Alexa von Tobelage 30

Founder and CEO, LearnVest Inc.

I am a Visionary

40 Under 40
40 Under 40

I am a Leader

40 Under 40
Leaders

I am a Trailblazer

Trail Blazers

I am an Entrepreneur

40 Under 40
Entrepreneurs

I am a Visionary

40 Under 40
Visionaries

I am an Idealist

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Idealists

Meet the Leaders

Whether in their own firms or in their communities, these young people are leading the charge toward innovation in financial planning, bringing new opportunities to advisers and clients alike. Here, they share the best leadership advice they’ve received in their careers.

Meet the Trailblazers

This group doesn’t subscribe to groupthink. They are spearheading new ways of practicing and delivering financial advice — in some cases reaching populations previously considered unprofitable to serve. We ask them about the most unique and unusual ideas they’ve had.

Meet the Entrepreneurs

In addition to helping clients reach their financial goals, some in the advice industry face the challenge of running a business or a team. Others have started companies to support this pursuit. These young people are flourishing amid the balancing act — and some got an early start.

Meet the Visionaries

It’s not about what is, but what will be — and what can be — the future of the financial planning industry for this group of forward-looking advisers, educators and executives. Their insights pull the rest of the profession into the next stratum.

Meet the Idealists

Life experiences shape our ideals, especially for these young professionals who see challenges in the advice industry and the world — and set out to meet them. They also have words of wisdom for the next generation.

About Alexa

Alexa von Tobel took a leave of absence from Harvard Business School just as the financial crisis hit in the fall of 2008, and founded the online financial planning platform LearnVest Inc. — a plan of action that might sound like a disastrous mistake to some.

SURFBOARD!! Um, just kidding, working late. 😘👊 ( learnvest you're a pretty happy place.) @ LearnVest HQ http://t.co/pa7usRaFJ5Monday, Jul 28, 2014 9:12PM @alexavontobel

But Ms. von Tobel, a certified financial planner whose passion is to bring the principles of personal finance to millions of Americans, was clearly on to something.

On April 15, LearnVest announced it had raised $28 million in a Series D funding round led by Northwestern Mutual Capital, bringing her New York-based startup's total funding to $72 million.

As chief executive of LearnVest, Ms. von Tobel has created a web-based business model that pairs users with CFPs who help walk them through a dashboard providing advice on how to make a budget, determine net worth, link accounts, set up goals and save for retirement.

True to her goal of helping millions of Americans get out of debt and save for retirement, Ms. von Tobel in December published the book "Financially Fearless: The LearnVest Program for Taking Control of Your Money" (Crown Business, 2013), which quickly became a New York Times bestseller.

Earlier in her career, after receiving a bachelor's in psychology from Harvard College, Ms. von Tobel worked as a trader on Morgan Stanley's proprietary trading desk. But business startups had appealed to her since she was a kid with her own lemonade stand, so she left the wirehouse to serve as head of business development at Drop.io, a New York-based online file-sharing venture eventually bought by Facebook. And then she launched LearnVest.

Ms. Von Tobel said the early days of LearnVest were tough, but she stayed focused on her mission of bringing personal financial planning to a wide audience.

"My plan every day was just to make progress and give 110%," she said. "You build momentum and then you build a team of people who are also making progress every day."

— Joyce Hanson

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Fast Facts

  • Gave a TEDx WallStreet talk on personal finance
  • Favorite social network: Instagram
  • Was a member of Harvard College's diving team