Morningstar Magazine - October/November 2017 - 87

finances. It's a way to get inside people's homes
and put them at ease. In the process, Bera
says, she learns a lot more about what's going
on in their lives, information she uses to help
them in many other areas.
Bera doesn't put much emphasis on investing.
She uses Betterment for Advisors, which creates
investment models based on a clients' risk
tolerance and time horizon. She uses Morningstar
to research the exchange-traded funds that
Betterment's models invest in.
"One of my core values is simple first, sexy later,"
she says. "If you want a complex stock-picking
strategy, I'm not the person for you."
Outsourcing, Bera says, allows her to spend more
time on what matters to clients, like student
loan repayment strategies or credit cards. That has
the potential to increase wealth much more
than optimizing investments. So, for now,
a barebones solution like Betterment suffices. But
that can change. For example, several of
Bera's clients are small-business owners or
consultants, and they need access to a SIMPLE IRA
or solo 401(k) for retirement savings, something
Betterment doesn't offer.
The Next Generation of Planners
Bera is a member of the XY Planning Network,

a referral network launched by Michael Kitces and
Alan Moore in 2014 to help young planners
connect with millennial clients. Through the
organization, Bera has worked with new planners
to help them launch their own businesses. The key
for young planners, she says, is to find their niche,
much as she's been able to do with millennials.
"There are tons of niches that people aren't
exploring that much," she says, "like couples with
special needs children."
Sophia Bera, CFP, founder of Gen Y Planning.
How she caught our eye: Runs practice geared
toward millennials and young Gen-Xers.
Career path: A dual major in women's studies and
theater, Bera became a self-taught financial planning
expert. In 2005, she enrolled in CFP courses
and worked at a few planning firms as an associate

before landing at LearnVest as a financial planner.
Bera founded her own firm in 2013.
Personal: Bera enjoys true crime podcasts
and is learning to play the ukulele, like her hero,
Warren Buffett.
Favorite funds: Vanguard's LifeStrategy series.

Instead of worrying about the competition,
Bera welcomes it. "I say, 'Thank God,'" she says.
"As much as I love working with 50 clients
across the country, I can have even more impact
by coaching 100 different planners to do
the same." K
Ilana Polyak is a freelance financial journalist.

global.morningstar.com/Morningstarmagazine

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Morningstar Magazine - October/November 2017

Contents
Morningstar Magazine - October/November 2017 - Cover1
Morningstar Magazine - October/November 2017 - Cover2
Morningstar Magazine - October/November 2017 - 1
Morningstar Magazine - October/November 2017 - 2
Morningstar Magazine - October/November 2017 - Contents
Morningstar Magazine - October/November 2017 - 4
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