February 26, 2014
Discussing Financial Fearlessness with Alexa von Tobel
Marlena Brown, staff writer
Meredith College students had the opportu
nity on Feb. 24 to hear from Alexa von Toble, person
al finance expert and founder, CEO of LearnVest, an
online financial planning company. Alexa von Tobel
has been awarded with numerous honors, including
the 2012 Fortune Most Powerful Women Entrepre
neur and a 2012 Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar. She
has also been included on Fortune’s “40 Under 40:
Ones to Watch,” mentioned in Forbes as a “Woman
to Watch” on their 30 Under 30 list, and considered
“One of the Coolest Entrepreneurs” by Ind.’s 30 Un
der 30 publication. To add to her stellar list of ac
colades, she was also awarded the Meredith College
Women of Achievement Award during her lecture.
Alexa von Tobel’s lecture coincided ’ with
ideas mentioned in her 2013 publication of Finan
cially Fearless, which emphasizes the importance of
financial education and managing personal finances.
In an interview, she elaborated on the idea of being
“financially fearless,” as well as her innovative ideas
for establishing her company and what financial
management really encompasses.
Q; Where did you get the idea to begin your
own finance company?
A: So I got the idea, because I, myself, was graduat
ing from college and I felt like I wanted to be able to
learn about my own finances. And I felt like it was a
no-brainer when it came to personal finance because
high schools, colleges and graduate schools across
the country weren’t teaching this. So I was customer
number one...it was really about empowerment, so I
could put myself in a customer’s shoes and make it
Q; Finances apply to every demographic, but
when you founded LearnVest, did you have
a speeifie audience that you were targeting
your produet to?
A; Yes. We were focusing on the Chief Household
Officer, and its mostly women. They’re making the
spending decisions, the budgeting decisions, but
as the company’s gotten bigger and bigger, we now
appeal to the masses. So households about in their
twenties all the way to their sixties, men and women
of all income ranges, whether their household makes
$50,000, $100,000—they make a go'od LearnVest
Q: How do you try to make to make handling
finanees “fearless”for those who may not be
eomfortable managing money?
A: I think one of the things is reminding everyone
we’re really in the same boat together and we need
to learn about it. It stresses us all out. Money tends
to be the topic that is really surrounded by a sort of
shame and anxiety...And so one thing I do to make
people fearless is to say ‘Listen, we all have to make
progress and you’re only going to make progress if
you rip the band aid off and start dealing with the
things that need to be dealt with.
Q: What general advice do you have for cur
rent and future students in terms of main
A: I think one thing is for students to be very thought
ful coming right out of school and make sure that you
have a financial game plan. Understand what you
can really afford in rent, understand how you’re go
ing to pay your loans back, make sure you’re building
a good credit score. Those are all things you can do
early, and if you do them early and do them properly,
your life’s going to be a lot easier.
Q: The cliche for certain college degrees is
that they will pay for themselves over time.
In regards to taking out loans and selecting
specific degrees, do you think that the idea
of selecting a degree that pays well from the
start in order to repay loans quickly holds
much water in comparison to taking out a
loan and choosing a degree that may not pay
as well in the long run?
A: I think that it’s really important in college that
you study something you’re really passionate about.
I think that that the most important thing is to do
■ something that really interests you...The rnore pas
sionate you are about something, then the farther
you’re going to go, the harder you’re going to work
because you love it. So don’t go study something be
cause it has good economic return—that would be a
misuse of your education. That said, I do think it’s
important that you are active and engaged in think
ing about your career.
Introducing the Meredith PEARLS
Rachel Pratl, editorial editor
PEARLS, Peer Educators Ad
vocating Responsible Lifestyles, is a
group of students on campus who are
helping the Meredith community by
educating their peers about health and
wellness. The student-led initiative
addresses health topics which affect
college-aged students, such as sexual
health, alcohol awareness, healthy
relationships/friendships and much
Over the past month, the
PEARLS have hosted quite a few ex
citing events focusing on healthy re
lationships and sexual health educa
tion receiving great turnouts and rave
reviews on campus. At the Valentine
Sweetness event, “Condom Roses”
were available to students in the Cate
Center, each containing two condoms
with instructions for effective use. Last
week’s “Create Your Ideal Partner”
event in Cate Center allowed students
to draw and describe their “ideal” part
ner, challenging incorrect attitudes
and confronting unhealthy behaviors.
The final PEARLS event of the month
took place yesterday afternoon. This
event was a fun wellness buffet in the
Cate Center. Educational brochures
containing relevant health and well
ness information were available to all
students who stopped by.
Both the Director of the
Health Center, Sherri Henderson, and
the Director of Residence Life, Heidi
LeCount, agree that PEARLS provides
another way for students to access
health information as well as condoms
at certain events. Students may not
feel comfortable asking for condoms,
even from their RA’s. Ultimately, the
Meredith PEARLS organization is here
to address health and wellness issues
for college students and provide avail
able resources to our campus. An on
going clinic offers free HIV/STD coun
seling and testing every second and
fourth Wednesday from 12-3 pm for
“I want sexual health not to
be taboo; the Health Center is a safe
place for our diverse community of stu
dents,” said Sherri Henderson.
Last semester, I set out to write an opinion piece about the lack of condoms supplied in both the bookstore and the Beehive. I was disappointed to find that resi
dent Meredith students lack access to the most basic and easy to use form of pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease (STD) prevention in the student stores,
but I later learned that students may access free condoms easily and discreetly in the Health Center in Carroll Hall. At first, I thought the little basket of condoms
in the hallway of first floor Carroll solved the problem, until I learned that its hours, Monday through Eriday from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., limit access during the
times students may need it most. Coincidentally, Meredith PEARLS was formed last semester to become a resource for access to health education and events that
offer educational information including condoms and their use.
You can contribute to the campus-wide discussion of these topics by responding to this week’s Herald online survey:
https://www.surveymonkey.eom/s/53CSPBX. We will report on your responses in a future issue.
Editors: Jessica Feltner, Editor in Chief. Julia Dent, Managing Editor. Cody Jeffery, Assistant Editor. Lucia R5mka-Estevez, Layout Editor.
Marlena Brown, News Editor. Maitlyn Healy, A&E and Sports Editor. Rachel Pratl, Editorial Editor. Caitlin Davis, Copy Editor.
Staff Writers: Katy Koop, Alyssa Mathewson, Isabel Benson, Jenny Gerardo, Anita Holliday, Fantasia Evans, Kelly Wallace, Beth Langley
The Meredith Herald is produced by students throughout the academic year and is printed by Hinton Press. The paper is funded by the College and through inde
pendent advertising. The opinions expressed in the editorial columns do not necessarily reflect those of the college administration, faculty, or student body.
The policy of this paper requires that submissions be made by 5:00 p.m. the Thursday before publication and that contributors sign all submissions and provide
necessary contact information. The editors and staff welcome submissions meeting the above guidelines.