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We Serve as the

Chief Financial Officer

to Families.

Build the right plan.

Build the plan right.

Ensure our client’s success.

Our Clients

Individuals and their families engage in two successful enterprises across their life’s journey: wealth creation and wealth management. Along the way, families encounter risks to their wealth, and they wonder whether they’ll sufficiently realize, protect, and fulfill their dreams. Successful families seek advice and guidance. They pursue a well-conceived plan. Through discipline, diligence, and dedication, successful families create a legacy of wealth for their heirs.

Wealth Creation Enterprise

Our clients work hard and thrive. They’re prosperous across their professional career, wherein they create their wealth.

Wealth Management Enterprise

Our clients save, invest, and grow. With personal savings, prudent investments, and perhaps inheritance, they grow their wealth.

Risks to Wealth

Families have three existential risks worrying them: dying too young, outliving their wealth, and poor decision-making in life.

A Legacy of Wealth

Our clients seek purpose and direction. Quality advice and navigation. A safe harbor for their wealth. A successful journey. A long-lasting legacy.

How We Serve

As their Family CFO, we serve as fiduciaries, guiding our clients with clarity and purpose. We help our clients build, manage, protect, and transition their wealth. We help our clients mitigate these three existential risks that worry them. We help our clients fulfill their promises to themselves and future generations.

Build Wealth

Investable Assets

Our evidence-based investment approach is grounded in economic theory and backed by decades of empirical research. It is clear, understandable, and objective.

Manage Wealth

Lending & Liabilities

We help clients simplify and structure the ways they access money. Customized credit solutions can play an important role in helping our clients achieve their goals.

Protect Wealth

Risk Management Services

We help clients navigate and rigorously defend against the existential risks to their wealth, between life and death, by making better decisions.

Transition Wealth

Family Systems & Planning

Families are cohesive, emotional units. We collaborate with our clients and their advisors to frame their family legacy and live their best lives across generations.

About Us

At Forthright, we are deeply committed to the discovery, development, implementation, and management of our client’s private wealth plan. We begin by actively listening to our clients, discovering their unique situation, resulting in a clear and complete understanding of their family and life goals. We then study, test, analyze, model, and develop planning strategies to meet our client’s goals.

With our client’s permission, we implement their private wealth plan in an independent and cost-effective manner. On an ongoing basis, we monitor & evaluate the performance of our client’s plans, making adjustments for material changes in their lives or the markets.

We are fee-only.

We are fiduciaries.

We are Forthright.

Neal D. Carlson Photo

Neal D. Carlson

Founder, Managing Director
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Neal D. Carlson

Founder, Managing Director

Neal graduated from the US Military Academy, West Point with a BS degree in mathematical economics, and a double major in art, philosophy, and literature. Commissioned into the US Army Corps of Engineers, Neal served for five years as a combat engineer, with a tour in Bosnia-Herzegovina. His final assignment as a captain was as a special aide and speechwriter for the general officer commanding the US Army’s III Corps.

“I was honored to have the opportunity to serve,” he says, “particularly at various levels, with increasing responsibilities. There are no finer people than soldiers, and to be one of them, to lead them, was such an exceptional, humbling experience.”

Neal returned to Houston, where he graduated from Rice University with an MBA and expressed a keen interest in both entrepreneurship and wealth management. He joined Goldman Sachs, where he spent his first nine years building his advisory practice, tailored towards the unique needs of wealthy families. His team later joined Credit Suisse, and upon that firm’s exit of their US-based private bank, he and his team transitioned with several other teams to Wells Fargo’s private bank.

“Having had the opportunity to advise families on the full spectrum of their wealth management for over twelve years – from Goldman Sachs to Credit Suisse to Wells Fargo,” he recalls, “I kept hearing from my clients their desire for more clarity, empathy, and independence, with minimal selling and zero conflicts. This led me to found Forthright Family Wealth – a fee-only, fiduciary firm.”

As their Family CFO, Neal and his team serve their clients as fiduciaries, guiding them with clarity and purpose, unencumbered by conflicts. They help their clients build, manage, protect, and transition their wealth. They assist their clients in mitigating the existential risks to wealth that worry them. They help their clients fulfill their promises to themselves and future generations.

Neal and his wife Kristen live in the Memorial area of Houston, with their two daughters.

Erica Y. Abarca Photo

Erica Y. Abarca

Director of Client Operations
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Erica Y. Abarca


Erica is the Director of Client Operations at Forthright Family Wealth.  She joined Forthright in early 2022, having served over twenty years in client relations, operations, and project management, with increasing responsibilities at prior firms Westwood Trust, Avalon Advisors, Global Financial Services and alliantgroup.

When asked about the most fulfilling part of her job, Erica responded, "the most fulfilling aspect of what I do, is knowing I played a key part in the overall client experience...  I have been fortunate that my varied roles in financial services have allowed for me to guide every step of the client experience, ensuring an overall positive experience for our clients.”

Erica holds a BS in Business Management from University of Phoenix and the CFA Institute Investment Foundations Certificate.

Erica and her family currently reside in Northwest Houston.