Michael Branham, CFP®

Sr. Financial Planner

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Alaska|Twin Cities

Phone:

(763) 494-0095, (907) 276-1400

I embrace my fiduciary duty to clients and believe that the best path to help you reach your life’s goals is through a comprehensive planning approach that coordinates each facet of your financial life. We start each engagement with an in-depth conversation about your goals and aspirations. Next, we collaborate to customize a plan that incorporates your resources, current and future, into achieving your life’s dreams. From there we continue our work together to maintain and adjust your plan as “life happens”, and to help you navigate each of your key personal and career transitions along the way.

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, live the life you have imagined.” [Henry David Thoreau]

I began my career in 1999 as a “kid” in a bullpen full of new planners for a national financial services company.  The journey from then to now has been both unbelievable and enjoyable.  It’s that typical “that seems like forever ago and just like yesterday all at the same time”.  

Over the years my wife, Julie, and I have raised 3 children (Tyler, Alea and Zack), and moved from our home of 22 years in Burnsville, MN to our new home in Anchorage, AK.  I have worked for 4 firms in 20 years, the longest stint being 12 years before joining The Planning Center in 2015.  I’ve served as President of NexGen in the mid-2000’s and soon after joined the Financial Planning Center’s (FPA) Board of Directors from 2009 through 2014, serving as FPA President in 2013 and Chair in 2014.  I’ve served on countless committees and commissions, many of which focused on advocating at a State and Federal level for consistently higher standards to be applied to all who work in the financial planning profession.  But through it all, my main professional focus has been to objectively and effectively serve my clients through a comprehensive planning approach, always putting your interests ahead of my own.  

Balance in life is important, and I live what I preach with my clients.  Now that my wife and I have “launched” each of our three children into their own adult journey we look forward to years of adventure ahead.  We live full-time in Anchorage, and still travel to visit our kids and families in Minnesota on a regular basis.  Outside of work you’ll find us hiking, camping, fishing, XC Skiing and enjoying everything the great outdoors in Alaska and Minnesota has to offer.  We also enjoy travel, with a long list of locations we’re excited to visit.  

Credentials

Affiliations: Fee-Only, Fiduciary Planner; CFP® Certificant since 2004

Areas of Expertise: Retirement planning and accumulation strategies for Generation X professionals and executives; retirement income strategy development for retiring clients, State of Alaska Judicial Retirement System; State of Alaska and University of Alaska retirement systems; transition planning, annual tax planning

Memberships: Financial Planning Association (FPA), National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), Fee Only Network, CFP® Board’s “Let’s Make a Plan”

  • Served as President of FPA, at the time the youngest in FPA’s history, in 2013.
  • Served as Chairman of FPA’s Board of Directors and Political Action Committee (PAC) Chair in 2014.
  • Serve on the CFP® Board’s Commission on Sanctions and Fitness beginning in 2021 through the end of our work.
  • Served as Chair of FPA’s Member Advisory Council (MAC) in 2019 and 2020
  • Served as Chair of FPA’s Advocacy Committee in 2015.
  • Served as FPA President-Elect, and a member of FPA’s executive Committee in 2012.
  • Elected to the FPA Board of Directors, to serve the 24,000 members of the organization, for three-year term beginning in 2009 (2009-2011).
  • Served in executive leadership for NexGen, FPA’s community for financial planners under the age of 36 years old, as President (2007) and Chair (2008).
  • Served on the FPA of MN Board of Directors as Director- Membership Services (2008).
  • Served on the FPA of MN Board of Directors as Director- Career Development (2006-2007).
  • Served as a member of the FPA of MN Government Relations Committee (2001-2003).
  • Has personally advocated in Washington D.C. on behalf of FPA (in Congress, the executive branch, and at the Department of Labor) to ensure that clients can expect a Fiduciary Standard of Care when working with a financial planner, financial advisor, or any financial professional where advice is given.
  • Has been quoted in numerous consumer and trade publications over his 16-year career, including the Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch, The Journal of Financial Planning, Money Magazine, and The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, to name a few.

What inspires me:
Hard working, dedicated people succeeding through the fruits of their efforts.

Most effective saving tip:
Begin as early as possible, save systematically and be mindful of the long-term.

My investment philosophy in action:
Keep the big picture in mind and avoid focusing on the short-term noise! Being patient, with a long-term focus, leads to greater success than chasing the social media investment of the day. 

My greatest extravagance (under $100):
Gear.  I continuously buy outdoors gear and clothing to upgrade older and deteriorating items in my kit. 

In my spare time:
I watch a lot of hockey and lacrosse; I try to be active and outside.

My personal heroes:
My parents…for instilling in me the work ethic and drive to allow whatever successes I have in life….and for having the fortitude to raise my two brothers and me, which could not have been easy.

Awards

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We’d like to meet you!

Schedule a free 15 minute conversation and we’ll spend a few minutes getting to know each other so we can learn if what you are seeking and what we provide are a good fit for each other. If it seems like a fit, we’ll talk about next steps. If we’re not, we’ll help you find the right group for your needs.