ISS HERALD 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 really powerful. 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 client. 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 taining finances? 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 more. 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 all students. “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. Writer’s Note... 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. STAFF 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.