At Sterling Financial Planning, we approach your money a little differently. While “the numbers” are important and an essential part of the solution, we embrace a more holistic approach to financial planning. We believe that we must first know what is most meaningful to you before we can help you with your financial life.

We always start by getting to know you: What are your priorities in life? What do you want your life to be like? What is important to you when thinking about retirement? Buying an apartment/house? Saving for college?




Our unique, client-centered approach to financial planning guides you through a process where your deepest values align with your financial goals. We help to clarify your aspirations by asking financial AND “non-financial questions.” We then build a roadmap for where you want to go and how to get you there.




Your money becomes an engine to help drive you to your dreams. You end up with a realistic and accessible plan with your money working for you.


Who We Are

Cindy Sterling


Registered Life Planner

President/ Founder


Cindy Sterling founded Sterling Financial Planning with a vision in mind: to provide clients with unbiased, objective, Fee- Only Financial Planning Advice. Since starting the firm in 2004, Cindy has helped hundreds of clients explore their dreams, evaluate their goals, and then develop understandable plans to achieve them. According to Cindy,


Life is always changing — people’s needs evolve. Financial and life planning always needs to remain fluid to completement these goals.”


A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania in economics (B.A.) and psychological services (M.S.Ed), Cindy secured her Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) certification in 1997. Cindy is also one of a very small number of advisors who earned the Registered Life Planner (RLP) certification from the Kinder Institute.


Cindy is also a member of the Garrett Planning Network, a network of Fee-Only advisors, and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), an internationally recognized organization for financial service professionals dedicated to championing the financial planning process.


Prior to starting Sterling Financial Planning, Cindy served as the director of gift planning at Vassar College for nine years. As a published authority on women’s philanthropy and non-traditional financial, estate, and gift planning, Cindy is also a frequent and award winning speaker at financial, educational, and gift planning conferences around the country. She still consults on charitable gift planning with Washburn & McGoldrick, LLC., a comprehensive development consulting firm. 


Cindy splits her time between New York City and Portland, Maine. She is also an avid fitness enthusiast and distance runner.


Garrett Planning Network

The Garrett Planning Network is an international network of Fee-Only financial advisors and planners. The goal of this large network of independent advisors is to make competent and objective advice accessible through hourly as-needed financial planning. 



National Association of Personal Financial Advisors

The mission of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors is to:  advance the profession of financial planning based upon NAPFA's core values and to improve the quality of clients’ lives. 

The NAPFA Fiduciary Oath

The advisor shall exercise his/her best efforts to act in good faith and in the best interests of the client.

The advisor shall provide written disclosure to the client prior to the engagement of any conflicts of interest, which will or reasonably may compromise the impartiality or independence of the advisor.

The advisor, or any party in which the advisor has a financial interest, does not receive any compensation or other remuneration that is contingent on any client's purchase or sale of a financial product.

The advisor does not receive a fee or other compensation from another party based on the referral of a client or the client's business.




Kinder Institute of Life Planning

The Kinder Institute of Life Planning trains advisors to help you reorganize your relationship to money so that your financial resources are dedicated to supporting your life's goals. The Institute’s work has been profiled in The Wall Street Journal, Morningstar, TIME, Business Week, Money Magazine, Financial Times, and many more. 



Why Work With Us

We act as a fiduciary to you. This means we have an obligation to focus on what is truly best for you. We hold ourselves accountable to NAPFA’s Fiduciary Oath. We are dedicated to providing objective investment advice and unbiased financial recommendations to you; we do not sell any financial products, nor do we receive commissions or referral fees. We believe this removes conflicts related to sales compensation and allows us to truly focus on what is best for you.

We instead receive all our compensation from our clients. Our revenue comes from our comprehensive services that include hourly planning, project consulting, and ongoing subscription fees. We do not manage money. We believe that unbundling investment management fees from financial and life planning is the most equitable situation for both the client and the planner. Through this, we are able to provide exclusive attention to your financial and life goals.

Our Services

Sterling Financial Planning provides a three-step service to help you concentrate on your life goals and financial needs.

Our focus is to identify and fully assess your most urgent financial concerns, build a roadmap to address those concerns and then help you start implementing the plan. The expected time frame to complete this work is within eight to twelve weeks.

Identify and Assess the Financial Concerns

We will review your overall situation, focus on the your most pressing goals and determine where you are now and where you want to go. We also pay particular attention to your overall life goals and values to make certain your money complements what you want to do in life.

The initial meeting for a single person is 90 minutes and two hours for couples.

In preparation for the meeting, you assemble financial documents, complete financial questionnaires, sign the Financial Planning agreement and email or fax all these materials to Sterling Financial Planning 2 weeks before the meeting.

Plan Review

After the initial meeting, I will prepare a written financial plan summary (3 to 5 pages). Here is where we “plan the work.” We will review the plan in detail together on a phone call. The plan will provide you with “next action steps” to achieve highest priority goals.

Begin Implementation Process

Step 3 is where we “work the plan.” I will assist you to implement the initial identified next action steps by phone meeting. The focus of this meeting will depend upon your goals, but can include starting investment accounts, evaluating insurance and/or having a conference call with other outside vendors, accountants or other advisors. It is tailored to your goals and needs.

Once started, you then can implement the remaining recommendations noted in the plan not covered in this meeting independently.

The “1-2-3” Service cost depends upon complexity, but ranges from $2,000 to $4,000 for singles and $3,000 to $5,000 for couples.

This service provides financial planning for those 1-2-3 clients who need additional assistance to complete the remaining next steps not resolved and/or any additional financial issues outside the scope of the 1-2-3 Service plan.

With the Ongoing Service you can contact me throughout the year via phone or email to help you fully implement the plan. With your permission, I will also confer with your other advisors to help you move your plan to the next level. The Ongoing Service also includes an annual financial plan check up. This service is provided over a one-year period.

The Ongoing Service costs $3,000 to $7,000 (depending upon complexity and time required) per year payable monthly or quarterly.

Our Process

Our goal is to optimize your financial plan based on your financial goals. Our process begins with a comprehensive “get to know you” phone call to gain a better understanding of your personal and financial plans. We discuss your needs and goals to find out what’s most important to you.

We focus on examining the various pieces of your financial life to determine if they are: 

  1. Working in a complementary manner*
  2. Directing you to your ultimate goals


Following the initial phone call, we schedule a Financial Overview meeting for all new clients to review your overall situation. Learn more about Our Services. 


Cindy Sterling


475 Park Avenue South, (between 31st and 32nd Streets) Suite 2100

New York, NY 10016

phone: (212) 405- 1616

email: cindy@sterlingfinancialplan.com

fax: (212) 202- 4631


475 Park Avenue South Suite 2100
New York, NY 10016




(212) 405- 1616


(212) 202- 4631