Jerel Butler was doing research on personal finance back in 2015 when he realized two things: that there was a noticeable lack of Black financial planners, and that the typical financial planning client was also not a minority. He couldn’t stop thinking about those major gaps, and so he did what any dedicated and driven finance expert would do—he started his own firm. In 2015, Jerel started Millennial Financial Solutions, a New Orleans-based, fee-only financial planning firm with a focus on virtual planning as well as planning and financial education for millennial-aged clients.
Since they opened five years ago, Millennial Financial Planning has grown tremendously, thanks to the team’s expertise on financial planning for millennials. Jerel also maintains a steady social media presence, which has helped him gain clients. “I’ve slowly become one of the go-to guys on social media,” he says. Many of their clients are entrepreneurs, small business owners, medical professionals, and young corporate professionals, and athletes. Because of the firm’s focus on tech and virtual planning, Jerel, who is licensed in both Louisiana and Texas, is able to work with clients all over the country, and currently has clients in 14 states. And at just 31 years of age, he is proud to be the youngest Black certified financial planner in the state of Louisiana.
In addition to helping clients and educating them about the best financial practices, Jerel also co-heads a nonprofit called, Project: Learn, Initiate, Teach, or Project LIT, for short. Project LIT focuses on financial literacy programs, including summer camps, for low-income youth, so that they can take better control and have a better understanding of finances as adults. “I can relate to the changes in society that we are going through as a country,” Jerel says. “And as a minority financial planner, I can also relate to the mistakes and pitfalls similar people tend to make. This allows people to feel comfortable with me and lets me help them reach their goals.” He’s also dedicated to helping small businesses. During the height of the pandemic over the summer of 2020, Jerel and his team assisted more than 300 small businesses, many of which were struggling and unable to afford a financial planner, getting them to qualify for the paycheck protection program. He partnered with local banks to get businesses, many of which were female- and minority-owned, the materials they needed to obtain relief loans.
Teaching financial literacy in the New Orleans area is especially meaningful for Jerel, who was born and raised in the area. After graduating from Southeastern Louisiana University, where he was also an athlete, Jerel got his MBA from Clark University in Atlanta and worked for Capital One in both Washington, DC and Dallas, Texas as a corporate financial analyst and later transitioned to personal finance. He obtained his CFP in 2019 and is looking forward to hosting a modified Project LIT summer camp again this summer.
CEO/COO — Millennial Financial Solutions
LinkedIn: Jerel Butler
Facebook: Millennial Financial Solutions; Jerel Butler
Instagram: @MillennialFinancial | @JButler718
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