About Ascend Financial Planning, LLC

Mission Statement

My goal is to help people achieve optimal financial health by partnering with them as a fiduciary to create affordable, holistic, and highly customized financial plans.

At all times I will do what is in the best interest of my clients while also providing a stable, reliable, and fair income commensurate with my education, training and experience.

I will also partner with other like-minded professionals who put my clients interest first when providing the necessary financial services for their specific situation.

The result is that my clients will make wise financial decisions and have greater peace of mind regarding all aspects of their financial life.


Professional Advice on Your Financial Health, When You Need It

Ascend Financial Planning, LLC is a financial planning and South Carolina Registered Investment Advisory firm located in Columbia, South Carolina. We help single investors, families, retirees, professionals, executives and small business owners cost-effectively plan for their financial future.

Transparent Services, Pricing & Fees

Paying for financial planning on an hourly basis is a unique approach and very cost effective.  It allows for highly personalized  and customized service.  Although Ascend Financial Planning, LLC does not take your assets under management, you are provided with detailed, easy-to-execute plans that serve as the foundation for your important life goals.

In addition, ongoing support and monitoring of these plans via “financial checkups” is encouraged to enhance your probability of success.

The result? This flexible and personalized approach provides you the peace of mind you are looking for when considering your financial future.

Your Trusted Partner in Navigating Life’s Important Financial Decisions

Ascend Financial Planning, LLC understands how market volatility and uncertainty can fuel emotions and behavior that undermine your long-term financial performance. Our principal, Laura Scharr-Bykowsky, strives to keep you focused and calm in periods of market distress. Ongoing financial check–ups enable her to better understand your attitudes and concerns about financial markets and rebalance your portfolio to maintain your customized target allocation. Research shows that periodic, strategic rebalancing improves long-run returns.

The goal is not to control your money, it is to give you the information and services that will allow you to gain control over your financial future.


Laura Scharr-Bykowsky, CFP®

Laura Scharr-Bykowsky, CFP®rss twitter facebook googleplus linkedin

Laura Scharr-Bykowsky is principal of Ascend Financial Planning, LLC a financial planning firm in Columbia, SC.  She is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and member of the Garrett Planning Network, Inc., an international network of professional fee-only financial advisors and planners offering financial planning advice to people of all ages and stages of life. Members are dedicated to providing cost-effective financial advice and acting in the best interest of their clients.

Since 2008, Laura has enjoyed helping people find solutions to achieve their important life goals.  Her specialty is creating customized, holistic plans for people 5-15 years from retirement.  Laura is also dedicated to financial literacy and has been a regular contributor to WLTX channel 19 for their “Money Monday” segment.   She has been interviewed in Money Magazine, Investment News, US News and World Report, SmartMoney, CNNMoney and the Wall Street Journal.

Laura also has over ten years of experience in the corporate world, working for organizations such as RJR-Nabisco Brands, Brown Forman-Lenox, and Music Choice (a division of Time Warner), she managed multi-million dollar modernization projects, conducted company-wide profit improvement seminars, provided strategic direction for national new product launches and managed sales and marketing programs to meet budgetary goals.

“What I most enjoy about my job is helping clients understand financial topics so that they make sense as well as helping them make good financial decisions.  Each client is like a jigsaw puzzle.  We work as a team to put the pieces together so they have a clear vision of their life 5, 10, 20 years in the future.  The key is to make their money work for them so it adds joy and meaning to their lives.  The financial planning process makes them feel more secure about their future.  I am also adamant about trying to save my clients money.  There is just no reason why people should be charged high fees for money management.”
Find out how Laura uses the financial planning process to help you reach your retirement goals.

Her formal education includes:

  • BS in Chemical Engineering from Lehigh University
  • MBA from Rutgers University Graduate School of Management
  • CFP® certification program in Personal Financial Planning, USC Moore School of Business; Most Outstanding Student Award
  • Passing the rigorous 2-day, 10-hour CFP® certification examination
  • Being awarded the CFP® designation in 2008

Laura is also a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA).

Laura is available for financial planning seminars.

Topics include but are not limited to:

  • Are You Ready for Retirement?
  • What Women Need to Know About Their Finances
  • The Top Ten Ways to Improve Your Finances Now

Or Ascend Financial Planning, LLC can customize a presentation to meet the needs of your employees or group. Contact us for a fee schedule and availability.

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Garrett Planning Network

Focus on Fiduciary