Sophia Bera

Sophia Beraage 31

Founder and financial planner, Gen Y Planning

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Sophia Bera didn’t set out to be a financial adviser. Her original plan was to become an artist, dancer and singer.

But because she didn’t want to be a starving artist, Ms. Bera absorbed all the financial knowledge she could in college. When she bought a house three months after graduation, “my friends all started asking me for advice on everything financial,” she said.

The founder of Gen Y Planning believes financial advice is something she is well suited to provide to her generation, a set of clients many others in the industry are not interested in serving.

After earning her certified financial planner designation, Ms. Bera spent a few years “working in traditional planning firms to help rich, old, white guys get richer,” before launching her own shop two years ago.

While Gen Y Planning is based in the Minneapolis area, Ms. Bera is a pioneer in building a virtual advisory firm. She outsources where she needs to and works remotely whenever possible.

She is able to serve millennials profitably by charging a monthly subscription fee, rather than charging based on assets. Ms. Bera will build investment portfolios or do one-time financial check-ups, but most of her time is spent helping clients navigate things like student loan debt and maximizing employer benefits.

“Eighty-percent of what I do has nothing to do with retirement planning or investments,” she said.

— Jeff Benjamin

Fast Facts

  • First job was running the medieval games at a Minnesota Renaissance festival
  • Spends most of her life on “workation”
  • Three guests she’d invite to a dinner party: Amy Poehler, Tina Fey and Kristen Wiig
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