Michael Kitces

Michael Kitces

Partner and director of research, Pinnacle Advisory Group

It’s hard to believe that Michael Kitces, 39, who spends most of his time writing several-thousand-word articles, almost flunked out of high school English. The prolific writer and partner and director of research for Pinnacle Advisory Group had a writing-related learning disability. Fortunately, he discovered that it did not manifest when he typed.

In addition to his duties at Pinnacle, Mr. Kitces' passion for writing, learning and research serve him as a thought leader for the profession.

After entering the industry as an insurance salesman — failing horribly, he said — he joined a financial advisory practice and began going to school part-time for the next seven years.

After earning the CFP, CLU and ChFC designations and finishing a master’s degree in financial planning, Mr. Kitces was hired at Pinnacle as director of financial planning at age 25.

Within a few years, he had begun writing articles for the trade press and journals. Wanting more topic flexibility and word count, Mr. Kitces decided to create his own writing vehicles: The Kitces Report, which provides technical articles for CE credit, and later, the Nerd’s Eye View blog, which provides commentary on trends, research and best practices to 150,000 readers per month.

Feedback from readers and clients has prompted him to co-found several innovative businesses, including the XY Planning Network, a group of fee-only financial advisers who specialize in Gen X and Y clients, and AdvicePay, a payment processing platform for planners. He also co-founded NexGen, a community for young advisers through the Financial Planning Association.

“I have a lot of passion for seeing the adviser community succeed,” he said. “It’s such a young profession and it’s constantly changing. We’re still solving the big problems, such as how to retire successfully or how to have an effective practice.”

– Deborah Nason