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“Many people consider their financial goals to be far more important than their personal goals. But the personal goals have to come first – the money is just a means to get there. So the first meeting sounds more like 'life planning' than financial planning, and that’s the way it should be.”



Darren L. Zagarola, CFP®, CPA®, PFS®


A certified financial planner, certified public accountant and personal financial specialist, Darren has more than 25 years of experience in the financial advisory world. His comprehensive and independent approach to financial planning gives clients confidence that his services and recommendations are free from conflict and truly tailored to their needs.

A strong advocate of socially responsible, values-driven investing, Darren helps interested clients to build an investment strategy that is in line with their personal values. 

Darren is a partner with Access Wealth Planning, LLC, as well as its affiliate, EKS Associates. Previously, he was successful as the Director of Internal Audit of a multi-national manufacturing firm and as an audit manager at Ernst & Young.

In recognition of his work and the value he provides, Darren has been:

  • Named a FIVE STAR Professional Wealth Manager (multi-year winner);
  • Featured on News 12 New Jersey, First Business News TV's Investing Climate, and Money Radio 1510's Business for Breakfast broadcast; and
  • Published and quoted in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, New York Daily News, Market Watch,, among others.

Committed to giving back to his community, Darren is a:  

  • Recurring educator at the Princeton Adult School, teaching a variety of financial planning and investment courses to help people feel empowered;
  • Speaker at the Princeton Senior Resource Center on Senior Day, educating seniors on topics that are most relevant to them post-retirement;
  • Volunteer presenter to community and resource centers, non-profit groups, and businesses on a variety of financial topics;
  • Supporter and sponsor of Cranford Jaycees.

Professional Associations

  • Financial Planning Association (FPA)
  • Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA®)
  • New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants (NJCPA®)
  • Pennsylvania Society of Tax and Accounting Professionals 


  • Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from King’s College
  • CFP® designation, College for Financial Planning, Denver, Colorado
  • Completed the Financial Planning program at Fairleigh Dickinson University
  • Personal Financial Specialist (PFS®) designation, only granted to CPAs who meet stringent requirements of the AICPA®