<#-- Rebranding: Header Logo--> <#-- Rebranding: Footer Logo-->

Michelle Brownstein

CFP, Series 65
Personal Finance, Retirement, Investing
“Michelle Brownstein is a senior advisor at Personal Capital passionate about helping people live better lives by combining cutting edge technology with a personal touch.”

Personal Capital

Job Title:

Senior Vice President


In her advisory work with clients, Michelle Brownstein seeks to deliver a cohesive, transparent strategy to managing their wealth and achieving their goals. Michelle understands that the first step in any successful relationship with a client is to truly listen and ensure that there is a clear set of goals laid out up front. 

While Michelle currently specializes in working with higher net worth individuals, her experience ranges from working with individuals just starting out and putting their first plan in place out of college to those living off their assets in retirement and figuring out the best way to pass assets to the next generation. Michelle is known for her directness and believes that being straight forward with clients is the best way to help them, even if the truth is a bit hard to swallow at times.

Michelle holds a BA in Economics along with a minor in Political Science from UCLA where she graduated with Honors; she earned her CFP® after completing the necessary course work through New York University. 

Michelle loves to travel and often visits her family, who are still based in Southern California.  When not in the office, she spends her time running, swimming, exploring new restaurants in San Francisco and cooking.


BA, Economics, UCLA

Fee Structure:


CRD Number:


All Answers
Sort By:
Most Helpful
    Career / Compensation, Debt, IRAs, Real Estate, Starting Out
How can I begin to tackle my large monthly college debt payment?
100% of people found this answer helpful

You’re not alone in this situation - Millennials have a lot of financial tradeoffs to consider, one of the most common being how to pay down debt while saving for the future. Ultimately, putting money towards your loans is a positive thing, so you can’t go wrong contributing more, but you can optimize how you choose to divvy up your funds so that you can save for retirement and other more immediate expenses simultaneously.

Your highest priority should be to make your minimum payments — no matter what. It’s not worth going into deferral or forbearance on your loans for the purpose of contributing to a retirement account. However, once you’re in a stable situation and able to make your minimum payments, plus normal expenses (rent, transportation, food, etc.), then it’s time to figure out how to allocate the rest of your funds for other long-term goals.

This may seem obvious, but it can get complicated if you have multiple loans and/or multiple servicers. Take stock of how much each loan is for, and the interest rate on each so you can begin prioritizing the loans with higher interest (usually those exceeding 5%) so you can pay them off faster and avoid accruing more interest than you need to.

If it gives you peace of mind to know your loans are being paid off as quickly as possible, then by all means stick with that strategy as long as you’ve already saved up enough cash to cover three to six months’ worth of expenses in an emergency fund. In the battle of good and bad debt, student loans aren’t terrible, so keep that in mind as you consider raising your school loan payments. Also remember that having liquidity can be more important than lowering your debt burden, particularly if you’re just starting out in your career and your long-term financial priorities like buying a home are more important to you than paying off your student loans early. In many cases like yours, renting may be a more appropriate course of action than buying a home given your debt to income ratio.

November 2018
    Financial Planning, Retirement, 401(k), ETFs, Mutual Funds
How can I leverage my retirement accounts and consider new investments to ensure that my family is set for retirement?
100% of people found this answer helpful
December 2018
    Estate Planning, Investing, 401(k), IRAs, Mutual Funds, Real Estate, Retirement Plans
What long-term, general, investing strategies should I consider if my company doesn't offer a 401(k)?
100% of people found this answer helpful
January 2019
    Banking, Retirement, 401(k), IRAs, Real Estate
What should I do with my extra money now that I'm done paying off my student loans?
100% of people found this answer helpful
November 2018
    401(k), Real Estate
Am I in a good financial situation?
100% of people found this answer helpful
January 2019