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We're already halfway through January; can you believe it?!
As some people are reevaluating the money goals they've set for themselves this year, I want to share a book that may keep you on target in 2014 and beyond – Financially Fearless by Alexa von Tobel.
In case you're unfamiliar with her, Alexa is the CEO and founder of LearnVest, a personal finance site that seeks to make financial planning affordable and practical for many in the middle class.
I ‘ve had the pleasure to chat with her last week over the phone while she was in Washington D.C., getting ready to launch her book tour.
While the book covers the foundation of managing money, it highlights the psychology behind how and why we use money in a way that is motivating and challenging.
It's another piece to the puzzle as she and her company are trying to empower others to get their finances under control and working for them.
Becoming Financially Fearless
One of the first things I asked von Tobel was about the purpose and timing of the book.
With so many personal finance books, services, and blogs, what did she hope to accomplish with releasing Financially Fearless?
Her thoughtful response was that she had two main objectives for the book:
- Spread awareness about personal finances and how manageable it can be for practically everybody.
- Give actionable advice that allows readers to get a handle on their finances fairly quickly.
She was clear that while this book goes hand in hand with LearnVest's Planning Services, readers can use Financially Fearless to work on their own too.
Alexa came across as genuinely interested in helping others to get started with mastering their money.
LearnVest's Mission of Affordable Financial Planning
Just what is LearnVest's program? The company discusses openly how they lead clients step by step with getting their finances under control.
It is based on what a client is hoping to achieve – some want help with their budgets, some want to create a five year plan, and others are hoping to kick start their portfolio.
The main steps are outline on LearnVest's site.
- Organize: LearnVest's site can pull your financial data into one spot so you have a clear picture of where you stand on your finances.
- Focus: A certified financial planner works with you to create a budget that fits your goals and your current circumstances.
- Plan: Work out step by step how to get out of debt, build your savings, and invest for your retirement.
- Protect: LearnVest guides you so your family has the proper insurance and the right documents to protect your money against some of life's unexpected expenses.
- Build: You work with your planner on how you can make the big purchases like a home.
- Maximize: With the foundation laid, you optimize your portfolio.
- Achieve: Following the plan you have devised with your planner, you check-in to make sure you're achieving the goals you had set for yourself and add new ones.
Financially Fearless uses that step by step framework within its pages, giving readers a foundation.
Protecting Your Money
One huge point that von Tobel discussed on out call was making sure that people protected themselves and their money.
In Financially Fearless she devotes an entire section to this topic, acknowledging that unexpected expenses and events happen to all of us.
We may have control over the car breaking down or a storm damaging our house, but there are things most people can do to manage the problems.
Alexa gave Hurricane Sandy as an example – there were homeowners who either didn't have the right type of insurance coverage or they underestimated the amount of coverage they needed. For those families, it was a financial disaster on top of a natural and emotional one.
Alexa goes into the essential insurances like health and renter's/homeowner's insurance.
Our health and our homes are two things we can't afford to lose so having the proper insurance can alleviate some of the stress when bad things come up.
If someone depends on your income, then having life insurance to keep them afloat should the unexpected happen is the responsible thing.
Like I've mentioned quite a few times, shopping for insurance can pay off in a huge way when you keep in an eye out for value rather than simply looking for the cheapest plans.
You want to feel confident that should you need to use it, your insurance company won't give you a hassle.