Welcome to Wise Stewardship
Military life – it’s rewarding and challenging all at the same time!
Some of those challenges come in the way of finances.
Wise Stewardship Financial Planning is here to help military members and their families across the U.S. with financial planning and advice.
We are uniquely positioned to help military members and their families take command of their financial lives.
That’s just a big fancy word meaning that we only work in your best interest 100% of the time and are personally liable if we give bad advice. We put it in writing by signing a fiduciary oath to prove it.
The only way we are compensated is by you, our client. We believe in clear, transparent pricing, and we never take any commissions or have any hidden fees. We only work for you. Period.
Like you, we know what military life is like and how it affects your finances. We have years of financial planning experience working with military members and their families to take control of their finances and accomplish their goals.
Hello, I’m Daniel – husband to Anna, widower to Sarah, Air Force veteran, business owner, writer, speaker, financial planner, and Christ-follower. I’m the founder of Wise Stewardship Financial Planning where we offer fee-only, fiduciary financial planning and investment advice with a special focus on young widows and widowers as well as servicemembers and their families.
Here’s the story of why I became a financial planner. I’ve always been interested in money since I was a little kid, including out-bidding my siblings for chores-for-hire, to providing loans to my siblings and friends when they had spent all their money and diligently saving my allowance for future goals. Over time this evolved into reading the stock pages in the newspaper as a young teenager and then choosing to major in economics in college. After completing Air Force ROTC at Purdue University, I commissioned as an officer into the Air Force in 2009 but continued my personal interest into personal finances, investing, and all things money-related.
In my college years and early 20s, I read hundreds of books and spent thousands of hours studying financial planning topics. I also had the opportunity to be a volunteer financial counselor during many of the years when I was on active duty in addition to helping and educating family and friends over the years. Thanks to countless help along the way, I learned more about the financial services industry and found my way to fee-only, fiduciary financial planning. It was through these experiences that sparked my passion and helped me realize what I wanted to do whenever I decided to leave the military!
As an officer on active duty for almost 9 years, along with a brother, sister, and brother-in-law in the military, I experienced firsthand the benefits and challenges that military life can have on all aspects of life especially finances. Frequent changes like TDY’s, deployments, and PCS’s add unique potential opportunities and obstacles to meeting goals and dreams. Add in the often disparate and sometimes confusing military pay, benefits, scattered military benefits and discounts, and countless people offering advice or services, and there is often a lack of clarity on how best to optimize all of these to best meet goals.
I’ve seen almost everything military life can throw at you and been through much of what you probably have questions about. I’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t; what’s important and what isn’t. I’m now able to use these vast experiences to help my clients navigate the challenges of the busy military life, get the most out of your hard-earned benefits, and help you achieve your goals.
I ended up separating from the Air Force in Feb 2018 and embarked on an 8 month sabbatical. I long considered taking a few months off after active duty so I could travel some more, visit friends and family across the US, and take advantage of a mid-career transition to do something that otherwise isn’t possible with normal vacation time off. I had been saving up for this opportunity for several years and I ultimately ended up buying a truck and RV trailer so I could maximize my travel flexibility. Over the course of 2018, I visited 38 states, drove more than 27K miles, saw 14 National Parks, visited dozens of friends and family, and made incredible memories!
The time off gave me opportunities to heal, rest, think deeply, journal and write, and lay the groundwork for launching Wise Stewardship in late 2018. I absolutely love helping and teaching people in this role! This job is equal parts of both which makes it an incredible opportunity that I wake up every morning excited to work in!
Finances can be such a challenging and taboo topic for most people. Add in the complexity that often comes with taxes, investments, knowing how much to save and spend, behavioral biases, and the list goes on and on. Believe it or not, but all that stuff is fun for me. I enjoy reading about retirement saving options or the tax code. When I get to combine all of my financial knowledge with my real-world life experiences to help and teach my clients, it’s a match made in heaven. Truly.
Financial planning is an opportunity to invest in the lives of my clients. It is so exciting to help them develop a process for using their money wisely that aligns with their values now and in the future. Just like a personal trainer designs the proper program for your specific fitness needs and holds you accountable to staying focused on your goals, I do the same with my client’s money because I love empowering them to make smarter, more informed decisions now that can produce dramatic results in the future.
Some of that value is more intangible than a list of deliverables. The smart financial decisions I help my clients make today (and the not-so-smart decisions I help them avoid) create a compound effect over the long-term: the more they do correctly today, the greater their level of success is likely to be in the future. The small adjustments I show them how to make today, and cumulatively over time to optimize their financial lives, can add hundreds of thousands of dollars to their net worth over their lifetime. My clients then get to use their finances to take care of their families, pursue passions and dreams, and live and give like no one else.
Finally, I love how this company is an opportunity for me to live out my values at work everyday. My personal philosophy on money can best be summed up with the concept of stewardship, hence where the name of the company came from. A dictionary definition of stewardship is “the responsible overseeing and protection of something considered worth caring for and preserving.” Another word we often use in this same concept as it relates to finances today is fiduciary. I strongly believe in transparency and offering fee-only financial planning free from conflicts of interest.
I believe I have a broad responsibility of being a wise steward of the many blessings, not just financial, that I have been given. First and foremost, I have that responsibility to God to use His abundant provision with an eternal perspective. I must be mindful to not separate God’s gifts from His purpose … He has so blessed me so I can bring honor and glory to Him and be a blessing to others! Secondly, I have a responsibility to provide and care for my family with wise planning for our finances. Lastly, I have a responsibility to all those whom I am privileged to work with and educate including each and every client. I make a promise that I will apply those same fiduciary principles of stewardship to everything I do.
Daniel Kopp is a fee-only, fiduciary financial planner and founder of Wise Stewardship Financial Planning where he helps young widows and widowers as well as servicemembers get their financial lives in order by aligning their money with their values. He is also an Air Force veteran after almost 9 years as an officer on active duty during which he served as an Air Battle Manager participating in combat deployments and training opportunities all across the world. Outside of his official military commitments, Daniel has always had a passion to help servicemembers and their families master their finances where he served as a volunteer financial counselor during most of his time on active duty.
Daniel is a widower after his wife Sarah passed away in late 2017. In the few years prior to her death, Daniel had become her full-time caregiver due to a variety of health conditions including the loss of three miscarriages. During that time, he learned how to persevere by ordering his life around his faith in God and aligning family, work, and finances with his personal goals. Daniel now combines his financial training and experience helping people with a deep, personal understanding of how grief affects every single area of life.
Daniel is now married to his wife Anna, and lives in the Boston area where they love to explore new places, try interesting cuisines, serve in their local church, and take advantage of the rich history of New England. You’ll find a fast way to become their friend if you play board games with them!
Daniel received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics from Purdue University as a third-generation Boilermaker, where he graduated with Highest Distinction (top 3%) and was named one of the Top 10 Krannert School of Business Seniors in a graduating class of over 850. He has also received his Master of Arts in Military Studies and Strategic Leadership from American Military University, and is currently finishing up his work toward the Certified Financial Planner designation as well as pursuing a second masters in financial planning. Daniel is also a frequent personal-finance freelance writer and speaker, especially on military-related topics.
Daniel is a distinguished Air Force veteran as a three-time Air Force Distinguished Graduate (#1) for each of his three formal training courses as well as the Air Force’s David C. Schilling Award for the most outstanding contributions to the field of flight along with numerous other awards and accolades in his military career.
Financial Planning Process
Does financial planning sound good, but you’re not sure what it covers? Here’s a pretty comprehensive list of topics we will talk about:
Identifying Goals.This is the foundation of financial planning. Whether your goal is “Make the most of military pay and benefits” or “Should I stay on active duty or consider a move to the reserves” or “I don’t even know what to do with my finances.” Knowing where you are now is the necessary first step to reaching your goals. We help you get clarity on what’s important to you so your finances support your great life.
Risk Management. This term is often used simply as a synonym for “insurance,” but it is so much more: ample cash reserves, adequate savings rate, estate planning documents to care for your family, and an appropriate investment portfolio.
Real Estate Planning Strategies. For military members this is a unique challenge given the frequent PCS cycle and its impact. You might have a lot of your net worth tied up in real estate, especially if you live in a high-cost-of-living area. We look at the role that real estate plays in your total financial picture and how to best balance the risks and potential rewards of real estate ownership with those of your investment portfolio and the rest of your financial picture.
Education Planning. No matter how old your child is, there’s something we could be doing to prepare for the cost of his or her education, either savings or ways to lower the cost. Whether leveraging your GI Bill benefits for you or your children or maximizing education savings via a 529, we can help you figure this out your best strategy at every step, and can even help review your financial picture as it relates to eligibility for financial aid.
Employee Benefits Optimization. Life transitions from the military can make this part particularly stressful as most military families have no experience outside of the world of military benefits. We help you examine options for health insurance, 401(k)/TSP contributions, life insurance, legal services…the list is long. We review your benefits and determine whether you are taking full advantage of the benefits available to you and how best to evaluate benefits as they change.
Estate Planning. While this is not the most enjoyable topic, estate planning for most people with young families, is first and foremost a way of protecting your spouse and children in case anything happens to you. We can help identify needs in your existing estate plan and coordinate with your attorney to ensure that your estate plan works well with your overall financial plan.
Investment advice. Do you have investments spread all over the place–your TSP, your spouse’s workplace retirement plan, an investment account, IRAs, a savings account, a CD, a 529–and little idea how they all work together? We provide a high-level view of your entire portfolio as it exists today and recommend how to tailor it to better meet your goals. We can also explain how various investment vehicles and strategies work.
Cash Flow Management. We review your income and expenses to determine how much or how little you are saving, how much you should be saving, and where. We can help you set up a system for saving that is automatic and makes it easy to stick to your plan. If you have debt, we can also advise you on how best to pay down debts.
Retirement Planning. Though you are probably still years away from retirement, retirement planning cannot wait until you’re 60. Whether you will get a military pension or not we can help you plan wisely for a future beyond work. We look at when you are likely to achieve financial independence given your current savings and spending goals, and we adjust your plan to get you back on track if necessary.
Tax Planning Strategies. We want you to understand your taxes and how they interact with the rest of your finances. We also look for ways to minimize current and future income taxes as a part of your overall financial planning picture. A knowledge of your tax situation will help guide strategy for investing, income, philanthropy. We coordinate with your tax professional to make sure your tax decisions work well with the rest of your financial plan.
Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) Analysis. For servicemembers and their families approaching retirement, deciding whether or not to select the SBP is a major decision that can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars over military retirement. We work with you to determine your needs, compare against other life insurance strategies, and give you the confidence you need to make the right choice for your individual circumstances.
Here’s a look at the different financial planning services we offer and the pricing structure for each one:
Foundation Plan: $999 – $3,999 — Our Foundation Plan is a complete financial plan that includes all of the elements discussed above in the financial planning process. We gather and review everything related your financial life and then work together for 4 – 8 virtual meetings (based on the complexity of your financial situation), typically over the course of a few months. We craft a plan with action steps for each area of your finances for you to confidently implement on your own.
Comprehensive Plan: Upfront fee starting at $499+ & ongoing monthly fee starting at $129+ — The Comprehensive Plan consists of the same elements as The Foundation Plan, but also includes ongoing execution of implemented strategies, quarterly meetings after the initial plan is developed over, and unlimited email support for financial topics. It gives you complete, ongoing access to Wise Stewardship regarding your financial life for all the questions and changes that life may bring. Investment management is available as an additional service to our comprehensive financial planning clients. We will continue to monitor and adapt our strategies based on the fluctuations of the market and your unique needs.
Quick Start Plan: $195 — This plan covers one of the financial planning topics listed above. After you submit some relevant information to your topic of choice, we have an hour-long virtual meeting going over your questions and coming up with a gameplan. Following our meeting, you receive an action checklist reviewing our discussion and giving you the steps you need to implement on your own. Previous Quick Start clients that hire Wise Stewardship for the Foundation or Comprehensive Plan within 5 months of their previous meeting will have the entire $195 applied towards their financial planning fee.
Ask Me Anything: $150 an hour — Have some general questions or just want to talk with a fee-only financial planner? We can work together at a flat hourly rate to customize a plan for your needs. A minimum of 2 hours is required.
Investment Management – The investment management program was designed for those who know where their time is best spent — and researching, managing, and stressing over their investments and the health of their portfolios is not it. Making the right investments is critical to building wealth, providing for your family based on investing life insurance proceeds, and meeting your goals. But trying to DIY can leave you second-guessing every decision, missing opportunities, and making mistakes you didn’t even know you were making.
Successful investing requires objectivity, and it’s almost impossible to remain objective when you’re dealing with your own money. With endless choices and decisions to make, it’s easy to stray from rational strategies and start buying, selling, and rebalancing based off emotion (if you remember to do these things at all). Don’t lose your potential to create, grow, and keep wealth by making the same mistakes the average investor makes. We provide professional investment strategy that runs off academic research and empirical evidence. When we work together to better manage your investments, you can enjoy peace of mind and focus on other areas of your life.
Our investment fee schedule is below:
|Account Value||Annual Advisory Fee|
|$0 – $500,000||1.00%|
|$500,001 – $750,000||0.90%|
|$750,000 – $1,000,000||0.80%|
|$1,000,001 – $2,000,000||0.70%|
|$2,000,001 and Above||0.60%|
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