Stoyan Panayotov, CFA, fee-only financial advisor and founder of Babylon Wealth Management

I was born in communist Bulgaria and grew up in a small town with strong family values. Around the time I was ten years old, the Iron Curtain collapsed, and our country embraced democracy. The next ten years were tough. Seeing my parents working hard to provide for my brother and I formed my decisions to have a career in Finance. I also learned that small things in life could bring you enormous joy. I learned how to be resilient and resourceful.

After completing a bachelor’s degree in Accounting at Varna University of Economics in Bulgaria, at the age of 23, I moved to New York City to pursue a Master of Business Administration at Pace University. I was fortunate enough to have a full merit-based scholarship and finished graduate school with no student loans. Upon completing grad school, I joined the ranks on Wall Street for nearly two years. I specialized in risk management and option strategies for equity and fixed income products for Deutsche Bank and Wells Fargo. In 2006 I obtained a highly recognized CFA designation.

Living in New York without family support was a life-changing experience for me. II arrived at JFK Airport on August 24, 2002. I stayed in a hostel for two weeks and later moved in with three of my fellow Bulgarian students into a one-bedroom apartment in the Bronx. There was a time in life when all I owned was $200, just enough to pay for the next month’s rent. Many times, I contemplated returning to Bulgaria, but somehow, I always pushed through life’s adversities. I’ve learned to appreciate each moment, big or small, that life presents. These challenges have helped me develop strength and flexibility, which supports my practice as a financial advisor.

In New York, I met my wife. We got married in 2015 and shortly after moved to California to start our family. We have a son who is currently in preschool.

When I was in New York, I was an avid runner and completed three New York City Marathons. Due to a small injury in my achilles, the best running days are behind me. However, I remain active and love to set and overcome personal milestones.

Our family enjoys spending time together. When I am not providing financial advice, I am a full-time dad. We spend our weekends browsing around Downtown Walnut Creek and making day trips in the Bay Area. Our favorite Bay Area destination is Point Reyes, where we go for hiking, freshly made cheese, and oysters. My wife’s favorite bakery is located at Point Reyes station and sells delicious cinnamon rolls. Our favorite holiday destination is the Big Island of Hawaii, where we enjoy the friendliness of Hawaiian people, the versatility of the climate, the fresh seafood and poke, malasada, and of course, shave ice.

I started Babylon Wealth Management to help the families of physicians, and tech professionals start their financial journey on a firm footing. Being a fee-only financial advisor, I never earn sales commissions or sell investment products. Furthermore, I am committed to acting in my clients’ best interest by providing trusted advice and bespoke wealth management solutions. I enjoy helping clients develop robust and personalized long-term financial plans to achieve their personal and financial goals.