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2022 Leaders in Finance

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought uncertainty into every corner of our lives and taken a particular toll on our finances. From market volatility, to joblessness, wage stagnation, and inflation, there are countless factors impacting personal portfolios. To understand the value of working with a financial planner, one needs only to read the headlines.

“Whether it’s a global pandemic or a major geopolitical event, it’s more important now than ever before to have a knowledgeable person help you navigate the market environment,” says Jason Policastro, a private wealth advisor at Cornerstone Advisory and the communications chair for the Financial Planning Association of Maryland (FPA).

“These are no longer the days of when you can drop your money into 60 percent equities and 40 percent fixed income and let it ride,” he continues. “You need someone you can talk to who can be a decision-making partner.”

FPA’s 300-plus members across the state include financial planners and advisors as well as those in industries that relate to financial wellbeing such as estate attorneys and mortgage lenders. Many of these professions have seen algorithms, apps, and “roboadvisors” move into their fields. While Policastro says that technology has a role to play, nothing can replace the value of working with a human being who listens to their client’s individual needs. A financial professional offers more than technical expertise—they are a trusted guide.

FPA is committed to improving financial literacy for all, as evidenced by its participation in community events like CASH Campaign of Maryland’s “Money Power Day,” where planners offer pro bono financial advice. Policastro underscores that financial planning is not just for the wealthy, but for everyone.

“Everyone needs someone working for them, the value is universal,” he says. “Even if you’re deep in dept, lower income, or just starting out, a financial planner can not only help with the ledger, they can improve your peace of mind and your financial decision-making.”

In the following pages, we profile the individuals and firms who are keeping the “personal” in personal finance, ensuring excellence, integrity, and individual attention in the financial services field.