Robin Starr, CFP®, CRPC
Co-Founder | Financial Planner
Robin Starr, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional and co-founder of Athena Wealth Strategies, has more than eight years of experience in financial services. She graduated from Pomona College in Claremont, California, with a degree in Economics and then began several years of moving between the East and West coasts. A native of Connecticut, Robin moved East after college, living in Connecticut and then New York City, where she worked in the Private Asset Management Division of Neuberger Berman. In 2008, she moved to California and joined Lincoln Financial Advisors. In 2014, while remaining with Lincoln, she returned to the East Coast after her husband became a research associate at the Brookings Institution. Although she now works out of Washington, D.C., she is in California frequently and considers herself very much part Californian, part East Coaster.
Q. What do you like best about your role as an advisor?
The skills and knowledge I learned while studying for the CFP® certification fit in perfectly with my love of analysis and problem solving. I am particularly drawn to how financial planning combines those professional skills with personal abilities to help clients talk through, determine, and achieve their own personal goals.
Q. What is your philosophy about financial planning and investment strategy?
Information rules! I believe that the more information I have about my clients and their goals, the more clarity I can bring to their financial situation and the less overwhelming it will be for them to do financial planning for the future. With the right facts in place, a reliable roadmap to the future can emerge. Although it is not always possible to predict what will happen in the markets or the global economic scenario, or in a client’s life, if clients have the relevant information they need about their financial picture and they work with a caring and expert planner, they can feel much more in control of their economic destiny.
Q. What have been some of your more interesting financial-planning challenges with clients?
The biggest challenge is often in figuring out not only what the client’s objectives are, but their priorities as well. Those are two very different things. There are so many pressures and biases affecting what matters to clients, as well as what they think should matter to them. While thinking about our values and hopes for the future is something many of us do in broad strokes,, putting together the financial numbers and projections can really help people weigh whether they value, for example, retiring sooner over having more money to spend. Sometimes when my clients and I get engaged in deep discussions about financials and projections, we can all be surprised by what emerges as mattering most to them. I love that gathering data and doing analysis can create a clear focus and significantly help put things in perspective for my clients.
Q. You started your career working at a global investment-management firm, then worked as an affiliate of a large US firm and now have co-founded your own small firm with partners. What prompted you to follow this path?
I love dealing both with the big, strategic picture as well as with the hands-on, daily logistics of executing a plan, and that’s what having this firm allows me to do. Working to create Athena Wealth Strategies with Julie, Maritza, and Jeff enabled us to think deeply about what we represent, what we each bring to our client relationships and the importance of creating something true and lasting that will serve generations of our clients. Having a genuine ‘start to finish’ experience with each and every client is something I find extremely satisfying.
Q. What do you like to do when you’re not working on behalf of your clients?
I enjoy trivia of all kinds (but especially history) so I read widely and broadly, and I love to travel to cities with great architecture and history, where I can spend endless days all day exploring and learning new things. Some of my favorite places to visit have been the Tuscany region in Italy, Santorini and Crete in Greece, the Florida Keys and, of course, Northern California! I love spending time with family, especially my husband, Matt, and our Chihuahua-Terrier mix, Sammy. My husband and I are ardent wine and beer tasting enthusiasts because we enjoy what they teach us about the regions and the lands they come from as well as the specialized techniques that create them. We also love eating different ethnic cuisines, both in our home cooking and in visiting restaurants. I’m also a big fan of the New York Yankees and Jets, UConn basketball, and Stanford football.