Headshot of Holly Donaldson

In a recent newsletter, I talked about the piggy bank I had when I was growing up. I dutifully kept my quarters and JFK half-dollars in it. When I asked my parents for something that they thought I should pay for, they would say, “Holly, if you want that, you know you can always break your piggy bank.” I hated that thought. Each time I thought about “breaking the bank” to buy something I wanted, I weighed it against what would happen to my piggy bank.

Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I was learning a powerful lesson about the value of choices. I was choosing my piggy bank over the latest spur-of-the-moment desire. I still wanted the latest toy the TV commercials put in front of me. But I wanted my piggy bank more.

Over time, my awareness of money evolved into an interest in economics – piggy banks on the grand scale. I learned about the difference it made in individual lives when people chose wisely. And after many years of working with clients of a major commercial bank, I discovered that I had a genuine passion for helping people put all the important pieces of their financial lives on the table, then working with them and other professionals to help identify and achieve their dreams.

As you can see throughout this site, the value of choice is very important to me and to my clients. Some dream of travel or going back to school or volunteering or spending more time with family. So maybe being a Certified Financial Planner™ is a great choice after all, if you’re committed to making a difference.


Holly P. Donaldson, CFP®Academic Credentials:

B.A., Economics, Davidson College, 1986
M.B.A., University of South Florida, 1998
M.A., Economics, University of South Florida, 2007

Professional Designation:

Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) designation, 2004

Professional Memberships:

Registered Member, National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, 2007 – present

Member, Suncoast Estate Planning Council, 2019 – present

Member, Financial Planning Association, 2011 – present

Leader, NAPFA West Florida Study Group, 2019 – present

Founder, NAPFA Project-Based Planners Mix Group, 2019 – present

Chair, NAPFA Leadership Development Committee – 2014 – 2017

Chair, NAPFA South Regional Board – 2013 – 2014

Professional Recognition:

Distinguished Toastmaster, Toastmasters International, 2009


“You Might Want a Trust If….”, NAPFA Advisor, March 2020

Professional and Community Service:
  • Savvy Ladies, Pro Bono volunteer, 2022 – present
  • Tampa Bay Estate Planning Council, Past Board Member
  • Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, Professional Advisory Committee, Past Member
  • Child Abuse Council, Past Chair of Planned Giving Steering Committee; past Treasurer
  • Highrisers Toastmasters, Past President
  • Toastmasters International, Past Area 32 Governor
  • H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center Foundation, Planned Giving Committee, Past Member
  • Florida Orchestra, Past Board Member
  • United Way of Hillsborough County; Past Chair, Audit Committee
  • Lifepath Hospice, Past Member, Speakers Bureau

Holly has been a featured speaker in diverse venues, from university classrooms to national conferences. Quoted in the Wall St. JournalThe Penny Hoarder column, InvestmentNews, Financial Advisor, Money, and More magazines, as well as Marotta on MoneyCentsai.comCNBC.com, and Headspace.com, her area of interest is the psychology of money and its effects on personal and professional  relationships. Her 2013 book, The Mindful Money Mentality: How to Find Balance in Your Financial Future, was called “..a great addition to an advisor’s shelf, as well as a hugely valuable book for clients who are at a personal and financial crossroads” by NAPFA Advisor magazine.

Her free monthly e-letter, “The View from the Porch,” has received the All Star award from Constant Contact for its content every year since 2012.

Before starting a fee-only financial planning practice in 2006, Holly spent 21 years in banking, primarily with First Union/Wachovia (now Wells Fargo), where she served as a Senior Vice President in the Private Wealth Management division. During her banking career, she was nominated by one of her clients and featured in Inc. magazine as a “Banker You’ll Love.”

Behind the Credentials

Trusting a financial advisor requires more than credentials. I have them, I’m proud of them, and you can see them here. But being able to trust and work with someone on matters of great importance is another matter. So click below for a few things you might like to know about me.

About Choices… Those who read my newsletter know that it includes a column called “View from the Porch.” In it, I discuss choices – not just about money, but about what I (and we) choose to do when we save, spend, invest, and share it.

About Travel… Another choice that is important to me is the freedom to travel. Over the years I have biked in Vietnam and Cambodia, walked the Great Wall of China, visited Ireland, hiked in Norway and had the opportunity to see the fjords. I bicycled to remote regions of India where I learned that I could bike quickly enough to pass elephants.  Not something you experience every day of the week.

About Activities… I’m active in my Toastmasters group, volunteer in my community, and I write, speak and conduct workshops on subjects ranging from Behavioral Finance to End of Life Planning.

Sounds pretty busy, doesn’t it?

But it’s a good busy because it’s the sum of the choices I make and the things I value, including…spending time outside – whether on a nice balcony, porch, or patio, thus the title of my monthly e-letter, “The View from the Porch.”

The Value of Choice: The View from the Porch

porch-smlThere are many ways to make more money, but no way to make more time. Trading off things that I didn’t need to free up time and space in my life has been a great choice. In fact, I feel “richer” than ever because I made carefully considered choices to maximize time and happiness. My monthly e-letter talks about these kinds of choices – mine, my family’s, or – some of the best examples I have found to emulate – my clients’ (anonymously, of course).

The Value of Choice

You may not dream of becoming an opera star, but many of us have an artist somewhere inside, longing to come out. You may want to paint or play an instrument or get involved in theater or take up writing in a serious way. The stress of financial chaos can distract us from the things we love most. Eliminating the chaos might allow new choices to appear.