James Schwarz


CLEAR Retirement Advice

Wealth Advisor

James Schwarz


CLEAR Retirement Advice

Wealth Advisor

As a fee-only financial planner, my focus is to offer unbiased financial advice to help you achieve your life goals. - James Schwarz, CFP®, RICP®, MBA

Fee-Only financial planner located in San Mateo, CA, serving clients locally and across the country

James Schwarz is a San Mateo, CA fee-only financial planner. CLEAR Retirement Advice provides comprehensive and objective financial planning to help clients organize, grow and protect their assets through life’s transitions. As a fee-only, fiduciary, and independent financial advisor, James Schwarz is never paid a commission of any kind, and has a legal obligation to provide unbiased and trustworthy financial advice.

At Clear Retirement Advice, clients have direct access to their Wealth Advisor for all of their financial planning and investment needs. A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and a RETIREMENT INCOME CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL®, Jim Schwarz is committed to learning what is most important to his clients before making any recommendations or taking any action. He then draws on decades of technical research and experience to design, implement, and maintain strategies to achieve those most important goals.


Jim attributes his achievements in Wealth Management to decades of research and experience, including leadership roles in finance departments at Fortune 500 companies. At Charles Schwab, he was honored multiple times for being in the top 1% in the nation in both advisor and manager roles, and he was responsible for over 20,000 households and over $13B in assets.

"Working for a large brokerage company, I was exposed to literally thousands of different financial advisors and advisor firms," says Jim. "I was able to see from an insider's perspective which strategies and services really added a ton of value for clients...and which did not." Seeing an opportunity to serve clients by combining the best-in-class strategies and services, he decided to start Clear Retirement Advice LLC.

Jim also saw that the most effective way to serve clients was to give more personal attention to fewer clients, and to narrow the advisor's focus to one type of client. For CLEAR, that focus is on people in or interested in retirement.


"I remember a day years ago when I met with two completely different clients. In the morning, the client I met with was young and recently engaged, and needed financial strategies to pay off student loans, buy a first home, and plan for potential children. In the afternoon, I met with a couple who had recently retired, and they wanted to know how to maximize social security, whether they should get long term care insurance, and how much money they could afford to gift to their family."

It became so obvious to Jim just how different it was to manage wealth in the "accumulation" phase of life compared to managing wealth in the "distribution" phase. "I knew that the only way to truly be an expert and to stay on top of all the latest research and best solutions was to choose a lane."

Jim chose the distribution lane as his sole focus, partly because few advisors specialize exclusively in it, and partly because expert help with retirement wealth is so crucial to the lives of individuals and families. "Compared to accumulation, distribution is a much more important puzzle to get right. We cannot afford to make major mistakes at this phase of life."


Jim's passion lies in helping clients overcome the financial challenges that come up at various times in retirement. These challenges include volatile markets, global events, inflation, coordination of various retirement income sources, investing, tax reduction, healthcare, wealth protection, and wealth transfer.

Jim has one over-arching goal: to make sure his clients feel secure about both their current situation and their future, so they can enjoy an independent and fulfilling retirement.

A lifelong learner, Jim is both a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) and a RETIREMENT INCOME CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL® (RICP®). He graduated #1 in his MBA class at USC Marshall School of Business where he also was a Teaching Assistant for MBA Finance, and he earned his bachelor's degree at Harvard University with an emphasis on microeconomics.

He volunteers as a Financial Educator through the Financial Planning Association® to help under-served populations through its pro bono program. Jim lives in San Carlos, CA, and enjoys movies, tennis, singing (he has performed the National Anthem at 7 Major League Baseball games), and laughing with his wife Tracy and their three kids, Mary, Hayes, and David.

James Schwarz is a Member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors

The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) is a leading professional association of Fee-Only financial advisors - highly trained professionals who are committed to working in the best interests of those they serve.

NAPFA members live by three important values:

  • To be the beacon for independent, objective financial advice for individuals and families.
  • To be the champion of financial services delivered in the public interest.
  • To be the standard bearer for the emerging profession of financial planning.

Clear Retirement Advice

Straightforward guidance to get your entire financial life in order, and keep it that way year after year--for people who are retired, partially retired, or thinking about retirement.

Your Retirement Wealth Deserves a Retirement Wealth Specialist.

Get organized and get confident about your current situation and about your future. Then stay organized and confident throughout retirement. It's much easier when you work with a firm with the experience and expertise to do it.

As a Registered Investor Advisor (RIA) firm, we gain access to institutional-class investments, research, technology, and security. Since we are independent, we are not limited in our choice of partners. And since we are a fiduciary firm, we must choose what we believe is best for our clients.

Complete financial health requires a complete financial team. With client permission, we manage the logistics of sharing documents and advice with other members of the team, ensuring each client gets best-in-class service in all of the major areas of Wealth Management. If a client is already working with an expert, we work directly with that expert. And if a client needs a referral in any area, we have a network of professionals ready to help.

Fee-Only, Fiduciary, Independent: Three Important Criteria to Consider When Choosing a Financial Advisor.


  • Comprehensive Financial Planning
  • Retirement Income Planning
  • Investment Management
  • Tax Reduction Planning

Ideal Clients

  • Retirees and Near Retirees
  • Over 50 Years Old
  • $500K - $10M in Savings and Investments
  • Distributing From Portfolio Now or Within 5 Years

Working Together

  • Virtual Meetings
  • Clearly Defined Equal Price Flat Fee
  • No Product Sales or Commissions
  • Complimentary CLEAR Action Plan

Professional Designations & Affiliations

  • National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA)
    James Schwarz is a NAPFA-Registered Financial Advisor

    The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) is a leading professional association of Fee-Only financial advisors—highly trained professionals who are committed to working in the best interests of those they serve.

  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
    James Schwarz is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional - Click for Verification

    CFP® professionals are held to strict ethical standards to ensure financial planning recommendations are in your best interest. What’s more, a CFP® professional must acquire several years of experience related to delivering financial planning services to clients and pass the comprehensive CFP® Certification Exam before they can use the CFP® designation.

  • Financial Planning Association
    James Schwarz is a member of The Financial Planning Association® (FPA®)

    FPA® is the largest membership organization for CFP® professionals in the U.S. and supports high standards of professional competence, ethical conduct, and clear, complete disclosure when serving clients.

  • RICP Retirement Income Certified Professional®
    James Schwarz is a Retirement Income Certified Professional® (RICP®)

    A professional designation for experienced financial advisors and investment managers who have passed coursework to become experts in retirement income planning. A Retirement Income Certified Professional® helps retirees and near-retirees develop and implement a plan for managing the financial assets they have accumulated for retirement and a set realistic budget to help meet life goals.

  • Dimensional Funds
    CLEAR Retirement Advice is an Approved Dimensional Funds Advisor

    Dimensional believes an advisor can work closely with you to understand your financial needs and provide a range of wealth management services, while encouraging the discipline essential to long-term investment success. Financial advisors who work with Dimensional operate independently from Dimensional and vary in the extent to which they use Dimensional funds.

Contact James Schwarz

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Office Locations:

  • 1900 S Norfolk St
    Suite 350
    San Mateo, CA 94403

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