DENVER (August 25, 2020)—The Financial Planning Association® (FPA®), the largest membership organization for financial planning practitioners and those who support the financial planning process, is pleased to announce Samantha Lamas, Ryan O. Murphy, Ph.D. and Ray Sin, Ph.D. as the recipients of the 2020 Montgomery-Warschauer Award for their July 2019 Journal of Financial Planning paper, “Goals-Based Financial Planning: How Simple Lists Can Overcome Cognitive Blind Spots.”

Now in its ninth year, the Montgomery-Warschauer Award recognizes the paper published in the Journal of Financial Planning that provided the most outstanding contribution to the betterment of the profession in the preceding year. The award is named after the late Henry Montgomery, who helped create the Journal, and Tom Warschauer, the Journal’s first academic editor.

“For more than 20 years, the Journal of Financial Planning has provided dynamic, thought-provoking content to help practitioners excel and master the practice of financial planning,” said 2020 FPA President Martin C. Seay, Ph.D., CFP®. “I applaud Samantha, Ryan and Ray for their contribution that helps financial planners serve the best interests of their clients and supports the Journal’s mission to expand the body of knowledge in the financial planning profession.”

Eighteen peer-reviewed research papers were considered for the award this year. The winning paper was determined by votes from the 2019 Journal Editorial Advisory Board and the Journal editorial staff, including previous practitioner and academic editors, Dr. Dave Yeske, CFP® and Barbara O’Neill, Ph.D., CFP®, CRPC. Lamas, Murphy and Sin will present the award-winning research at the 2020 FPA Digital Annual Conference Sept. 30 – Oct. 2, 2020.

Addressing common behavioral biases that may cause an investor to neglect their investment goals, the research suggests practitioners use a check-list as part of a structured process to help clients overcome superficial top-of-mind responses when identifying and prioritizing financial goals. Using a simple and effective tool that outlines common objectives, investors are able to use this tool to identify goals that are genuinely important to them. With nearly 73 percent of research respondents changing either one or more of their top three goals after using the check-list, this can be an essential tool to help clients pinpoint and articulate their investment goals as part of the financial planning process.

“This paper continues the Journal of Financial Planning’s long tradition of publishing research that is both intellectually interesting and useful to practitioners,” said Journal Practitioner Editor Daniel B. Moisand, CFP®. “Goal setting and understanding a client’s motivation are fundamentally critical to successful financial planning. This paper provides practitioners with an evidence based yet simple way to make the goal setting process more robust.”

A behavioral researcher at Morningstar, Inc., a leading provider of independent investment research, Lamas analyzes research to better understand investors―who they are, their financial goals and how to help them reach these goals. Her work focuses on answering impactful questions and communicating these findings to financial professionals and individual investors.

The head of decision sciences for Morningstar Investment Management, a subsidiary of Morningstar and leading provider of discretionary investment management and advisory services, Murphy’s research is interdisciplinary, bringing together methods from experimental economics, cognitive psychology and mathematical modeling. Murphy researches how people make decisions, especially about risk and money, and he works on developing ways to measure people’s preferences to help investors make better decisions. Previously he served as chair of decision theory and behavioral game theory at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich, Switzerland and as the associate director of the Center for the Decision Sciences at Columbia University.

A former behavioral scientist at Morningstar, Sin is currently a behavioral scientist at Zelle® and focuses on understanding how money can be sent easier, safer and faster to others. He received his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. His research on how investors react to different ways of displaying fees has been published in Reuters, InvestmentNews and Kiplinger.

“Goal setting is a critical aspect of the financial planning process and I applaud the authors for showing how behavioral biases complicate these important conversations,” said Journal Academic Editor Stuart J. Heckman, Ph.D., CFP®. “This study exemplifies how high quality research can improve the financial planning profession and I am pleased to have such excellent work in the Journal of Financial Planning.”

FPA will make a $1,000 donation to the NAACP in honor of John Lewis as requested by Lamas, Murphy and Sin.


About the Financial Planning Association

The Financial Planning Association® (FPA®) is the principal membership organization for CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professionals, educators, financial services professionals and students who are committed to elevating the profession that transforms lives through the power of financial planning. With a focus on the practice, business and profession of financial planning, FPA advances financial planning practitioners through every phase of their careers, from novice to master to leader of the profession. Learn more about FPA at and follow on Twitter at

About the Journal of Financial Planning

First published in 1979, the mission of the Journal of Financial Planning is to expand the body of knowledge of the financial planning profession. With monthly feature articles, interviews, columns, and peer-reviewed technical contributions, the Journal’s content is dynamic, innovative, thought-provoking, and directly beneficial to financial planners and their work. Learn more at