Financial Wellness Thought Leaders You Should Be Following Today

Financial Wellness Thought Leaders You Should Be Following Today

The financial wellness industry is becoming increasingly known to the HR and benefits community as a ‘must have’ for employers and employees alike. Its prominence since the start of the last decade has much to do with financial wellness experts shedding light on how a financially stable workforce helps employees to be less stressed, more productive, and more likely to remain with their employer. In the increasingly competitive environment to recruit talent, employers need to stand out with benefits that make a difference. We’ve compiled a list of top thought leaders we think you should follow to keep you up to date in the industry. We also asked each of these thought leaders to provide you with a piece of advice to keep in mind when considering a financial wellness program.

Daniel Bryant | Entrepreneur, President of National Sales, Sheridan Road Financial

daniel bryant

Financial Wellness Guru, Daniel Bryant, is an industry thought-leader, best-selling author of The Financial Wellness Mandate, entrepreneur, and former CEO of Sheridan Road Financial, where he now serves as President of National Sales, Retirement & Private Wealth.

He began his career working in corporate finance for Sam Zell’s The Equity Group. He then transitioned into a successful investment banking career for leading firms, such as Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, and Robertson Stephens. Daniel co-founded Sheridan Road in 2005 and acted as CEO and Managing Partner until they joined HUB International at the end of 2018. He has also acted as an adjunct lecturer for over 40 programs with The Plan Sponsor University at the University of Chicago, University of Denver, and Vanderbilt University.

“Employers who take the time to understand the financial obstacles faced by employees and understand the most important trends shaping workplace benefits are the ones who will win the war for talent and improve financial outcomes for both employees and employers.”

Ross Marino, CFP®, CeFT®, CPFA | Founder, Transitus Wealth Partners

ross marino

Do you remember any gifts from your 15th birthday? Ross does. He received a copy of Money magazine, and it shaped his life. A subscription to Psychology Today soon followed. Fascinated from an early age with how people think and what they do with money, he began his career as a financial advisor in 1988 and has been helping people ever since. Understanding people and money still drives him today. Read more of Ross’s inspirational story here.

“Everyone experiences periods of financial stress. Severe or extended periods of stress impact health, strain relationships and hinder performance at work. What can an employer do? Install financial wellness programs that educate and assist people with life’s most stressful challenges.”

Fred Barstein | Founder and Executive Director, TRAU

Fred Barstein

Elder statesman Fred Barstein is a sound voice in the Retirement Advisor and Plan Sponsor Communities. He has founded numerous publications and organizations including The Retirement Advisor University (TRAU), The Plan Sponsor University (TPSU), 401k TV, NAPA Net–the Daily newsletter, and NAPA Net–The Magazine, all part of the National Association of Plan Advisors (NAPA) for which he serves as Industry Ambassador.

“If you’re viewing an employee as merely an asset vehicle to commercial gain, you have it all wrong, and that is going to catch up with you.” – Fred Barstein (Originally Quoted in Daniel Bryant’s The Financial Wellness Mandate.)


Keena Pettijohn | CEO & Founder, Lifelogixs Consultancy Group

keena pettijohn

Keena is a woman of many hats, bringing over 25 years of executive experience in the financial services and insurance Industry across financial technology, private banking, and trust solutions in the bank, credit union, insurance and RIA distribution channels. An accomplished author, Keena is also recognized as a speaker for the Bank, Insurance, and Securities Association (BISA), and credited with the introduction of the Innovation Lab to highlight emerging fintech firms that support BISA’s 1,200 members.

With expertise in automation of social media marketing, financial planning, and CRM software, she has facilitated all-star panels at annual trade conferences, including moderating the Financial Wellness panel at the AdviceTech.LIVE national event. She is a strong advocate for women’s development programs to attract female planners and advisors into the industry and an active member of the “Females and Finance” organization.

Read Keena’s recently published article titled Let’s Talk About: Financial Wellness where she highlights Questis and the need for financial empowerment.

“Employers need to better understand the Financial Health challenges their employees are facing and to provide better digital tools to help them weather financial catastrophes and build their household’s ability and resiliency to face those challenges. Their need to support their employees’ financial health has never been greater as household finances continue to be “unstable” as part of the continued aftermath of the pandemic. In addition to providing their employees with the education to better understand financial concepts and gain access to those financial solutions, the employer should provide the employee with the understanding of the financial impact of using or not using available financial products.

Since it has been stated that 59% of employees say finances cause the bulk of their stress and 35% of employees are distracted by their finances while at work, according to data from consulting firm PwC, the employer needs to make an ongoing investment to address this throughout the year.”

Alyssa Place | Executive Editor, EBN

alyssa place

Alyssa Place is the executive editor of Employee Benefit News. She is passionate about topics related to employee mental health and supporting women in the workplace. Alyssa also focuses on employee benefits that help employees bring their best selves to work. She was previously a reporter and producer at Yahoo Finance and ABC News.

“Employers should think about financial wellness as a spectrum. The goals and values around money won’t be the same for everyone, but providing financial wellness benefits and education can help employees make those decisions and tap into the resources that will be most valuable for them. Employees are asking for so much from their employers with their benefits right now, and investing in financial wellness programs will help employees plan and overcome many other life hurdles. It’s really the first step in helping your employees weather challenges that will impact how they show up in your organization.”

John Manganaro | Managing Editor, PLANADVISER

john manganaro

John Manganaro is managing editor of After completing his journalism and philosophy degrees, he wasted no time diving into finance reporting, joining the publication as an associate editor in 2013, following legislative and regulatory focused reporting roles at the Pennsylvania Legislative Correspondents Association,, and The Pitt News. He now serves as a vice president of ISS Media.

“In my view as a reporter/editor in the retirement planning industry, the most important thing for employers to know or keep in mind about financial wellness is that it matters—A LOT! It is my personal view that employers owe their workers a genuine opportunity to be financially well, both in the short and long run. What’s more, I’ve interviewed a lot of smart and well-informed people who argue the return on investment that comes from effective financial wellness and retirement savings programs cannot be overstated. From improved employee loyalty to smoother end-of-career transitions, employers benefit just as much as employees.”

Derek Tharp, Ph.D., CFP®, CLU®, RICP® | Founder, Conscious Capital

Derek Tharp

Derek Tharp is the founder of Conscious Capital, an assistant professor of finance at the University of Southern Maine, and the lead researcher at Derek’s financial planning research has received multiple awards and has been published in journals such as Financial Planning Review, Journal of Financial Planning, and Journal of Retirement. Derek contributes regularly to The Wall Street Journal’s Experts Blog and Read more of Derek’s awarding-winning work at

“Financial wellness is about more than just financial literacy. Organizations that help develop healthy behaviors, habits, and mindsets around money can reduce the financial stress of their employees, and that ultimately helps employees be more effective in the workplace and live more fulfilling lives.”

Eric Roberge, CFP® | Founder, Beyond Your Hammock

eric roberge

Eric Roberge, CFP® is the founder of Beyond Your Hammock, a fee-only financial planning firm in Boston, MA and virtually across the country, specializing in providing planning services and investment management to professionals in their 30s and 40s.

With 13 years of experience as a financial advisor, Eric is a thought leader and columnist for Business Insider, Forbes, and Kiplinger and is the host of the podcast Beyond Finances. Featured in The Wall Street Journal, Marketwatch, The Boston Globe, he is on InvestmentNews’ 40 Under 40 list; and is one of Investopedia’s Top 100 Most Influential Advisors as well as one of’s Best Advisors in Boston.

“Employers have a vested interest in the financial wellbeing of their employees. Workers often cite financial stress as a leading reason they struggle to perform at their best on the job, and that makes sense: your money impacts almost every area of your life. Your work life isn’t an exception!

Being financially well can mean many different things to different people, but in general, some hallmarks of good financial health include:

  • Breaking the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, and having sufficient cash flow to more than cover basic needs
  • Having cash reserves set aside for emergencies
  • Being able to save for short-term goals as well as long-term financial security

Employers can support their teams in achieving financial wellness in a variety of ways, and it benefits the company, too. Financially healthy employees are more productive, enthusiastic, and able to perform at their best.”