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.


Upstart Wealth Management offers clients a complete package of financial services, plus something more: a personal approach that is rare in financial planning. We don’t use pre-set formulas or templates. Our financial planning, asset management, tax preparation and planning are all tailored to each individual’s unique needs and goals.

Financial Planning

Thinking of your financial future should make you feel optimistic, confident and in control.

That’s why we start with a clear-eyed view of each client’s current standing, and then work to clear the path toward their vision for the future.

Our team is devoted to helping clients discover that vision. Then we uncover thoughtful and creative ways for their financial resources to serve it, both now and as new opportunities arrive.

Asset Management

We use an evidence-based approach to asset management. The goal: provide each client the building blocks to meet short-term commitments while taking advantage of market returns and new opportunities in the mid- and long-term.

Our team personally handles both planning and investing, allowing strategies for each client to be matched directly to risk capacity, account size, and future funding expectations. We build portfolios of individual stocks and bonds to deliver the best result for the individual ― whenever possible, without increasing total fees.

This personalization also means we can leverage tax loss harvesting to add additional value. Tax loss harvesting can improve after-tax returns for investors and is particularly helpful for clients in high tax brackets who want to limit their overall tax obligation.

Learn more about our investment principles

Tax Planning and Return Prep

Full tax returns are included in our client services. We also provide tax projections throughout the year showing how much to allocate toward tax payments — and how to do it most efficiently. These projections help us spot opportunities in tax laws that can boost after-tax wealth over time.

Given our deep understanding of each client’s financial goals we can also help them plan for the tax implications of any new challenges and opportunities that arise. For example, assisting in the evaluation and negotiation of job offers and navigation of complicated equity compensation situations.

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 take your success personally. Our goal is to bring you a comprehensive package of financial services with a fee structure that promotes your long-term interests.

Clients get our full-service team for a simple annual retainer of $3,600, which includes the first $250,000 of assets under management (AUM). Once AUM exceeds this amount, we charge the following fee schedule:

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

$0 – $250,000: 0%
$250,001 – $2,500,000: 0.80%
$2,500,001 – $10,000,000: 0.75% </br />$10,000,001 – $20,000,000: 0.55%
$20,000,001 and above: 0.45%

We charge these fees because we’re fiduciaries for you. That means we offer our services on an independent and fee-only basis, putting your needs first. We’ll never choose a fund to claim a commission, because we don’t take commissions. We have nothing to sell you but guidance that is aligned with your vision for the future.


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.

About Us

Upstart is a seasoned team of fiduciary planners with a common passion for serving clients.

Mike Powsner CPA/PFS, CFP®
Founding Partner and Financial Planner

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. His passion for travel has led him around the world including hiking the mountains of Patagonia, scuba diving in the Great Barrier reef and ice caving in Iceland. But his greatest adventure thus far has been taking on the role of “dad” at the start of 2019.

Russell Kroeger CFP®, EA
Partner and Financial Planner

A true student of the profession, Russell has a unique mastery of both financial planning and taxation with deep expertise in equity compensation complexity. His love of financial planning is rooted in a passion for helping clients discover what is possible for their lives. After working with several high-end financial planning firms, Russell founded Paradigm Wealth to help young professionals improve their experience with money and explore their limitless potential to positively impact the world.

Friends and collaborators for years, Russell and Mike merged firms to leverage each other’s skills and serve their clients more comprehensively. Russell now uses the Paradigm Wealth platform to write and teach on topics like integrating money and life, compounding human capital, and defining True Wealth. He is also published in the Journal of Financial Planning, speaks at conferences, and has been recognized within the profession for his contribution.

Russell’s vision of well-being involves an active and healthy lifestyle and lots of reading. He unplugs by relaxing in San Francisco’s parks, camping, hiking, traveling, and by exploring life with his partner, friends, and family.

Contact Us

Upstart Wealth Management has offices in San Francisco and New York City, serving clients across the country.

You can reach us at

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