Allen Davis, CFP®
Allen feels that his early training in the arts and humanities was excellent preparation for his work as a financial planner, the most fulfilling work he has ever done. He has supplemented his BA (Temple University) and MA (UMass/Amherst) in English and his private study of music with his training as a Certified Financial Planner ™ Professional and gaining the Chartered Financial Consultant designation. Literature and the Arts are all about the connections between things – the seen and unseen, past and present, sound and silence, the head and the heart, appearance and reality — and making and finding connections is what financial planning is all about: the daily facts of life and its overall arc and trajectory, the material details of cash flows and rates of return and the larger purposes and meanings of life, community, and family, what we feel and what we know to be true. A financial plan is an illuminated journey through all of these and gives us the tools for understanding ourselves over time in relation to our money, our hearts, and our minds.
Allen’s early working years in the Valley were spent trying to fuse higher education and social change – cluster college “living and learning” experiments, and “University Without Walls” experiential education for working adults. He helped organize educational programs focused on America’s great contribution to world culture, jazz music, in ways that promoted awareness of the foundations of social discord, and the possibility of harmony and social justice. But his great achievement during these years was his leading a successful class action suit on behalf of 200 Massachusetts State part-time and “temporary” workers in their efforts to earn legitimacy and full employment benefits – his devotion to planning, financial education and retirement planning was born!
Allen moved from education to business, and following several small retail ventures, he created and ran a successful technology-specific Executive Search company for 15 years that led to a venture funded NYC based Internet startup. Along the way he founded Mak’hela, the Jewish chorus of Western Massachusetts, and participated as a Board member of a number of Valley organizations, most recently the UMass Fine Arts Center, where he served as Chair and a cofounder of its Valley Jazz Network. He is an active member of the Jewish Community of Amherst, where for many years he has played a major role in the creation of their musical explorations and presentations. He currently teaches his “Principles of Financial Planning” course at Elms College as part of their MBA curriculum. He continues pursuing his lifelong passion for music, and plays double bass and piano whenever he can.
Allen lives in Amherst with his wife, Dr. Judy Davis, a family therapist and author. They have two sons — Lou, who is a partner of the firm, and Eric, a playwright, composer, and software specialist. His three grandchildren, Asher, Izzy and Margo Lilly, are the best grandchildren in the world, of course!
Financial Planner and Advisor
Lou began his career as a financial planner in 2011 when he joined Allen at the Davis Financial Group. Attracted by the idea of combining his passion for problem solving and his love of people, Lou saw planning as a way of utilizing his diverse skills, education and business experience in the pursuit of helping people achieve their financial and life goals.
Lou came into the business of financial planning after a variety of other business ventures. Early in his career, Lou founded and ran an entertainment management company while working at Power Station recording studio in NYC. Lou’s company, Leeds-Davis Management, focused on developing and managing the careers of musicians, recording engineers and record producers. Leeds-Davis’s client list included a wide variety of artists and producers, including several Grammy winners.
In the late ’90s, Lou (along with Allen and his brother, Eric) launched a web-based start-up, BountySystems.com, that provided a B2B and B2C oriented incentivized viral marketing application. The team was successful in raising $15 million in venture funding, growing the company to over 60 employees in their midtown Manhattan office, and negotiating multi-million-dollar partnerships with some of the top web portals of the day.
After 9/11, Lou returned from NYC to Massachusetts and worked as a sales, marketing and business consultant for several for and not-for profit organizations in the Pioneer Valley. In 2003, Lou became the VP of Sales and Marketing for Market Street Research, a national marketing research firm based in Northampton, MA. In this role, Lou was responsible for consulting with businesses from many industry sectors, helping them to shape research approaches designed to provide them with specific direction for their decision making.
The transition to financial planning was a natural one for Lou, as so much of what he had done in his earlier life is relevant to and directly informs his work today. Lou’s focus is on working with business owners, professionals, educators, retirees and their families, helping them to understand, protect, grow, value and share their assets, and what’s important to them.
Lou lives in Northampton, MA with his wife, Jen, a personal trainer, and their two sons, Asher and Izzy, who attend Northampton public schools. As a life-long musician, Lou plays bass in local bands, including his family band, Family Davis Jr., which is fronted by Jen on guitar and vocals and the kids on drums and keyboard. You can see them play every year in the Northampton Arts Council’s Transperformance concert at the Pines Theater in late August. Lou is also an avid golfer and enjoys fishing and other sports with his sons.
Lou serves on boards and committees of various non-profits, including the Northampton Area Chamber of Commerce, the Jewish Federation of Western Ma, the Estate Planning Council of Hampden County, Congregation B’nai Israel and Cooley Dickinson Health Care. Lou previously served as the President of Lander-Grinspoon Academy, and as a board member of the New England Financial Marketing Association and the New England Society for Healthcare Communications. Lou participates as a mentor and often gives presentations on a range of business topics at Valley Venture Mentors and its Accelerator programs and has served as a judge for a number of its business competitions.
Lou has a diverse educational background having studied at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, Parsons School of Design and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Lou is a Registered Representative and holds a Series 7, Series 66 and a health, life and disability insurance license.
Financial Planner and Advisor
Joanna S. Ballantine is a Financial Planner and Advisor with the Davis Financial Group. As part of the Davis Financial team, Joanna works to serve clients throughout the Pioneer Valley, the Berkshires, and beyond. Her role includes helping clients to achieve their goals and understand, protect, grow and share their assets—and their values—during their lives and as part of their legacy. Joanna also helps direct and coordinate with the work of her clients’ other professional advisers.
Prior to joining DFG in 2020, Joanna was an executive in the non-profit sector for 20 years. Her work focused on leading large non-profits through times of growth, outreach, engagement, systems thinking and enterprise development. She served as the Executive Director of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation for over a decade and, most recently, as Vice President for the Western Region for the nations’ oldest comprehensive conservation and preservation organization, The Trustees of Reservations.
Joanna has an MSW in Community Organizing and Social Administration from the University of Maryland, an MA from Baltimore Hebrew University, and a BA from Hampshire College. Joanna serves on the Advisory Board of The Trustees, the Board of Directors of the Kestrel Land Trust, 18 Doors, the Biodynamic Farmland Trust, and is an active volunteer in the community. In her recreational time, Joanna is active at the Jewish Community of Amherst, Cooley Dickinson Hospital, the Women’s Philanthropy Committee of the Jewish Federation and especially enjoys hiking, yoga and exploring Massachusetts’ special places.
Joanna lives in Amherst with her husband Clay, and their Bernese Mountain dog Shira. Her daughter, Hannah, is a graduate of Hampshire College and her son Caleb attends Skidmore College.
Joanna holds the Series 6 and 63 licenses and Life, Health and Disability insurance licenses.
Ellen Montague Carey joined The Davis Financial Group in 2018. She is the Operations Manager and Coordinator of Business Development for the practice. Ellen brings 18 years of experience working in the Financial Services Industry. She is licensed in Massachusetts for health, life and disability insurance.
Ellen is a native of Amherst and has been a member of the Rotary Club of Amherst for over 20 years, where she has served as the Club Secretary for many years.
Ellen lives in Amherst with her husband Mike. Ellen cherishes time with family, especially with her grandchildren Coraline and Elias. She is also an avid knitter & weaver.
Financial Services Professional
Giovanni (Gio) Perez
Giovanni (Gio) is a Financial Services Professional with the Davis Financial Group. Gio is on a mission to aid clients in uncovering what’s most important to them, to align their finances with their values, and to build confidence, balance and peace along the way.
Gio joined the Davis Financial Group in April 2021, where he appreciates the firm’s devotion to financial education and values-based planning that places DFG at the forefront of the financial services providers in the Valley.
Giovanni began his career in the business of financial planning as an intern at an Ameriprise Financial office in Agawam, MA. Upon completion of his BA, Gio joined John Hancock’s Retirement Plan Services group to expand his exposure to retirement strategies. Gio quickly rose through the corporate structure from back-office processing to a client-facing role. Gio uncovered a passion for financial planning education and retirement planning while working with clients to help them understand their current financial situations and how to progress toward their goals.
As a native of Puerto Rico and a Spanish speaker working with people from around the country, Gio helps clients to discern and appreciate the intricate cultural differences in understanding, assessing, and addressing each person’s financial health and wellbeing. To many people, especially a large part of the Spanish speaking population, Gio is the first and only financial professional to educate them on the financial planning process and the actionable steps to align their values and finances.
Gio lives in Springfield, MA. and enjoys keeping active - biking, running or playing basketball. He loves to spend time at family cookouts and has recently taken up golfing.
Gio has a BA in Business Administration from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business.
Gio is a Registered Representative and holds a Series 7, Series 63 and Health, Life and Disability insurance licenses.