Ryan Furtwangler, CFP®, AEP®

Principal, Senior Financial Advisor

Ryan Furtwangler is a principal and senior financial advisor in the Stuart, Florida, offices of HBKS®. He began his career in 2002 with a regional brokerage firm in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, then transferred to Edward D. Jones where he was an advisor and ultimately managed its Harborcreek office. During his tenure there, he became aware for the need for comprehensive financial planning and more sophisticated investment approach, which led him to move his practice to HBKS® in 2005.

Ryan enjoys working with the complexities relating to multi-generational wealth and estate planning, as well as income replacement strategies for people transitioning into retirement. He believes that to preserve and grow wealth it is necessary to stay focused on the client’s total financial picture and how all aspects of their finances interconnect. Ryan has worked with the Stuart team and firm leadership since 2005 working as a financial advisor, senior financial advisor and now as a partner in the firm.
Ryan has also sat on many of the firms steering committees including Financial Planning and Investment Policy. He is also a key member of the firms Protection Planning (Insurance) Committee.

Ryan earned his Bachelor of Science Degree (Cum Laude) in Finance with a concentration in Investment Analysis & Economics from the University of Pittsburgh. He also completed coursework in Aerospace Engineering at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) and holds the ACCREDITED ESTATE PLANNER® (AEP®) designation. He is the only financial professional in the firm to hold a CFP® as well as the AEP® certification.

Ryan is a member of the Financial Planning Association (FPA), Amara Shriners and alumni of the Martin County Leadership Program. He also sits on the board of the Martin Health Advisory Board, The Mark Garwood Foundation and is the President of the Martin County Estate Planning Council. Ryan also sits on the finance committee for Molly’s House. He has served in many capacities over the years including as the past chairman of the Frances Langford Grant’s committee for the Martin County Community Foundation, President of Molly’s House, Treasure Coast Symphony and Martin’s Crossing Home Owners Association.

On a personal level Ryan enjoys spending time with his family and friends. This usually entails equestrian sports and activities, shooting sporting clays or exercising in some way shape or form. Ryan has been married to his wife Jennifer since 2009 and they welcomed Avery into the world in 2013.


Why have you stayed at HBKS® as long as you have?

It’s our culture. Our industry, in my opinion, is littered with well-meaning advisors, brokers, trust officers, insurance agents and others who are primarily salespeople. They can fall victim to promoting their firm’s products or believing they alone have all the answers. Our culture is one that embraces various opinions and comes up with a unified, well-researched strategy for each client. This approach applies, whether it’s portfolio design, wealth and retirement planning, taxes, liquidity events or something as simple as buying or leasing a car. Our independence gives us so many advantages over our peers, all to the benefit of our clients. This also attracts great thinkers to the firm, each with their own areas of expertise. Our clients might see one or two of us, but they get a team covering almost every financial aspect of their lives. That is unique in today’s world of flash and dash.

What is the most fulfilling aspect about your work?

I don’t know that there is just one thing. When I was young I used to work construction in the summers. It was a brutal, dirty, hot job, but I did it for years. I did it partly because the money was great, but really it was because nothing was more satisfying than thinking through a series of problems, deploying a plan and seeing a final product put a smile on someone’s face.

I still like to build things – I just do it now with a box of financial tools rather than hammer and nails. The best part is that the building is never finished and no two clients are the same. My ability to combine the resources of our firm with my own knowledge and that of our team to design an ever-evolving plan is incredibly fulfilling. It’s so satisfying knowing that we are helping our clients achieve their goals and aspirations, which ultimately means helping with their happiness and protecting their life’s work.

What would you look for in a wealth manager?

A few things I think are most important:

  • Independence – Is the practitioner independent? Are there conflicts of interest, like being compensated for selling their own products? A good test is to look at who holds the portfolio. If the statements are issued by the same organization that sold you investment products, odds are they aren’t unbiased. They should also be a fiduciary, so ask if all your money will be handled as a fiduciary.
  • Expertise – Are they qualified to solve problems, both as part of overseeing a portfolio and with your overall finances? I would want a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) and a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) on my team, and ideally, a Certified Financial Analyst (CFA) working in the background.
  • Team – Some providers are solo practitioners. I would be looking for a team – that is, a team that collaborates, not just a collection of solo practitioners sharing clients and a roof.
  • Size matters – Generally I would want a firm that is large enough to have deep resources and talent, but small enough to provide an intimate client experience.
  • Fee-based – While commissions do serve a purpose in limited places (such as term life insurance), generally the practitioner should charge a fee as opposed to commissions. This structure reduces the conflicts of interest inherent in the commission world.
  • Comprehensive – Is the advisor comprehensive? All parts of your finances are interconnected, so in addition to managing your investments, your advisor should know taxes; retirement and estate planning; life, disability and long-term care insurance; and even philanthropy. You also want someone who “gets” your big picture, so they can help you make your future what you want it to be.
  • Family – Do you feel like they can be part of your family? A successful relationship means you’re with them for life, so the answer should be “yes.” It’s not more important than the other issues, but it’s a critical ingredient in the recipe.