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Financial planning is about living well today and tomorrow.


We believe everybody should have access to personalized advice on an as-needed basis regardless of the amount or location of their assets.

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Reinventing Wealth Management

The Way It Should Be



The traditional model is broken.  Big firms are fraught with conflict of interest as proprietary products and hidden fees often find their way into your portfolio.  As a fee-only advisory firm that embraces the fiduciary standard, we are ethically and legally required to operate solely in your best interest.  We use portfolio design, construction, and management to tailor solutions to meet your needs.


What value are you getting for the fees you're paying?

Our high touch, transparent, low fee approach is easy to understand and keeps more money where it belongs, in your pocket.

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What makes

Sage Wealth Planning different?

We go beyond the traditional investment management model to help our clients feel confident about their full financial ecosystem.  We'll happily manage your investments, but sometimes that's not the best solution.  Our financial advice approach ensures that personalized advice is available on an "as needed" basis and doesn't require you to move your accounts. 

Planning With A Purpose

  • Investment Management: asset-based arrangements ranging from 0.50 - 0.75%
  • Advice & Strategy: Ongoing planning ranging from $100 - 400/mo. 
  • Project Planning: Individual projects typically ranging from $1500 - $3000.

Your Experience

As a Sage Wealth Planning Client

Virtual By Design


Expertise Knows No Boundaries

Working with a professional with the knowledge and experience to meet your needs has never been easier.

The Definition of Convenience Is Always Changing

Face to face wherever you are; secure client portal for exchanging information; screen sharing for planning and collaboration.

High-Touch Without High Cost

Resources are directed toward providing the best experience for our clients.

Sage Wealth Planning

can help answer such
questions as:


Our Process

  • Should I be making any changes to my 401(k) right now?
  • Which is better for my 401(k) contributions, pre-tax or Roth?
  • What is the best strategy for funding my child's education?
  • Does a Roth Conversion strategy make sense for me?
  • Where will I get health insurance after I retire?
  • When should I start collecting social security benefits?

How We Can Help


Retirement
Planning


Simple, Actionable Retirement Plans

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Saving for retirement can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Your Sage Wealth Planning advisor will work with you to understand the best ways to save and to prepare for retirement and help put together a step-by-step plan to reach your goal (and by the way, we don’t believe in sacrificing fun along the way).

Education
Planning


Create a Roadmap for College

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Providing for your child’s education is a wonderful achievement, but it can be expensive. Your Sage Wealth Planning advisor will help you understand the ways to save for and to pay for college and will create a plan to help your future graduate.

Life
Planning


A Plan for What Is Possible In Life

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Your conversations with your Sage Wealth Planning advisor will go beyond just finances. A financial plan is a means to an end: It should help you achieve what is most important in your life. Your advisor will help design a plan that allows you and your family to create lasting memories while planning for a secure financial future.


Asset
Management


A Portfolio Designed for You

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Asset management is an important part of your financial plan. A well-diversified and properly constructed portfolio can help you achieve your goals over the long-term. Your Sage Wealth Planning advisor will work to create a custom portfolio solution that is designed around your specific needs.

Income Tax
Planning


Tax Efficient Strategies for Your Money & Assets

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Being smart about long-term tax-strategies can be one of the best ways to create and maintain wealth. Sage Wealth Planning will work with you to devise the best strategy to minimize tax exposure–now and in the future.

Insurance
Planning


A Plan to Protect Your Family & Your Assets

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You work hard to provide for your family, and your financial plan should make sure that is never in question. Your Sage Wealth Planning advisor will help you navigate the complexities of insurance to design a plan that protects the people you love and the wealth you have created.


Estate
Planning


A Plan to Care for the Ones You Love

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Plan for your best life but prepare for the unknown. If we are being honest, this is never a fun conversation, but it is important to have a plan for the ones you love. Your Sage Wealth Planning advisor will work in concert with your attorney to implement a plan to provide for and to care for your family.

Legacy
Planning


Providing for Generations to Come

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Whether it is planning for future generations of your family or providing for an organization or charity that is important to you, your Sage Wealth Planning advisor will help you create a plan to provide a meaningful legacy. A financial plan, if properly structured, can be a great way to create a lasting impact for your children and grandchildren.

Retirement
Income


A Plan For Your Best Chapter

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The transition from a career to retirement can be daunting, but we think it should be a celebration. This is your best chapter yet! Your Sage Wealth Planning advisor will help you create an income plan around Social Security, pensions and retirement account distributions to enjoy the retirement you worked so hard for. 


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About

Matt Doran, CFP® Photo

Matt Doran, CFP®

Co-founder
Read Bio

Matt Doran, CFP®

Co-founder

An industry veteran, Doran has been providing thought leadership to clients, advisors, educational institutions, and the financial-services industry for more than two decades. He has been quoted in numerous media publications, including CNN Money. Advisor One, Investment News, The Wall Street Journal and National Public Radio.

Doran holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Michigan State University, a master’s in education from Saginaw Valley State University, as well as the Certified Financial Planning Designation.

A natural teacher, inspiring speaker, and relentless champion for clients, Doran is a sought after coach and consultant to fellow advisors.

Success as an advisor and field leader led to management responsibilities at the corporate level and included the design and leadership of several recruiting and training programs for financial advisors as well as leadership development in the southeastern United States and the health of regional business in the Southeast.

In 2019, Doran turned his attention once again to serving clients directly and co-founded Sage Wealth Planning, a fee-only registered investment advisory firm.

Doran lives in Rapid City, MI, with his wife and daughter and enjoys spending time playing golf, hiking, and exploring the beautiful surroundings of northern Michigan.

Jim Hnilo Photo

Jim Hnilo

Co-Founder
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Jim Hnilo

Co-founder

Jim Hnilo has been providing advice and guidance to advisors for more than two decades as an attorney for several large financial organizations. His advice was often sought because of his focus on client interests before all else. Client's interest before all else has always been his practice.

He has firsthand knowledge of the evolving regulatory landscape and the benefits clients recieve when finanical advisors embrace a fiduciary status. This coupled with a longheld belief that client's needs are better served through strategy and advice regarding their holistic financial well-being instead of focusing solely on investments set his approach apart.  Hnilo holds a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Illinois and a law degree from the John Marshall Law School.

In 2019, he co-founded Sage Wealth Planning, a fee-only registered investment advisory firm to serve clients as a fiduciary.

Hnilo lives in St. Louis with his wife and three sons. Watching his sons' sports, golfing and reading top his leisure list.

Brett Densé, CPA Photo

Brett Densé, CPA

Principal
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Brett Densé

Brett is a thoughtful client advocate with a passion for delivering an exceptional customer experience.  His career started on the "Big 4" accounting firm stage where he focused n corporate tax compliance for both small and large multinational corporations, while assisting with individual tax compliance as well.

Most recently, Brett spent 9 years helping to lead and grow a boat dealership in Northern Michigan before joining the team at Sage in September of 2020.  He attributes their growth and success to the team-wide focus on delivering an unmatched customer experience, the type of experience he is excited to deliver to the people he serves at Sage.

One of Brett's favorite quotes is from famed UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, "Be prepared and be honest."

Brett holds a Master's degree in Accounting from San Diego State University, a Bachelor's degree in Accounting from Michigan State University, and is a registered CPA in the state of Michigan.

Brett lives in Traverse City with his wife, daughter, and golden retriever.  His hobbies include all forms of water sports and snow sports, hunting, and playing the piano.

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Sage Service Calendar

Our services can be thought of in

five buckets of work.


These core services are ongoing throughout the
year but also have seasonal emphasis.

  1. Goals and General Financial Planning
  2. Cash Flow Planning 
  3. Investment Advice and Planning 
  4. Tax Planning 
  5. Risk Management

T1: Renew


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  • Planning strategies (including tax) for the current year
  • Contributions to: retirement accounts, health savings accounts, college savings plans
  • Refreshing cash flows, budgeting, debt management strategies

T2: Refresh


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  • Planning for college
  • Retirement
  • Lifestyle and non-retirement goals
  • Risk management

T3: Review


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  • Compensation and benefits, open enrollment
  • Equity compensation exercise strategies
  • Salary deferral and non-qualified deferred compensation
  • Tax-loss harvesting
  • Giving
  • Estate planning



We also like to dedicate

time each trimester to:


  • Update goals and progress
  • Review and rebalance investments
  • Discuss changes that create opportunity or impact strategies

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a CFP® Professional?

CFP® Professional stands for CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional. CFP® is a professional designation attained by a person who has successfully completed the requirements of the Certified Financial Planner Board. CFP® is one of the most rigorous and recognized designations in the financial community. Those who hold this designation have made a commitment to excellence and the fiduciary standard.

What does a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) Professional do?

A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional helps clients achieve their financial and personal goals. Here, our CFP® Professionals are part coach, part advocate, all partner. We are in this with you. We take a holistic approach with an emphasis on your entire financial life – not just investments. Ultimately, our goal is to create a path towards financial prosperity, and peace of mind so you can focus on your family, career, that trip of a lifetime or retirement.

By helping you clarify and articulate your goals, we can review all areas of your financial life to help you achieve them more efficiently.

What is a fiduciary?

A fiduciary is a person who holds a legal or ethical relationship of trust with another. A fiduciary is legally bound to act in the best interest of their client. At Sage Wealth Planning, we embrace the fiduciary standard.

How do I know I’ll be getting the impartial advice?

As fiduciaries, we have a duty of loyalty and duty of care which means we are legally bound to put the interests of our clients first and to provide sound and prudent advice to our clients. As we are fee-only so we are not incentivized by product sales and only receive payment from our clients.

Where is Sage Wealth Planning located?

We are headquartered in Traverse City, MI, with offices in St. Louis, MO, but we also work virtually with clients nationwide.

How does Sage Wealth Planning charge for its services?

Choice, flexibility, and transparency are the pillars of our pricing model.

We charge a flat rate for the creation of a financial plan. We have an hourly structure for advice or guided implementation. We maintain a stand-alone investment advisory service for clients who prefer this structure priced at 0.65% regardless of asset level.

For clients who value all of these services together, we offer flat-fee models that blend financial planning, ongoing implementation of recommendations and investment advisory services.

Further information regarding our services and fees can be found in our Form ADV.

How do we work together?

We start with a free consultation to understand your needs and goals and for you to assess if Sage Wealth Planning is a good fit for you. From there, we use a variety of engaging tools and technology to help you get started on your journey. For clients who are local, we enjoy meeting face to face, but our virtual capabilities allow us to work with clients anywhere. Please consult our Form ADV for more information about the firm and our services.

What happens when I have a question?

We pride ourselves on responsiveness. You can reach us by email, business phone or even on personal cell phone.

Does Sage Wealth Planning meet with clients in the evening?

Absolutely. We understand hectic schedules and will work to accommodate yours.

Can Sage Wealth Planning help with my 401(k)?

Yes, in fact, for many clients their 401(k) is their largest asset. We look at your entire financial picture to give you the best advice.

Can Sage Wealth Planning help me pick my employee benefits?

Absolutely, employee benefits are an important part of the equation and we want to help you with all aspects of your planning.

Can Sage Wealth Planning help me with my stock option plan?

Of course. In fact, it’s another one of our core services we provide for our clients. We analyze and consult on the tax impact these option plans may create and then look at how they affect the rest of your portfolio to set up the best plan for you. Once again, we want to consult on all the parts of your financial life – not just the money you’ve entrusted us to manage directly.

Can Sage Wealth Planning help me with my IRA and brokerage account?

Yes, we can manage assets directly for clients or provide guidance if clients would rather hold their assets on their own.

How often will we meet?

We meet with our clients frequently over the first year to set up their plan and then several times per year after that depending upon the complexities and changing circumstances; however, we are always available as needed.

How does Sage Wealth Planning think about managing client assets?

We believe portfolios should be designed to match risk tolerance and time frame and design spans across accounts. Portfolio construction involves selecting investments to fulfill design. 

We are committed to a low-cost and low-turnover investment strategy. We use a combination of passive and active strategies to achieve our clients’ goals.

How do I get started?

We’d be happy to schedule a free consultation with one of our advisors.

Why does Sage Wealth Planning ask me to "link" my accounts?

Providing the most current and accurate information leads to the best advice. When you link accounts, we are provided with a read-only feed of balance and transaction information and never have access to your account.

Do you hold my assets for me?

No. Clients enter into a separate custodial/clearing agreement with an unaffiliated custodian where the assets are held in the client’s name. Sage Wealth Planning LLC generally recommends that investment management accounts be maintained at Charles Schwab & Co. for execution and/or custodial services. This recommendation is made based on such factors as Schwab’s financial strength, reputation and its full range of services. These include its research and execution capabilities, pricing, banking, technology platform and responsiveness.

See What Is Possible

Schedule a complementary discovery meeting to see if we're the right fit for you.

We can meet over the phone, through video conferencing, or in-person - whatever is most convenient for you.

Sage Wealth Planning

100 River St.
Elk Rapids, MI  49629
(Relocating to this new address soon!)


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