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Meet the Team

You tell us what you want to accomplish.

We show you how to get there.

Our Mission Is Simple

We believe that the best financial behaviors can be learned and taught, no matter your age or current financial status. It's never too early and never too late to learn how to make wise financial decisions. We are committed to helping you do that.


Meet Your Financial Planning Team


Austin B. Colby, MBA, CFP® Photo Austin B. Colby, MBA, CFP® Hover Photo
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Austin B. Colby, MBA, CFP®

Owner / Sr. Financial Planner, RJFS

Austin B. Colby, MBA, CFP®

Owner / Sr. Financial Planner, RJFS




“I believe that every family can achieve their financial goals, if the path to do so is clear. This work of building paths and guiding clients along those paths is my passion, and it brings me tremendous joy. After twenty years of doing this, I am more excited today than ever about helping families with their finances. Helping one family at a time make good choices makes a difference. I believe that whole-heartedly and am thankful for the opportunity to serve so many people in this capacity.”

— Austin


Austin is the owner and visionary behind The Wealth Group. His #1 responsibility is to lead our team in devotion to the mission: providing quality financial planning and investment management to the firm’s clients.


Education/Designations

  • BS from Minnesota State University, Mankato – Finance with emphasis in Financial Planning
  • MBA from Minnesota State University, Mankato – Leadership & Organizational Development
  • CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™

Personal Interests

Austin is the proud husband to Jennifer and father to eight children. While there are endless activities of fun and excitement in their household, some favorites include traveling as a family to experience and explore new adventures, playing many hours of board games and card games at the dinner table, and enjoying the subtle yet extraordinary details that a fun family of ten brings.  

The Colbys are very active in their church as well as their local community and love building memories with those around them. Austin also enjoys golfing with his children, as well as his team members and many clients.  

Questions for Austin

What is the single best piece of advice you have ever received about money?
My big brother Adam told me that I needed to learn how to handle what little money I had when I was a college kid with little access to cash. He said. "If you think it will be easier to handle money when you're earning more, you're wrong. If you can't make good decisions with a little, you won't make good decisions with a lot--you're mistakes will just be bigger."

What is your favorite book any why?
I don’t have just one.  But here are a few: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Whimsical love story and excellent writing. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.  Fantastic story-telling. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. That was the first book my wife and I ever read together.  That Printer of Udell’s by H.B. Wright. A wonderful story with a character that challenges you to be the best version of yourself.

Where is the most interesting place you've ever traveled?
Uganda, Africa. Anytime you visit a culture that is so drastically different than what you are used to, it is eye-opening and memorable.  I have very much loved all three of the trips I’ve been able to take to Uganda.



Certified Financial Planer Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™, and CFP® in the U.S.

Paul M. Bennett, CFP® Photo
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Paul M. Bennett, CFP®

Sr. Financial Planner

Paul M. Bennett, CFP®

Sr. Financial Planner




“I want people to succeed at life and that includes guiding them to achieve sound money management. I enjoy helping individuals and businesses make beneficial decisions in regards to money and investment management. Long range planning is one of my professional passions and moving people from the thought of retirement to the reality of retirement is something I enjoy assisting our clients with.” 

— Paul


Paul has more than 20 years of experience advising business owners and affluent individuals about their finances. Paul has achieved the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation. Being a CFP® professional enables him to help clients focus on what is important to them. He has also earned the Chartered Retirement Plan Counselor (CRPC®) designation, which demonstrates his expertise in the area of retirement financial planning for individuals.

Education/Designations

  • BS in Finance from Minnesota State University, Mankato
  • CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™
  • CRPC® (Chartered Retirement Plan Counselor)
  • CKA® (Certified Kingdom Advisor®)
  • FINRA BrokerCheck

Personal Interests

Actively giving back to the community is a priority for Paul and his wife. As a testament to that commitment, they have created the Paul & Tanya Bennett Foundation which awards annual grants to a variety of local community organizations, such as Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, Minnesotans’ Military Appreciation Fund and scholarships to existing Finance majors at Minnesota State University at Mankato. Paul’s firm donates 5% of the fee revenue generated by the practice to fund the Foundation.

Paul and Tanya reside in Brooklyn Park, MN, and are raising two sons, Ty and Grant. Paul enjoys staying active by playing sports. He is an assistant coach for soccer and can be found playing pickup basketball at the local health club.

Questions for Paul

What is the single best piece of advice you have ever received about money?
"Your rate of savings is far more important than your rate of return."

What is your favorite book and why?
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I was told to read this book shortly after I started in the industry. I have re-read it a few times since then when I need gentle reminders of being a better listener and friend to others.

Where is the most interesting place you’ve ever traveled?
The ruins of Pompeii (Italy) – my wife and I traveled there in the fall of 2018.

 

Certified Financial Planer Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™, and CFP® in the U.S.

Mike K. Earl, CFP®, CPWA® Photo Mike K. Earl, CFP®, CPWA® Hover Photo
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Mike K. Earl, CFP®, CPWA®

Sr. Financial Planner, RJFS

Mike K. Earl, CFP®, CPWA®

Sr. Financial Planner, RJFS




“I want to empower our clients to succeed with their money. Too many people experience unnecessary stress and anxiety in their financial lives. Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.”  We aim to be those counselors that provide safety for our clients. Navigating the world of personal finance is not easy. There are many sharks out there, selling products and giving bad advice. We want to be shepherds that guide our clients around the many pitfalls and landmines that exist in the world of money and investing.

It has been said that a good financial advisor has the heart of a teacher. We agree. We want our clients to understand the advice we give them. We want them to be the driver of their financial plan, with us as their sidekick/coach to help them make their plans and goals a reality.”

— Mike


Mike enjoys the technical aspects of financial planning: leveraging technology to help his clients and the team, helping clients execute their recommended financial planning strategies and better understand their monthly cash flow.

Mike has been quoted as a financial expert in U.S. News & World Report and Business Insider.

Education/Designations

  • BS in Business/Economics from Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL
  • CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™
  • Certified Private Wealth Advisor (CPWA®)
  • FINRA BrokerCheck

Personal Interests

Mike is husband to Krista and father to four children: Evelyn (Evie), Ford, Theodore (Teddy), and Jack. The Earls live in Eden Prairie, where you might see them out for long family walks, gardening in the yard, or playing at local parks as a family.

The Earls are active members at Emmaus Road Reformed Church in Eden Prairie, where Mike serves as a deacon. As part of this role, he helps direct the church's finances and building search. 

Mike is passionate about gardening, reading, writing, and staying active through working out and playing various sports. He particularly enjoys golfing with clients, colleagues and family all over the Twin Cities. 

Questions for Mike

What is the single best piece of advice you have ever received about money?
My father instilled in me the importance of giving the first 10% of my income to God. This causes me to remember that money does not belong to me, but to God. It also provokes me to consider others’ needs before my own.

What was your first job?
McDonald’s in Chanhassen at age 14. I manned the fry station, salting the fries with the famous “Triple Arch” method.

Do you have any skills or talents that most people don’t know about?
Plant propagation. I derive great joy from multiplying plants. I’ve learned how to take stem cuttings and root them in sand, thereby creating new plants. Of course, I also happily divide plants – the most common (and easiest) form of plant propagation.


Certified Financial Planer Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™, and CFP® in the U.S.

Adam Colby, CIMA Photo
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Adam Colby, CIMA

CFO / Financial Planner

Adam Colby, CIMA

CFO / FINANCIAL PLANNER


“I love working alongside the people at The Wealth Group. Additionally, my younger brother (and now boss) and I have wanted to work together for years. When the opportunity arose within The Wealth Group I jumped at the chance. I have always had a passion for personal finance and investing; the transition into this investment-focused role was a natural one for me.”

— ADAM


Developing and stress-testing the firm’s asset allocation models is a passion of Adam’s.  You may often find him assessing risk metrics for client portfolios and the broader global markets as well as trading and rebalancing client portfolios.

Education/Designations

  • CIMA®
  • BA (Business Major/Math Minor) from Dakota State University
  • FINRA BrokerCheck

Personal Interests

Adam has been married to his wife, Kristi for 20 years. They have three children: Emma, Andruw and Anthony. Adam is an avid sports fan and an excellent coach of his sons' youth sports teams. He also thoroughly enjoys a round of golf every now and again. 

Questions for Adam

What is the single best piece of advice you have ever received about money?
"Don't borrow it."

What is your favorite book and why?
Total Baseball Encyclopedia because it led to the greatest website of all time (baseball-reference.com)

Do you have any skills or talents that most people don't know about?
I know all 54 Superbowl champions, all 115 World Series champions, and every NBA champion since 1957.



Investments & Wealth Institute TM (The Institute) is the owner of the certification mark "CIMA" and "Certified Investment Management Analyst." Use of CIMA and/or Certified Investment Management Analyst signifies that the user has successfully completed The Institute's initial and ongoing credentialing requirements for investment management professional.


 

Dan Johnson, CFP® Photo Dan Johnson, CFP® Hover Photo
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Dan Johnson, CFP®

Client Relationship Advisor

Dan Johnson, CFP®

CLIENT RELATIONSHIP ADVISOR



“I love being able to see and contribute to the confidence in the families we help when they know they are taking the correct steps towards financial independence. I truly enjoy building relationships with people. The work I do with The Wealth Group gives me the opportunity to do this by building a relationship that will last a lifetime.”

— DAN


Education/Designations

  • Graduated from North Central University with a degree in Business Administration.
  • Series 7 and Series 66 licensed through FINRA.
  • CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™
  • FINRA BrokerCheck

Personal Interests

Dan has been married to his wife Rebekah since 2015 and they welcomed their first child, Maxwell, in 2019. Dan and Rebekah love the transition they are now experiencing as new parents and do their best to still make time to travel and experience other parts of the world. A few of their favorite spots they have visited include Punta Cana, Dominican Republic and Maui, Hawaii. 

Dan competed in three NCAA Division III Golf National Championships, representing North Central University. He continues to hone his golf skills and enjoys the sport most when playing with his friends, co-workers and clients. 

Questions for Dan

What is the single best piece of advice you have ever received about money?
"Do the next right thing now."

What is your favorite book and why?
Tale of Two Cities or  Are You Kidding Me? The first because it is a great story, and the second because I am a golf nut.

What was your first job?
I was a golf cart boy at Souris Valley Golf Course in Minot, ND.

Certified Financial Planer Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™, and CFP® in the U.S.




Karie Merritt Photo
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Karie Merritt

Director of Client Services & Experience

Karie Merritt

Director of Client Services & Experience



"I have realized there are so many people in the world today who are unsure of how to save or plan for the future. They live paycheck to paycheck and think debt is normal. It’s no big deal to them if they have car payments, credit card payments, student loan debt, etc. We get to help people realize that there’s a different way to live. We get to help people who feel hopeless finally find a clear path for the future while taking control of their finances for the first time. When people are proactive rather than reactive, it’s amazing what can be accomplished. 

I feel privileged to be a part of their journey to financial freedom."

— Karie


Karie’s main role is managing the onboarding process for new clients. She works hard to ensure a seamless transition and to make all clients feel welcome and cared for. As the Director of Client Services & Experience, she oversees the Client Services team, plans client events, processes monetary transfers, handles paperwork for clients and helps to manage the day-to-day operations of the office

Education/Designations

  • AA in Liberal Arts & Sciences from North Hennepin Community College
  • BA in Early Childhood Education and Teaching from Concordia University St. Paul
  • Notary Public

Personal Interests

Karie enjoys spending time with her husband Jason and 3 children: Reese (2006), Callen (2008) & Nolan (2010). The Merritts moved to Shakopee in 2009 and have been members of Redeemer Bible Church in Minnetonka since 2005. 

Some of Karie’s favorite things to do outside the office include reading, scouting out new trails for hiking with her family and their dog, enjoying a good cup of coffee, attending her children’s various sporting events, taking photos, and watching a great movie.

Questions for Karie

What is the single best piece of advice you have ever received about money?
"A budget doesn't limit your freedom, it gives you freedom." When my husband and I first started budgeting in 2014, I was worried that I would feel guilty whenever I spent money on anything besides the necessities. I quickly realized that planning for every penny that we earn allows us to know exactly where our money is going and allows us to experience much more enjoyment.

What was your first job?
Jensen's Foods

If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Ireland or Italy

Misty Tanner Photo Misty Tanner Hover Photo
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Misty Tanner

Client Services Associate

Misty Tanner

Client Services Associate


“I am passionate about my work because I think it is important to make wise, informed decisions with our finances as it permeates into all aspects of our lives. Just as people strive to maintain balance in their overall lives, financial wellness and understanding in your personal life is just as important. ”

— Misty


Education/Designations

  • B.S. in Business Administration in Sports & Fitness, Minor in Bible & Theology
  • Certificate in Coaching

Personal Interests

Misty has been married since 2000 to her amazing husband, Ross and they have two children: Trey and Kalli. Misty met her husband in college on the basketball court, so they share a love of sports and competition. They spend a lot of time attending and/or coaching their kid’s activities, such as: football, basketball, swimming, church events - and they LOVE the memories they are making! The Tanners are also very involved at their church in Eden Prairie.

Questions for Misty

What is the single best piece of advice you have ever received about money?
"Money doesn't buy happiness."

What is your favorite book and why?
The Bible--so much wisdom and guidance!

If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Africa or Israel


Ben Thorson Photo Ben Thorson Hover Photo
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Ben Thorson

Client Relationship Advisor

Ben Thorson

CLIENT RELATIONSHIP ADVISOR


“I enjoy helping people make better decisions with their money and I love working with the TWG team! I am surrounded by a great group of people who are experts at their craft and are willing to help make those around them better. 

Every day I feel as though I am going to learn something new that will help me better serve our clients.”

—BEN


Education/Designations

  • Graduated from North Central University with a Bachelor of Science degree.
  • Series 7 and Series 66 licensed through FINRA.
  • Accounting experience at CH Robinson in Eden Prairie.
  • FINRA BrokerCheck

Personal Interests

Ben has been married to his wife, Julia since 2015 and they love spending time playing sports with their 3-year old son, Jett. They welcomed a second child, Josie, into their family in 2020. As a family, they enjoy traveling together, exploring and spending time on the lake. 

As an avid Wisconsin sports fan, Ben does his best to visit Madison or Milwaukee for games as often as possible. He also spends his time coaching golf at Southwest Christian High School in Chaska, MN. Ben and his family are active members of Eden Prairie Assembly of God and love interacting with their community. 

Questions for Ben

What was your first job?
At the age of 16 I began working at the Hudson Golf Club. I worked there for six years as a Member Service Assistant and Pro Shop Assistant.

Do you have any skills or talents that most people don't know about?
Bowling and handwriting.

If you could visit anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Madison, Wisconsin.


Paige Knier Photo
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Paige Knier

Client Relationship Advisor

Paige Knier

Client Relationship Advisor


“Being the newest (and youngest) team member at The Wealth Group, I aim to make myself available for any projects that will help us improve advice delivery to our clients. I assist in marketing, reviewing and updating client retirement plans, data entry and analysis, creation and improvement of client deliverables, and learning the service-side of our business.

I will be getting to know our clients in the years to come!”

— PAIGE


Even as a young adult, keeping her finances in order and planning for the future has allowed Paige to experience wealth as a blessing rather than a stressor. She wants people to know that same freedom, especially when life gets complicated. 

Education/Designations

  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and minor in Christian Studies from North Central University
  • Series 7 licensed through FINRA.

Personal Interests

Paige is passionate about traveling and experiencing new places around the world. She loves a good cup of coffee  and living in the city. In Paige's spare time, she enjoys reading, being outdoors, and spending time with family and friends.

Questions for Paige

What was your first job?
Nannying.

What is your favorite book and why?
Ender's Game--a science fiction book that I read in high school and loved. I don't know what it is about this book, but I've read it probably 12 times.

Where is the most interesting place you've ever traveled?
Kunming, China, in August of 2016. This trip changed my perspective on a lot of things.