Lisa Weil, CFP®, MBA, Principal
Lisa is the Principal and founding member of Clarity Northwest Wealth Management, LLC an independent, Fee Only Registered Investment Advisor with the State of Washington.
Her credentials include:
I'm a Harvard trained MBA and have worked at companies like IBM and Microsoft and have over 14 years' experience serving in various roles, helping companies and clients conduct market strategy and business planning. My passion now is in working with individuals and families, helping them sift through the noise and cut through the complexity in order to strategize and plan -- and realize their dreams.
I come to the financial services industry as a result of my own experiences as a client.
I landed my first real job at IBM after college and discovered the joy and power of earning my way. I understood little about the dynamics of money and saved purely as a defensive strategy, creating a buffer between ignorance and reality. After four years at IBM, my savings helped pay for a different kind of investment -- business school. Two years later, I was invited to work at Microsoft and, with luck and good fortune, faced a different challenge:
How to manage an unexpected windfall?
I realized I knew plenty about business, but surprisingly (embarrassingly) little about personal finance. I resolved to learn more -- and interviewed several “advisors” at the major Wall Street brokerage firms. But something didn’t feel right. I was looking for objective, knowledgeable advisors whose interests aligned with mine. So why, when I mentioned “Microsoft” did I suddenly feel like a juicy piece of prime rib served up before the proverbial pack of wolves? I also wanted help not only with my investments, but with the broader financial picture. I hired an independent CFP®. But a year later, I reviewed my holdings and found I owned as many funds as there were days in the month. I looked more closely and saw the funds were not only expensive, but tax inefficient and, in some cases, redundant.
The strategy made no sense.
I turned to a trusted friend at Frank Russell who advised some of the country’s largest corporate pension fund managers and asked, “Am I crazy? This doesn’t make sense!” He introduced me to the same analytical tools he used with corporate clients and said, “Lisa, you should do this.” I weighed the idea and concluded I’d probably make mistakes but -- if they were my mistakes, I’d be more likely to own them -- and learn. That was back in the mid to late 1990’s.
Beginning with industry classes, I immersed myself, studying, learning the tools of the trade, reading everything I could. My list of trusted teachers grew to include: Burt Malkiel, Benjamin Graham, Andrew Tobias, William Bernstein, Allan Roth, Michael Lewis, Andrew Ross Sorkin, Roger Lowenstein, Daniel C. Goldie, Gordon S. Murray, Annette Thau, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Niall Ferguson, Mike Piper, Jason Zweig, and Larry Swedroe.
I learned an enormous amount, not only about financial planning and investments, but also about the financial services industry. I learned too about Sheryl Garrett, who advocated for a Fee Only hourly financial planning model and for advisors to provide competent, unbiased, objective advice. I was inspired.
I decided I wanted to make a difference.
To complete and formalize my training, I enrolled in Boston University’s Certificate Program in Financial Planning. I also began work as a Junior Achievement volunteer, teaching classes at Roosevelt High School. In November 2012, I passed the CFP Board’s rigorous two-day Certificate in Financial Planning Exam and, in 2013, I founded my firm, Clarity Northwest Wealth Management, LLC.
My goal now is to pay it forward, to provide clients and others with the straightforward kinds of guidance and answers I once sought.