Dawn Starks

Financial Planner

I have been a financial planner for over twenty years.  During that time, I have read just about every personal finance book under the sun.  Why do I torture myself so?  In the early days of my practice, I hosted a call-in radio show in Asheville, NC, called Money Matters.  For five years I spent an hour each Saturday morning discussing every financial topic imaginable.  I didn’t want to become boring, so I would read others’ works on personal finance to find new and different ways to explain the same old concepts.  Now I just read them for fun.

And yes, I just said that out loud.

My aim with my financial planning work has always been to simplify things for clients.  Making concepts easier to grasp and less scary is the goal.  And I want clients to feel like they have a partner along for the ride on their financial road.  I want their financial life to be easier because of the work of our firm.   Now I have a team of seven other compassionate, awesome human beings who work with me to continue the mission of my firm.  If you are curious, you can read more about my firm and me with a simple Google search.


Over the years I have also been fascinated with – perhaps even addicted to – studying and reading about simple living and minimalism.  Because my career is stressful, and my life is very full, I am definitely a work in progress when it comes to implementing minimalist practices.  But I’m working on it.  And I am a firm believer that it is the journey, not the destination, that counts.  Read more about my simplicity story here.


Writing for me is now coming full circle.  As a child, I loved to write.  An early memory involves a creative writing class I took when I was nine.  I wrote an essay about a hand puppet I adored named Beethoven Thing.  In my memory, it was an awesome piece of writing, but for all I know, it stunk.  The world will never know, because sadly, that essay is long gone.

Since then, I’ve been a writer as a part of my “day job.”  My planning firm publishes a monthly newsletter, and I’ve written regularly for two local magazines for many years.  My first book is nearing completion, and I could not be more excited about it.


I love teaching.  I spent several years early in my career teaching college, adult students, and fellow professionals about financial planning and corporate finance subjects.  My financial planning practice is as successful as it is, I believe, due to my ability to translate heady, complex financial topics into language and examples that a layperson can understand.

My love for teaching also shows up personally.  Greg, my husband, and I homeschool our only child, Rowan and have done so from the very beginning.  She’s nine now, and we’re going strong.

It’s a Family Thing

This SimpleMoney project – the blog, podcast, and soon-to-be courses and book, started out as my baby.  My financial planning firm was my first baby, Rowan was my second baby, and SimpleMoney is my third.  Since our family travels quite a bit and spends a great deal of time together, it occurred to me to invite my husband Greg to co-create this “child.”  Happily, he agreed.

After we got some initial help preparing to launch the blog and podcast* and spent a bajillion hours “schooling ourselves up” on all aspects of blogging and podcasting, we are cranking!  Greg is the tech guy for the website and the podcast producer.  You will also see some of his photography on the site and maybe hear his guitar on the podcast in the future!

Our daughter, Rowan, refuses to be left behind.  She eagerly attended all the early podcast recording sessions at the radio station and begged to be a part of it, so she is featured in Episode 8.  She has been a creative consultant on all parts of the website and print design and hopes to add her voice to the blog in the near future.

Piper the Golden Retriever is always available for comedy breaks and hugs.  Her claims to fame are that she’ll wake from a deep sleep to hustle over to butt into a group hug.  She’s also an expert photo-bomber.

Nala the rescue kitty is, typical of her feline nature, generally uninterested unless it involves feeding her.  She does, however, prevent oversleeping and laziness. She is quite demanding that she be fed on schedule.

That’s a little bit about us.  We look forward to sharing the journey with you.

* Heartfelt thanks go to the following people for their role in bringing Simple Money to life:  Elizabeth Sims for editing, Jim Slatton and Jason Marlin for website design and build, Sally Ann Morris for composing the podcast music, and John Roten for early podcast recording and advice.

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