Michael Dubisage 37

President, Michael A. Dubis Financial Planning

I am an Entrepreneur

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 Michael

Twelve years ago, Michael Dubis was one of the first to bring a fee-only practice to Madison, Wis., and now he considers it his mandate to redefine the practice of wealth management.

"I think wealth management is hijacked," Mr. Dubis said. "We practice wealth management, but I don't want to be tied to how people have abused the term."

Firms still market themselves as wealth managers when they actually focus on finances, he said. In contrast, he based his business on a quote he read early in his career from Harold Evensky, author and co-founder of Evensky & Katz Wealth Management. The quote, hanging framed in Mr. Dubis' office, reads, "It's not just your finances we're planning, it's the quality of the rest of your life."

For Mr. Dubis, that means keeping his practice small, confining it to clients whose lives he wants to help plan financially and be involved with in other ways, such as fishing or golf.

"I've reserved all clients to referrals only, or if they have exciting and interesting things going on," he said. "I don't just want to add people for the sake of growth."

Mr. Dubis also declines to benchmark according to industry standards and does not like to refer to his practice by assets under management.

"I personally don't like to advertise it, because it's not my money," he said.

Perhaps his most notable quality, however, is that Mr. Dubis doesn't think everyone else has to do things his way. He has been outspoken about the fiduciary standard and other issues in national publications and as a leader of the Wisconsin Financial Planning Association.

"From my perspective, disclosure in a pragmatic format would be something more important than mandating that brokers have to be fiduciaries," he said. "Then there's no confusion — rather than spending time regulating people for something they're not."

— Mason Braswell

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Fast Facts

  • Would like to do stand-up comedy someday
  • First business was selling baseball cards
  • Doesn't have time for Twitter