Our Team


We pride ourselves on being a business our competitors aim to replicate. With more than 30 years experience and a team of 20+ employees working for you, JRA is able to combine specialization and personalization like few other firms can.

It is important that our clients — and those important to them — have a place of integrity to turn for financial guidance. Our team works with clients to identify what is most important to them and offer solutions. We believe true success is reached when financial resources align with personal values.

 

Our experience, credentials... and values.
  1. Melissa Machlitt  Creativity
    Creativity

    The value of Creativity was quietly passed down to me from my mom and my grandma as we’d color trees pink and grass blue, compose a symphony for kitchen instruments, and write silly stories that made no sense at all.

    That foundation of Creativity as a child has evolved into an ability to see things from many different perspectives as an adult. I believe this opens up a world of possibilities that most others overlook. When I can help a client through this process, watch their eyes light up in that moment they realize…it really is possible…the path becomes clear, and they are energized to reach their goals. To me, Creativity is the catalyst that turns possibilities into reality.

    Professional Bio
                 Melissa
    Vice President of Sales & Marketing
    Executive Planner 

    mmachlitt@jrafinancial.com

    Years Experience: 23

    Areas of Focus:
    Corporate Retirement Plans, Individual Financial Planning, Investment Management and Research, Asset Allocation, Portfolio Construction, Education Planning, and Retirement Planning

    Education & Registrations:
     • Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist, College for Financial Planning
     • Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor College for Financial Planning
     • MN Insurance Licensed - Life, Health, Disability
     • Series 7, 63 Registered
     • Bachelor of Arts: Augsburg College

    Professional Affiliations & Achievements:
     • Financial Planning Association (FPA) Member
     • NAPA Member
  2. Al Johnson  Ingenuity
    Ingenutity

    Ask my friends or coworkers - I’ll never be described as doing things the plain vanilla way. If I think there should be a better or easier method, I challenge myself to find it. Creating a new or funny game helps me keep my kids entertained (no matter where we are!). And, using ingenuity to turn complex financial decisions into something my clients can relate to, helps them find understanding and confidence. Ingenuity = Better Solutions.

    Professional Bio
                  Al
    Financial Planner
    ajohnson@jrafinancial.com

    Years Experience: 13

    Areas of Focus:
    Asset Allocation, Investment Management and Research, Retirement Planning, Portfolio Construction, Cash Flow Analysis, Education Planning, Insurance Needs Analysis, Fundamental Analysis, Market Trends, Technical Analysis, Economic Cycles

    Education & Registrations:
     • Accredited Wealth Management Advisor, College for Financial Planning
     • MN Insurance Licensed - Life, Health, Disability
     • Series 7, 66 Registered
     • Bachelor of Applied Science: University of Minnesota - Duluth
     
  3. Jennifer Haas  Hard Work
    Hard Work

    My value of hard work stems from my dad. On top of his full time job, he farmed to meet the needs of our family. He gave us his all. It is important to me to provide JRA clients this same level of dedication. At the end of the day, I want them to know we have done everything we can to put them in the best possible place to succeed.

    Professional Bio
                  Jennifer
    Vice President of Operations
    jhaasjhaas@jrafinancial.com

    Years Experience: 12

    Areas of Focus:
    Asset Allocation, Retirement Planning, Portfolio Construction, Cash Management, Education Planning, Qualified Retirement Plans, Investment Management and Research, Risk Management

    Education & Registrations:
     • Series 6, 63 Registered
     • Bachelor of Arts: Gustavus Adolphus College
  4. Stephanie Johnson  Cultivating Confidence
    Cultivating Confidence

    Cultivating is a theme that works through my life in many ways – especially since my husband is a landscape architect! As a mother, I want to build confidence in my children to be strong enough to make difficult decisions as they grow. As a Planner, I want to cultivate an environment where clients get the information they need to have confidence in their financial lives.

    Professional Bio
                  Stephanie
    Financial Planner
    sjohnson@jrafinancial.com

    Years Experience: 18

    Areas of Focus:
    Asset Allocation, Retirement Planning, Portfolio Construction, Cash Management, Education Planning, Qualified Retirement Plans, Investment Management and Research, Risk Management

    Education & Registrations:
     • Accredited Wealth Management Advisor, College for Financial Planning
     • Accredited Asset Management Specialist, College for Financial Planning
     • MN Insurance Licensed - Life, Health, Disability
     • Series 7, 63 Registered
     • Bachelor of Arts: South Dakota State University

    Professional Affiliations & Achievements:
     • Minnesota Planned Giving Council Member
  5. Tyler Armstrong  Build
    Team

    Along with being a Financial Planner full-time, like many millennials, I also have a side hustle – a hobby that adds income on a part-time basis. Several years ago, I decided that I wanted to own a house and have it paid off by the time I turned 30. This goal led me to build a career and create entrepreneurial ventures in construction and real estate.

    Just as I’ve worked to build a prosperous future for myself, I look for ways to go the extra mile for my clients, as well. I build relationships with my clients to understand their values and wishes. Together, we create solutions for their issues and build plans for their goals.

    Professional Bio
                  Billie
    Financial Planner
    Qualified Plans Specialist

    tarmstrong@jrafinancial.com

    Years Experience: 11

    Areas of Focus:
    Individual Financial Planning, Retirement Planning

    Education & Registrations:
     • Certified Financial Planner
     • Series 7, 66 Registered
     • Bachelor of Science, Finance: St. Cloud State University
  6. Billie Van Lith  Team
    Team

    With a full time job, four kids and a family business on the side, you learn to appreciate the value of working (and playing) as a team. Rarely can you reach goals alone. Whether it’s carpooling to a volleyball game, or building a complex Financial Plan at JRA…..the value of a team is priceless!

    Professional Bio
                  Billie
    Financial Planner
    Qualified Plans Specialist

    bvanlith@jrafinancial.com

    Years Experience: 20

    Areas of Focus:
    Corporate Retirement Plans, Investment Management and Research, Asset Allocation, Cash Flow Analysis, Retirement Planning, Portfolio Construction, Education Planning, Insurance Needs Analyist

    Education & Registrations:
     • Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist, College for Financial Planning
     • Registered Paraplanner, College for Financial Planning
     • MN Insurance Licensed - Life, Health, Disability
     • Series 7, 63 Registered
     • Associate of Arts: St. Cloud State University
  7. Dan Erdmann  Always Learning
    Team

    Growing up on a farm, I learned the value of hard work early. Along with that Midwestern work ethic, my family of teachers instilled in me a great love of constant learning.

    I attained my CPA because I enjoy helping people and supporting clients as they work toward their goals. Because the intricacies of the tax trade are always evolving and everyone’s financial situation is unique, I’m always looking for new ways to benefit and serve my clients. Whether working with a tax or financial planning client, my mission is to provide comprehensive, holistic planning. If you’re interested in a personalized tax or financial planning consultation, I’d love to talk with you. 

    Professional Bio
                 Billie

    Financial Planner, Tax Manager
    derdmann@jrafinancial.com

    Years Experience: 11

    Areas of Focus:
    Business and Individual Tax Returns and Planning,
    Individual Financial Planning, Retirement Planning

    Education & Registrations:
     • Certified Public Accountant 

     • MN Insurance Licensed - Life, Health, Disability
     • Series 7, 66 Registered
     • Bachelor of Science, Accounting, St. Cloud State University – Herberger Business School
     
    Professional Affiliations & Achievements:
     • MNCPA, AICPA
  8. Nancy Freeman  Making Connections
    Inspiration  

    I have always loved connecting with and serving clients – it’s what makes me tick. My people-focused background – a degree in psychology, an MBA, and CFP, along with more than 25 years of tax prep – helps me make connections between clients and their goals as we plan for events like college savings and retirement.By working closely with our team’s Financial Advisors, I’m also able to dig in with financial planning clients to help them create effective, personalized tax strategies. In addition to working at JRA, I teach Certified Financial Planner courses to incoming professionals and volunteer with high schoolers to help them understand how to connect their finances with their lifestyle and goals. Financial literacy is one of those vital subjects we can all delve into a bit deeper; by building understanding and relationships, I hope to help all those I work with – students and clients alike – make informed and meaningful connections in pursuit of their goals.

    Professional Bio
                  Nancy
    Tax Specialist
    nfreeman@jrafinancial.com

    Years Experience: 24

    Areas of Focus:
    Individual returns, retirement, educational tax planning

    Education & Registrations:
    • Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
     • Enrolled Agent (EA)
     • MBA: St. Thomas University
     • Bachelor of Science: John Carroll University

    Professional Affiliations & Achievements:
    • CFP Instructor
    • Kaplan Professional
    • Volunteer High School Presenter, Best Prep
    • Board Member of MN Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy
  9. Kathy Moss  Inspiration
    Inspiration  

    Faith, family, beautiful art or great music – these are just a few of the things that inspire me! I believe that inspiration is the spark of vision. When you combine vision with resources and values, you get results. Together they allow me to design innovative solutions for clients that I believe in.

    Professional Bio
                  Kathy
    President, CEO
    kmoss@jrafinancial.com

    Years Experience: 30

    Areas of Focus:
    Wealth Coach, Legacy Planning, Revocable Living Trusts, Estate, Planning, Modern Portfolio Theory, Wealth Optimization, Charitable Giving, Long Term Care, Retirement Planning

    Education & Registrations:
    • Certified Fund Specialist, Institute of Business & Finance
     • MN Insurance Licensed - Life, Health, Disability
     • Series 7, 24, 63 Registered
     • Bachelor of Arts: Brigham Young University

    Professional Affiliations & Achievements:
    • 2012 Financial Planner of the Year, Cetera Advisor Networks LLC
    • 2009 Top 25 Women in Business: Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal
    • Registered Principal, Cetera Advisor Networks LLC
    • Designated Supervisor, Cetera Advisor Networks LLC
    • Financial Planning Association (FPA) Member
    • Best Prep Volunteer: Financial Education for MN Students

Melissa Machlitt

Creativity

The value of Creativity was quietly passed down to me from my mom and my grandma as we’d color trees pink and grass blue, compose a symphony for kitchen instruments, and write silly stories that made no sense at all.

That foundation of Creativity as a child has evolved into an ability to see things from many different perspectives as an adult. I believe this opens up a world of possibilities that most others overlook. When I can help a client through this process, watch their eyes light up in that moment they realize…it really is possible…the path becomes clear, and they are energized to reach their goals. To me, Creativity is the catalyst that turns possibilities into reality.

Melissa

Vice President of Sales & Marketing
Executive Planner 

mmachlitt@jrafinancial.com

Years Experience: 20

Areas of Focus:
Corporate Retirement Plans, Individual Financial Planning, Investment Management and Research, Asset Allocation, Portfolio Construction, Education Planning, and Retirement Planning

Education & Registrations:
 • Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist, College for Financial Planning
 • Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor College for Financial Planning
 • MN Insurance Licensed - Life, Health, Disability
 • Series 7, 63 Registered
 • Bachelor of Arts: Augsburg College

Professional Affiliations & Achievements:
 • Financial Planning Association (FPA) Member
 • ASPPA Member

Al Johnson

Ingenutity

Ask my friends or coworkers - I’ll never be described as doing things the plain vanilla way. If I think there should be a better or easier method, I challenge myself to find it. Creating a new or funny game helps me keep my kids entertained (no matter where we are!). And, using ingenuity to turn complex financial decisions into something my clients can relate to, helps them find understanding and confidence. Ingenuity = Better Solutions.

Al

Financial Planner
ajohnson@jrafinancial.com

Years Experience: 10

Areas of Focus:
Asset Allocation, Investment Management and Research, Retirement Planning, Portfolio Construction, Cash Flow Analysis, Education Planning, Insurance Needs Analysis, Fundamental Analysis, Market Trends, Technical Analysis, Economic Cycles

Education & Registrations:
 • Accredited Wealth Management Advisor, College for Financial Planning
 • MN Insurance Licensed - Life, Health, Disability
 • Series 7, 66 Registered
 • Bachelor of Applied Science: University of Minnesota - Duluth
 

Jennifer Haas

Hard Work

My value of hard work stems from my dad. On top of his full time job, he farmed to meet the needs of our family. He gave us his all. It is important to me to provide JRA clients this same level of dedication. At the end of the day, I want them to know we have done everything we can to put them in the best possible place to succeed.

Jennifer

Vice President of Operations
jhaasjhaas@jrafinancial.com

Years Experience: 12

Areas of Focus:
Asset Allocation, Retirement Planning, Portfolio Construction, Cash Management, Education Planning, Qualified Retirement Plans, Investment Management and Research, Risk Management

Education & Registrations:
 • Series 6, 63 Registered
 • Bachelor of Arts: Gustavus Adolphus College

Stephanie Johnson

Cultivating Confidence

Cultivating is a theme that works through my life in many ways – especially since my husband is a landscape architect! As a mother, I want to build confidence in my children to be strong enough to make difficult decisions as they grow. As a Planner, I want to cultivate an environment where clients get the information they need to have confidence in their financial lives.

Stephanie

Financial Planner
sjohnsonsjohnson@jrafinancial.com

Years Experience: 14

Areas of Focus:
Asset Allocation, Retirement Planning, Portfolio Construction, Cash Management, Education Planning, Qualified Retirement Plans, Investment Management and Research, Risk Management

Education & Registrations:
 • Accredited Wealth Management Advisor, College for Financial Planning
 • Accredited Asset Management Specialist, College for Financial Planning
 • MN Insurance Licensed - Life, Health, Disability
 • Series 7, 63 Registered
 • Bachelor of Arts: South Dakota State University

Professional Affiliations & Achievements:
 • Minnesota Planned Giving Council Member

Tyler Armstrong

Team

Along with being a Financial Planner full-time, like many millennials, I also have a side hustle – a hobby that adds income on a part-time basis. Several years ago, I decided that I wanted to own a house and have it paid off by the time I turned 30. This goal led me to build a career and create entrepreneurial ventures in construction and real estate.

Just as I’ve worked to build a prosperous future for myself, I look for ways to go the extra mile for my clients, as well. I build relationships with my clients to understand their values and wishes. Together, we create solutions for their issues and build plans for their goals.

Billie

Financial Planner
tarmstrong@jrafinancial.com

Years Experience: 11

Areas of Focus:
Individual Financial Planning, Retirement Planning

Education & Registrations:
 • Bachelor of Science: St. Cloud State University
 

Billie Van Lith

Team

With a full time job, four kids and a family business on the side, you learn to appreciate the value of working (and playing) as a team. Rarely can you reach goals alone. Whether it’s carpooling to a volleyball game, or building a complex Financial Plan at JRA…..the value of a team is priceless!

Billie

Financial Planner
Qualified Plans Specialist

bvanlith@jrafinancial.com

Years Experience: 17

Areas of Focus:
Corporate Retirement Plans, Investment Management and Research, Asset Allocation, Cash Flow Analysis, Retirement Planning, Portfolio Construction, Education Planning, Insurance Needs Analyist

Education & Registrations:
 • Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist, College for Financial Planning
 • MN Insurance Licensed - Life, Health, Disability
 • Series 7, 63 Registered
 • Associate of Arts: St. Cloud State University
 

Dan Erdmann

Team

Growing up on a farm, my first jobs were picking rocks and baling hay. Along with learning the value of hard work, my family of teachers instilled in me a great love of constant learning. I attained my CPA because I enjoy helping people and supporting clients as they work toward their goals. Because the intricacies of the tax trade are always evolving and everyone’s financial situation is unique, I’m always looking for new ways to benefit and serve my clients.

Whether working with a tax or financial planning client, my mission is to provide comprehensive, holistic planning. If you’re interested in a personalized tax or financial planning consultation, I’d love to talk with you. And if you’re wondering if I’m still learning, well: I’m married to a teacher and we have two kids - there is always something to learn!

Billie

Financial Planner, Tax Manager
derdmann@jrafinancial.com

Years Experience: 11

Areas of Focus:
Business and Individual Tax Returns and Planning, Individual Financial Planning, Retirement Planning

Education & Registrations:
 • Certified Public Accountant 
 • MN Insurance Licensed - Life, Health, Disability
 • Series 7, 66 Registered
 • Bachelor of Science, Accounting: St. Cloud State University
----

Nancy Freema

Inspiration  

I have always loved connecting with and serving clients – it’s what makes me tick. My people-focused background – a degree in psychology, an MBA, and CFP, along with more than 25 years of tax prep – helps me make connections between clients and their goals as we plan for events like college savings and retirement. By working closely with our team’s Financial Advisors, I’m also able to dig in with financial planning clients to help them create effective, personalized tax strategies. In addition to working at JRA, I teach Certified Financial Planner courses to incoming professionals and volunteer with high schoolers to help them understand how to connect their finances with their lifestyle and goals. Financial literacy is one of those vital subjects we can all delve into a bit deeper; by building understanding and relationships, I hope to help all those I work with – students and clients alike – make informed and meaningful connections in pursuit of their goals.

Nancy

Tax Specialist
nfreeman@jrafinancial.com

Years Experience: 27

Areas of Focus:
Individual returns, retirement, educational tax planning

Education & Registrations:
• Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
 • Enrolled Agent (EA)
 • MBA: St. Thomas University
 • Bachelor of Science: John Carroll University

Professional Affiliations & Achievements:
• CFP Instructor
• Kaplan Professional
• Volunteer High School Presenter, Best Prep
• Board Member of MN Jump$tart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy
----

Kathy Moss

Inspiration  

Faith, family, beautiful art or great music – these are just a few of the things that inspire me! I believe that inspiration is the spark of vision. When you combine vision with resources and values, you get results. Together they allow me to design innovative solutions for clients that I believe in.

Kathy

President, CEO
kmoss@jrafinancial.com

Years Experience: 30

Areas of Focus:
Wealth Coach, Legacy Planning, Revocable Living Trusts, Estate, Planning, Modern Portfolio Theory, Wealth Optimization, Charitable Giving, Long Term Care, Retirement Planning

Education & Registrations:
• Certified Fund Specialist, Institute of Business & Finance
 • MN Insurance Licensed - Life, Health, Disability
 • Series 7, 24, 63 Registered
 • Bachelor of Arts: Brigham Young University

Professional Affiliations & Achievements:
• 2012 Financial Planner of the Year, Cetera Advisor Networks LLC
• 2009 Top 25 Women in Business: Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal
• Registered Principal, Cetera Advisor Networks LLC
• Designated Supervisor, Cetera Advisor Networks LLC
• Financial Planning Association (FPA) Member
• Best Prep Volunteer: Financial Education for MN Students
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