"Personal finance gives

me the opportunity

to draw on my strengths

to make a real difference."

Roger%20Ma

Roger Ma

Roger Ma35

Founder and financial planner, lifelaidout

Fast Facts

  • Played piano at Carnegie Hall in high school.
  • Sells real estate in Manhattan and Brooklyn.
  • Was on his state's Olympic soccer team.

Roger Ma's career as a financial planner blossomed from his hobby as a financial blogger. The Pittsburgh native launched a website, called lifelaidout, about five years ago. He started by writing about saving money, branching out shortly thereafter into core financial planning topics.

Last year, Mr. Ma, who'd previously worked in investment banking, turned lifelaidout into a registered investment adviser targeting clients in their mid-20s to mid-40s.

"I realized I was really interested in personal finance, and the natural next topics were thinking about investing, insurance, estate planning and things like that," Mr. Ma said.

Pursuing a career in financial planning and spreading financial literacy plays to what the New York City resident describes as some of his primary passions in life: storytelling and "modeling out everyday decisions."

For example, when the Metropolitan Transportation Authority increases subway fares, what's the break-even to buy a monthly versus per-ride pass? (The answer, he says, is 47 rides.)

Mr. Ma also holds regular personal-finance talks for employees at companies around New York, such as Google and Twitter, and this summer will be speaking on a pro-bono basis at the New York Public Library through a partnership with the Financial Planning Association.

– Greg Iacurci