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SoundPath Retirement Strategies


Benjamin J. Koval, MBA, CFP®

Benjamin J. Koval is the president and founder of SoundPath Retirement Strategies, LLC, and has more than a decade of experience in finance, with a focus on retirement planning. Ben is an MBA, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM, and an Investment Advisor Representative (IAR) holding a Series 65 license. He is also a Washington state-licensed life insurance producer.

“I established this firm because the needs of senior investors are not adequately addressed by brokerages and typical financial advisory firms,” Ben says. “SoundPath seeks to provide retired and soon-to-be retired investors with a logical path for retirement success using cutting-edge financial analysis that helps address the specific needs of senior investors. We are a math-centric firm focused on achieving retirement security for our clients no matter what the market is doing.”

SoundPath Retirement Strategies, LLC is licensed in the State of Washington. All the firm’s financial advisors and planners are Series 65 licensed, meaning they cannot receive commissions on securities trades.

“My goal—and the goal for our firm—is to be absolutely honest and serve as a true fiduciary for our clients in the fullest sense of the word, ensuring their interests are foremost at all times,” Ben says.

Ben has been featured in the media extensively, both in radio interviews and webinars. He and his colleague, Matt Lybarger, can be found on the popular radio show, “SoundPath Through Retirement,” broadcast twice weekly on KIRO radio, which is also available for podcast streaming. He enjoys sharing financial knowledge and the firm is committed to providing complimentary educational seminars, workshops and classes to the public in the Greater Seattle area. “Financial principles can seem complex at first, but they are important. They can be explained in meaningful ways. We want people to understand how they can retire successfully,” he says.

Ben’s greatest priority in life is his family, and he believes that having that sensitivity provides him with important insights as he helps others’ families with their financial planning needs. He says, “I am totally honest with my clients and my recommendations are always centered on what’s best for them and their families. I simply enjoy helping hardworking people realize their retirement dreams.”

Ben spent his preschool years on the Kitsap Peninsula and his school years at Lake Tahoe, returning to the beautiful Pacific Northwest shortly after completing graduate school. He earned his Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degrees from the University of Nevada, Reno.

He and his wife, Michelle, have four sons ranging in age from grade school to high school and have resided in Redmond, Washington since 2012.

He enjoys spending time with his family whether at home or while exploring the many outdoor and cultural resources of the Northwest.

In his free time, Ben plays recreational basketball. He is a lifelong active church member, where he currently serves as a volunteer youth leader. He has also served as a volunteer youth coach in soccer, football, and basketball.

Investment Advisor Representative

Matt R. Lybarger, MBA

Matthew R. Lybarger is a retirement planner and Investment Advisor Representative (IAR) with SoundPath Retirement Strategies, LLC. He has more than a decade of professional experience in finance, corporate strategy, and counseling, leading to his expertise in personal retirement planning. He holds a Series 65 license and is also a Washington state-licensed life insurance producer.

Matt graduated with a bachelor’s degree in ministry leadership from Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington. He went on to earn a masters degree in theology from Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia, as well as an Executive Master of Business Administration (Executive MBA) from the University of British Columbia in both finance and advanced corporate-level strategy with a focus on mergers and acquisitions. Matt is an ordained minister, a board-certified counselor with the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC), and a certified police and fire chaplain.

“I believe my diverse education comes together nicely in financial advising. I am a natural ‘people person’ and I am admittedly a bit of a nerd when it comes to my dedication to strategy, finance, and counseling, all with the aim of leading people to a place of financial peace of mind.”

Prior to becoming an Investment Advisor Representative (IAR), Matt spent 10 years as a business consultant in the technology and medical sectors, working with corporations to think strategically about their workflows, assets, and desired return on investments (ROI). Matt has also worked in his church as both a pastor and relationship counselor. Matt’s communication style when offering investment advice is often described as warm, friendly, and sensitive, reflecting his rich and varied background.

“I entered the financial space for some of the very same reasons I entered the corporate, medical, ministry and counseling spaces. We all need each other in life. None of us is Superman or Wonder Woman, able to succeed in every aspect of life all by oneself. We each have strengths and weaknesses, knowledge and ignorance. My goal is to share with my clients the education, knowledge, and financial expertise I’ve acquired so that they can reach (and exceed) their goals.”

Matt and his colleague, Ben Koval, can be found on the popular radio show, “SoundPath Through Retirement,” broadcast twice weekly on KIRO radio, which is also available for podcast streaming. He enjoys sharing financial knowledge and the firm is committed to providing complimentary educational seminars, workshops and classes to the public in the Greater Seattle area.

Matt is a musician, fair-weather golfer, Harley rider, and an avid Seattle sports fan (yes, even his dog wears a jersey on gameday)!

Meet the Leadership Team


Connie Crouch

Connie is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting and IS Systems. She oversees the firm’s operational accounting and regulatory compliance and, as part of the management team, develops and implements strategic planning for the firm. Connie has worked her entire career in audit, tax, and accounting systems ranging from non-profits and medical practices to wholesale distributors, retailers and manufacturing firms.

“I am dedicated to being honest and ethical at all times and applying both my skills and experience in ways that create an optimal environment for clients and colleagues to chase their own definition of success.”

Operations Manager

Sydney Brace

Sydney graduated from Central Washington University in Ellensburg, Washington, with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. She has been in the retirement planning industry for more than five years and is well-versed in the administrative side of the business. Sydney enjoys helping people and the opportunity to tackle the challenge of solving problems quickly and effectively, as well as connecting clients with the resources they need to work toward their retirement goals.

“My goal is to take care of each client to the very best of my ability and work with them through the financial planning process to make it as smooth as possible while still implementing all the necessary elements.”

Retirement Planner/Research Analyst

Richard Koval

Richard is a Series 65 licensed Investment Advisor Representative (IAR) in the state of Washington. Building upon his 25-year career as a senior consultant in a prominent consulting firm focusing on physician succession and retirement planning, Richard helps our clients idealize a lasting retirement. He is the leading Research Analyst for SoundPath Retirement Strategies.

“I enjoy using my decades of experience to propose solutions I believe can solve the problems of retirees and pre-retirees. I think implementing innovative strategies is the best way to overcome many of the barriers in the way of financial success.”

True Fiduciaries

SoundPath is a fiduciary firm—meaning our focus is on providing you with retirement advice which is in your best interests at all times. Based on each client’s unique situation and needs. Below are some of the services and strategies we may utilize in your customized, comprehensive retirement plan. The overarching goals are retirement income security, tax efficiency, protection from retirement risks such as market risk and the risk of losing a spouse, and creating your desired wealth legacy.

Income Analysis/Cash Flow/Budget Analysis
Investment Analysis/Asset Allocation
Retirement Needs Analysis/Planning
Retirement Plan Review
Life Insurance Review
Long-Term Care Review
Estate Analysis/Estate Planning
Investment Counseling
Tax Efficiency Analysis
Portfolio Monitoring
Legacy Account Management
Tax Minimization Strategies
Survivor Assistance