Sam Wood-Bednarz, CFP®

Partner | Director, Financial Planning | Lead Advisor

Sam Wood-Bednarz, CFP®2021-07-15T16:01:39-07:00

Sam Wood-Bednarz is a partner and lead advisor with North Berkeley Wealth and serves as Director of Financial Planning. Through comprehensive financial planning and investment management, Sam provides his clients with a sense of confidence and security in their financial lives and helps them make sound decisions as life happens. Sam’s talent for process development is indispensable in improving the firm’s financial planning practices.

Prior to joining North Berkeley, Sam worked as the Faculty Assistant at the Wright Institute, a graduate school of clinical psychology in Berkeley. During that time, Sam became fascinated with personal financial planning, and after completing the UC Berkeley CFP® certification program, he joined North Berkeley in 2013 on the client service team. His role quickly evolved to incorporate more of a focus on financial planning, and by 2016 he had become a lead advisor at the firm. In 2019, Sam stepped into the role of Director of Financial Planning, and in 2021 he became a partner of the firm.

Sam was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. He attended Oberlin College for his undergraduate training, and moved to Berkeley in 2008. Now a long-term transplant, Sam and his wife Ashley live in Richmond with their two black cats. Sam enjoys singing, playing music, and playing games with friends.


Education, Certifications, & Affiliations

  • B.A. in History, Oberlin College
  • Member, Financial Planning Association (FPA)

The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards owns the certification marks CFP® and Certified Financial Planner™ in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete the CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.

More About Sam

I became an advisor to help people. As I entered the workforce and started to manage my own finances, I realized that, while I enjoy thinking about personal finance, many others find it stressful. The advisor role is a great combination of these two interests: I help people make decisions about their finances, and ideally, lead them to a better and more secure financial future.

Outside of work I like to play music. I sing, play guitar, and play piano. My musical genres change a little depending on the instrument. I enjoy classic rock, alternative rock, and pretty ballads like “Let It Be” and “Desperado.” I also enjoy playing video and board games, particularly strategy games. Some all-time favorites include the Civilization series, Battle Brothers, and Settlers of Catan.

The best advice I ever received was about how to make decisions. First, acknowledge that delaying a decision is itself a decision not to take action. Second, understand that you can never really know the outcome of any decision in advance, and because of that, you just have to do the best you can with the information you have. As a risk-averse person, this advice hasn’t always been easy for me to follow, but I find that I am happiest when I do.

Articles by Sam

Planning While the World is in Flux

Plans rarely come with a guaranteed outcome. However, the process of planning reduces uncertainty and increases the likelihood that you will arrive at an outcome that aligns with your values and priorities.

Firewise Planning

Fire season is now an annual concern for Californians. Having a plan for the risk of fire can better protect your family's financial resources.

Back to School

There are four primary avenues to paying for college: scholarships, student loans, work-study, and savings. Many families' college cash flow plans include several of these options, and each has different lessons for parents and children.

More Articles by Sam