Joseph Z. Kowalsky, J.D.
Senior Financial Consultant
Joe has a degree in economics, magna cum laude, from Wayne State University; was a visiting student at Columbia University; and has a Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School. He worked for Senator Carl Levin and on the Presidential Transition Team, and clerked for the Federal Trade Commission in their Anti-Trust Division. He was on the active hiring list for the Securities and Exchange Commission, but chose to return to Michigan to open his own law practice, which he ran for several years. He founded and ran Tomorrow, Inc., a non-profit organization which offered sliding scale pricing for legal services, based on clients’ ability to pay. Unlike free legal aid, this gives clients a vested interest in their case and also allows them the pride of paying for services to the extent that they can. This is an integral part of Joe’s vision of helping and encouraging people to stand on their own.
Joe has been studying investments since he was fifteen years old – about 30 years now -- and for two years wrote a securities newsletter for friends and family. He was recruited for two years by Paine Webber (now part of UBS) to work as a professional Financial Consultant and, in 1998, “took the job.” Although he has done virtually no advertising, his practice has grown steadily over the years. (His first two clients - his parents – are big boosters!) Joe has clients in 14 states and the District of Columbia. He has licenses including Series 7, 31, 63 and Life and Health Insurance licenses. His holistic practice includes complex stock and bond investing, as well as life and long-term-care insurance. In 2010, at the request of his clients, Joe began to offer discretionary accounts, “don’t take the time to call me, just do what you think should be done!” Also in 2010 he decided that he could better serve his clients as an independent advisor and was one of the first to join the newly-formed Upstream Investment Partners. His wife, Jennifer, works with him to meticulously serve clients’ needs. Her hard work includes reconciling different answers received to questions asked of customer service groups from India to the Philippines and keeping track of the ever-changing paperwork that we all know and love. They have a part-time assistant, Candace James, in their Lathrup Village office. Joe and Jennifer have two cats who occasionally come to make sure that they are keeping the office in good order.
Joe sits on the (volunteer) Board of Directors of the Non-profit Cryonics Institute and volunteers with the non-profit Redford Theatre, among other community activities. He remains an inactive member of the State Bars of Michigan and Maryland, and continues to encourage them to promote sliding-scale-fee legal services.