James Brewer empowers people to make smarter money choices aligned with their values, goals and passions. A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, he was named to the 20 Best Financial Advisors in Chicago by Expertise, 2017 and 2018. His many designations include a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst and College Funding and Student Loan Advisor. His financial literacy work includes contributing to Forbes.com Personal Finance and 401(k), Investopedia and his own blogs. He’s been syndicated by CNBC, “How do you know you can trust your financial advisor” and quoted in Forbes’, “The Retirement Crisis Facing African Americans”. He has been called part wealth planner, part life coach, part architect, part cheerleader. He focuses on crafting plans that incorporate and honor each client’s unique values.
He has a passion to address the gender and racial retirement disparity. That drove him to found Envision 401(k) Advisors to help address this issue along with helping his business owner clients. Not happy with just a me too solution, Brewer’s retirement plan insights have been featured in The Wall Street Journal and Forbes (references cited below In the Media).
When he was looking for a financial advisor he found it difficult to find one that knew much or cared to know about socially responsible, ESG investing, sustainability investing. He strongly believes that the road to your financial life vision should align with your values, such as faith, pro-gender equality and sustainability. Further, he shows his clients that values do not have to be at the expense of returns.
Advocating for racial diversity in the financial planning profession, James Brewer helped plan the inaugural conference of the Association of African American Financial Advisors in 2015. He is immediate Past President and continues to serve as an Advisory Board Member. As an African American, he brings unique sensitivities in working with clients from diverse money language backgrounds. As a fan of Brené Brown, he understands the feelings of shame and vulnerability that often come with money.
James Brewer advocates for financial literacy. Co-Author, “Chapter 19, Individual Biases in Retirement Planning and Wealth Management”, Financial Behavior: Players, Services, Products, and Markets, Oxford University Press, 2017. His community involvement includes pro bono volunteer activities through the Chicago Chapter of the Financial Planning Association and Daystar School in Chicago. He has been an Adjunct Professor of Financial Planning for industry professionals aspiring to become Certified Financial Planners.
- General Motors Institute, Bachelor of Science, Industrial Administration, Marketing, Finance (1985)
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Master of Business Administration (2000)
LICENSES AND REGISTRATIONS
- Registered Representative (FINRA Series 7)
- Investment Advisor Representative with LPL Financial (FINRA Series 66)
- Licensed in Life, Health, Long-Term Care and Disability Insurance
- CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®)A standard certification for advisors, designees are exposed to nearly 100 topics on integrated financial planning. Major topics include, but not limited to: insurance, employee benefits, securities, state and federal tax, estate tax and planning, asset protection, etc.
- Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC®) This program focuses on the pre- and post-retirement needs of individuals, allowing you to transform the retirement planning process into a positive experience
- Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA™) helps clients determine the short-term and long-term financial impact of any proposed divorce settlement. We provide valuable analysis on financial issues such as taxes, dividing property and retirement plans, child support, spousal support, and net income pre- post-divorce.
- Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) designation represents a thorough knowledge of and ability to apply the fiduciary practices.
- The College Funding and Student Loan Advisor Designation (CFSLA) provides the financial information advisors need to help student and families through the entire college financial decision process- saving for college, paying for college, student debt & asset utilization and loan repayment and forgiveness.
IN THE MEDIA
Co-Author, “Chapter 19, Individual Biases in Retirement Planning and Wealth Management”, Financial Behavior: Players, Services, Products, and Markets, Oxford University Press, 2017
“Why Minority Financial Planners Are Nearly Nonexistent — And How to Fix It”, Forbes, June 12, 2018
“Chicago Adviser Strategically Reaching Clients with Smaller Balances”, Investment News, April 9, 2018
“How to Juggle Funding Retirement and College”, Nasdaq, December 6, 2017
“People Trusted Bernie Madoff, So How Do You Know You Can Trust Your Advisor?”, Yahoo! Finance, May 30, 2017
“How Do You Know You Can Trust Your Financial Advisor?”, Commentary, CNBC, May 30, 2017
“How to Avoid Running Out of Retirement Income”, Yahoo! Finance, March 24, 2017
“The Retirement Crisis Facing African Americans”, Forbes, March 9, 2017
Investopedia’s Top 100 Most Influential Financial Advisors, 2017
Business First AM Investing 101 Frequent Presenter
BrightScope, Top 100 Social Media Financial Advisor U.S.
Voices of Experience, Financial Advisor Magazine, October 2, 2017
“Black Millennials Lack Retirement Plan/”, AFRO, Jul 27, 201
U.S. News, “How to Whip Your 401(k) Into Shape”, October 14, 2014
U.S. News, “What Matters More: Saving or Investment Performance?”, April 27, 2015
“Is Hobby Lobby Hypocritical or Just Complying with U.S. Pension Law?” Forbes, July 7, 2014
“Voices: James Brewer, on Using ERISA 3(38) Investment Managers”, Wall Street Journal, October 16, 2013
“First Quad-A (Association of African American Financial Advisors) Conference Bridges Gap for African-American Advisors”, Think Advisor, November 12, 2015
“What It’s Like Being an African-American Financial Adviser”, Investment News, Dec 14, 2015
Speaker, Illinois CPA Society North Shore Chapter – “Retirement Plans and Employee Benefits for the Small Business”, April 2009.
“Making Money and a Difference,” Ameriprise Achiever Magazine, Summer 2008
“A Conversation with Tomorrow,” Business Week, December 6, 1999