Creating Your LearnVest Smart Budget and Paying Your Fees
You can get access to basic features and detailed budget information for free at LearnVest. You can also create your “Smart Budget” for free. Your Smart Budget helps you get an idea of where you are at. Enter your income, your expenses, loans, additional assets and liabilities, and your spending priorities. Unfortunately, if you don’t want to link accounts, your ability to create the Smart Budget is a bit limited. I couldn’t enter spending priorities because a linked account is required. However, you can set up manual accounts with information you have, and that will allow you to take advantage of many of the Smart Budget features, including tracking your net worth, and tracking how much of your budget you have used up each month. There are other budget sections that require a linked account, so unless you are willing to have it all automatically pulled, your budget view will be somewhat incomplete. You can also access the Free Financial Checkup from LearnVest. It’s a relatively new features that allows you to see exactly where you stand with your finances.
LearnVest also comes with paid options. If you want access to expert financial advice, there are three options to choose from:
- Budget Starter: For $69, you receive one consultation and pay $19 per month for ongoing support.
- 5-Year Planner: This plan costs $299 up front, and $19 per month for ongoing support. You get a 5-year plan to get you on the right track, and your expert handpicks LearnVest courses for you to access.
- Portfolio Builder: If you are willing to spend $399 up front and $19 per month for ongoing support, you can get quarterly phone calls with your expert, along with a 5-year plan. You also receive a risk tolerance assessment, and a goals assessment. You also get a comprehensive portfolio analysis and access to LearnVest course.
If you want access to the advice center, there are different pay levels that you can choose from in order to get different levels of access.
Overall, LearnVest is a decent budgeting tool, and it comes with plenty of perks, paid and unpaid, that can benefit a wide range of women AND men.