Covid-19 might have pushed the world in a new direction, but many young financial advisors were already headed there. They were already rethinking their values in life as they related to money—while their clients were doing the same. They were already moving to work from home. They were already facing clients on Zoom. Already asking, “Why should I sacrifice my relationship with my kids for my career?” Asking, “Does the money serve me, or do I serve the money?”

Our 2022 “Young Advisors to Watch” list shows that the new generation of professionals are still pondering questions. One advisor went out on his own because he wasn’t satisfied staying away from his three kids and he felt he was pulling extra hours so his former boss could pursue growth for its own sake. Another advisor tried doing accounting for low-income people in Brooklyn after knowing what it was like to do it at a Big 4 accounting firm. Yet another advisor on this list came from St. Lucia at age 7, knowing poverty firsthand, but learned the ropes in tech to help millennials in that space.

Woven through these tales are episodes of advisors asking questions and taking chances. Why not run off with a rock band for a few months? Why not shut down your business to new clients just a few years after launching so you can manage your workload? Why have an office at all? Why not have an inbound marketing plan rather than trying hard to sell yourself to people?

“You can’t make someone want a financial advisor,” says Samuel Deane, an advisor on this year’s list. “The most you can do is be there and be top of mind when they decide that they do. And it’s usually a life event that triggers that action—whether it’s an IPO or a merger or acquisition … or a baby.”

The relationships that younger advisors have with their clients are changing as well.

In the past, says Jeremy Walter, the founder of Fident Financial, people had to establish trust with clients on golf courses and at country clubs. Now, they have to do it on Twitter.

“You have to figure out how you are going to demonstrate your trustworthiness,” he says. “Is it on social media? Is it a blog? You have to have some way of getting the message out to the masses of people who don’t want to get sold something. They don’t want a used car salesman pinging them to make a decision.”

Shane Mason, the co-founder of Brooklyn FI says, “The old school advisors had more of a focus on charisma and personality and the dominance of their geography.” But in the internet age, he says, “you’ve got to focus more on transparent value delivery.”

Here's a look at our list of The 10 Young Advisors To Watch In 2022:



Shane Mason
Co-Founder / Brooklyn FI / Brooklyn, N.Y.

Shane Mason’s firm has seen astonishing growth since 2018. But his career wasn’t a straight line by any means: This Mississippi native started his career as an accountant in the early 2010s after doing a fast-track program in college. “I didn’t intend to be an actual accountant,” he says. But the program was so fast “before I knew it, I was a CPA at a Big 4 accounting firm at PwC in Austin doing taxes for public companies.” He always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but the corporate accounting grind wasn’t his style. Still, he got a taste of stock options, which would eventually become his niche.

A family tragedy in 2013 (the death of his father) led him back to Mississippi. Rather than go back to accounting, Mason toured Europe with a garage rock band selling their merchandise for a while, then sailed around on a 41 foot catamaran for a couple of months before eventually landing in New York City, where he began a different kind of accounting at a small firm—for families with little money rather than big firms with lots of it.

“You’re sitting across from people that are telling you about their lives. You tell them that their refund is like $8,000 and they only earned $20,000 that year. … I realized that if you work directly with people you can have an impact on them. I fell back in love with the accounting space.” He got his CFP marks in 2015.

He cooked up a side gig, a part-time financial planning firm for the creatives he knew, such as journalists, photographers, editors and videographers. “My friends were asking me tax questions all the time.” That meant at first dealing with a lot of 1099 forms and other accoutrements of the freelance life. “A lot of my friends in their 20s who were creatives started marrying tech professionals. All these tech professionals started coming to me with stock option questions.”

And so he had come full circle—to a new niche. And it was scalable. These people had more income and more willingness to pay for his problem-solving skills. His new full-time firm started in earnest in April 2018 when he partnered with AJ Ayers. They started signing 10 clients a month. After starting from scratch, his firm now handles $130 million in assets for more than 325 client households.



Jeremy Walter
Founder / Fident Financial / Lancaster, Pa.

Jeremy Walter bet the farm on his new firm in 2017. A father of three at the time, he had a mortgage on a new house in Southeast Pennsylvania. Yet, a year later, he cut ties with the person who had brought him up in the industry at an affiliate of Securities America for a decade. His old boss was a generous mentor, but Walter thought there was too much focus on nabbing new clients. There were too many 55 hour weeks, Walter says. Walter, now 38, had a practice with values, not asset accumulation, in mind.

His values were set in place by his own family’s culture shock early on: When Walter was in high school, his father left the family’s thriving business supply company and became a pastor. “His income I think [fell to] one-third. … But I also saw how much more fulfilled and happy my dad was.”

It was that belief in his own concept that got Walter through the locust years of 2017 and 2018, when he had to take money out of his house and retirement to make up lost income. He says he even rejected a buyout plan that would have made him whole.

What helped save him was a simple plan (and search engine optimization). He was the right age for a planner in Lancaster, somebody young enough that clients thought he’d stick around. Those characteristics lifted him to a high spot in internet searches. By 2020, a bad year by anybody’s standards, Walter was thriving, and by 2021 he was able to stop taking new clients altogether. He now has 75 households.

One of his methods is called the “One Page Financial Plan,” taking from Carl Richards’s book. Walter gets his clients’ values, debts and dreams down on one page as a beginning to a relationship. He does a half hour discovery call with clients for free, letting them know they can go elsewhere. (They usually follow up with him after they hear that.) He’s even teaching his own course on the “One Page Financial Plan” now. Walter also says his Christian faith is driving his entrepreneurial spirit. “As a Christian, we’re created in the image of God and one of the ways that image bearing bears fruit is this desire to create,” he says. (And he now has four kids!)



Anna N’Jie-Konte
Founder And President / Dare to Dream Financial Planning / Washington, D.C.

Anna N’Jie-Konte didn’t think she’d end up in financial services. As a first-generation American fluent in Spanish and French, with some proficiency in Portuguese, she planned to go into the nonprofit space with the United Nations or the State Department, perhaps traveling the world as a foreign service officer.

But she graduated from New York University during the Great Recession, and quickly realized that nonprofit work wasn’t going to cut it in New York City. She took a job with a global events company, and after she organized a wealth management event in Latin America, she fell in love with the subject.

N’Jie-Konte got her first real taste of the business as a client associate at AllianceBernstein, then later worked her way up to a junior advisor position at RBC, where she worked four years. But she wasn’t satisfied.

She wanted to help others who grew up poor. “I saw how hard my parents worked and how difficult it was for them to really translate their income into wealth,” she says, adding that in her job, she saw how “regular” people consistently saved and invested and were able to build wealth. “And I thought I need to bring information to my people.”

In 2019, she founded Dare to Dream Financial Planning, a fee-only, virtual holistic financial planning firm. Her clients are entrepreneurs of color, mainly millennials. She targets this cohort, she says, because they are in a period of change, and she wants to help them make the right decisions. N’Jie-Konte wanted to provide an aspirational message with her practice because there were many people in her life, including her mother, who would say, “I always wanted to do this, but I never could.” And she found herself and a lot of women doing the same.

Her practice, N’Jie-Konte says, has been one of the most expansive journeys of her life. “It’s been such a joy and a thrill to be able to be myself as a Black and Latina woman because it can be very challenging in financial services,” she says. She encourages young advisors who feel stifled at a wirehouse or a broker-dealer to take the leap as she did and branch out on their own.



Samuel Deane
CEO and Founder / Deane Wealth Management / Atlanta

Samuel S. Deane knew he wanted to be a business owner after working with his mother, a nurse who had created her own staffing agency in the mid-2010s. His family were immigrants of very humble means who had come to Brooklyn from St. Lucia in 1999, when Samuel was 7 and lived in a small apartment together. (They went to Long Island in 2005 after that apartment caught fire.)

“Ultimately the [staffing] business didn’t work out,” he says. But the experience led to his interest in business school, then finance. He thought, “Man, this running a business stuff is cool. I’m in control of my own time. I can grind as much as I want, make as much as I want, work with the people I actually want to work with.”

“I remember being in business school and interviewing with different firms and they are all like, ‘Hey, can you write down 10 to 20 names of folks who have like a quarter million dollars of assets or more?’ … And I’m like a 22-, 23-year-old Black kid that comes from humble beginnings. I don’t know anyone who has a quarter million, let alone who would give it to me to manage.”

After school at SUNY Albany and grad school at Hofstra University, and then a stint in the insurance world, he worked for an RIA with an eye to launching a firm serving high-earning young people. He figured he and his wife would be a power couple in the space, he says. But when she shifted into the tech industry, he saw firsthand how millennials in that niche needed help, especially when it came to things like, say, exercising stock options before an IPO with an eye on taxes. “Being a Black man under 30 and a generalist wouldn’t have put me at the advantage I would have liked.”

He started his own firm in 2018 and now has 30 client households around the country and $6.5 million in assets, his clients mainly from tech hubs like New York and California. He’s got a blog and newsletter and contributes to Morningstar on equity compensation topics. “Folks with pain points in that field reach out to me. And that’s my marketing.” He’s also co-founded a venture capital fund focused on wealth tech.



Jodi Viaud
Partner And Financial Advisor / Knox Grove Financial / Pennington, N.J.

Jodi Viaud entered the wealth management profession in a very traditional manner—she was inspired by her father. “He basically said to me that my desire to be an entrepreneur and my desire to help people greatly matched a career as a financial advisor,” says Viaud, who went to work at a broker-dealer.

Early in her experience at that B-D, she partnered with one of the firm’s top producers, who also happened to be a family friend: Christina Nash. It was Nash who eventually asked Viaud to leave the broker-dealer with her so they could set out as independent advisors, launching Knox Grove in New Jersey. Not long after, Viaud’s father joined the firm as well.

“In the transition, I had a zigzag career where I wore many hats, but I basically served as an internal advisor for [Nash] and her clients,” Viaud says. “Then, just a few years ago, Christina pushed me back out of the nest and told me it was time to take on a role as partner and financial planner and work alongside her in the company, and that’s how I became an official partner.”

Knox Grove takes a financial planning approach focusing on educating and empowering clients. The practice’s clientele has organically skewed toward women.

While Viaud serves couples and households, typically, “It’s the women who have found us,” she says.

Today, she specializes in serving “money avoiders,” a cohort she identifies with. “When I was younger, I would always cringe at conversations related to money, and I was uneducated about things like building credit. When I had my first job and started earning money, I went to buy a car, and I realized how naïve I was. I didn’t know that having no debt and no credit could be a bad thing. I had to ask my father to co-sign for the loan, and it was a defining moment for me: I understood that I had to learn.”

During the pandemic, she also took the lead in Knox Grove’s technology effort, creating video and written content online to keep clients and prospects in the loop.



Tom Presley
Partner, Wealth Advisor / Brightworth Private Wealth / Atlanta

Brightworth has grown primarily by serving big clients, and those clients have contributed most of the AUM to the book of business that Tom Presley, a partner, has built, serving aging corporate professionals and executives, many at Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the Atlanta metro area.

But for a young advisor like Presley, the future of Brightworth isn’t necessarily in those older, well-established executives. Instead, it’s in their generational successors.

“We have to find ways to help younger people who are accumulating wealth get off on the right foot and to a faster start,” Presley says. “I don’t think robo-advisors are the answer, and neither is asking people to come back when they have a certain amount of money.”

Presley and four other partners at Brightworth started the “Propel Your Wealth” program to serve such clients, usually high earners in their 30s, through life changes like buying their first house, having their first child and scoring their first big promotion. The program serves clients with a full scale of wealth management services, charging them a combination of retainers and assets under management fees.

Presley came to Brightworth in 2011 after spending several years in the public accounting industry. He was driven toward financial planning because of the personal side of the business. Today, in addition to serving as a wealth advisor and partner, he is the firm’s president of wealth management, supporting the efforts of the firm’s 20 advisors.

He holds a number of designations, including the CPA and CFP marks. He also holds the designation of “Certified Kingdom Advisor,” meaning he delivers advice in line with biblical principles. But he doesn’t advertise or brand himself with his Christian faith.

“I am a Christian and I do have clients of similar faith, and being a Certified Kingdom Advisor gives me an opportunity to mix my faith and my profession, but I do not view it as a tool to bring people into business with me,” he says. “I want to serve all types of people and help all types of clients, from all walks of life, and so I don’t want it to be a branding tool or a marketing tool.”



Matthew G. Ricks
President / Haystack Financial Planning / New York

Matthew Ricks had an interest in finance from an early age and worked his way up to a tony institutional asset management job at J.P. Morgan, where he worked almost a decade. But he wasn’t fulfilled.

He noticed people adept in the highest reaches of finance weren’t necessarily good at tending their own money gardens. He moved to the broker-dealer space, where he thought he could help. There, as he was doing pro bono work through the local FPA chapter, he discovered something else—a special need for advice among the disabled.

“For a four- to six-month period I had probably half a dozen or so people talk to me about disability, whether that’s Social Security Disability Insurance or they become disabled through a job injury or job accident and now they’re collecting some type of disability long-term or short term.” He wondered who specialized in complicated situations like these so he could refer the clients. Google offered up few specializers. He talked with people he knew in the disabled community—whether it was people with neurodiverse children or physical disabilities—and saw the need he could fill.

In November 2020, he launched his new firm, Haystack Financial Planning. “I’ve had a great reaction from the community of other planners and advisors,” he says. “I’m getting more referrals and more connections than I ever anticipated,” he says, because programs like Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance require his extra layer of knowledge. He says he hasn’t had to do much outbound marketing.

The biggest thing is understanding the government programs—if clients are trying to get Social Security Disability Insurance, they must meet income limitations to get the benefit. That means advisors focusing on this work must understand other aspects of people’s finances.

For example, one of his clients was a recently divorced woman who had a daughter with autism. “Her previous advisor for estate planning purposes said, ‘Hey, put your money in a joint account with your daughter because then it won’t go through probate and your daughter will have access to it.’ Not knowing that that immediately eliminates her from qualifying for SSI because she has $2.5 million now that she has access to. She can’t get any benefits. No ill will. No harm intended. [The advisor] just didn’t know.” Ricks got the money out of the accounts.



Sweta Bhargav
Founder And Financial Advisor / Adviso Wealth / Philadelphia

After living in multiple states and multiple countries, Sweta Bhargav didn’t want to pigeonhole herself as a niche financial advisor. “I wanted to become an advisor because I realized how important planning is irrespective of one’s education and work ethic,” she says. “Just by having a few balanced principles and making smart choices with money, you can really enhance someone’s lifestyle and their financial future, setting them up for success.”

Bhargav, the founder and financial advisor at Philadelphia-based Adviso Wealth, was born in the U.K., but moved to the U.S. after marriage. She started offering personal financial planning services at a broker-dealer.

She saw that some communities of people, particularly immigrants and first-generation Americans, did not have access to the same knowledge and resources. Thus, Adviso’s chief role to its clients and the communities it serves is to be an educational partner, one that is sorely needed in some areas.

She says she strives to be culturally conscious when providing advice and recommendations to Adviso’s clients. For example, when a client is faced with a dilemma of whether to save for a child’s education or for their own retirement, the conventional answer is to save for retirement first.

The financial industry even has a metaphor working behind this conventional wisdom: If you’re on a distressed airplane with your children, you affix your own oxygen mask first before adjusting your children’s masks.

But when culture is taken into consideration, the advice isn’t so cut and dry, she says. “Different cultures and communities value education so much more than just thinking about themselves and their retirement,” she says. “It’s that understanding, knowing that I’m trying to ‘get you,’ and that I’ve had similar experiences, that really helps people out.”

At Adviso, she primarily serves early-stage executives and entrepreneurs who are 30 to 45 years old. “A number of my clients were either born abroad or may have lived abroad at some point, and many are thinking about maybe moving back to their home country,” she says. “I can relate to them and support them with some of their decisions. I always find that age group to be so busy, so I try to take a proactive approach to helping them.”



Mandy Pham
Senior Financial Advisor / Summitry / Foster City, Calif.

Like many financial advisors, Mandy Pham got into the industry because of her parents. Their story—and, in turn, hers—was steered by the long U.S. involvement and conflict in Vietnam, where she grew up.

“My parents didn’t attend high school or college. They grew up during the war, and most of their experience was lived through war and a lot of poverty,” she says. “Despite that, they worked to minimize spending and maximize saving, but they still didn’t know what options they had. So when I learned about a career that is not only fulfilling to me but also helps to educate my clients on what my parents lacked access to, that was very attractive to me.”

Pham came to the U.S. to attend Colorado State University as part of a one-year exchange program, and that’s where she found out about financial planning as a profession. From Colorado, she interviewed and became an assistant to the chair at Texas Tech University’s financial planning program, where she became active in different professional organizations.

“Choosing to be a financial planner in the U.S. was terrifying for me at the time,” Pham says. “I wasn’t speaking the language very well, and I would attend conferences and not see anyone like me. There still aren’t a lot of young female Asians coming from another country in the business.” “My hope is that I can be an example for young planners professionally.”

Pham entered the profession with her master’s degree and several designations in hand.

After several years as an advisor at Houston-based Stavis & Cohen, Pham moved to the San Francisco Bay region to join Summitry, where her clients are mostly high-income tech employees in their late 30s and early 40s, many of whom are also immigrants. Summitry is located near the corporate campuses for companies like Apple, Google and Meta.

She has held on to her Texas connections and mentors international students in Texas Tech’s financial planning program.

“I have affinity for international students and clients,” she says. “They have unique considerations. Many of them have family at home that they want to help; maybe they want to move back or retire back, and there are a lot of international issues in general. It comes from personal experience—I am going through many of the same things as these clients and students.”



Lindsey Swanson
Founder / Stripper Financial Planning / Whitethorn, Calif.

Lindsey Swanson found a niche serving clients most advisors would never think of: sex workers.

Nor would many advisors boldly own the fact by naming their firm Stripper Financial Planning. But Swanson’s vision is clear: offer good advice to people who really need it.

Raised in a conservative religious community in Nebraska and homeschooled in an environment that didn’t value her math education because she was female, Swanson admits she “was bad at math, bad at finances.”

An ensuing break from her parents and background was harsh, and she quickly learned the value of financial security when on her own. “As I started to learn more, I thought, ‘This is something I want to share with other people.’ Understanding money is empowering. It can help you stay out of unsafe situations. I do see a lot of parallels between my clients and who I was in my early 20s.”

She landed at the University of Alabama, tackling the CFP curriculum at night while working at a fee-only advisory firm. “But they don’t talk about how to work with stigmatized groups when you go through the CFP program,” she says. “A lot of advisors are similar and work with similar kinds of clients, with the focus being net worth. They don’t know how to make a profit doing something different.”

Her first clients, in Humboldt County, Calif., were cannabis growers. But she was soon introduced to sex worker clientele, and she knew she had found her tribe.

“The majority are people who identify as female in their 20s, but I don’t have it limited to a gender expression or age group,” she says. “By and large, my clients are very educated and capable. They’ve built smart and efficient businesses, but they’re struggling with the questions not on the internet, like how to deal with banking discrimination.”

They come from all over the country. Most need help setting up emergency savings and Roth IRAs. They often have 1099, W-2 and self-reported income. Many have taken their business online as content creators for sites like Patreon and Only Fans. They don’t have assets to manage, so Swanson bills a subscription fee.

She currently works alone but can foresee future collaboration. “I’d like to have a residency program for young advisors who’ve graduated with their CFP but need experience, especially minorities or women.”