Steve Starnes

Steve Starnesage 37

Senior financial adviser, Grand Wealth Management

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With degrees in aerospace engineering and economics, Steve Starnes could have gone in a couple of different directions out of college. But the fact that day trading helped him finance his tuition made him realize his passion was for financial services.

“Day trading in college in the late ’90s helped me keep my beer fridge full,” he said. “But I also lost a lot of money in the dot.com bubble and realized day trading is not the best financial plan.”

Mr. Starnes is in the middle of a career transition from Arlington, Va.-based Savant Capital to Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Grand Wealth Management “in order to take a leadership role at a smaller firm, with some potential for ownership equity,” he said.

But his dedication to retirement planning and his concern about the effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease on elderly clients is unwavering, having watched his grandmother suffer through dementia.

“My grandmother started declining in 2004, right when I started as a financial adviser,” he said. “Someone can seem pretty OK, but they can make some substantial financial mistakes before anyone notices, and financial professionals really are in a position to help people through that.”

Mr. Starnes speaks and writes regularly to educate the financial services community on the challenges and risks of dementia. His paper published in the Journal of Financial Planning, “Is Your Firm Prepared for Alzheimer's?” included procedures advisers should take to protect both their aging clients and their own practices.

— Jeff Benjamin

Fast Facts

  • Has played the violin since he was 6
  • First job was doing a paper route for the Detroit News
  • Guilty pleasure is Haribo gummi bears
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