Matt Mikulaage 39

Principal, Balasa Dinverno Foltz

I am a Visionary

40 Under 40
40 Under 40

I am a Leader

40 Under 40
Leaders

I am a Trailblazer

Trail Blazers

I am an Entrepreneur

40 Under 40
Entrepreneurs

I am a Visionary

40 Under 40
Visionaries

I am an Idealist

40 Under 40
Idealists

Meet the Leaders

Whether in their own firms or in their communities, these young people are leading the charge toward innovation in financial planning, bringing new opportunities to advisers and clients alike. Here, they share the best leadership advice they’ve received in their careers.

Meet the Trailblazers

This group doesn’t subscribe to groupthink. They are spearheading new ways of practicing and delivering financial advice — in some cases reaching populations previously considered unprofitable to serve. We ask them about the most unique and unusual ideas they’ve had.

Meet the Entrepreneurs

In addition to helping clients reach their financial goals, some in the advice industry face the challenge of running a business or a team. Others have started companies to support this pursuit. These young people are flourishing amid the balancing act — and some got an early start.

Meet the Visionaries

It’s not about what is, but what will be — and what can be — the future of the financial planning industry for this group of forward-looking advisers, educators and executives. Their insights pull the rest of the profession into the next stratum.

Meet the Idealists

Life experiences shape our ideals, especially for these young professionals who see challenges in the advice industry and the world — and set out to meet them. They also have words of wisdom for the next generation.

About Matt

Matt Mikula is a happily married man who has become a divorce guru.

About eight years ago, Mr. Mikula was helping a client who was struggling through a break up with her husband. He realized that no one was telling her that she wouldn't be able to maintain the same lifestyle as a single person that she enjoyed in her marriage.

That loss of perspective is typical during the whirlwind of a divorce, according to Mr. Mikula. He saw it as an opening to provide a valuable service to clients.

"People get caught up in those smaller battles, and they forget to step back and really take a look at the bigger picture," said Mr. Mikula, a principal at Balasa Dinverno Foltz. "What a great way to help at a very challenging time in their lives."

Mr. Mikula earned a certified divorce financial analyst designation and established a divorce niche at his firm. He's become an expert in the field and teaches continuing education classes for the American Bar Association and the Mediation Council.

Though the niche is growing, there are still few advisers in the space, Mr. Mikula said.

"People are making some of the biggest financial decisions of their lives during a divorce," he said. "Not having a financial adviser really opens themselves up to a lot of risk."

But Mr. Mikula can't share personal experiences of family breakup with divorced clients.

About his wife and four daughters, he explains: "They're the center of my life. They're everything to me, and everything I work for."

— Mark Schoeff Jr.

Next Profile

  • Erik Milam

    Financial planner, TrustCore Financial Inc.

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Fast Facts

  • Worked as an orderly in a hospital's radiology department over summers in high school
  • Has a bachelor's degree in mathematics
  • Was a former board member of the Make-A-Wish Foundation