About Daniel Kopp, CFP®, MA, MS
Hello, I’m Daniel – husband to Anna, widower to Sarah, Air Force veteran, business owner, writer, speaker, CFP® Professional, financial planner, and Christ-follower. I’m the founder of Wise Stewardship Financial Planning where we offer fee-only, fiduciary financial planning and investment advice with a special focus on young widows and widowers as well as servicemembers and their families.
Grief changes everything. I know that all too well from personal experience as I became a widower at 31 and before that, father to 3 children in heaven. My passion and purpose now is to take what I’ve learned from those experiences combined with financial planning and advice to be a help to you in your own unique grief journey. Wise Stewardship works together with you to help gain stability in your current financial situation, prioritize next steps, and walk with you into a new and different future.
Here’s the rest of my story and why I became a financial planner. I’ve always been interested in money since I was a little kid, including out-bidding my siblings for chores-for-hire, to providing loans to my siblings and friends when they had spent all their money and diligently saving my allowance for future goals. Over time this evolved into reading the stock pages in the newspaper as a young teenager and then choosing to major in economics in college. After completing Air Force ROTC at Purdue University, I commissioned as an officer into the Air Force in 2009 but continued my personal interest into personal finances, investing, and all things money-related.
In my college years and early 20s, I read hundreds of books and spent thousands of hours studying financial planning topics. I also had the opportunity to be a volunteer financial counselor during many of the years when I was on active duty in addition to helping and educating family and friends over the years. Thanks to countless help along the way, I learned more about the financial services industry and found my way to fee-only, fiduciary financial planning. It was through these experiences that sparked my passion and helped me realize what I wanted to do whenever I decided to leave the military!
As an officer on active duty for almost 9 years, along with a brother, sister, and brother-in-law in the military, I experienced firsthand the benefits and challenges that military life can have on all aspects of life especially finances. Frequent changes like TDY’s, deployments, and PCS’s add unique potential opportunities and obstacles to meeting goals and dreams. Add in the often disparate and sometimes confusing military pay, benefits, scattered military benefits and discounts, and countless people offering advice or services, and there is often a lack of clarity on how best to optimize all of these to best meet goals.
I’ve seen almost everything military life can throw at you and been through much of what you probably have questions about. I’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t; what’s important and what isn’t. I’m now able to use these vast experiences to help my clients navigate the challenges of the busy military life, get the most out of your hard-earned benefits, and help you achieve your goals.
My journey to become a financial planner was also profoundly impacted by what happened in my personal life. I met and married my wife Sarah back in 2012 and we embarked on military life together, at the time thinking I would be on active duty for a full career. As time went by, God brought countless joys as well as numerous trials. Sarah was a cancer survivor when she survived thyroid cancer at the age of 21, and had experienced other health trials and surgeries in the years before we met. Then in the first three years of our marriage, we experienced the agonizing sorrow of grief from the loss of three children through first term miscarriages. Sarah’s health continued to decline over the course of our marriage and medical answers mostly eluded us as we saw dozens of doctors and specialists.
Sarah became mostly homebound as her energy failed so I became her primary caregiver as family was thousands of miles away while continuing to work fulltime as an officer in the Air Force. However, it rapidly became evident that I could no longer continue down the active duty career path so I began planning to transition out of the military. Given the flexibility I would need as a primary caregiver, I explored entrepreneurship by launching my own financial planning firm to marry my passion for helping people with their finances with my need to take care of my wife.
Before that plan could come to fruition, a medical crisis landed Sarah in the hospital from which followed a cascading sequence of events in which we lived in hospitals across two states for the next six months. Finally, the doctors said there wasn’t much more they could do and Sarah and I made the difficult decision to enter hospice. We were able to spend a precious 6 weeks together as well as flying out family and dear friends to be able to say goodbye. Sarah passed away in the late summer of 2017 as I held her hand and bid her an earthly farewell. She was only 32, and we had been married just under five truly amazing years.
Suddenly, my entire life had been turned upside down. I was 31 and it felt like every plan I had made was shattered yet again.
My abiding faith in God and His endless grace helped bear me up in the agony of grief in the months that followed. Thanks to the boundless support of my family, fellow young widowed spouses I connected with, my church, Air Force family, network of friends, and an invaluable grief counselor, I found a way to keep moving forward.
I also received further confirmation of the incredible value of financial planning when I hired my own financial planner in the middle of my grief journey to help me sort through all the variables of my financial life, have a compassionate and rational (as sometimes my grief was not very logical) outside perspective, and figure out what my new financial future might look like. I also gained an inside perspective to the other side of the estate planning experience as I acted as the executor of my wife’s estate. I dealt with everything from dealing with creditors, bequeathing personal items, transferring titles of houses, vehicles, settling life insurance policies, closing accounts, and much more. While I would never have wished to learn in this way ,these unique personal experiences prepared me to understand not just the “science” of estate planning, but also the intimate and personal art if helping clients work through the full range of emotional nuances in this process.
I ended up separating from the Air Force in early 2018 and embarked on an 8 month sabbatical. Sarah and I long considered taking a few months off after active duty so we could travel some more, visit friends and family across the US, and take advantage of a mid-career transition to do something that otherwise isn’t possible with normal vacation time off. We had been saving up for this opportunity for several years and I ultimately ended up buying a truck and RV trailer so I could maximize my travel flexibility. Over the course my sabbatical, I visited 38 states, drove more than 27K miles, saw 14 National Parks, visited dozens of friends and family, and made incredible memories!
The time off gave me opportunities to heal, rest, think deeply, journal and write, and lay the groundwork for launching Wise Stewardship. However, there was something even more amazing and unexpected that happened in the midst of my sabbatical. I ended up meeting someone and falling in love!
In a beautiful story that I could never have imagined on my own, God brought Anna into my life. Over the course of my sabbatical travels, we began a relationship that quickly became apparent to us and everyone that knew and loved us, that this was something very special.
I ended up moving to the Boston area to join Anna after we got married capping off a whirlwind of a year! It’s been an amazing journey to this place and I’m so excited about this next chapter! Anna is the gift that I thought I would never have. She has demonstrated to me that love and a different future was possible.
Wise Stewardship Financial Planning launched in November 2018 to offer fee-only, fiduciary financial planning to help fellow young widowed spouses as well as servicemembers and their families. I count it a privilege to now help others by taking what I’ve learned about the journey of grief combined with the math of financial advice. Finances are just a tool to accomplish our goals in life so I help people figure out what is most important to them, and then build their lives and finances to be able to accomplish them. I am here to be a companion to you as you navigate many financial issues and life circumstances.
Daniel Kopp is a fee-only, fiduciary financial planner and founder of Wise Stewardship Financial Planning where he helps young widows and widowers as well as servicemembers get their financial lives in order by aligning their money with their values. He is also an Air Force veteran after almost 9 years as an officer on active duty during which he served as an Air Battle Manager participating in combat deployments and training opportunities all across the world. Outside of his official military commitments, Daniel has always had a passion to help servicemembers and their families master their finances where he served as a volunteer financial counselor during most of his time on active duty.
Daniel is a widower after his wife Sarah passed away in late 2017. In the few years prior to her death, Daniel had become her full-time caregiver due to a variety of health conditions including the loss of three miscarriages. During that time, he learned how to persevere by ordering his life around his faith in God and aligning family, work, and finances with his personal goals. Daniel now combines his financial training and experience helping people with a deep, personal understanding of how grief affects every single area of life.
Daniel is now married to his wife Anna, and lives in the Boston area where they love to explore new places, try interesting cuisines, serve in their local church, and take advantage of the rich history of New England. You’ll find a fast way to become their friend if you play board games with them!
Daniel is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER (TM) having met the rigorous professional standards and agreed to adhere to the principles of integrity, objectivity, competence, fairness, confidentiality, professionalism and diligence when dealing with clients. Daniel received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics from Purdue University as a third-generation Boilermaker, where he graduated with Highest Distinction (top 3%) and was named one of the Top 10 Krannert School of Business Seniors in a graduating class of over 850. He has also received his Master of Arts in Military Studies and Strategic Leadership from American Military University, and is also pursuing a second Masters of Science in Advanced Financial Planning and Financial Therapy from Kansas State University to even further deepen his competencies. Daniel is also a frequent personal-finance freelance writer and speaker, especially on military-related topics.
Daniel is a distinguished Air Force veteran as a three-time Air Force Distinguished Graduate (#1) for each of his three formal training courses as well as the Air Force’s David C. Schilling Award for the most outstanding contributions to the field of flight along with numerous other awards and accolades in his military career.