LearnVest.com (Free) is a relatively new (introduced in 2009, but revamped in mid-2011) personal finance website that positions itself as a resource for women to help them manage their money and empower them to plan for the future. Another feature of LearnVest.com is its extensive selection of online education and advice, ranging from newsletters through boot camps to online courses, each designed to provide advice and how-tos for different life stages and life events.
LearnVest.com automatically uploads data from banking and credit card accounts, as well as loans and investment institutions. However, there are only around 3,000 financial institutions already set up on LearnVest.com -- far fewer than the other major personal finance services -- so you may have to add your accounts manually. Users have access to all of their accounts, centered around a personalized money center, and can set up customizable folders and subfolders for their financial transactions. Budgeting and access to a wide variety of easy-to-understand reports are also available here.
Reviewers say that the free basic membership at LearnVest.com includes a good assortment of features, including financial tracking, reports and planning tools, and access to boot camps. Upgraded memberships are available (*Est. $70 to $350), and include different levels of financial plans and one-on-one consultations with LearnVest.com's financial advisers, as well as extended periods of email support.
LearnVest.com really shines in its offerings of educational articles, online courses and advice offerings of articles and online courses, many of which are suitable for anyone, not just women. The boot camps offer practical suggestions and to-do lists for at four levels: take control, personal finance basics, cut your costs and get out of debt. LearnVest.com teamed up with H&R Block for a free Ace Our Taxes boot camp, and with Marie Claire magazine for a Build Your Career boot camp. A Money Tuneup page has links to articles on financial management topics, including budgeting and saving, investing and home and decor. Tara Siegel Bernard at The New York Times finds the checklists for specific task and life stages, such as "I lost my job" or "I want to budget for a party," especially useful.
Like Mint.com and many financial institutions, LearnVest.com is powered by Yodlee's software, which offers bank-level security and features. LearnVest.com doesn't yet have its own mobile app, but uses Pulse Mobile news, which is free for Apple (iPhone, iPod touch and iPad) and Android devices. While you can check your upcoming payments online, there are no alerts for them.
While there are few extensive reviews for LearnVest.com (especially comparative reviews), we did find some good feedback from The New York Times, TechCrunch.com and CreditKarma.com.
1. The New York Times
Tara Siegel Bernard reviews LearnVest.com, newly revamped at the time of the article. She says it is cleanly designed, with a "robust set of tools." She notes that there is plenty of content for free, although you need to have a premium membership to access most of the online courses. One negative: Unlike Mint.com, LearnVest.com does not have a feature to let you keep track of your goals.
Review: LearnVest: A Money-Management Site for Women, Tara Siegel Bernard, Aug. 9, 2011
In this review, Leena Rao calls LearnVest.com a "fun, interactive, personal finance tool," which fits in the gap between books and financial advisers. Leena Rao highlights the usefulness of its checklists, free features that walk users step by step through personal financial issues.
Review: LearnVest Launches Financial Bootcamp Programs to Keep Women Fiscally Fit, Leena Rao, July 27, 2010
In this older review of the LearnVest.com, editors say that the service stylishly fills a niche in the personal finance world, calling it a "valuable resource for women" that aims to guide them to become empowered and savvy about their finances.
Review: LearnVest Website Review, Editors of CreditKarma.com, Nov. 20, 2009
4. H&R Block
For basic tax-time information, Jenna Bromberg recommends LearnVest.com's free five-day email Ace Your Taxes boot camp. It's fair to question whether or not this recommendation is biased, however, as the boot camp in question was created in partnership with H&R Block, which hosts this article.
Review: New to Taxes?, Jenna Bromberg, Jan. 31, 2012