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Meet your Cogent Strategic Wealth Team

We are one of you. As entrepreneurs, we share the same ambitious spirit as those we serve. And as clients of the firm ourselves, we care for your wealth in the same thoughtful way we do for our own families.

Navigating Your Finances Through Each Phase of Life Requires More Than Just a Plan - It Requires a Partner

Cogent Strategic Wealth is a Chicago and Southwest Utah-based financial planning and investment management company dedicated to helping our clients define what success looks like and tailor a plan to help them achieve their goals.

We have spent decades studying market moves, planning theories and tax strategies — so you don't have to. We are Cogent Strategic Wealth, advisors and financial specialists who believe that when our lives are guided by a sound plan, we can achieve great things.

We are with you through every step, acting as a trusted confidant and fearless guide, your first phone call when something happens. Let our team help you simplify your financial life, so you can focus on what really matters.

When you work with the Cogent Team:

You achieve clarity.
Live your life now, and when you think about the future, be confident you'll end up exactly where you want to be.  

You feel empowered.
Know your financial strategy incorporates layers of hard evidence and is designed around your true needs and wants.

You gain a partner.
Work with a fiduciary advisor who puts your interest first and gets to the core of your values and goals to collaborate as life happens.

Not having a plan can bring risk, frustration, and not meeting your financial goals. We believe you have worked too hard to get to where you are to not have a plan for your future.

Our Values Put Clients First

  1. We have integrity in all we do.
  2. We strive to always act for the greater good of the client, not our self-interest.
  3. We are passionate about our work while having fun.
  4. We treat others with respect and dignity and expect the same in return.
  5. We listen with empathy and communicate with humility.
  6. We provide a WOW experience for our clients that is easy and effective.

Don’t leave your financial future to chance. Take control of your future.

The Cogent Strategic Wealth team is with you through every step acting as a trusted confidant and fearless guide - your first phone call when something happens. Let our team help you simplify your financial life, so you can focus on what really matters.


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Michael J. Evans


Michael J. Evans


My early insight on a powerful mindset for high-achievers is key.

As a successful entrepreneur and fixed income derivatives trader at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange from 1987–2009, I had an essential, early insight: The mindset you need to create wealth is very different from the one you need to preserve it. 

This is a lesson I saw many other high-earning professionals and entrepreneurs fail to learn. They’d build stellar wealth, only to sacrifice it to poor planning and ill-advised investments. After seeing this pattern over and over, I knew I’d found my calling: I never wanted to see preventable financial failure happen to anyone, ever again. 

In 2009, I founded Cogent Strategic Wealth as an independent, fee-only Registered Investment Advisor firm, serving families as their fiduciary wealth advisor. 

Our investment philosophy? I apply the tenets to my own portfolio.

In lieu of stock-picking and market-timing tactics, our patient, evidence-based approach is guided by decades of peer-reviewed financial research, conducted by Nobel laureate academics. I apply these tenets not only to client investments, but to my own portfolio and our firm’s retirement plan. That’s how strongly I believe in the wisdom of evidence-based investing grounded in one’s personal financial goals. No opinions or hunches here.

I am easy to get to know.

I would love to share my energy and enthusiasm with you, as I get to know you, your partner, your family, your goals, and (most importantly) your dreams. I’ll leverage my seasoned experience as financial professional fiduciary financial advisor and wealth manager to understand where you’re coming from, and how we can develop right-fitting solutions for you so you can Live Life on Your Terms.


In my free time, I burn off excess energy cycling, mountain biking, skiing, traveling and hanging out with family and friends. I am also a proud and engaged alum of DePaul University, as well as board member of the Irish Fellowship Club of Chicago. With my three kids mostly grown - so quickly! - I could not be more proud of the young adults they have become.

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Kelly Stanley


Kelly Stanley


High-achieving women have more complex lives.

Most high-achieving women often find themselves with a to-do list a mile long, and keeping tabs on their financial life might not be at the top of their priority list. As a female professional, I know what it’s like to juggle a demanding career, as well as a full personal life.

After years of working in corporate finance, I wanted a change. I wanted to help busy professional women just like me- take control of their financial future and live their best life.

I am proud to be a Partner and Wealth Advisor at Cogent Strategic Wealth and be among the small percentage of women who are CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™ professionals. As a Fiduciary, I am not only required to act in my client’s best interest; I am vigilant about it.  

You define success. I’m here to help you achieve it.

I work side-by-side with you to structure a personalized strategy to help you achieve your goals. Life will always be busy, but with a reliable partner that prioritizes your financial life, you’ll discover what’s possible for you and your family. 

As your wealth advisor and partner, my goals are to:

•    Bring order to your financial life and prepare you for the curveballs life may throw your way.

•    Provide objective advice based on peer-reviewed academic research.

•    Be your accountability partner to help you stay on track to reach your goals. 

•    Life happens, and I want to help you be ready for it.

Together, let’s Design, Build and Protect Life on Your Terms.



In her free time, Kelly enjoys spinning on her Peloton, taking her dog Rosie on long walks, traveling to new places and spending quality time with her family and friends.


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Liz Winkle


Liz Winkle


Client Relationship Specialist

If you work with a professional wealth advisor, you want to be sure someone is looking out for every last detail of your finances, which is where I come in- working with you and the wealth advisors to keep everyone on the same page. At Cogent Strategic Wealth, we don’t just work for you; we work alongside you. We help you create financial strategies to reach your goals.

Previously, I was the Client Relationship Lead on the BAM Advisor Services team, servicing over 81 boutique financial firms. This is where I learned all about client care and evidence-based investing and grew a passion for helping people build the right relationships to reach their financial goals.

I’ve worked with a lot of financial firms and wealth advisors, and I am thrilled to be on the Cogent team working with trusted Wealth Advisors in Chicago. As a Client Relationship Specialist, I work directly with you and the Cogent Wealth Advisors to build relationships and ensure everyone’s needs are met- down to the smallest detail. 

I have dreams and goals of my own, and I am thrilled to be a part of a team that helps people create plans to achieve their goals and live the life they’ve always wanted. 


Liz moved to Chicago in 2019. She loves exploring the city, running along the lakefront, getting together with her book club, and traveling whenever she gets the chance.