Joan L. Sharp CFP®, MSFS

Joan Sharp

Joan Sharp founded River Family Advisors to fill a void she saw in the financial planning sector. As her career develops, Joan continues to see that individuals make choices based on money, ingrained through a variety of family and social pressures, that sometimes results in unhappiness. But Joan finds that money is often an excuse. When asked to take an introspective look at their life choices, people realize the decisions they’ve made, align with unspoken values, visions and expectations, not money. Joan calls herself a Family Advisor in recognition that people’s values and vision, start with family. She is on a mission, Changing the Conversation From money to Vision™ for her clients.

Joan holds a Master of Science in Financial Services (MSFS) from The American College, and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Southern Methodist University. Joan has continued her training, bearing the titles of Kolbe Certified™ Consultant, Certified Financial Transitionist® (CeFT™), Registered Life Planner® (RLP®), Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy® (CAP®), and Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®). Additionally, Sharp has completed both parts of Money Quotient Financial Life Planner education.

Before founding River Family Advisors, LLC, Joan worked at Glenayr Family Advisors LLC, founded Life Strategies, LLC, as well as honed her financial planning skills at Lau & Associates and the Wilmington Trust Company. River Family Advisors is the result of the amalgam that is Joan’s background.

Joan Sharp works with clients on their vision, paying close attention to their beliefs, to what inspires them, and to their imagination for the future. She assists clients in how to use their human talent and financial resources to make confident choices that achieve their vision, support their values, and establish their legacy. With an understanding of the different communication needs and styles that can arise between advisors regarding wealth management, Joan uses an integrative approach.

Personal values differ for each person. For Sharp, her vision is to be a support to her family and serve her community by being on the Christiana Care Council of Advisors and a member of Rotary. In the past, Joan was president of the YWCA of Delaware, sat on the Board of the Delaware Art Museum, Easter Seals, DE, Maryland’s Eastern Shore, the Delaware Historical Society and the strategic planning committee of the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition. Joan’s dedication to the community resulted in receiving the 2012 Governor of Delaware’s Outstanding Volunteer Award.

Sharp is no stranger to community engagement and public speaking, she co-hosted a podcast on Transformation Talk Radio with monthly episodes from February 2020 through February 2021. Prior speaking engagements include giving an introductory speech in the PA Conference for Women, serving as a panelist at conferences such as the Louisiana Women’s Conference in New Orleans (for two sessions); the CFA Annual High Net Worth Conference, the CFA Annual Endowment and Foundation Conference, and the High Water Women Investing for Impact Symposium, NYC. Joan’s past outreach includes writing monthly articles on DailyWorth.com from August to December 2015. She was also previously published on Forbes.com with two pieces, “Put the Client First,” and “Gifting to Kids.”

Scenic photograph of a river in the woods.

We Are The River

We all come from a lake
At the top of the mountain
One family,
We start our journey as the River
The rocks serve as natural filters
To filter out family “stuff”
There is Transition and change
And like a River, we leave our mark,
Carving it every day
It becomes our legacy
In the end,
We join the lake
At the bottom of the mountain™
– Joan L. Sharp

Looking at the River

April 10, 2020

Looking at the River today, I noticed how, in a wide area, part of the water was calm, but in another part, there was a branch or rocks creating a whirlpool or “chaos.” The water still went downstream; it just got there differently. Upstream, prior to the “changes,” the water was the same calm. We choose what path we take in that area of the river. We may need the “chaos” side to let go of, or in order for, change.
Knowing where we want to go is what is important.

By Joan Sharp


Who We Serve

  • Inheritors
  • Multi-Generational
  • Singles with a Legacy of Resources
  • Attorneys
  • Professionals
  • Corporate Executives
  • Any Individual or couple experiencing a Life Transition