Forum Financial Advisor David McClellan

Why I Became a Financial Advisor

I spent nearly 15 years in executive roles with Morningstar and Pershing, where I saw firsthand how many brokerage firms were not working in their clients’ best interests. I knew there had to be a better way to serve clients. I developed a passion for retirement planning when I led an initiative at Morningstar where I built retirement planning software and wrote educational content on retirement risks that won the 2007 Excellence in Communications award from InvestmentNews. After publishing a paper on Medicare means testing and the risks of tax deferred savings, I’ve developed expertise in helping clients understand and mitigate their tax liabilities in retirement.

My goal is to help clients achieve their financial and life goals, both for retirement and the near term. I work broadly, deeply and proactively with clients, so they can focus their energy on their family and careers.


Wealth Management Essentials
With David McClellan


How Can Retirees Avoid the Tax
Bomb in Their Portfolios? with David McClellan


Defusing the Retirement
“Tax Bomb” with David McClellan


Is Your Retirement
Portfolio a Tax Bomb?


When It Comes
to Your RMDs,
Be Very, Very Afraid!


Watch Out:
RMDs Can Trigger
Massive Medicare
Means Testing Surcharges


Will Your Kids
Inherit a Tax
Bomb From You?


How to Defuse a
Retirement Tax Bomb,
Starting With 1 Simple Move


Using Asset
Location to Defuse
a Retirement Tax Bomb


Roth Conversions
Play Key Role in Defusing
a Retirement Tax Bomb


2 Ways Retirees
Can Defuse a Tax
Bomb (It’s Not Too Late!)


Can My Pension
Trigger a Retirement
Tax Bomb?





My process for working with clients reflects my consulting background. I first develop a deep understanding of your situation before moving into specific advice and action items. I actively follow up to ensure execution of the advice, since the best strategy means nothing without implementation.

If I’m to act as a fiduciary who works in your best interest, I need to know your financial situation broadly and deeply. So, before I will take on a client, I require a “financial health check” meeting, a two-hour, situation assessment where we capture your financial values, goals and data. I provide a comprehensive written analysis that identifies up to a dozen action items that address common mistakes made by investors and other financial advisors.

The analysis includes several projections of sustainable retirement income, so you can understand how you are tracking toward a secure retirement. For clients who have saved a lot in tax-deferred accounts (i.e., are sitting on a potential tax bomb), I analyze exposure to taxes and Medicare means testing surcharges in retirement and suggest mitigation strategies. This analysis typically takes 10–15 hours for me to produce, but I find it is essential to giving good, fiduciary advice (there is no charge for this consult).

Much of my advice is very tactical in nature, answering questions such as:

  • How much cash should you hold and how do you maximize yield?
  • Should you pay down bad debt or use cash for other goals?
  • How much should you be saving for retirement and how should you prioritize saving in various accounts (e.g., HSA, Roth, pre-tax, taxable) to minimize lifetime taxes and build wealth?
  • If you are self-employed, how can you access retirement accounts like a Solo 401(k)?
  • How should you save for your children’s college expenses?

"Prior to working with David, I had never worked with a financial advisor and was not aware that advisors worked as true consultants to their clients. David’s comprehensive, balanced, and fact-based approach to financial planning brings me and my family a great level of comfort."

— Jason L.

"I like your approach, and I feel like I can ask questions and get the pros and cons in order to make good decisions. Your communication is very effective. If I don't understand something, you come at it from another direction."
— Elaine C.

"My experience working with you has been very positive. This is the first time I've had a clear idea of what my financial situation is. I also really appreciate your attention to detail and in-depth approach to achieving my long-term goals."
— Victoria T.

"David carefully built a plan that was tailored for us, and he patiently walked us through each step to help us execute that plan. At no point did I feel pressured into making a decision that isn't in my family's best interest. I feel fortunate to have met David, and I highly recommend him to anyone who is seeking guidance for a secure long-term financial success."
— Jeff K.

The individual providing this testimonial is a client of Forum Financial Management, LP. There is no guarantee every client of Forum will experience this level of results.


David McClellan joined Forum Financial Management in 2015. He is a Partner and Financial Advisor at Forum. From his practice in Austin, David focuses on retirement planning and financial life coaching. He loves helping people achieve financial independence and a secure retirement. David is also an executive at AiVante, a machine learning technology firm that is helping the wealth management industry improve planning for client healthcare costs in retirement.David has 30 years of professional experience, primarily in wealth management. He held executive sales, product and strategy roles at Morningstar and Pershing and previously worked as a strategy consultant. He has a Chicago Booth MBA with concentrations in strategy, finance and marketing. He earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in economics and history from the University of Texas at Austin while lettering on the swim team, which won several national championships. He brings the work ethic of a champion swimmer to how he works with clients.

David is passionate about creating a safe and limitless future for everyone, a theme running through his volunteer activities. He was a founding parent and trustee of Urban Prairie Waldorf School in Chicago; he mentored entrepreneurs at the 1871 incubator in Chicago; he served as the volunteer event director for Swim Across America Chicago, which raised more than $1 million for cancer research at Rush University Cancer Center; and he served on the board of the Alliance for the Great Lakes.

David resides in Austin with his wife, two children and yellow lab. He serves clients nationwide.


Tell Us About Your Financial Life and Aspirations

Your experience begins with an initial meeting to identify your financial vision for the future and risk tolerance levels. We review our investment philosophy and approach with you so that you fully understand each milestone of our process and how our relationship will evolve over time.

Discuss Topics Crucial to Your Financial Success

Over the course of the next few meetings, the content and breadth of each meeting is defined by your personal needs. We can review your estate planning and risk management needs, discuss retirement accumulation or distribution planning, evaluate educational funding needs, review your tax situation, and go over any other items crucial to your financial success.

Develop a Strategic Plan Unique to You

Once you select an allocation, we put together a strategic implementation plan that will coordinate investment of your portfolio between qualified (tax-advantaged) assets and non-qualified assets in order to maximize tax efficiency. The topics we address during our time with you vary depending on your unique needs and situation.

Putting Your Plan Into Action

We establish your Forum account based on the portfolio allocation we discussed and what we learned about your risk tolerance and financial goals. With your new Forum account now in place, you will have the opportunity to access your Forum Client Portal for the first time and connect with members of the Forum Client Service team.

Review Goals and Plans When Your Life Changes

You will receive reporting that will clearly show your performance net of all fees and compared to applicable market indexes. Additionally your assets are held at a reputable third-party custodian that furnishes independent monthly reports so you can feel confident about the safe handling of your money.

Ready to Connect With a Forum Advisor?