I can’t say for sure that you should, to be honest. You should interview several planners before you choose one. You need to understand their philosophy, process, and personality. And you need to like each one of those. If you are in your 30’s & 40’s, working professionally, earning well, facing an increasing list of important financial decisions, and you either want an independent and objective assessment of how you’re doing or to delegate these important tasks altogether, I encourage you to schedule a complimentary discovery call.
I spend my time focused on issues that you face: stock options, paying off debt, high home values, prioritizing savings goals, diversifying your investments, and many others. Most financial planners (including me) operate as your financial "primary care physician": overseeing your total financial picture and directing you to specialists (insurance agent, accountant, estate planning lawyer) when I see a need. I consider one of my most important roles to be putting you in touch with these other professionals.
Lastly, I am a fee-only planner who abides by the fiduciary standard.
Bachelor of Science – Major: Finance (University of Dayton)
Certificate in Financial Planning (Santa Clara University): Curriculum satisfies the CFP Board’s education requirement.
Series 65 - Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination
I started my career in corporate finance at General Electric and held a variety of finances roles (Accounting, Financial Planning & Analysis, Business Development, Expense Management) of increasing responsibility over ~20 years. The last 10 years before my transition to being a Financial Advisor were in client-facing finance leadership roles, working directly with and being accountable to prominent commercial clients such as PayPal, Chevron, and Gap, Inc. These roles enabled me to develop technical skills such as developing budgets (and holding stakeholders accountable to them), evaluating and prioritizing competing investment options, assessing risk / return trade-offs, and being the “quarterback” of complex planning processes that required inputs from many specialists. Perhaps more important than the technical skillset, the client-facing roles required me to communicate complex finance topics and analytics in a clear and concise manner.
I made the mid-career transition a few years ago and registered as an Investment Advisor Representative for Parsonex Advisory Service, Inc. In order to have more control over the type of clients I worked with and how I managed my business in general, I launched Rivermark Wealth Management in 2018.
Rivermark Wealth Management is a fee-only firm, which means we get paid only by you, the client, not by selling any products or making any referrals to other providers. Click here to see our service offering and associated pricing.
Of course! Rivermark is a virtual, location-independent firm, so I can easily work with anyone with an internet connection. If you happen to live in the Bay Area, we can surely meet in person. Otherwise, we’ll meet on the phone or video calls and I’m always accessible to my clients via email.
There are no hard and fast rules, but it is important to find a planner that understands your situation and needs. We have chosen to focus on serving professionals in their 30’s & 40’s. This means that our processes and services are designed to help families dealing with financial issues that are common in this phase of life (home purchase, employee benefits, education funding, retirement planning, wealth accumulation). If your situation or needs are very different, we will be happy to help you locate other firms that specialize in serving your needs.
No...You don't need a minimum account balance or wealth level to work with us. If you engage with Rivermark, your cost will be based on the scope and complexity of your situation, not the size of your assets.
For more specifics on my service offering and associated costs, click here.
Perhaps you’re ready to engage with a financial planner but you’re not sure what it covers and what to expect? Here’s a pretty comprehensive (but not exhaustive) list of topics we will talk about.
- Identifying Values and Setting Goals: Why is money important to you and what would you like your money to enable you to accomplish in life? This is step 1 and it informs us on what we’re planning for.
- Risk Management: This term is most often associated with insurance, but it actually covers much more: sufficient cash reserves, adequate savings rate, estate planning documents to care for your family, an appropriate investment portfolio.
- Housing: We can evaluate if you should buy or continue to rent, how much you can afford and the required down payment, refinancing options, and whether you should explore real estate investing.
- Education Planning: Everything from choosing the best savings vehicles, to helping you find ways to lower the cost. We can help you figure out your best strategy, including your eligibility for financial aid.
- Employee Benefits Optimization: 401(k) contributions and investment options, life & disability insurance, employee stock purchase plans, Health Savings Accounts…the list is long. We work together to ensure you are taking full advantage of the benefits available to you.
- Equity Compensation: Stock options, restricted stock units, employee stock purchase plans, etc. These all have different tax consequences and risks, and they all affect your financial picture differently. We review your available stock compensation and advise you on how it could best serve your goals.
- Estate Planning: For most people with young families, estate planning is primarily needed to protect your children in case anything happens to you. We can identify needs in your existing estate plan and partner with your attorney to ensure that your estate plan works well with your overall financial plan.
- Investment Analysis: Are you following a strategic investment plan? Can the strategy be adjusted to better align with your goals? Are you paying too much in fees? Are you taking on too much risk? Not enough? We’ll answer all of these questions and give you a consolidated view across all of your accounts.
- Cash Flow Management: We review your income and expenses to determine how much or how little you are saving, how much you should be saving, and where. If you have debt, we can also advise you on how best to pay down debts.
- Retirement Planning: It can be difficult to think about retirement when it’s likely 20+ years down the road, but retirement planning cannot wait until you’re 60. We look at when you are likely to achieve financial independence given your current savings and spending goals, and we adjust your plan to get you back on track if necessary.
- Tax Planning: Taxes play a major role in your financial life. We look for ways to minimize current and future income taxes as a part of your overall financial plan. We also coordinate with your tax professional to make sure your tax decisions work well with the rest of your financial plan.
We've put together a curated list of content related to saving, investing, and financial planning from thought leaders in the industry. Visit our Learning Center for a full list of books, podcasts, and blogs that we recommend.
While I operate Rivermark as an independent practice, I am a registered advisor of Garrett Investment Advisors, LLC. In plain English, I am an office of an SEC registered investment advisor firm (notice the disclosures at the bottom of this page). All aspects of a client engagement, from contracts to periodic deliverables to billing and email history are archived and maintained by GIA. If anything were to happen to me, Garrett has procedures in place to ensure business continuity and ongoing service.
All Rivermark employees and contractors avoid sending sensitive information in emails and encourage clients to similarly abstain. We operate almost exclusively with web-based software. Our hardware is protected with strong passwords. The vast majority of business and client data is held by the following providers (click the name to go to their security policies). We use dual-factor authentication when available.
- MoneyGuidePro (financial planning software)
- Cognito Forms (confidential questionnaire, risk tolerance profile)
- Adobe Sign (digital signature)
- RedTail (client relationship management, email hosting)
- Egnyte (secure document storage)
- ScheduleOnce (meeting scheduling)
- MailChimp (all-client and other group emails)
- TD Ameritrade (client investment management, custodial services)
- Morningstar Office (investment performance reporting)
Rivermark is the name of a residential community in Santa Clara, CA where I lived for approximately 10 years, essentially spanning my 30’s. It was during this time that I encountered many of life’s events which have big financial implications:
- 1st home purchase
- engagement and wedding
- having a baby (and all that comes with it!)
- Starting college funding
- Increasingly complex healthcare options
- Actively managing my portfolio
- RSU / ESPP / Stock Options
- Purchasing life insurance (beyond what was free from my employer)
- Drafting estate documents (with the help of a licensed attorney)
I started this business to help motivated professionals in their 30’s & 40’s to make informed decisions on many of these same topics. For that reason, Rivermark to me is synonymous with the client base I hope to serve.