Mary Sterk

By the time I was 19 years old, I was already a divorced single mother of two kids under two years old. We lived in a low-rent apartment complex, and I bought my groceries with food stamps. I didn’t get any child support and had to try desperately to make ends meet with my minimum-wage job and a welfare check.


When I looked around me, I realized many people living here were never able to dig themselves out of that financial hole. I didn’t want that to be my future. I didn’t want to let the fact that I had been a pregnant teenager dictate the rest of my life. I wanted something better for myself and my children. And I realized to create a better life for us, I had to learn how money worked.


And so I did. I spent days working and taking care of my kids, and I spent nights with my nose in a book, taking classes. It wasn’t easy, but I learned a number of really important things along the way that have shaped my money philosophy, and ultimately defined how I work with clients today.

I believe money does not buy you material things; it buys you choices. When you learn and appreciate the value and the freedom those choices afford you, you can approach your financial philosophy—and your life—in a whole new way. I have used that approach to create value for thousands of clients as I built my financial planning practice. What started as a simple desire to provide a better life for myself and my children has taken me from welfare to wealth management. I obtained my Certified Financial Planner® certification, and I now lead a large financial planning practice staffed by an amazing team of talented advisors. We are headquartered in South Dakota, with four affiliated offices across the Midwest that serve clients throughout the country.

Briar Cliff University | | 3303 Rebecca St. | Sioux City, IA 51104