Melissa Walsh CFA®, CFP®
Founder and President
Hello there, I'm Melissa!
My mission in everything I do is to make a positive difference in the lives of the people I serve. I aim to enthusiastically help my clients to achieve their goals and to be a trusted partner every step of the way.
I see each day as a new opportunity to enhance the lives of those I serve- my clients, my family, and my community. This intrinsic feel for what’s truly important in life helps to fuel my drive for the work I do both here at Clarity Financial Design and beyond.
I am a life-long learner; constantly seeking out new ways to increase my knowledge base for the benefit of those I help. I am profoundly interested in learning about the people I serve so that I can communicate, recommend, and plan strategies that are both impactful and implementable for them.
I am most satisfied in life by finding injustices and righting them. I think this is why a career in finance initially appealed to me; the industry has widespread and systemic problems related to conflicts of interest, gender inequality, and lack of transparency. I’ve made a commitment to improving my industry as well as my clients’ individual lives by providing fiduciary, fee-only, transparent advice. I am, and will always remain, fiercely independent in my advocacy for my clients and my profession.
I’ve been working in finance for my entire career, and have focused on independent women for the last several years. I graduated from The University of Michigan with a degree in Organizational Studies- a major that explored the intersection of economics, psychology, and sociology. I’ve always loved the complicated dynamics between money and behavior, and call myself lucky to be able to focus in this area every day in my practice.
Finding my own clarity
After a career spanning investment consulting, relationship management, and financial advising in the greater Boston area, my family and I relocated to my hometown of Sarasota, Florida in 2017. There, I joined an independent and well-established group of advisors at Allegiant Private Advisors.
I spent the next few years getting settled at Allegiant Private Advisors and learning about how independent advisors can serve clients by putting their clients’ needs first. I also learned about the decisions business owners make like hiring and managing, marketing, technology and accounting. My time there was critical to preparing me for the next step, and the moment had arrived for me to write my next chapter. So I bravely turned the page: Clarity Financial Design was born.
I still work hard to stay connected with leaders in the financial planning industry. I am a member of the leading organization of fee-only, fiduciary financial advisors, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), and a featured member of the Fee-Only Network. I am also a member of the Southwest Florida Estate Planning Council, a local organization of financial planners, accountants, and attorneys who all come together to exchange ideas, share knowledge, and advance our services for clients and our professions.
As both a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNING (CFP) professional and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), I am held to the highest standards of the investment and planning professions. As an Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF) and member of XY Planning Network, I hold myself to the highest standard of care for my clients. This fiduciary responsibility means that your interests always come first, 100% of the time.
My path today
Today, my path is working with my clients to help them find financial clarity. I seek to listen, understand, and thoughtfully consider each client’s unique story in order to help her plan for the next step on her path. My goal is to build life-long relationships with my clients as their trusted financial partner.
When I’m not at work, I enjoy volunteering in the Sarasota community. I’ve made a commitment to spend 10% of my time supporting organizations that are meaningfully impacting the well-being of local children and families. I am currently a board member and finance committee member at The Florida Center, a leading provider of therapeutic services, early education, and healthy development for children in southwest Florida. I am a finance committee member at the preeminent local leadership development organization for girls, Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida. I am a trustee and finance committee member of Community Day School, a private Jewish day school in Sarasota that serves children of all faiths and has made a durable commitment to step out as a safe space for members of the LGBTQ community, families at all economic levels, students with learning exceptionalities, and individuals of every race and religion. I am also a member of Impact 100 SRQ, a Sarasota- based giving circle that is designed to empower women to see themselves as philanthropists and overcome the barriers women have historically faced in this arena.
I am married to my husband, Steve, and am the mother of two smart, brave, and determined daughters. Willow is 5 and enjoys swimming, dancing, and practicing her detective skills. Lila is 3 and loves to sing, dance, and pretend to be a teacher. My hobbies are running, cooking, and reading, and I pursue these hobbies during this season of life by running after my daughters, cooking for my family and friends, and reading up on all things financial. On a typical Saturday, you'll find me out at the beach, farmer's market, or cheering on the Michigan Wolverines (Go Blue!).
I look forward to learning your story and helping you plan for your next step.