Michael Powsner


Upstart Wealth Management

Financial Advisor

Michael Powsner


Upstart Wealth Management

Financial Advisor

As a fee-only financial planner, my focus is to offer unbiased financial advice to help you achieve your life goals. - Michael Powsner, CFP®, CPA/PFS



    Michael Powsner is a San Francisco, CA fee-only financial planner. Upstart Wealth Management 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, Michael Powsner is never paid a commission of any kind, and has a legal obligation to provide unbiased and trustworthy financial advice.

    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.

    Michael Powsner is a Member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors

    The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) is the country’s 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

    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.

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


    • Comprehensive Financial Planning
    • Retirement Income Planning
    • Investment Management
    • College Education Planning
    • Tax Planning

    Ideal Clients

    • Retirees and Near Retirees
    • Growing Families
    • Business Owners and Executives
    • Sudden Money Situations
    • Novice Investors

    Working Together

    • In-Office Meetings
    • Virtual Meetings
    • Clearly Defined Fees
    • No Product Sales
    • Complimentary Initial Consultation

    Professional Designations & Affiliations

    Contact Michael Powsner

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    Office Locations:

    • 582 Market St
      Suite 808
      San Francisco, CA 94104

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