- Millennials have faced one financial hurdle after another: the 2008 financial crisis, student-loan debt hitting an all-time high, soaring living costs, and now, the coronavirus recession.
- Even high-earning millennials struggle to save because of both "lifestyle creep" and an economy that isn't quite as rosy as it looks.
- Business Insider compiled a list of some of the best financial advisors for millennials, based on their engagement and influence in the millennial finance space.
- Some founded their own firms to fill a hole in the market for young professionals, some cater to specific millennial cohorts, and others educate the generation via online platforms.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Millennials are staring down their second recession before the oldest of them turn 40 years old.
Not only did much of the generation graduate into the 2008 financial crisis and its aftermath, while shouldering much of the weight of the $1.6 trillion national student debt and a soaring cost of living, now it has to deal with another massive financial obstacle in the form of the coronavirus recession.
The cumulative effect of all these road blocks has been a generation less wealthy than it should be. Even high-earning millennials raking in six-figure paychecks feel broke.
Fortunately, there are many financial advisors working to make financial literacy and planning more accessible to millennials in an industry traditionally geared toward an older and wealthier clientele. Business Insider compiled a list of the power players in this field, selecting some of the best financial planners and financial advisors for millennials based on research, reporting, and nominations we received.
The financial industry services is vast, so we narrowed this list down to those working at independent firms, which are typically more accessible to younger generations. We took into consideration individuals who have gone beyond the daily service of financial advisors to contribute to the conversation on millennial finances, or who specialize in a niche cohort within the generation, such as the FIRE (financial independence/retire early) community, HENRYs (high earners, not rich yet), and young entrepreneurs. Some are educating millennials on financial literacy via online platforms.
Many of these power players are millennials themselves who founded their own firms after seeing a gap in the financial services market for millennials, and hoped to answer questions that characterize the life stages of 20- and 30-somethings. These individuals span the country, from Seattle to Miami (some even work virtually), and work with clients across a range of net worths.
Here are some of the best financial advisors for millennials, listed in alphabetical order by last name.
Ally Jane (AJ) Ayers: CFP, cofounder of Brooklyn FI
Ayers was working as a music editor when she noticed that many of her 20-something friends who had found success in creative fields were still struggling financially. She launched a financial education podcast and started Brooklyn FI (short for financial independence) in 2017 with Shane Mason, a fellow certified financial planner (CFP) who had appeared on her podcast.
Brooklyn FI primarily caters to young urban entrepreneurs working in the tech and creative fields, but takes on clients of all backgrounds, helping them to build wealth out of their side hustles. Ayers said her Brooklyn-based firm focuses specifically on millennials with equity compensation (ie, ones who get non-cash pay, such as performance shares) and helps advise clients ahead of life-changing IPOs.
"Our approach is unique in that we blend goal-setting and financial life planning with highly technical tax and investment advice," she said. "We think that understanding what the money is for and understanding what truly makes our clients happy is just as important as the financial plan."
In addition to being a CFP, Ayers is also a Certified Student Loan Professional, which means she can financially advise clients on student loan repayments.
Mack Bekeza: CFP at Millennial Wealth Management
Bekeza is the CFP at Millennial Wealth Management, based in Broomfield, Colorado, just 25 minutes outside of Denver. His financial planning approach pinpoints the millennial pursuit for a non-traditional life. "Millennials are seeking financial independence rather than the traditional path to retirement," Bekeza said. "People achieve true happiness when they live life how they want."
Bekeza offers subscription-based financial planning services, helping millennials manage the multiple income streams that come from their side hustles, and offers investment management as a secondary service.
Sophia Bera: CFP, founder of Gen Y Planning
Bera has been in the millennial financial planning game for over 10 years, launching Gen Y Planning in 2007 after spending a few years at more traditional planning firms.
Based in Austin, Texas, Bera works virtually with millennials around the US on everything from student loan analysis to their first home purchase. Many of her clients are young professionals earning six figures who haven't yet accumulated assets. She begins all of her clients' financial planning needs by focusing on changes that would create the most financial impact and creating action items to help clients attain their ideal life.
Bera has hosted many webinars and presentations on various topics, speaking to everyone from consumers to college students, and has a regular newsletter for millennials.
Douglas Boneparth: CFP, president of Bone Fide Wealth
Boneparth has been a financial advisor for more than a decade, but it wasn't until 2016 that he noticed a hole in the financial services market for millennials. He said he drew upon his own experiences with student debt and entrepreneurship to help his peers, with his firm Bone Fide Wealth offering financial planning and advice to high-net-worth young professionals in New York City.
He often speaks at universities and organizations across the city. He also participates in w!se, a non-profit that teaches financial literacy to high school students.
"I love personal finance because there are very few things in this world you can learn with relative ease that can radically change your life for the better," Boneparth said.
Brittney Castro: CFP, CEO, and founder of Financially Wise
Based in Los Angeles, Castro founded Financially Wise in 2013 to bring financial planning to professional women in their 30s and 40s — the older cohort of millennials and younger Gen Xers. She prides herself on making finance fun with a relatable and personalized approach. Castro does more than create financial plans. She educates others on personal finance through online money courses, financial wellness workshops, and speaking engagements.
Castro is also the in-house CFP for Mint and Turbo, two financial service apps headed by financial software company Intuit (also responsible for TurboTax), and the head of education for fintech company Altruist.
Samuel Deane: CEO of Deane Financial Planners
Deane founded Deane Wealth Management, an independent investment advisory firm, in 2018 to provide wealth management and financial planning to fellow millennials in an industry that typically caters to wealthy, older generations.
The firm, located in New York City, is exclusively for young professionals working in tech. Deane said he specializes in comprehensive financial planning, equity compensation, and tax planning.
Deane is also a public speaker on personal finance and an adjunct professor at Baruch College, where he teaches financial literacy.
Rianka R. Dorsainvil: CFP, cofounder, and co-CEO of 2050 Wealth Partners
Helping millennials has always been a career goal for Dorsainvil. In November 2015, she founded Your Greatest Contribution, a financial planning firm where she worked with millennials and first-generation wealth builders. In February 2020, she cofounded 2050 Wealth Partners with fellow CFP Lazetta Rainey Braxton, a virtual firm where she continues to work with first-generation wealth builders as well as entrepreneurs.
"I've always had a passion to help my generation," Dorsainvil said. "Millennials are at a pivotal place in their lives, making the decisions that will have a ripple effect and can define what their lives may look like in 20 years."
As a past president of Next Gen, a community for members of the Financial Planning Association under age 36, Dorsainvil has also worked to empower the next generation of financial planners.
Gideon Drucker: CFP at Drucker Wealth Management
A third-generation advisor at Drucker Wealth Management in New York City, Drucker specializes in creating financial plans for millennial HENRYs (high earners, not rich yet). These plans are "designed to educate young professionals and equip them to better manage and grow their money with a clear roadmap toward their future," he said.
Drucker leads the company's Wealth Builder Division, in which he typically works with young professionals age 25 to 40, helping them to develop a 3-part "bucket" savings strategy: a "now" bucket for cash, a "later" bucket" for short-term goals, and a "last" bucket for retirement.
In January 2020, Drucker released the personal finance book "How to Avoid HENRY Syndrome®: Financial Strategies to Own Your Future."
Kristen Euretig: CFP, CEO, and founder of Brooklyn Plans
Euretig has been running Brooklyn Plans for nearly a decade. She founded the Brooklyn-based firm after working in the finance industry with both high-net-worth clients and low-income clients, hoping to serve 20- to 40-something women whose assets fall somewhere in between.
Euretig helps these young female professionals with everything from personalized financial planning to investment management. In pre-pandemic times, she regularly hosted events and finance classes for what she calls her community of Women Wealth Warriors.
"I'm passionate about helping millennials make the most of their financial opportunities as they hit a stride in their career," Euretig said. "Even minor adjustments at this life stage can be not just a game-changer, but a life-changer."
Daniel Kenny: CFP, founder of FI-Planner
Kenny worked as a certified public accountant (CPA) before transitioning to financial planning, with the goal of pursuing the FIRE (financial independence/retire early) lifestyle. Then came a "fully funded lifestyle change," he said.
Realizing that he had gained financial independence and was able to launch his own firm instead of retire early himself, he decided on a career change, to help others pursuing financial independence.
Nearly two years ago, Kenny founded FI-nancial Planner in Sterling, Virginia, about 40 minutes outside of Washington DC. His firsthand experience with the path to financial independence enables him to help his clients on their own journeys to financial independence, he said. He especially caters to those seeking a non-traditional route, whether it's early retirement or a career switch.
"While not everyone needs a planner, everyone needs a plan," Kenny said. "Planning for your future, whether working with a fiduciary planner or just saving a high portion of your income, is buying freedom and flexibility for your future."
Jason Kirsch: CFP, founder of Grow
While working in the financial services industry, Kirsch realized millennial clients needed a different kind of financial advice, since the Great Recession left them facing unique financial challenges. In 2017, he launched Grow in Santa Monica to help millennials play financial catch-up through savvy investing.
He said he helps his clients bridge the gap between financial and life planning to connect their money with what matters. "Investing isn't just about numbers and the bottom line," he said. "It's about goals, dreams, purpose."
Kirsch's website says he believes that millennials postponing life milestones is a natural response to the cards they've been dealt, but that doesn't mean they should postpone financial planning. In 2016, he published the book "The Millennial Advantage: How Millennials Can (And Must) Be the Next Great Generation of Investors" about the specific obstacles the generation is facing.
Thomas Kopelman: Financial advisor at RLS Wealth Management
At RLS Wealth Management in Indianapolis, Kopelman specializes in helping high-achieving millennials begin their path to wealth-building. "My passion is helping millennial clients from the beginning establish not only a strong foundation, but also the financial behaviors that will make a lasting impact on their families," Kopelman said. "Basically, I get them as a blank canvas and help them create their financial masterpiece."
Kopelman helps even non-clients make financial decisions with a regular blog as well as a newsletter geared toward 20- and 30-somethings curated with blogs, articles, and podcasts.
Kaya Ladejobi: CFP, founder at Earn Into Wealth
Ladejobi, a personal finance speaker, founded NYC-based boutique financial advisory firm Earn Into Wealth in 2015 to help high-income earners in their 30s and 40s build wealth during their prime earning years.
"The oldest millennials are now 39 years old and that is also the median client age at my financial advisory firm," Ladejobi said. "This is the life stage where so many financial decisions collide and many need help navigating that."
She also serves clients in New Jersey and specializes in working with women executives, dual-career couples, and small business owners. Her goal is to help these high-achieving professionals become millionaires or multimillionaires within 10 years of working with her.
Kevin Mahoney: CFP, CEO, and founder of Illumint
When Mahoney and his wife were financially preparing for their first child, he realized that there wasn't much financial advice tailored to specific issues that today's young couples are navigating — like renting and raising children. He founded virtual financial planning firm Illumint in 2017 in Washington DC to bridge the gap.
Mahoney helps millennial couples answer all the big financial questions that characterize the late 20s and 30s: managing student loans, buying a house, and investing in savings. He's worked with brands and organizations on personal finance events geared toward millennials and co-hosts the podcast "Rent Move Buy," focused on millennials' housing dilemmas.
"Our generation has faced daunting personal financial challenges as young adults," Mahoney said. "Yet, we're still determined to build lives for ourselves that reflect our unique identities, interests, and values. At the intersection of these circumstances and dreams is where my work empowers millennials to better align their money with how they truly want to live."
Priya Malani: CEO and founder of Stash Wealth
Malani left her Wall Street career behind in 2013 to "support 20- to 30-somethings who want more to show for their money," she said of Stash Wealth, which she founded to help HENRYs meet their individual lifestyle goals. "We've cracked open the door to an industry typically reserved for the wealthy using technology and a modern, no-bullshit approach to provide millennials with the opportunity to get their financial shit together."
"We are not your father's financial advisor," she added. "While we work through investment advice and financial planning, we'll also cover topics more relevant to our generation: student loan paydown, hacking taxes, and optimizing credit card rewards."
Malani also speaks at universities and corporations, serves as Refinery29's resident financial expert, and is a millennial money expert on SiriusXM Radio. Based in New York City, she works with clients across the US.
Lindsay Martinez: CFP, founder of Xennial Planning
A self-proclaimed Xennial who straddles the millennial and Gen X generations, Martinez said she understands the questions and obstacles that young professional women in both generations face. "I started Xennial Planning in order to provide a trusted financial resource specifically tailored to young, career-focused women," she said, adding that she helps them build and implement a detailed plan that meets their goals and is easy to understand.
Martinez is currently based in Puerto Rico, but Xennial Planning is a virtual firm, so she helps millennials across the US.
Angela Moore: CFP, founder of Modern Money Advisor
A former financial advisor at Merrill Lynch and Charles Schwab, Moore realized that many young professionals were seeking financial help but lacked the minimum amount of assets to qualify for working with a financial adviser. She launched Modern Money Advisor in 2018 to help these young professionals build a financial foundation.
Calling herself an "honorary millennial," she said the generation has "complex financial planning needs" because it has so many competing priorities — from trying to reach financial goals such as home buying and family planning to career goals to typically managing massive student loan obligations, in addition to contributing financially to their parents and planning for their children's education. The Miami-based Moore said millennials "go through many years of higher education without ever learning anything about personal finance."
Moore regularly speaks in public on financial literacy for millennials, hosting seminars and workshops everywhere from schools to non-profit organizations. She also runs online financial literacy courses through Modern Money Education.
Jake Northrup: CFP, founder of Experience Your Wealth
Based in Bristol, Rhode Island, Northrup said he founded Experience Your Wealth to "help travel-loving young families who don't buy into the traditional 'nine to five, work-until-you're-65' concept."
Experience Your Wealth preaches many of the credos associated with the millennial generation, such as experiences mattering more than things, or the idea that traditional retirement is obsolete. Northrup said he aims to help those in their 30s and 40s make financial decisions during their prime years. He typically works with couples who earn a combined household income of over $200,000, helping them balance debt, investing, and experiencing life in the moment.
Levi Sanchez: CFP, founder of Millennial Wealth
Previously a financial advisor at Merrill Lynch, Sanchez realized that he wanted to make financial planning and investment management accessible to his own generation. He founded Millennial Wealth in 2017 based on the belief that you didn't need to accumulate assets before getting advice.
Located in Seattle, Sanchez works with high-net-worth millennials in the tech industry, helping them with financial planning, investment management, and taxes. Whether clients aim to retire early, start a business, or travel, Sanchez's financial planning focuses around both their financial and life goals.
Mary Beth Storjohann: CFP, founder of Workable Wealth, chief marketing officer and partner at Abacus Wealth Partners
Storjohann has worn many titles in her career. After working as a financial advisor at various firms, she branched out on her own in 2013 when she founded Workable Wealth to help a group she felt was underserved by the financial planning industry: millennials and Gen Xers. She helps them balance all the big financial decisions that characterize their life stages like advocating for themselves at work, buying a house, and launching a business.
Her book, "Work Your Wealth: 9 Steps to Making Smarter Choices With Your Money," aims to explain personal finance in a relatable tone, so millennials can get started with their financial journey.
In 2019, she merged with independent firm Abacus Wealth Partners. Storjohann, who is based in San Diego, said she now runs Workable Wealth as a financial empowerment platform featuring a website, blog, and podcast, and now takes on clients under Abacus.
Heather Townsend: CFP, founder of Townsend Financial
In her first career arc, Townsend worked as a finance director and project accountant for various companies, helping them build wealth. But as many of her friends began to turn to her for financial advice, she felt the financial industry lacked options for her own generation. In 2018, she launched Townsend Financial in Scottsdale, Arizona, where she helps clients on their journey to financial freedom.
"The younger you start, the better you are off for life," she said, adding that she enjoys working with young business owners and professionals with stock compensation in their 20s through 40s due to the complexity of their situations.
Lauryn Williams: CFP, founder of Worth Winning
A four-time Olympian in sprinting and bobsledding, Williams said she was frustrated with her financial advising experiences during her athletic career. Armed with a certified financial planning certification, MBA, and a finance degree, she founded Worth Winning in 2014 to cater to young professional athletes.
Based in Dallas, Texas, Worth Winning is a virtual firm, a plus for the millennial on the go. Williams said she helps clients with, for instance, creating a budget, paying off student loans to setting savings goals and understanding their 401(k). Williams also has a podcast, Worth Listening, in which young professionals and athletes share their money stories.
Dasarte Yarnway: Financial advisor, founder at Berknell Financial Group
Based in San Francisco, Yarnway founded independent wealth management firm Berknell Financial Group in 2016. He said he believed he could create value by investing in clients in an industry that typically focuses on revenue. His firm works with millennials and seasoned investors on everything from financial planning to investment management.
"With the flood of information, and easy access for today's investors, millennials have the opportunity to [create] their wealth on their terms unlike any other generation," Yarnway said. "Our goal is to be their partner in this journey."
Yarnway also hosts The Young Money podcast, which discusses all things personal finance to help listeners create wealth on their own terms. In 2018, he published "Young Money: 4 Proven Actions to Design Your Wealth While You Still Can," in which he lays out a strategy for millennials to become ultimate wealth builders. He also works as Altruist's head of community.
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