Melissa Joy

Philosophy on Investing

Melissa Joy President and Financial Advisor of Pearl PlanningDon’t expect it to be easy. To reach goals you have to prioritize and be disciplined. Or, said another way, anything is possible when you’re able to add focus and persistence. That’s why I named my new venture Pearl. There’s a personal connection for me with the name – to my grandmother, Vera Pearl, and my daughter, Josephine Pearl. To me, financial planning is at its best when your personal journey helps to form your future. And in the ocean, think about how a pearl forms. It starts as that tiny irritation inside the oyster’s shell. I’m not here to bug you, but I am going to hold you accountable for what you say you want to achieve and give you the steps to move you toward that goal. Beneath the sea, that grain of sand transforms into something beautiful. Let’s face it, for many of us, getting your finances in order feels more like an irritation than an opportunity. With the guidance of a financial planner, you can turn that anxiety and frustration into something that helps you.

Three Favorite Words

Purpose, Generosity, Possibility

Childhood Collection

Maps. As a kid, I couldn’t get enough of them. The old ones were my favorites with the edges that tapered off into the unknown, though any old gas station map would do. They always seem full of the undiscovered, while also brimming with possibility. There’s something about maps that speak of journey and that requires a plan. Don’t get me wrong, Siri is great, but when you really start soaking up the details of a map, you get context for where you are, where you’re going, and the pleasure of seeking somewhere unexpected that urges you to stop and discover along the way.

Geeking Out

I’ve always been a geek at heart, some things never change. There, I said it. In my work, you can see my thirst for and love of research. The more complex the issue or project, the more fun I have. I love the ability to see both sides of a complex issue. Numbers come easily to me. In my list of life’s accomplishments, I rank “building out a discretionary management platform for a large registered investment advisor” toward the top of the list. I truly believe the bottom line for investment results is about people, not percentages or statistics, but I still love the research and numbers. I mean, really love them. I’m probably counting in my head right now.

You might bump into me …

Around Dexter … on the ski slope … at one of my favorite local breweries or bookstores … or at our cottage in northern Michigan.

A Quote on my Desk

“You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.”


Before founding Pearl, I worked in the world of financial planning and investments for more than twenty years. As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst®, I specialize in working with executives, entrepreneurs, and those needing help with transitions such as retirement or divorce. Even though Pearl is based in Dexter, Michigan, our clients live coast-to-coast and we use all the tools of technology plus plain-old human connection to build relationships across the miles.

Founded in 2018, Pearl Planning fulfilled my dreams to start my own company someday. Just as a pearl symbolizes wisdom gained through experience, I used my background running the investment and financial planning departments along with complex client practice experience to create a client-focused, personalized and modern wealth management firm.

Dexter, Michigan is home for me, my husband, Jeff, and our kids, Gus and Jo. In addition to spending time with family, I have a lifetime love of playing soccer, reading, and travel. I also have a passion for supporting and promoting women in financial advice careers.

More About Melissa


  • Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, University of Michigan
  • Certificate of Financial Planning, Boston University
  • Executive Leadership Program, Inforum, a Michigan Professional Women’s Alliance
  • Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, Institute for Divorce Financial Analysts

Awards & Recognition

  • Detroit Top Women in Finance from Crain's 2020
  • Investopedia 100, 2020, 2021, 2022
  • Working Mother Magazine & Shook Research 2017 & 2018 Top Wealth Advisor Moms List
  • Frequent speaker including national financial conferences
  • Quoted as an investment and financial planning professional in publications including Financial Advisor Magazine, Yahoo! Finance, Money Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, Financial Planning Magazine, and Morningstar Advisor.

Areas of Focus & Interest

  • Financial transitions and sudden money situations including divorce, inheritance and windfall
  • Financial Planning for Executives
  • Financial Planning for Women and Families
  • Multigenerational Financial Planning
  • Location-Agnostic Financial Planning


Meet the Other Team Members of Pearl Planning

Financial Advisors


Office Manager

Client Service Representative

Client Service Representative