Tax Planning

With the ever-changing tax code environment, it’s easy for clients to be confused about their tax liabilities.


CFG, in partnership with CPAs, helps individuals and families stay abreast of changes and position their assets in a prudent manner relative to taxes.

Tax planning support from CFG is for individuals and families as well as for businesses and its ownership.


Proper tax planning is essential for advancing and protecting your financial future.

Our team works with a network of highly regarded CPAs throughout the United States to ensure every tax benefit is being explored for our client. We are also happy to work with a client’s existing tax professional. Taxes shouldn’t get between people and their financial goals, and we work to uncover the opportunities for advancement, not the barriers.


We carefully coordinate each client’s tax return and act as the quarterback between the client and the CPA. We have access to a majority of the client’s financial data and streamline tax preparation by providing, with the client’s permission, documents directly to the CPA. The goal is to plan for April taxes during all 12 months of the year—nobody likes tax surprises!


As you consider your tax planning needs, think about the following:

How do I currently evaluate tax planning within my full financial picture?
Are there opportunities to invest my tax credits?
Do I understand how to transfer assets to my children with minimum tax exposure?
What are the best ways to donate to my favorite charity?

Bower Team
Kenneth J. Bower
Managing Director
Ken began his career in wealth management after launching three startup companies in Baltimore and Saint Louis. He earned his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College (where he played Varsity Football and won two Ivy League championships) and his MBA from Kellogg (Northwestern). Committed to community involvement, Ken serves on a number of charitable boards. He enjoys Cardinals baseball and makes an annual pilgrimage to Spring Training in Jupiter, Florida. Ken and his wife, Mary, have two young children, Joe and Claire. “I am fortunate to work with a great team, where we all work hard to serve clients who appreciate the value of our services.”
Bower Team
Matthew J. Bower
MBA, CFP®​​​
Managing Director

Matthew has been involved in the wealth management industry for over ten years providing customized services to each of the families he serves. His goal is to implement strategies that align with the long-term planning goals for each client.

He earned his B.A. in Mathematics and Computer Science from Colorado College and his Masters of Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance from Washington University in St. Louis. While at Colorado College, he played three years of Division III soccer.

He is involved with Entrepreneurs’ Organization St. Louis serving as a sponsor for the Accelerator program. Matthew enjoys spending time with his wife, Mary, and children, Grace and John. They enjoy traveling, attending sporting events and taking advantage of all the great things St. Louis has to offer.

Michalak Team
Chris Michalak ​​
Managing Director

With over 20 years of experience in the financial industry, Chris Michalak serves as a Managing Director at Clayton Financial Group and is a five-time recipient of St. Louis Magazine 5 Star Wealth Manager designation. With a primary focus of acting as an advocate for every client, Chris works to understand his client’s goals and then create a sustainable, long-term plan that will lead to financial success.

Having been groomed to take over a successful family business, Chris also has particular expertise in the complicated dynamics that confront many families and businesses. This background has naturally led to working with business owners on their company retirement plan needs.

For companies and institutions, CFG provides a fully-bundled retirement plan solution including expertise in designing retirement plans that best align with corporate objectives. With Chris’ leadership, CFG matches this with highly-customized employee education programs that maximize each participant’s chances for a successful retirement.

Prior to joining CFG, he served as an investment representative at Edward D. Jones & Co and Partner at Moneta Group.

  • Accredited Investment Fiduciary®
  • Ronald McDonald House Charities – Kids & Clays, Committee Chairperson
  • Gateway MS Society – 2007-2009 Corporate Achievers participant
  • Missouri Athletic Club
    • Board Member 2010-2013
    • Finance Committee Chairperson 2012
    • Pension Subcommittee Chair 2011-present
  • Bellerive Country Club Board Member 2013-present
  • Peter & Paul Committee Services – Board Member & Treasurer 2013-present
  • Moneta Group, 401(k) Committee – 2014-2016
  • RPS Benefits – Advisory Board
Bahr Team
Julie E. Bahr
Managing Director

Julie Bahr places the utmost importance on providing clients with personal care and service when helping them plan for a successful financial future.

Throughout her career, Julie has used her significant experience and expertise to help clients simplify the many complexities of their financial lives. By placing a heavy emphasis on closely understanding each family’s values, Julie develops a plan that best achieves their financial goals. “The relationship between an advisor and a client is a very personal one,” she says. “Together, we discern their specific needs and goals, and schedule regular meetings to achieve their financial success: each member of our team takes pride in going above and beyond for every client and addressing any problem or need that may arise along the way.”

As a result of Julie’s professional excellence and philanthropic dedication, she was named to St. Louis Business Journal’s prestigious ‘40 under 40’ list in 2011. She has also been recognized with the FIVE STAR Wealth Manager Award for exceptional expertise and commitment to client satisfaction annually since 2013.

Julie earned her B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Missouri – Columbia and her MBA from Maryville University. She oversaw mutual fund operations for Edward Jones, was the management assistant at Anheuser-Busch Employees Credit Union, and served as President and CEO of the Missouri Student Financial Credit Union in Columbia, Mo. She brought her experience to Moneta Group in 2001, where she worked until joining Clayton Financial Group as Managing Director in 2015.

Outside of the office, Julie is an active member of the civic community and enjoys volunteering for many different charities, reading and traveling with her family. She resides in Town and Country with her husband, Marc, and their children.

Bower Team
DeAnna Kaber
Director of Operations

DeAnna began her career as a Financial Aid Director at Allied Medical College. She attended Columbia College focusing her area of study on psychology and communications. This foundation, along with her strong interest in finance, continued to grow and support her as she decided to transition into personal finance and wealth management. She joined Moneta Group in 2004. In 2010, she obtained her designation as a Registered Paraplanner (SM) professional and in 2014 became designated as an Accredited Wealth Management Advisor (SM).

Along with spending time with her husband, Jeremy, and two children, Abby and Alex, she enjoys playing competitive volleyball and coaching her son’s soccer team. DeAnna’s hard work and dedication has been apparent throughout her career. “I truly enjoy and strive to assure that my clients get the continuous high-level service that they have grown to expect and deserve.”

Bahr Team
Margaret Klokkenga
Senior Advisor

Working on the Bahr Team allows Maggie to do what she loves most – help others, serve clients to the fullest, and truly take care of each family.Maggie utilizes her passion for helping people to provide extraordinary service to clients. She works with her team to simplify complicated financial topics, including investments, retirement, education planning, and smaller items, such as acquiring insurance quotes or finding the right credit card. Through all of these services and more, Maggie strives to make clients’ lives easier.

Maggie earned her B.S. in Accounting from Truman State University. She began her career as a CPA working at KPMG LLP, Gelfand Rennert and Feldman LLP and then RubinBrown LLP. While at RubinBrown, she served as manager in charge of the Family Office Services Group. Looking to further her personal connections with clients, Maggie joined former employer Moneta Group in 2012 as a professional consultant and joined Clayton Financial Group in 2015.

Maggie and her husband, Brett, live in central Illinois with their children.

Bahr Team
Kerry Keeney
Client Relationship Strategist

Kerry works on all areas of client service, including preparation of client reviews, updating beneficiaries, and establishing efficiencies in the day-to-day operations. She enjoys working with a team who cares so much about every client and their individual needs. Kerry likes “knowing that what we do is helping someone and their family.”

Kerry was a junior financial analyst with TBG Development and senior purchasing financial analyst with May Department Stores. She joined Julie Bahr and her team at Moneta Group in 2012 before moving with Julie to Clayton Financial Group. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance from University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Kerry and her husband, Eric, live in Webster Groves with their children. Outside of work, she enjoys volunteering at her church and children’s schools and distance running.

Bahr Team
Kathy Blair
Office Manager

Kathy brings many years of administrative experience to Clayton Financial Group. In her role as Office Manager, she oversees the behind-the-scenes operations and ensures that everything is running smoothly and clients have a great experience. She strives to anticipate and take care of potential problems, incorporate employee feedback, and make certain that everything is organized so that the Partners and their Teams can focus solely on the needs of their clients.

Kathy is also a member of the Bahr Team and handles administrative tasks for them.

Prior to joining CFG and the Bahr Team, Kathy worked for General American Life Insurance Company, D’Arcy-MacManus & Masius, The Seven-Up Company, The Doe Run Company, Rehab-1 Network and Moneta Group.

Bahr Team
Donna Weber
Client Relationship Specialist

Donna works on the preparation of client reviews and many daily operational duties for the Bahr Team. She enjoys working with this efficient, hard-working and friendly team. She loves the way everyone pitches in to keep everything flowing smoothly.

Donna was most recently in Retirement Services at Edward Jones and a Client Service Manager at Moneta Group before joining the Bahr team at Clayton Financial Group. Her earlier career was in Pharmaceutical Sales, before staying home to raise her 2 boys.

Donna has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business and Marketing from Missouri State University.

Outside of work, Donna enjoys Cardinal baseball and loves to read.


Bower Team
Brooke Stalberger
Client Relationship Specialist

​Brooke joined Clayton Financial Group in May of 2016 bringing with her over seven years of experience working in the wealth management industry. She takes pride in cultivating strong client relationships by providing excellent and comprehensive service. She enjoys working alongside her clients to ensure their long-term goals are attained and their expectations of service are surpassed.

She obtained her B.S. in Finance with a minor in Accountancy from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale where she graduated cum laude.

Outside the office you can find Brooke spending time with her daughter, Ava and husband, Jason. She also enjoys spending time with her dogs, reading, playing recreational sand volleyball, and traveling.

Michalak Team
Kathy Nelson ​​
Director of Client Services

Kathy obtained her B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Communications from Missouri State University, where she graduated cum laude. Growing up with her family in St. Charles, MO, finance was always important. She learned early the importance of saving, budgeting, and investing to meet personal goals. After graduating, she worked at a brokerage firm, within the investment department of a regional credit union, and a life insurance agency. These experiences led to her obtaining her Series 52, 7, and 63 licenses, as well as her MO life insurance license. In 2006, she joined Moneta Group and Chris Michalak’s Team. Combining her school, work, and personal life skills, she found her niche – helping other achieve their goals through financial planning.

Kathy, and her husband, Tim, recently moved from south St. Louis City to Kirkwood, MO and are expecting their first child in August. Along with spending time with Tim and their four-legged companions, she enjoys baking and cooking.

Michalak Team
Laura Paulsell
Senior Advisor

Clayton Financial Group Advisor Laura Paulsell works with the Michalak team to provide clients with relevant solutions and outstanding client service. She strives to build strong relationships with clients to better understand their needs.

Laura earned her B.S.B.A. in Finance with a minor in Economics from the University of Missouri-Columbia and has served in the financial industry for more than ten years. In 2011, she obtained the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation.

Laura lives in Chesterfield with her husband, Matt, and daughter, Cate. She enjoys spending time with family and Cardinals baseball.

Michalak Team
Melissa VandeVen ​​​
Client Relationship Specialist

As a Client Relationship Specialist on the Michalak Team, Melissa strives to give her clients the best care possible. She enjoys that CFG is here first and foremost to serve the best interests of the client; and finds satisfaction in being able to help clients’ reach their goals, while building close relationships with them.

Melissa graduated from Murray State University in 2015 with a B.S. in Finance. Shortly after graduation, she joined the Michalak Team.

Outside of CFG, Melissa enjoys attending St. Louis Cardinals & Blues games, spending summers at her lake house with friends and family, and traveling.

Bahr Team
Carter Schmid
Associate Advisor 

Carter joined Clayton Financial Group in February 2017 to pursue his passion of helping individuals and families accomplish their financial goals through a comprehensive, needs-based approach. He has a background in Risk Management from his time at BB&T Bank in Charlotte, North Carolina, and has five years of experience in the financial services industry.

Eager to plant his roots in St. Louis, Carter moved home to begin helping clients make sense of the complexities surrounding financial planning, while hoping to establish peace of mind through careful assessment and understanding of client values.
Carter received his B.A. in Global Markets from Southern Methodist University and is currently working toward his CFP designation.

Outside of work, Carter enjoys St. Louis sports, golf, and traveling with his wife, Bri.