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.


We offer a holistic approach that includes financial planning, asset management, as well as tax preparation and planning. We believe this provides our clients the most coordinated approach to maximizing their wealth.

Examples of items we help clients with:

  • Develop long-term saving strategies
  • Allocate and managing assets
  • Plan for life events, e.g. buying a home or having a child
  • Donate stock to charities/utilizing donor advised funds
  • Leverage company stock options/equity
  • Optimize tax situations

This comprehensive approach is also reflected in the technology we use. Client portfolios are available 24/7 through a secure online platform. Link your outside accounts to see real-time balance sheet and cash flow statements, eliminating the need for manual updates while providing a complete snapshot of your finances in one place.

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 have two payments structures.

The first is a one-time financial planning fee. We recommend this for clients who have complex financial planning needs without investable assets.

The second is an all-inclusive asset management fee for financial planning and investment management based on what we are managing for you. We recommend this option for clients with investable assets. See fee Schedule 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

All assets are held at TD Ameritrade, a third-party custodian.

Separate fees for Tax preparation services are charged when assets that we are managing is below $750,000.


Who We Serve

Upstart Wealth Management serves mainly Gen X investors in San Francisco and other major cities. Our goal, simply put: to help ambitious people make smart, life-changing financial choices.

Many clients come to us as they are at the stage in life where they have built up a pool of assets but don't have the time or interest to focus on their financial health.

We also have deep expertise in helping 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.


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 in other major cities across the country.

You can reach us at 415-549-0646 or email us at [email protected].

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