FA Magazine May 2023 - Page 48

George Acheampong Jr .

CEO and Managing Partner / Capitalwize / Charlotte , N . C .

George Acheampong says that when he was young he was the frugal kid who would cut grass and save his money , picking up the concepts of things like loan interest in elementary school when people would ask to borrow money .

Fast-forward to college , and his mother , who was getting remarried , turned to her son to ask how she would merge her finances with her new spouse ’ s . Acheampong graduated with a double major in marketing and economics in 2009 , but said marketing was viewed as a luxury at many corporations . He reconnected with a friend at a financial advisory and looked for a position . “ One of the things they had me do was create a list called Project 200 — think of 200 friends , family members , associates , people that you know that you essentially want to make clients or ‘ trade paychecks with .’
“ But given the background that I come from , I definitely couldn ’ t develop a list of 200 , not even 20 people because most people I was connected with didn ’ t come from that background . I realized very early on in my career that in order for me to have immediate impact in the space that I would have to build out a lane where I could serve and help people that maybe didn ’ t have the same level of access to financial literacy growing up and I could create a business model that would allow me to serve them .”
He started a blog in 2013 to provide information at scale , but he wanted to go deeper , and he started his own practice and RIA with a model for clients with solid income but no big accumulation of assets . To serve as many people as possible , though , he continued with content creation , including a podcast that airs every week and a financial literacy community called the “ Melanin Millionaires Club .” “ Our goal is to help 100,000 people of color achieve their first $ 1 million in net worth . Every week we have classes in that community . They have access to a library of past workshops .”

Steven Drost

Founder / Drost Financial / Minneapolis

Over the past decade , the concept of a lifestyle financial planning practice has been disparaged by some in the industry pushing a narrative of go-go growth , enterprise building and serial acquisitions . Steven Drost , founder of Drost Financial , rejects those narratives and favors building a business around balance .

“ It was when Covid hit that everything started to change ,” he says . “ I would now be a partner in a major RIA — most of the people I considered my peers then are partners now in big or growing firms — but I had my first child on April 1 , 2020 . I got to work from home , didn ’ t have to commute , I controlled my own schedule .”
He says the experience helped him align his priorities in an early phase of his professional life . “ My priority in life became not to make the most money , but to make money while living the lifestyle I wanted making as much quality family time as possible .”
He ’ s a “ numbers nerd ,” but enjoys the personal side of the business , which has led him to keep his firm small : He works with only 50 client households currently , and says there ’ s room for 10 to 20 more . The small ball approach also lets him enjoy side pursuits , such as the development of Quivr , a fee-only advisor-oriented CRM platform built on top of Salesforce .
Drost works primarily with people two or three years from retirement who live in the Minnesota and Wisconsin area . He focuses on diligent savers who have amassed retirement wealth on middle-class wages .
“ Truthfully , my ideal client has made around $ 80,000 to $ 100,000 a year on average during their working life , because we can make the most impact on that kind of client ,” he says . “ We understand the Wisconsin and Minnesota health insurance platforms and can get free insurance through Medicare , we can help them do tax things . Usually the health insurance work alone covers our fee ; we save the average client $ 20,000 a year on health insurance alone — everything after that is a marginal advantage to the client .”