News & Media

Nick Defenthaler, CFP® Named to Forbes list of “America’s Top Next-Generation Wealth Advisors” for second year


For the second year in a row, Nick Defenthaler, CFP® has been named to the Forbes list of “America’s Top Next-Generation Wealth Advisors.” The list, which recognizes advisors from national, regional and independent firms, was released online July 25, 2018.  

“I’m ecstatic to once again be recognized as one of the top next generation financial planners in the country.  It’s truly a privilege to serve such amazing clients and to be surrounded by an incredible team of professionals here at The Center.” Defenthaler said. 

Nick specializes in working with clients who are closely nearing retirement or currently retired.  He has a passion for helping clients throughout the retirement transition and working with them to develop a sound, tax-efficient retirement income and portfolio decumulation strategy.  In addition to meeting with clients, Nick is the Director of The Center’s Financial Planning Department, a member of the firm’s Operations Committee as well as a frequent speaker and writer on various financial planning and investment related topics.

 Email Nick to set up an initial meeting.  Learn more about our process here.

The Forbes ranking of “America’s Top Next-Generation Wealth Advisors,” developed by Shook Research, Data as of 3/31/2018 SHOOK Research considered advisors born in 1980 or later with a minimum 4 years relevant experience. Advisors have built their own practices and lead their teams; joined teams and are viewed as future leadership; or a combination of both. Ranking algorithm is based on qualitative measures derived from telephone and in-person interviews and surveys: service models, investing process, client retention, industry experience, review of compliance records, firm nominations, etc.; and quantitative criteria, such as assets under management and revenue generated for their firms. Investment performance is not a criteria because client objectives and risk tolerances vary, and advisors rarely have audited performance reports. Rankings are based on the opinions of SHOOK Research, LLC. Neither SHOOK nor Forbes receives compensation from the advisors or their firms in exchange for placement on a ranking. Raymond James is not affiliated with Forbes or Shook Research, LLC. This ranking is not indicative of advisor’s future performance, is not an endorsement, and may not be representative of individual clients’ experience. Out of 5,832 advisors considered, 1000 made the final list in 2018.Center for Financial Planning, Inc. is a wealth management and financial planning registered investment advisor located in Southfield, Michigan. Founded in 1985, the firm has ten financial planners and 29 total team members who work with more than 900 clients; the firm manages more than $1.1 billion in assets under management. Securities are offered through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Center for Financial Planning, Inc. Center for Financial Planning, Inc. is not a registered broker/dealer and is independent of Raymond James Financial Services.

Jeanette LoPiccolo, CRPC® Branch Professional of the Year


The Center is thrilled to announce that our very own Client Service Manager, Jeanette LoPiccolo, was recognized as one of three Outstanding Branch Professionals at the 2018 Raymond James National Conference. Raymond James’s 1000+ branches had the opportunity to nominate candidates for the award, and Raymond James chose Jeanette from among this elite group.

As you can see from this nomination form excerpt, we are very lucky to have her as part of our team:

“Jeanette is the consummate service professional.  She combines superior technical ability with genuine care for clients. Jeanette consistently anticipates client needs and is always looking for WOW moments. 

Jeanette is a true joy to have on our team. Her knowledge and skills are extremely deep, and our whole team benefits from her leadership and example. From securities based lending to K-1 procurement to cost basis issues, she is adept at nearly every complex operational area available. And, if she ever does not know the answer, she is the first to volunteer to find out and report back to the group. She is always willing to help newer coworkers and assist with a complex problem.

She is a wonderful example of our firm’s Core Value of Continuous Learning and Personal Growth. In addition to holding her securities licenses and the Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor℠ designation, she is preparing to take the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ exam this fall.

On top of all of this, she is a champion for our firm’s charitable causes, organizing team-wide volunteer days, company matching activities, and community sponsorship events.”

Please join The Center Team in congratulating Jeanette on this well-deserved award!

Lauren Adams, CFA®, CFP® is Director of Client Services at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.®

To be considered for this award Branch Professionals must have been affiliated with Raymond James for at least one year and could not have won the award in the past.

Get to Know Jacki Roessler, CDFA® Certified Divorce Financial Analyst

Contributed by: Jacki Roessler, CDFA® Jacki Roessler

Financial errors in divorce are unfortunately as common as the divorce rate in the United States. Several factors contribute to that today including the increase of “grey divorce” (divorce over the age of 50), tax law changes just put into effect by the current Administration, as well as complications in the way we save for retirement and local housing market value fluctuations.

However, none of the above factors are as significant as the real issue for most errors, which is the underlying emotional currents that impact divorce settlements. After all, these aren’t simply business entities breaking up. The break-up of a marital estate is fraught with emotional factors that impact a couple’s ability to make sound financial decisions.

That’s where a divorce financial advisor comes in. CDFA’s, or financial professionals who have received specialized training in the financial and tax aspects of divorce, may be an invaluable member of any team of divorce professionals. Working hand in hand with attorneys, CDFA’s guide clients to make decisions based on black and white numbers, projections and sound financial information - not psychological attachments to the house or the pension. 

I’ve been privileged to work as a CDFA for over 24 years, and it’s just as rewarding today as when I first received my designation.  Often, clients will come to me with a plan in mind. They’re determined to keep their home. They are on the fence about returning to the job market because they’re not sure how much income they need to target. Most often, they’ve received a settlement from the other side and didn’t know how to evaluate it. “Is this a good deal for me?” is the most common concern I hear. Once we work on their post-divorce budget and review long-term financial projections together, they have clarity. It allows them to make a decision based on a position of knowledge. Even if they can’t afford to keep the house, they feel empowered having that information today. Also, focusing on the “business” side of the divorce is often good therapy to get their mind focused on the positive aspects of the new life ahead of them.

Jacki Roessler, CDFA® is a Divorce Financial Planner at Center for Financial Planning, Inc.®

Awards & Inspiration at the RJ Women’s Symposium

 From helping families prosper to the art of negotiation, the 20th annual Raymond James Women’s Symposium was packed with great insight and inspiring speakers. Marilyn Gunther, Melissa Joy and Laurie Renchik recently traveled to St. Petersburg, FL for the opportunity to take part in thought-provoking education sessions and mingle with other women advisors in the Raymond James family.

The trip this year was especially exciting because The Center’s own founding partner Marilyn Gunther received the Raymond James Network for Women Advisors 2014 Women of Distinction award.  She was presented with the award by the President of Raymond James Financial Services at an opening night awards dinner.  This award is given to women advisors with Raymond James who are exceptional in both their professional and personal contributions.

These are our Top 5 ideas we brought back to Michigan:

  1. Susan Bradley from the Sudden Money Institute talked about recognizing the role of money in all of the transitions of life.  We have come a long way from thinking about money as the accumulation and distribution phase.
  2. The number of RJ upper management team attending was an acknowledgement of the increasing and effective role of women advisors and women leaders.  We have a long way to go, but it is a start.
  3. Author and former sports agent Molly Fletcher shared her insights about the art of negotiating with an emphasis on belief in what you do and not being afraid to ask the tough questions.
  4. In the workshop, “The Estate is Set, But Are Families Prepared?” we learned more about helping families thrive and prosper from one generation to the next with family meetings designed to help prepare the next generation for financial and non-financial aspects of wealth transfer.
  5. On the topic of Women and the World of Finance, Sallie Krawcheck drew on her Wall Street experiences as well as current research to illustrate how companies that embrace gender diversity on their boards and in management often see improved performance and profitability as a result.   

Links are being provided for information purposes only. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize or sponsor any of the listed web sites or their respective sponsors. Raymond James is not responsible for the content of any web site or the collection or use of information regarding any web site’s users and/or members. C14-038768

The Center Wins Our Coolest Award Yet

We made Crain’s List’s coolest places to work listCrain's Cool Places to Work recognition program honors employers that go the extra mile to make employees feel appreciated — as judged by the employees themselves.

The program was open to Michigan businesses, nonprofits and government entities. An organization must have at least 15 employees at a Michigan location to be considered. 

Harrisburg, Pa.-based research business Best Companies Group gathered data and conducted surveys on each organization to create the final rankings. The rankings are divided into three groups according to organization size, as measured by employee count.

Best Companies ranked 75 companies to receive the badge of Cool Place to Work. We took honors in the category for 15 – 49 employees. 


Curtain Call

 The Center's Team enjoys sharing their knowledge with the press to help stories come to life, share facts and bring important topics to the forefront.  We are also honored when we are recognized by media and publications for our work and service to our profession. Here's what's new:


Timothy Wyman, CFP®, JD: Tim was quoted in Forbes online on October 15, 2014 in an article titled, "After-tax 401 (k) Rollovers, Advanced Version" by Ashlea Ebeling. A14-034515

Melissa Joy, CFP®: Melissa was quoted on in an article titled, “3 Tax-Sensitive Investment Strategies to Implement Now” on September 15, 2014 by Steve Nicastro. C14-032886

Our Workplace Wellness is Award-Worthy


Did you know we hold meetings while walking and when we’re working at our desks, we might be standing instead of sitting? It’s all part of our commitment to keeping The Center team healthy. That commitment has led to a 3rd healthy workplace award in less than a year. This time, we’re being recognized in Corp! Magazine’s online publication as one of Michigan’s Best and Brightest in Wellness. For Partner and Financial Advisor Sandy Adams, keeping our constant focus on health is one thing that makes The Center a great place to work.

For me, staying healthy and active gives me the energy and positive attitude to best serve my team and our clients. The Center is committed to helping our team stay healthy by providing us with education on health and wellness, providing equipment like standing desks and balance balls for alternative seating, and by encouraging standing or walking meetings.”

The Best and Brightest in Wellness awards will be handed out at a gala on October 2nd. The selection was based on an assessment by the wellness systems firm Wellco. We won this award based on criteria like wellness policies, healthy work environment, senior leadership support of health initiatives, and motivation.

Earlier this year we won a Healthy Workplace Award from the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Sports. And last December The Center was recognized as one of Michigan’s Healthiest Employers by Priority Health, Crain’s Detroit Business and MiBiz. In 2007, we launched an initiative to shape up our office. Looks like we’re on the right track.

Center Makes Crain's List of Top Money Managers

 For the second consecutive year, Center for Financial Planning has been recognized as one of the Detroit area’s largest money managers. The annual Top 25 recognition is a big deal to us because it means we are making our mark in southeast Michigan and beyond.

Center Partner Melissa Joy says the recognition puts CFP in great company.

We have never set a goal to be the largest firm around, but our size and community footprint here in Michigan helps us to deliver world-class financial planning service to an exceptional group of people – our clients. To us, success isn’t measured by dollars and cents, but by the lives we touch.”

Crain’s list is a compilation of money managers in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw and Livingston counties. To see the complete list click here.

Criteria used to determine the Top 25 Managers is based on assets under management with discretion exclude master trusts, directed trusts, options, custodial accounts and advisory accounts over which no direct investment responsibility exists. Information was provided by the companies or from Form ADV. It is not a complete listing but the most comprehensive available.

Links are being provided for information purposes only. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors. Raymond James is not responsible for the content of any website or the collection or use of information regarding any website's users and/or members. C14-028649

Curtain Call

 The Center's Team enjoys sharing their knowledge with the press to help stories come to life, share facts and bring important topics to the forefront.  We are also honored when we are recognized by media and publications for our work and service to our profession. Here's what's new:

Center named as #228 on Financial Advisor Magazine's 2014 RIA Ranking

Center for Financial Planning, Inc. has been recognized among the nation's top-ranked investment advisory firms for the past four consecutive years.

Financial Advisor Magazine ranks the top registered investment advisory firms (RIAs) across the country based on a survey of firms' assets under management and percentage of growth. C14-025822


Melissa Joy, CFP®: Melissa was quoted on in an article titled, “Gen X at the Crossroads: Baby Boomers’ Kids Could Face a Retirement Squeeze” by James O’Brien. C14-023684

Curtain Call

 The Center's Team enjoys sharing their knowledge with the press to help stories come to life, share facts and bring important topics to the forefront.  We are also honored when we are recognized by media and publications for our work and service to our profession. Here's what's new:

Daniel Boyce, CFP® Recognized by Investment News

Dan received an Honorable Mention Lifetime Achievement Award as part of the Investment News Community Leadership Awards. Dan’s award is based on his contributions to Detroit ChamberWinds & Strings over many years.

The Invest in Others Charitable Foundation and Investment News announced finalists for the eighth annual Community Leadership Awards. The awards recognize the philanthropic work financial advisers perform in their communities and around the world.

5 Center Planners Recognized by Hour Detroit Magazine

Center team members Sandra Adams CFP®, Daniel Boyce CFP®, Matthew Chope CFP®, Laurie Renchik CFP®, and Timothy Wyman, CFP® received recognition by Five Star Professional in the June 2014 issue of Hour Detroit Magazine. They were named to the 2014 Five Star Wealth Managers list, a select group of wealth managers in the Detroit area.

Five Star Award is based on advisor being credentialed as an investment advisory representative or a registered investment advisor, actively employed as a credentialed professional in the financial services industry for a minimum of five years, favorable regulatory and complaint history review, fulfilled their firm review based on internal firm standards, and accepting new clients. One and five year retention rates, non-institutional discretionary and/or non-discretionary client assets administered, number of client households served and education and professional designations are criteria that is considered. This award is bestowed by an independent third party organization not affiliated with Raymond James.