Scott Leonard, CFP®, AIF®

Founding Partner, Financial Navigator

Scott Leonard, CFP®, AIF®

Founding Partner, Financial Navigator

"Our mission is not just to hand you a map and send you on your way, but also to board your boat and help you navigate the journey."
- Scott Leonard

My Background and What Brought Me Here…

I started in the financial services industry right out of college, working for a major brokerage firm and insurance company. During that time, I earned the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification. I wasn’t happy with the focus on selling products, so I transitioned to working with a large money management firm that was one of the first companies to help bring passive investment strategies to the public, working with independent financial advisors. I was the National Education Manager for the company, teaching the investment concepts that I learned while obtaining my Economics degree at UCLA. During this period, I learned about the independent, fee-only side of the industry. It was clear to me that it was the right way to deliver financial advice. So when I married my wife, Mandi, she agreed to support us while I started the firm in 1996.

Why I Chose This Profession…

Even as a child, I was fascinated with money. I was interested in the different ways that people make money, from getting a job to starting a business. I learned that money can be a great motivator, as hard work and creative thinking can lead to higher earning. And while money doesn’t buy happiness, I saw that it can open opportunities and create freedom. While I was a math tutor in college, I realized that I really enjoyed helping and working with people. Becoming a financial planner just seemed like a natural fit.

Outside of Work, I’m Most Passionate About…

I am most passionate about helping to raise my three boys. I am happy that they have found my passion for water polo, and I enjoy helping out with coaching their team. Our time together sailing around the world has helped us to build a strong family bond that will be with us when we return to the US.

Something Unique and Different About Me…

In 2011, my family and I embarked on a three year world sailing adventure, fulfilling one of my childhood dreams and sharing my wife’s and my passion of travel and adventure with our three children. For myself, and all of us at Navigoe, planning for one’s dreams and goals is not the objective. It is the successful execution of your goals that gets us excited.

When Not in the Office, Look for Me…

  • Coaching Water Polo
  • At the beach with the family
  • Skiing
  • At a UCLA Football or Kings game
  • Promoting my book, “The Liberated CEO”

How I’m Advancing My Career Knowledge

As a UCLA Extension instructor, I have spent many hours teaching the investment concepts we use for our clients. Teaching forces you to be at the leading edge of knowledge. I also enjoy research, and spend a good deal of time taking the “conventional wisdom” of the industry and testing it to see how it may or may not apply to our clients. Finally, I tend to be very active with the professional associations to both help advance my own knowledge and that of the industry.

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Professional Affiliations

NAPFA Regional Board

  • 2006 – 2007 Membership/President Elect
  • 2007 – 2008 President Elect
  • 2008 – 2009 President
  • 2009 – 2010 Chair

NAPFA National Board

  • 2009 – 2010 Board Member

NAPFA University

  • 2005 – 2010 Dean of Investments

Financial Planning Association, Los Angeles Chapter

  • 1998 – 2003 Board Member
  • 2003 – 2004 President of LA Chapter

Education and Certifications

B.A Economics – UCLA



Ranked as one of the top 5 most influential financial advisors by RIA Biz in 2013

In the media

Scott is widely recognized among the business media as an industry expert. His analysis and opinions on advanced wealth management issues are frequently featured in national publications.

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