Melissa Sotudeh

Personal Finance, Retirement, Investing
“Melissa Sotudeh is committed to empowering clients with actionable financial plans because she wants her clients to feel informed and confident in making life's financial decisions.”

Halpern Financial, Inc.

Job Title:

Wealth Advisor


As Wealth Advisor for Halpern Financial, Inc., Melissa works one on one with clients to determine short and long term goals, and applies her knowledge and expertise to develop retirement, investment, tax management and estate planning strategies. She is committed to empowering clients with a solid actionable financial plan to ensure they are confident in making informed financial decisions. Melissa joined Halpern Financial, Inc. as Wealth Advisor in 2013. She is a member of the firm’s Investment Research Team and became the Chief Compliance Officer in 2015.

Melissa is passionate about financial education for the greater public as well. A special interest of hers is helping families plan for college funding, since she recently went through the college process with her two children. She is frequently quoted in financial media publications, radio and podcasts. She has also provided investor education in partnership with AARP and speaks often on “Late Stage College Funding for High Income Families.”

Melissa is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Business Administration degree from the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Phoenix, Arizona. She serves as a subject matter expert for the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards (CFP Board), contributing to the development of examination questions for the CFP® Certification Examination. She is also an Advocate for the CFP Board’s Women’s Initiative (WIN). She has promoted financial literacy in the region through one-on-one counseling with Capitol Hill staffers and her leadership role on the steering committee for the Metro Washington Financial Planning Day 2011, 2013 and 2014. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Financial Planning Association of the National Capital Area. She lives in Bethesda with her husband and children. Melissa is an avid runner and ran her first Boston Marathon in 2017.


BA, Economics, University of Texas
MBA, Thunderbird School of Global Management

Fee Structure:



Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results.  Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Halpern Financial), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this newsletter will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful.  Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this newsletter serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Halpern Financial.  To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing.  Halpern Financial is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the newsletter content should be construed as legal or accounting advice.  A copy of the Halpern Financial’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request. If you are a Halpern Financial client, please remember to contact Halpern Financial, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services.

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December 2016
    Personal Finance, Starting Out
November 2016
    College Tuition
November 2016
    College Tuition, Lifestage Based Planning
October 2016
    Lifestage Based Planning, Personal Finance, Starting Out
December 2016
    Retirement, Retirement Savings

All Answers
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    College Tuition, Investing
What are the investment options for child's college?
29% of people found this answer helpful

There are other options out there, but in my opinion, 529 Plans are the most advantageous plan out there for college savers. The contribution limits are very high, so you can benefit from this tax-advantaged plan no matter what your income level is. You contribute money, it grows via investments, and then when your child is ready for college, any withdrawals made for qualified educational expenses are completely tax-free.

Each state has their own 529 Plan, but you are able to invest in any state’s 529 Plan even if you don’t live there. However, I recommend looking at your own state’s plan first because there may be state tax deductions available for your contributions to the account.

Here is a good site to search for 529 Plans by state:

You should contact the 529 Plan of your choice to make sure you are able to open the account as a non-citizen. You may be able to open the account as long as the beneficiary is a citizen.

If you would like an overview of the entire college funding process, I have just written a free ebook on the topic:

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    Retirement, Investing, Taxes
What are the best long term investments and tax exempt shelters?
25% of people found this answer helpful
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    Annuities, Asset Allocation
Is Dollar Cost Averaging the right method to payout our annuity?
20% of people found this answer helpful
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    Investing, IRAs
Should I invest my daughters' IRA inheritance?
20% of people found this answer helpful
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    401(k), IRAs
Which IRA is the best, now that we're married?
20% of people found this answer helpful
December 2016