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Birchbox Crush: Alexa Von Tobel

Your average 20-something thinks being fiscally responsible is going to a two-for-one happy hour. But Alexa von Tobel isn’t your ordinary twenty-something. When she was 25, the Harvard grad founded LearnVest to fill what she felt was an enormous knowledge gap between men and women when it came to personal finance. Three years and $25 million in funding later, the award-winning company makes budgeting tools, educational content, and personal finance advice accessible (and fun!). Along the way, the vivacious founder has become a regular on the Today Show and Nate Berkus and help legions of women conquer their credit card bills. We asked Von Tobel for her three-step plan for financial success, plus her stay-sane tips.

Zero to Sixty

I came up with the idea for LearnVest when I was graduating from college, wrote a 75-page business plan when I was working on Wall Street, and then went back to business school in 2008. Given the economy’s changes and one of the worst recessions in 81 years, I felt passionately that it was the right time to launch my idea.

Ladies First

LearnVest caters to women because it’s an overlooked demographic and there are important trends affecting this group. Women are getting married later, divorce is at an all-time high, and women outlive men an average of 6.2 years. Why not focus on this gigantic audience, who also happens to be the chief household officer and controls 83 percent of the spending decisions in the home?

Three Steps to Success

You need a financial plan—that’s step one. A financial plan tells you how to get out of debt, what accounts you need, what you need to be thinking about in terms of your investments, and what insurance you need to be protected. The second thing is: get organized, and that means, comes to LearnVest and start tracking your spending down to the penny. And finally, start early. Don’t wait until you’re in your mid-thirties, already married, already thinking about buying a home and having a baby to start thinking about your finances. You want to start today.

Personal Mantra

My motto is—you ready for this?—get up, dress up, and show up. Literally: get up on time, dress up everyday, and show up with a smile. It’s so straightforward but I mean it, and if you do those three things you’re just going to be in much better shape.

Back To The Basics

I’ve always been an Oil of Olay, bar-of-soap kind of girl to wash my face. I don’t wear makeup everyday because I think the best thing that you can do for your skin is let it breathe. I just wear mascara so I love a great eyelash curler. And then that’s it in the morning. I head to work. At night, I love Renova, this prescription grade anti-wrinkle cream, an eye cream and then a full face cream. I keep my products simple. I focus more on taking my vitamins and drinking my water and getting exercise.

Can't Leave The House Without

My Insolent Chanel lipstick! My best friend runs Dannijo and I wear their jewelry almost every day. My Falsies Mascara and my eyelash curler are in my purse at all times. And my L'Occitane Rose Hand Cream, my Hermes perfume, my wallet, and then 19 piles of work papers that I have to sort through!

Staying Sane

I keep things basic. I like to exercise, whether it’s yoga, a three-mile run, or a 45-minute walk with friends. I don’t drink regular coffee—just decaf with almond milk. But what keeps me truly sane is my fiancé, Cliff. He’s the best.

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