About the Group
Dawn Starks established Starks Financial Group in 1999 as a small, independent practice. She chose to be affiliated with Raymond James Financial Services, a well-respected national broker-dealer firm, in order to offer clients the best of both worlds – a very personalized experience, but with world-class resources. We are female-owned. We offer smart, comprehensive financial planning that balances financial goals with personal values. We are fiercely independent. We do not sell proprietary products. Raymond James is our broker-dealer, but we do our own research and use third-party sources to examine all available investments to find what’s right for you.
We are independent, and we are local.
Our greatest sources of pride, however, are our personal service, down-to-earth approach, and forthright style of communicating with our clients. We believe empowering you with financial knowledge and literacy ensures you understand how we make your resources work hard on your behalf.
When I established my financial planning business in Asheville, NC, in 1999, I knew from the start I wanted to empower people with financial knowledge – the knowledge needed to make smart decisions with their money. Knowledge that empowered them in their planning for the future.
Over the years, we have grown as a practice and added expertise in many areas of financial planning and investment management, working with hundreds of couples, individuals, retirees, divorcees, and business professionals.
Now it’s time to help you.
We believe each individual’s financial goals and needs are unique and deserve our utmost attention and care — as well as our wisest counsel and advice — delivered with our commitment to professionalism, respect and integrity.
We are trustworthy, honest, transparent, and kind.
We collaborate with each other and with each client to offer financial clarity as well as confidence.
We give back to our community through charitable giving and community volunteering.
We help our clients understand their finances and financial future in a down-to-earth manner that isn’t intimidating, avoiding Wall Street jargon.
Are We a Good
Fit for You?
We are down-to-earth, welcoming people and will get to know you very well before we make any suggestions about what to do with your investments. We encourage our clients to use their money to live life well.
We are financial planners, not just financial advisors. We don’t just tell you how to invest; we help you understand your whole financial picture by creating a thorough financial plan to make the most of your hard-earned resources.
Same Sex Couples
We have over 40 years of experience doing financial planning for same-sex couples. Some planning issues are unique to same-sex couples. We look from all angles to find solutions for you, from estate planning to marriage and tax questions.
We have special expertise in financial planning for women. As a female-owned practice, we understand financial issues and challenges that are unique to women. Part of our mission is to fully empower women with financial skills so they can take control of their financial lives.
Many of our clients are not interested in being involved with all of the details of their financial lives. They prefer to turn over management of their investments to us, and they defer to our guidance. They do this because they trust us, and they trust us because we have an impeccable reputation and history.
Socially Responsible Investing
We can help you invest in a sustainable and socially responsible way. This has been a big part of our practice from the very beginning and we are committed to matching your investments with your values.
Commitment to Community
We are committed to giving to our community through charitable donations and pro bono resources. We also work within the community to provide financial literacy to others, creating self-empowerment and financial management independence.
We offer broad, comprehensive financial planning and investment management.
Dawn G. Starks, CFP®
Dawn is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner and financial advisor who has worked with individuals and couples in all stages of life for over twenty years. She established Starks Financial Group in 1999.
Dawn earned a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master of Business Administration degree from Western Carolina University (WCU). In 2017, she earned the RICP® designation, Retirement Income Certified Professional®.
She is the past board president of OnTrack Financial Education and Counseling of Western North Carolina (formerly Consumer Credit Counseling Services). She also served as the investment advisor for the Biltmore Company for several years and as an adjunct faculty member for both WCU and Mars Hill University. Dawn was instrumental in developing the Certificate in Financial Planning program at WCU. She is a member of the Financial Planning Association (FPA).
Due to her long commitment to giving back to our local community, Dawn was recently chosen to receive the 2017 Outstanding Philanthropist Award from the WNC Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals for National Philanthropy Day. Additionally, She is honored and humbled to have been recognized by Forbes as a Best-In-State Wealth Advisor for North Carolina in 2018 and 2019***. She was also named to the Working Mother magazine and SHOOK Research’s “Top Wealth Advisor Moms” list in 2017 and 2018**.
Every year since 2011, Dawn has been named a member of the Raymond James Leaders Council.* Dawn has been invited to present to her peers in the financial industry several times at national conferences, and she has taught the required annual CFPÒ ethics course numerous times.
Dawn hosted a call-in financial radio show, “Money Matters,” for more than five years on News Radio 570 WWNC. In addition, she was the financial editor for that radio station and served as the featured financial professional for TV News 13 WLOS for two years. She remains a highly sought-after speaker for community events and seminars.
Dawn lives in Swannanoa with her husband, Greg, daughter, Rowan, and their pets – a cat, Nala, and a Golden Retriever, Piper. In her free time, she loves to spend time outdoors, writing, reading, or homeschooling Rowan.
*Membership is based on prior fiscal year production. Re-qualification is required annually. The ranking may not be representative of any one client’s experience, is not an endorsement, and is not indicative of advisors future performance. No fee is paid in exchange for this award/rating.
**Data provided by SHOOK™ Research, LLC as of July 2017. The Working Mother and SHOOK research ranking is based on an algorithm of qualitative and quantitative data. SHOOK Research considered wealth advisers who are mothers with at least one child living at home and under the age of 18 with a minimum 5 years of industry experience. Ranking algorithm is based on qualitative measures derived from telephone and in-person interviews and surveys: service models, investing process, client retention, industry experience, review of compliance records, firm nominations, etc.; and quantitative criteria, such as assets under management and revenue generated for their firms. Investment performance is not a criterion because client objectives and risk tolerances vary, and advisers rarely have audited performance reports. Rankings are based on the opinions of SHOOK Research LLC. Neither SHOOK nor Working Mother receives compensation from the advisers or their firms in exchange for placement on a ranking. Raymond James is not affiliated with Working Mother or Shook Research, LLC. This ranking is not indicative of advisor’s future performance, is not an endorsement, and may not be representative of individual clients’ experience. Neither Raymond James nor any of its Financial Advisors or RIA firms pay a fee in exchange for this award/rating. For more information see www.SHOOKresearch.com.
***The Forbes ranking of Best-In-State Wealth Advisors, developed by SHOOK Research is based on an algorithm of qualitative criteria and quantitative data. Those advisors that are considered have a minimum of 7 years of experience, and the algorithm weighs factors like revenue trends, AUM, compliance records, industry experience and those that encompass best practices in their practices and approach to working with clients. Portfolio performance is not a criteria due to varying client objectives and lack of audited data. Out of 21,138 advisors nominated by their firms, 2,213 received the award. This ranking is not indicative of advisor’s future performance, is not an endorsement, and may not be representative of individual clients’ experience. Neither Raymond James nor any of its Financial Advisors or RIA firms pay a fee in exchange for this award/rating. Raymond James is not affiliated with Forbes or Shook Research, LLC.
Jennifer Adams, CFP®
As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner, Jennifer helps our clients pursue a comfortable and fulfilling retirement by developing customized financial plans. She has a special interest in assisting clients through the financial issues of divorce.
Jennifer joined Starks Financial Group in 1999 after completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, with a concentration in Financial Planning, at Western Carolina University. In addition to Series 7, 24, and 63 securities licenses, she holds North Carolina life and health insurance licenses. Jennifer oversees all operations of our practice.
A native of Western North Carolina, Jennifer lives in Waynesville with her husband, Nathan, and their daughter, Emery. Though she loves time on a sunny beach, family outings at this stage in life more commonly involve a stroller and a walk around Lake Junaluska.
David Werle, CFP®
Dave is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner and financial advisor holding Series 7 and 63 securities licenses and North Carolina life, accident and health and long-term care insurance licenses. He has a particular interest in helping clients with socially responsible investing. He joined Starks Financial Group in 2012 after six years as a financial counselor with the non-profit agency, OnTrack Financial Education & Counseling of Western North Carolina.
While Dave was at OnTrack WNC, he was a Certified Credit and Housing Counselor and Certified Reverse Mortgage Counselor. He also had experience as a personal income tax preparer. Dave’s past work includes eight years of marketing, training, and sales administration in the private sector, plus economic development planning and strategic planning in the non-profit sector.
After growing up in Milwaukee, Miami and the Chicago area, Dave earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Psychology from Vanderbilt University.
Dave enjoys time with family and the great food, drink, and music of Asheville. And, if you happen to see him hiking around Pisgah National Forest or paddling down the French Broad River or swimming in Bogue Sound, he’ll probably have a big smile on his face.
Scott Boatwright, JD
Scott joined Starks Financial Group in January 2014. He is an attorney and Registered Investment Adviser Representative and holds the Series 7 and 66 securities licenses.
Scott’s previous experience includes work as a civil litigation attorney at firms in Charlotte and Greenville, South Carolina; a stint as stay-at-home dad with his two children, Stuart and Harper; and consulting in financial planning through his own firm. He was born and raised in Waynesville and now lives in South Asheville with his wife, Lisa Nurre, and kids.
Scott holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Juris Doctor degree from the Duke University School of Law. He is an avid runner and considers the trails at the Bent Creek Experimental Forest a second home.
* Raymond James does not provide tax advice or legal advice.
Rachel Tanksley, AAMS®
Rachel is an Accredited Asset Management Specialist℠ and holds the Series 7 and 66 securities licenses. She is a recent graduate of the two year Advisor Mastery Program (AMP) with Raymond James. She is pursuing her Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC®) designation and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional certification.
Rachel’s path to financial planning started when she began working with a small business accountant while attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She graduated from our state’s flagship university with a Bachelor of Art degree in Anthropology, but continued her education with classes on non-profit accounting at Duke University.
Soon after moving to the mountains, Rachel worked for OnTrack Financial Education & Counseling of Western North Carolina. She joined Starks Financial Group in June 2015. With SFG, Rachel assists in preparing financial plans, retirement projections and asset allocations.
In her spare time, Rachel is raising three children and serves on the Education and Advocacy Committee of the Women for Women giving circle.
Rebecca Upton, FPQP™, AAMS®
Rebecca is an Accredited Asset Management Specialist,SM Financial Paraplanner Qualified Professional,TM and holds the Series 7 and 66 securities licenses. She completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Finance at Western Carolina University in May 2015, but her career at Starks Financial Group actually started in December 2014, when she began working as a standout intern in our office. Now that she is with SFG full time, Rebecca works with planners to help clients with all financial planning concerns, including retirement projections, asset allocation and investment management.
While earning a slightly earlier degree from WCU—this one a Bachelor of Arts in Music, with Concentration in Piano—Rebecca was a three-year member of the Pride of the Mountains Marching Band, acknowledged as one of the best collegiate marching bands in the nation. She played clarinet and keyboard. She still enjoys the piano, reading, and attending local music concerts. Rebecca’s favorite pre-finance job was film projector at the movie multiplex. She is a native of Ellijay, Georgia, moved with her family to Sanford, NC at age 10, and now lives in Asheville.
Natalie Seber, FPQP™
Natalie is a Financial Paraplanner Qualified ProfessionalTM and holds the Series 7 and 66 securities licenses. She graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2010 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing. She has been employed in the financial industry ever since, working her way up from bank teller, to Client Associate, to Associate Financial Planner. She joined Starks Financial Group in 2017, and works with our financial planners on clients’ financial plans and ongoing financial reviews. She also manages advertising and marketing for the company.
Natalie and her husband, Kent, have the quintessential story of finding Asheville. A one-night visit after graduation sampling the area’s natural beauty and outdoor adventures was all it took to convince them that Asheville was where they needed to be. They went home, packed their things, and moved about a month later. Kent has run a local food truck, Grateful Roots, since 2014; Natalie helps out part-time when she can. Currently, they are slowly but surely converting their 5.5 acres in Sandy Mush into a sustainable homestead. They enjoy hiking the Blue Ridge Mountains, watching their Kentucky Wildcats play basketball, and seeing live music.
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