Upstart (V): To Start up; Spring up as to one's feet.

UPSTART Wealth Management

We're tech-forward, energetic and definitely not the "typical" advisor. We're here for the next generation.

Whether your office is a high rise or the back table in a coffee shop, we help you make tax smart, financially sound life decisions to achieve your goals.


Financial planning is an important step toward building your future, regardless of whether or not you have assets under management.

For those just starting out, a dedicated financial planner can provide the guidance and framework for long-term success. For example, advice on company stock options or how best to save for a goal like starting a business or buying a new home.

For those who've already been saving, a financial planner can monitor and review to support ongoing financial health as well as proactive ideas that add tangible value.

This includes adding to 529 plans to save for college, reviewing 401K/403B allocations / making appropriate changes and ensuring that clients have their risks properly protected.

Clients are charged on a percentage basis (see our fee schedule). All assets are held at TD Ameritrade, a third party custodian, which provides an added layer of protection for our clients. We take a unique, and we believe smarter, client-centric approach to asset management. To learn more about this approach, click here.

The annual asset management fee is determined by the following schedule:

$0 - $1,000,000: 1.00%
$1,000,001 - $3,000,000: 0.75%
$3,000,001 - $5,000,000: 0.60%
$5,000,001 - $10,000,000: 0.50%
$10,000,001 and Above: Negotiable

Through Powsner & Thomas Tax Consulting we offer tax preparation services. However we are also happy to work with your personal tax preparer.

We take both a short and long-term perspective toward tax planning. Some things we look for: Roth conversions, maximizing retirement plan contributions, exercising incentive stock options, the potential alternative minimum tax implications, etc.

Let's Work Together

Thanks for your interest. To help assess if we're the right fit for you, we ask all potential clients to answer the following questions:

Investment Management Principles

Upstart is a fee-only firm for a reason: this structure gives our clients a completely transparent process they can trust.

We receive no commissions and no 12b-1 fees. We're paid to manage your investments and deliver the best possible returns.

Conflicts of interest are not rare in the financial planning industry. As one example, advisors at many big firms are paid extra to recommend one product over another. When such commissions are involved, you can never be sure that an advisor is completely on your side. We are on your side, and the proof is in our results.

We don't believe in market timing. Research has shown that picking actively-managed mutual funds based on the hot stock or sector is a losing battle. Instead, we focus on what we can control: fees. We use exchange-traded funds and institutional mutual funds (based on Nobel Prize-winning research from Dimensional Fund Advisors) to keep investor costs to a minimum.

Taxes can be a huge drag on investor returns; smart tax efficiencies can save an investor 1% or even 2% each year. And as you might suspect, reckless investor behavior can be the biggest drag of all on returns. That's why we take a disciplined approach, working to ensure that investors have the right amount of risk in their portfolios, and rebalancing actively when times of market volatility offer the rare opportunity to buy low and sell high.

As investors, we favor the Fama-French research model, which has shown that equity investors are rewarded for taking the risk of owning small companies versus big companies, for owning value companies rather than growth companies, and for favoring stocks over bonds. These concepts are evident in all our client portfolios.

Fee Only Advisor

Fee Only Advisor

We provide all of our services on an independent, fee-only (non commission) basis, and serve as a fiduciary for you. This means that we put your needs ahead of ours. The way we believe it should be.

We get compensated in one of two ways: either a monthly financial planning fee or a percentage of the assets that we manage which can be seen on your statements each quarter. We don't receive 12b-1 fees, we don't receive commissions and we don't sell insurance (but we can help you obtain it). This makes us different than most advisors you will meet with. We like being different.

Let's Work Together

Thanks for your interest. To help assess if we're the right fit for you, we ask all potential clients to answer the following questions:

Who We Serve

Upstart Wealth Management serves Gen X and Gen Y investors in San Francisco and other major cities. Our goal, simply put: to help ambitious people make smart, life-changing financial choices. We help tech-sector clients deal with the tax and financial planning issues that come with stock options and restricted stock units, changes in employee benefits, and concentrated stock positions.

We can help you prepare to start a family, buy a home, evaluate a new job offer or become an entrepreneur. We also work with busy professionals in a broad array of other industries, including medicine, education and the law.

We manage assets and provide financial planning services through Upstart Wealth Management, LLC. We handle tax preparation for clients through a separate partner entity, Powsner & Thomas Tax Consulting.


Founder Michael Powsner Founder Michael Powsner

Michael Powsner is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Certified Financial Planner™ with deep experience in stock options and restricted stock planning. He is also a Personal Financial Specialist (PFS), the designation awarded to less than 1% of CPAs who specialize in financial planning. He founded Upstart Wealth Management in 2014.

Michael learned his craft during a decade at some of the top public accounting and wealth management firms in the country. He is well-versed in the tax and financial implications of non-qualified stock options, incentive options, restricted stock units, and 83B elections. He has worked with investors of all types, from young professionals to executives at Fortune 500 businesses. Financial planning, investment and risk management, tax preparation, retirement, trust and estate planning are all part of his portfolio.

Michael graduated cum laude with a degree in accounting from Binghamton University. In his free time, Michael enjoys hiking in California and exploring new destinations. His favorite trips so far include hiking the mountains of Patagonia and scuba diving in the Great Barrier reef.

Contact Us

Upstart Wealth Management is headquartered in San Francisco and serves clients across the country with heavy concentrations in Boston and New York City.

You can reach us at 415-549-0646.

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