James Brewer empowers people to make smarter money choices aligned with their values, goals, and passions. A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, he has been named to the 20 Best Financial Advisors in Chicago by Expertise, 2017, 2018, 2021, and 2022. His many designations include a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, and College Funding and Student Loan Advisor. 

James’ 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.

His passion to address the gender and racial retirement disparity, 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.

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 the 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)


  • Registered Representative (FINRA Series 7)
  • Investment Advisor Representative (FINRA Series 66)
  • Licensed in Life, Health, Long-Term Care and Disability Insurance


  • CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) is a standard certification for advisors, designees are exposed to nearly 100 topics on integrated financial planning. Major topics include, but are not limited to: insurance, employee benefits, securities, state and federal tax, estate tax and planning, asset protection, etc.
  • Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor (CRPC®) is a program that 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 fiduciary practices.
  • The College Funding and Student Loan Advisor Designation (CFSLA) provides the financial information advisors need to help students and families through the entire college financial decision process- saving for college, paying for college, student debt, and asset utilization, as well as student loan repayment and forgiveness.

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