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"A goal without a plan is just a wish."

—ANTOINE DE SAINt-EXUPÉRY

We exist so you can focus on your life,
 instead of your finances.

We believe that your priorities come first.

The name "Walled Lake" comes from a special place; where Noel Cooper, one of our founding partners, spent his childhood summers. Feeding the ducks, swimming with friends, and grilling with his family (before he became a vegetarian). His needs were taken care of and he was free to enjoy the fresh air.

You have worked hard to get ahead, establish yourself, build a business, create a family.  Along the way, you have made sacrifices.  A lifetime of wealth is not built to remain idle; it should help you reach your goals and support your lifestyle.  We are here to help you pay for your life. Find your Walled Lake.

"The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining."

—JOHN F. KENNEDY

Draw a complete picture.

Understanding your full financial picture is essential. From the overall structure to the complexities of unique plans. You can efficiently navigate your world, knowing the full team is at your service.



Make informed choices.

The road of life is long, and not a straight line. Life presents many choices. With the experience and honest opinions of the Walled Lake team, you will be able to make confident decisions.

"Plans are nothing. 

Planning is everything."

—Dwight D. Eisenhower

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

You might have several financial planning elements in place already—you pay taxes, invest your savings, and buy insurance. Maybe you have done some estate planning and had trusts created. But have all of these elements been designed to coordinate with each other? Walled Lake's holistic approach draws all of these elements together, so you can rest easy that your finances are working efficiently for you.

You have questions. We have questions. Together, we can get the answers.

  • Do I have enough money to retire?
  • Have I accurately measured what my life costs?
  • Have I protected my family?
  • Can my plan handle the unknown and unexpected?
  • How can I meet my philanthropic desires?
  • What happens to my legacy?
  • Am I being tax efficient?
  • Do my finances align with my goals?

Imagine a single home for all of your accounts, assets, and documents.

eMoney has established itself as the leader in advanced financial planning tools. Not only can it model unique situations, but it can act as a resource for your loved ones, or other professionals, if ever needed. As a client of Walled Lake, you have access to eMoney, and the team's expertise at shaping it to match your needs. It contains three main parts:

  • A dashboard to can aggregate all of your accounts and assets on a daily basis, no matter where they are held.
  • A secure vault, to store your important documents, like wills, trusts, and even copies of your passport.
  • Advanced financial planning tools so we can help reflect your unique situation and plan.

Everything we do aims to create a plan that works for you. This is a team effort. One answer may open two new questions.


Every review call begins by finding out what is new in your life. Are there changes that could impact your plan? Unexpected expenses, windfalls, family changes, and more. The more detailed information discussed, the more accurate recommendations and strategies can be.

As a fee-only Independent Registered Investment Advisor, our success is defined by your success. Recommendations are not beholden to the various interests of large firms.


Investment solutions are uniquely crafted to meet your individual needs. This may include tax sensitivity, risk, purpose, transparency, and liquidity.

ready to serve

Your team

At Walled Lake, we seek to create an atmosphere contrary to the rigidness of a large corporation. This boutique atmosphere is not only how we treat our clients, but also how we treat ourselves.

And every client is truly a client of the entire team.

Howard Klieger Photo

Howard Klieger

Founder/Managing Partner

Howard provides professional perspective and key leadership for the Walled Lake team. He also manages several long-standing client relationships and has been working with high-net-worth families for over 38 years.

Howard's long-tenured experience, supported by a Bachelor of Economics degree (SUNY Buffalo) and Master of Finance degree (Emory University) gives him a unique perspective. His professional career has taken him through many market cycles, learning how to navigate  many of the same decisions we help clients make today. 

Howard was born and raised in New York and moved to Chicago in 1981. He currently resides in Wilmette with his wife, Susan. He has two grown children and his interests include tennis, paddle tennis, golf, fishing, and Ravinia.

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Noel Cooper, CFP® Photo

Noel Cooper, CFP®

Founder/Managing Partner

Noel is managing partner and co-founder of Walled Lake Planning & Wealth Management.  He began his career at Bear Stearns in 1998 and in 2001 began working with Howard Klieger’s group at Oppenheimer and Company.  Two years later, he and Howard left to join RBC Wealth Management.

At Walled Lake, Noel provides extensive planning and investment advice for clients as well as research, management and overall direction for the firm.

Noel attended Ohio State University and graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  He leads the group’s efforts in developing sound planning processes for our clients.

Residing in Highland Park with his wife and three children, Noel is very active in his community.  He currently serves on the board of HP Early Learning Center and The Art Center of Highland Park.   His other interests include reading, photography, Euchre, travel and enjoying the beautiful city of Chicago.
Zach Walters, CFP® Photo

Zach Walters, CFP®

Chief Investment Officer
Zach began his career and worked as a financial consultant at Ameriprise Financial until joining Howard and Noel’s team in 2006.  Zach’s role at Walled Lake is seeking best-in-class investment solutions, assisting in the wealth management planning process, as well as development of account allocations.

He graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management, and a minor in Finance.  Zach currently resides in downtown Chicago and is active in his community.  He is a member of the United Way Young Leaders Society and is involved in recreational soccer leagues in the greater Chicago area. Zach has lived throughout the country, including Illinois, Indiana, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Ohio, New York, Oregon, and Washington.  In his spare time, Zach enjoys working out, reading non-fiction, and remaining active in sports.
Louis Klieger, CFP® Photo

Louis Klieger, CFP®

Head of Client Experience
Louis’ role includes creating superior service experiences for Walled Lake clients. He began his professional career in finance in 2015, although a more informal education began much earlier over the dinner table listening to his father, Howard, discuss the many facets of private wealth management.  Louis focuses on coordinating our investment and planning strategies with our network of client CPAs, attorneys, and other professional advisors.  This effort continually refines and enhances the premium client experience we deliver.

He graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor of Science in Advertising with a Minor in Informatics. After university graduation, Louis worked for two years in various roles in design and branding with VSA Partners, working predominately with Fortune 500 companies. Louis married his wife Beth in May, 2019, and they live together in downtown Chicago. He recently took up rock climbing, has been active in both soccer and platform tennis, and enjoys learning of scientific discoveries.
Shelton Smith Photo

Shelton Smith

Administrative Manager

Shelton’s primary responsibilities at Walled Lake are in the areas of administrative and communication.  Shelton has extensive knowledge of our clients' accounts and manages the execution of the firm's policies and procedures. His creative ability to effectively communicate makes him an invaluable member of our team.

Shelton began his career as an administrative assistant in the investment industry in 1990, with Oppenheimer & Co. He joined Howard Klieger’s group in 1998 and moved with the team to RBC Wealth Management in 2003.

Shelton is committed to serving as a professional, and as an influential role model to the youth of his community.  He serves as a Deacon within his church congregation as well as a mentor to youth groups in his community. Additionally, Shelton is very proud to be the Education Director of the Sigma Beta Club youth auxiliary group, a program that motivates students to focus on scholastic achievement, scholarships and higher education. Shelton's program has received extensive media recognition, including an appearance on WGCI radio and several featured articles in national publications.
Sarah Grayer, CFP® Photo

Sarah Grayer, CFP®

Senior Client Associate

Sarah’s start in the financial planning industry began in her college years while working for Sundvold Financial, in her hometown of Columbia, Missouri. She supported the team at every step and absorbed much about the planning process for their clients, while completing her Bachelor of Science in Personal Financial Planning at the University of Missouri.

Shortly after graduating Sarah moved with her husband Justin to Los Angeles, where she joined a large team of financial advisors at Charles Schwab. She lead monthly educational workshops and coordinated many client events, and had quite the experience assisting with the opening of a new branch in Santa Monica. Life took their family back to the Midwest and Sarah moved with a team to J.P. Morgan Chase in Winnetka, where she was able to work even closer with families in the area here.

Sarah is an active yogi, practicing at home and at several studios in the area, loves reading, the outdoors, and she and her husband love spending as much active time as possible with their Australian Shepherd Chloe.

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What comes next

So you've been referred to us, what's next?

Given the high level of service and attention for each client, Walled Lake only accepts new clients through referrals. Existing clients know us best, and if they are introducing us, apart from being a high compliment, they believe you will benefit from the services we offer. The introduction process is below.

The introduction call 

This can be as brief or lengthy as needed. We will ask you a few questions to learn about your situation. You will also learn about our approach and capabilities. We are not everything for everybody, and every client is unique. After this call, you can decide whether the extensive planning process will benefit you, and look to take the next steps.

The initial meeting 

Generally, it is most beneficial if the first meeting is in-person, at our office or yours. Upon meeting us, you will establish a deeper understanding of our team, backgrounds, experience, capabilities, structure and costs. This is a great time to discuss your situation in as much detail as you would like, enabling us to get a head-start.

Working together

Like you, we seek the right fit for our relationships. After these two initial conversations, if everyone feels that it is a good fit, then arrangements will be made to move forward. Ongoing meetings are done in a variety of formats: face-to-face, phone calls, or online. You will even be able to view a shared computer screen from the comfort of your home or office.

What would you like to know?


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