Strategic Fortune Wealth Management makes its debut

 Founder Shaquawn Schasa addresses:
• An uncertain economy
• Donor-advised funds
• Income inequality and more

Equity markets have been rallying since mid-June, strengthening through mid-August (the time of this writing). Driving the rebound is a solid corporate earnings season – better than expected – and somewhat cooler inflation.

Bank of America Corporation’s monthly survey of fund managers, released mid-August, showed that investor allocation to stocks rose from the grim lows of July. The global survey included 250 participants with $752 billion under management in the week through August 11—and 88% of them are now expecting lower inflation in the next 12 months.

“Sentiment remains bearish, but no longer apocalyptically bearish as hopes rise that inflation and rates shocks end in coming quarters,” BofA’s Michael Hartnett said.

“I think we still have some wood to chop,” Shaquawn Schasa, managing partner at Strategic Fortune Wealth Management, told Advisors Magazine in a recent interview. “Even though we see those inflationary prices starting to come down and the stock market is trending is up, we still have to make sure that we are preparing ourselves for a possible recession.”

In short, now is a time to remain vigilant and stay focused, according to the founder of the newly formed firm. Armed with 17 years of experience as a leader and financial professional, Schasa opened the doors of Strategic Fortune Wealth Management in June of this year. The independently owned firm —supported by the vast resources of Securian Financial Services — offers comprehensive financial strategies to individuals and businesses in the Los Angeles area.

In these volatile times, Schasa listens closely to her clients and is still cautious about the possibility of a recession. “We have to be mindful of what we're investing in and how we're saving our money,” she added, noting that most clients are not panicking, but are still concerned about the direction of the economy and the markets.

Shaquawn SchasaHer feedback from clients now echoes much of the broader consumer sentiment in the U.S., which improved just slightly in early August. The University of Michigan's Consumer Confidence Index nudged higher to 55.1 from 51.5 in July.

“Things are calmer now, based on my conversations with clients, but there is still uncertainty about how to proceed,” Schasa said. “For example, I’ll get questions like: ‘Is this a good time to buy stocks, property, a car? Is it a good time to get credit cards?’ So, from just a consumer standpoint, there is still a lot of concern around what to do next.”

And that’s why maintaining close and frequent contact with clients is imperative.

“Now is a time when we advisors should stay in touch with our clients,” Schasa said. “And if you're an advisor, or if you're a client or prospective client looking for an advisor, it's a great time to make sure you understand what your goals are, what you want to achieve and getting your investments to align with your time horizons.”

She added: “So while I do see some relief, the potential for a recession remains and you need to make sure you’re ready for whatever might happen—which is the same advice I’d give regardless of the current environment.”

Schasa most recently served as a regional director with Prudential Financial in Los Angeles, where she recruited and developed financial professionals, created and led diversity initiatives and increased financial planning adoption. She previously worked as a financial advisor with Met Life/MassMutual, and she began her career with Merrill Lynch.

“Building your own firm to help people financially in your own community is a dream for most financial advisors, so this is literally a dream come true for me,” said Schasa. “I am thrilled to team up with Securian Financial to launch Strategic Fortune Wealth Management and I’m actively recruiting a diverse team of financial professionals to join me. I am excited to build a firm filled with great people making a difference in our community.”

Schasa’s path to a career in financial services was different than most. She was a director at a telecoms company when it began working on an IPO roadshow with Merrill Lynch leading the campaign.

“I had zero investment experience outside of our employee stock programs,” she recalled. “I really became fascinated with the whole financial services world; I wanted to learn everything I could.”

And she did. Already having a bachelor’s degree in psychology, Schasa set about getting her FINRA Series 7, 24 and 66 securities registrations.

She added: “I knew this new-found knowledge would immediately change my circumstances and my way of thinking – not only mine, but for the many other people from underserved communities.”

Indeed, her financial expertise changed her situation considerably. The governor of California appointed Schasa to serve two terms on the California Medical Board and she has served as board chair of the Los Angeles Community Development Foundation since 2011.

Confronting income inequality

There are countless studies and data today about income inequality and how minority communities tend to struggle financially—both short- and long-term. The median White family has 41 times more wealth than the median Black family and 22 times more wealth than the median Latino family, according to, a project of the Institute for Policy Studies—a Washington DC progressive think tank.

Schasa is determined to get her message out to those who see themselves as underserved or neglected. But it starts with some recognition on the part of the individual to want to make a difference in their financial situation.

Confronting Income inequalityShe tells them: “If this is something that you want to change, if you say this is a generational curse that I want to break and l want to learn and understand how not to live paycheck-to-paycheck, we can get a plan going for you.”

Strategic Fortune Wealth Management’s services include comprehensive, fee-based financial planning, asset and investments management, insurance protection, estate and business planning, retirement planning, employee benefits and charitable giving.

“Everyone has to start somewhere, and we can meet them where they are,” she said. “Whatever income they have, we can help them determine what the priorities are and how to pay themselves first.” Schasa added. “It might seem daunting for some because conversations and education around how to save and build wealth are ones they never had in school or at home before. But it starts by setting that goal and trusting us to help you achieve it.”

Such goal setting does not require a minimum investment from clients of Strategic Fortune Wealth Management.

“The idea of a minimum investment requirement is a stigma that comes along with our industry,” Schasa said. “We don’t have one. I don’t want people to be intimidated or discouraged by having certain levels. I want to support them in moving forward and pursuing opportunities.”

Donor-advised fund opportunities

Nowadays, donor-advised funds (DAFs) are philanthropy’s fastest-growing vehicles, according to National Philanthropic, a public charity for providing philanthropic expertise to donors, foundations and financial institutions and advisors.

“The number of individual DAF accounts in the U.S. is above one million for the first time,” noted Eileen Heisman, president and CEO, in’s 2021 annual report.

DAFs have gained popularity because they are easy to administer but allow the donor considerable control over where their money goes and how it’s distributed. Financial advisory firms can offer this service to clients with fewer transaction costs than if the funds were handled privately.

“Donor-advised funds democratize philanthropy by aggregating multiple donors and processing high numbers of charitable transactions,” explained Investopedia. “And unlike private foundations, donor-advised fundholders enjoy a federal income tax deduction of up to 60% of adjusted gross income (AGI) for cash contributions and up to 30% of AGI for the appreciated securities they donate.”

As such, Schasa sees DAFs as being a practical tool for her clients who are already making charitable contributions.

“There are many people who are passionate about charities, churches and other community organizations,” Schasa explained, “and they can be considered as philanthropic investors.”

She noted that regardless of whether a person earns $30,000 or $300,000 per year, if they choose to donate around 10% of their income to a church or charity, they would be an excellent candidate to participate in a donor-advised fund program. Said Schasa: “Why not grow your investable assets to potentially give more -- while also getting a more favorable tax benefit?”

Women in finance

The proportion of women in leadership roles within financial services firms has only modestly risen from 22% in 2019 to 24% in 2021, according to accounting giant Deloitte. However, it is projected to grow to 28% by 2030.

Fact is, Schasa is the first Black female managing partner associated with Securian Financial Services, a broker-dealer and registered investment advisory firm (Member FINRA/SIPC). Securian Financial is providing Strategic Fortune Wealth Management with resources, technology, products, expertise and professional development — same as it does for a network of independent, locally owned firms and 1,100 affiliated financial professionals.

And she will tell you that women have a key advantage in the world of finance. One is in the area of emotional intelligence.

“We naturally have that ability to connect on a deeper level. And when you're talking about people's money, it's not all about intellect, it's not all graphs and charts and spreadsheets,” Schasa said. “It's about ‘Where is that coming from? How do you feel inside about it? What's keeping you up at night?’ I just think we uniquely have the capacity to connect deeply on an emotional level.”

For more information, visit:

Shaquawn Schasa is a Registered Representative and Investment Advisor Representative of Securian Financial Services, Inc. Securities and Investment Advisory services offered through Securian Financial Services Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC. Strategic Fortune Wealth Management is independently owned and operated.

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