Melissa Attanasio, founder and CEO of Abundant Wealth Strategies has received the Women’s Choice Award, which acknowledges leading female experts in the finance industry. This honor recognizes Ms. Attanasio for her work in educating women and helping them find financial security.
“I have other accolades, but I love this award because it is specifically for women,” said Ms. Attanasio. “It is a beautiful acknowledgement of the work I have been doing for years.”
The Women’s Choice Award was founded by Delia Passi, former publisher of Working Mother Magazine, to honor female financial advisors for their quality of work and loyalty to empowering women. This elite status represents less than 1 percent of financial advisors in the United States.
On her path to this achievement, Ms. Attanasio has accumulated more than 27 years of financial experience. In 1992, Ms. Attanasio began her firm, which evolved over the years to become known as Abundant Wealth Strategies. Since then, she has also acquired titles such as Certified Financial Planner, Certified Divorce Financial Analyst and Master Analyst in Financial Forensics.
Through the years, Ms. Attanasio’s clientele has become abundant, which explains the concept for her firm. “I took my name off of the business because I wanted the name to reflect my clients,” said Ms. Attanasio. “For me, it’s not about the money. It’s about my clients’ quality of life and the things they’ve evolved through.”
Abundant Wealth Strategies is a generational wealth advisory firm, where financial advisors help clients invest money acquired from their family in a way that generates future income. Together, advisors and clients develop a yearly withdrawal rate to ensure that wealth is sustainable over a long period of time.
“I take a look at a year’s worth of spending, credit cards, and bank statements, which is known as a lifestyle analysis,” said Ms. Attanasio. “That gives us a number for cash flow, and we want that to stay within a five percent withdrawal rate. I want to teach my clients to be accountable.”
For the women that Ms. Attanasio serves, this withdrawal rate is really important.
“If a woman has received five million dollars, from divorce or some other event, that’s the wealth she has,” said Ms. Attanasio. “She wants to invest that money and create income off that interest. She wants to make sure that wealth is sustainable, while still retaining buying power.”
More than 80 percent of Ms. Attanasio’s practice is women, who generally have a cash flow need.
“I’d say it’s a pretty powerful thing to watch the transformation of my clients, who don’t have a lot of financial education, learn how to spend money,” said Ms. Attanasio.
Many of these women approach Ms. Attanasio for financial support after experiencing some trauma, like divorce. This motivated Ms. Attanasio to start her other business, Divorce Strategies Group, to better fulfill the needs of her clientele.
“I wanted to get involved sooner,” said Ms. Attanasio. “I was tired of women coming in after divorce, not having received what was due them.”
Guiding women through the divorce process gave Ms. Attanasio a better opportunity to change her clients’ lives.
“Who women are today is not who they will be in two years,” said Ms. Attanasio. “I get to see the other side of that. Many women need to find more of their self-worth. To take a step back and realize they can move through difficult moments in life.”
And that’s what makes Abundant Wealth Strategies different from other advisory firms – they are designed for healing.
“When you walk in, you see chandeliers and crystals,” described Ms. Attanasio. “It’s a space meant to heal and empower. We listen to our clients’ needs and hold their hands through tough transitions.”
After having gone through a divorce five years ago, Ms. Attanasio understands tough transitions. She, like many of her clients, started a new chapter, and had to learn how to restore herself. And that process is what brought her to Santa Barbara.
“Four years ago, I started coming here for the spiritual retreat center up in Montecito,” said Ms. Attanasio. “Santa Barbara has brought me healing.”
Now, Ms. Attanasio is hoping to give back. Her office is currently in Las Vegas, but she’s looking to expand to Santa Barbara. After years of exploring the local market, Ms. Attanasio believes she can impact the community that gave her so much.
“The more time I’ve spent talking to women in the community, the more they want a female advisor to understand their fears and concerns,” said Ms. Attanasio. “I’m so excited to be doing this in another area, like I’m achieving one of my dreams from the last five years. I just have a lot of gratitude.”