Wednesday, July 21, 2010

personal finances help

EMERSON/GARFIELD – Community Frameworks will continue a series of classes designed to help potential homebuyers better understand credit, personal finances and mortgage lending on Tuesday at its office located at 315 W. Mission Ave.

“Financial Fitness” is a two-session, certificated course and will be from 6 to 8 p.m. The second session will be held next Thursday, 6 to 8 p.m.

Self-help homeownership informational meetings will be July 19 at 6 p.m. On July 27 and July 29, from 6 to 7:30 p.m., first-time homebuyers can take a class on mortgage basics.

The sessions are free and open to the public. Advance registration is required.

To register or for more information call (509) 484-6733, ext. 117, or visit

Speaker to discuss caregiving

LOGAN – Marty Richards, an author, teacher and long-term care consultant, will present a workshop for caregivers, “Caresharing: Strengthening the Bonds to those Coping with Dementia,” on July 21, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Barbieri Moot Court Room at Gonzaga University School of Law, 721 N. Cincinnati St.

Cost for the workshop is $35 for professionals and $15 for all others. A box lunch will be provided during the noon hour.

To register and for more information call (509) 473-3390 or visit northwest. Registration deadline is Wednesday.

The program is presented by the Alzheimer’s Association Inland Northwest Chapter.

Fire Station 99

marks anniversary

SPOKANE COUNTY – Spokane County Fire District 9 will have an open house to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Fire Station 99, 9105 N. Whitehouse St., on Saturday from 1 to 4 p.m.

Attendees will have an opportunity to tour the station, meet the firefighters of Station 99 and enjoy ice cream. Kids can also get their picture taken in a firetruck and say hello to Smokey the Bear.

In 2006, recent Harvard grad Alexa von Tobel was headed for a job at Morgan Stanley. But though she would soon be managing the bank’s investments, she realized she didn’t know the first thing about her own finances. Most financial guides seemed to be written for middle-aged readers with millions in assets, rather than recent college grads. "I was reading every book I could find, but none of them spoke to me," she says. So she came up with the idea for LearnVest, an online personal-finance resource for young women like her, and ended up writing an 80-page business plan.

After two years at Morgan Stanley, von Tobel entered Harvard Business School in 2008. But upon winning a business plan competition held by Astia, a non-profit that supports women entrepreneurs, she took a five-year leave of absence and invested $75,000 of her Wall Street earnings to start LearnVest in November. She quickly enlisted advisors, including Betsy Morgan, the former CEO of the Huffington Post, and Catherine Levene, the former COO of DailyCandy, to help develop the site’s content and technology. In January 2009, she secured $1.1 million in seed funding from executives at Goldman Sachs.

LearnVest’s site launched a year later and has since signed up more than 100,000 members. It offers online budgeting calculators, video chats with certified financial planners on the company’s staff, and free e-mail tutorials on topics such as opening an IRA. The company earns revenue from advertising and by referring its users to companies such as TD Ameritrade. In April, after just four weeks of fundraising, von Tobel closed a $4.5 million investment round led by Accel Partners, which has also invested in Facebook and Etsy. (Incidentally, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg lived in the same dorm as von Tobel at Harvard.)

Von Tobel likens LearnVest to an online version of The Suze Orman Show, but with the goal of reinforcing positive finance habits early on. “Suze Orman helps 45-year-old women get out of debt,” she says. “Why not reach 20-year-olds to keep them from getting into debt?”

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