Melissa Joy, CFP®, CDFA®President, Pearl Planning
Wealth Advisor, RJFS

    Philosophy on Investing

    Don’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

    Abundance, 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 soccer pitch … at one of my favorite local breweries or bookstores … or up in Charlevoix visiting family and breathing in the lake air.

    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.

    While I was a partner and owner of a large Detroit-based registered investment advisor, I always dreamed of starting my own company. Now that dream is a reality. Founded in 2018, Pearl Planning fulfilled those dreams. 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 Josie. 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.

    • 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
    • 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

    *Research All Star Award was based on job function of the person evaluated, fund selections and evaluation process used, study of rejected fund examples, and evaluation of challenges faced in the job and actions taken to overcome those challenges. Evaluations were independently conducted by Financial Advisor Magazine.

    Data provided by SHOOKTM Research, LLC as of July 2017.The Working Mother and SHOOK research ranking is based on an algorithm of qualitative and quantitative data. SHOOK Research considered wealth advisers who are mothers with at least one child living at home and under the age of 18 with a minimum 5 years of industry experience. Ranking algorithm is based on qualitative measures derived from telephone and in-person interviews and surveys: service models, investing process, client retention, industry experience, review of compliance records, firm nominations, etc.; and quantitative criteria, such as assets under management and revenue generated for their firms. Investment performance is not a criterion because client objectives and risk tolerances vary, and advisers rarely have audited performance reports. Rankings are based on the opinions of SHOOK Research LLC. Neither SHOOK nor Working Mother receives compensation from the advisers or their firms in exchange for placement on a ranking. Raymond James is not affiliated with Working Mother or Shook Research, LLC. This ranking is not indicative of advisor’s future performance, is not an endorsement, and may not be representative of individual clients’ experience. Neither Raymond James nor any of its Financial Advisors or RIA firms pay a fee in exchange for this award/rating. For more information, see

    Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER, CFP ® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.