John Melkun Offers a Holistic Approach to Money Management

This Westchester-based wealth advisor is helping clients safeguard their future, one responsible decision at a time.

The business of saving money is an important one, especially in today’s economy. Whether you’re an individual or small business, have a spending and saving plan in place could be the difference between sinking and swimming.

Whereas judicious saving might’ve been a bit of an afterthought before the COVID-19 pandemic, today’s market landscape lends itself to much more caution, which is where people like John Melkun come in.

Melkun, 47, a Westchester-based wealth advisor for Forest Hills Financial Group, emphasizes “protection-first planning,” where his clients’ potential money problems are solved before a conversation about further financial planning continues.

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But the seasoned money manager wasn’t always all-in on financial planning. He put his first dream of finance aside to pursue music, his second passion. But after 17 years away from the money world and a divorce, Melkun started to wonder if he’d try it again. It wasn’t until he met Joel Greenberg, a financial advisor with over 40 years experience who mentored him back into the profession, that he decided he’d return – and this time with a more holistic approach that he could support. With a focus on diligent saving and reverse-engineering the spending process for small businesses, Melkun has licenses and credentials in succession planning, something he believes helps him stick out in his market.

But the thing that the Larchmont-based wealth manager takes the most pride in is that most of his traditional wealth management services — debt restructuring, investing, and savings planning — are pro bono. He won’t take on a client until he’s helped rectify those elements first. We spoke with Melkun about his background and philosophy.

How did you get started in financial planning?

I was a bushy-tailed 21-year old coming out of college fascinated with Wall Street, but it was incredibly hard. I came from very humble backgrounds. I did it for a year and a half out of school and I was in love with it — I just couldn’t make a living.

Tell us more about your clients.

I’ve seen everyone from solopreneurs to large, employee-filled businesses. The most rewarding thing for me is helping people get a hold of their finances. Most people think, ‘I’m all set, I don’t need any help,’ and won’t undertake financial planning. I want to change that.”

Forest Hills Melkun
Photo courtesy of John Melkun

“Most people think, ‘I’m all set, I don’t need any help,’ and won’t undertake financial planning. I want to change that.’’
–John Melkun
Forest Hills Financial Group

What do you mean when you say you embrace a holistic approach?

When we say holistic, this is what we mean. I don’t have kids, so I’ve got a bit of a father-figure complex; some of my most rewarding experiences have come from helping young business owners. One young woman I worked with was floored by the amount of money she’d saved, and told me, ‘John, no one does this. No one just helps people save money without some other motivation.’ But the realization from my clients that you can have a service like this is what does it for me.

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You lived in Long Island up until the end of the pandemic. What do you like most about being based in Westchester?

I’m a big golfer, so I like the courses up around this way, but I’ll always return to Bethpage for some rounds, too. I’ve got family up in Albany, so being closer to them is always a plus. I really enjoy the neighborhood I’m in and would love to meet more local people.

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