Kathleen J. Owens
Certified Financial Planner candidate
Often, the time in your life that shapes you the most is when you are young. Traditionally, parents are the most important people in your life and they tend to influence how you think about most everything. At least for a while. My parents definitely shaped my early years about my knowledge revolving around money.
It turns out the greatest lessons I learned about money came from both my parents’ experiences and my own. The lessons I learned early in life were those that ultimately led me to becoming a financial advisor.
My money lessons started when I learned about my parent’s childhoods. Both of my parents were left without fathers at a young age. As a result, both families became impoverished overnight. Neither family had life insurance or savings to help supplement the income the family had lost.
My first money lesson: Not planning for the "what if's" in life can have devastating consequences.
My mom’s dad was killed at work when she was eleven years old. She was tasked with taking care of her two younger brothers, so her mom could work cleaning houses. My mom described how she often fainted due to hunger.
My dad’s father was attacked by three men. One of the men died as a result of the fight and my grandfather went to prison. The family had no money to hire an attorney. The court-appointed attorney convinced my grandfather that he should plead guilty to a reduced sentence because he had no witnesses and the two other men in the attack would testify against him.
My second money lesson: Money buys you choices.
Growing up, I witnessed how my parents were shaped by the struggles they had in childhood and how those experiences shaped their views about money, scarcity and financial education.
With only a high school education, my dad had started his own electrical contracting company as a result of being laid-off. He worked six days a week, and over time, he did well.
That said, my parents never talked about money when I was growing up, other than to tell me I should open a bank account when I got my first job.
My mother was so incredibly frugal it made everyday living very stressful. One time my brother accidentally spilled his glass of milk and my mom became unhinged; it was clearly a reaction to deep seeded memories of having no food in her early life. This sense of fear lasted her entire life.
In addition, my parents made many money mistakes and for whatever reason, they never sought advice from a financial professional. They invested in the stock market with a hot stock tip from a friend. Predictably, they lost all of their investment in that transaction and never invested in the stock market again.
Another time they lost thousands investing in three plots of land in the California desert that ended-up being worthless.
My third money lesson: You should get competent advice before you invest in anything.
Growing up in Southern California, I saw a lot of wealth around me but unfortunately no one talked about it. It was like there was this big secret out there and I was determined to figure it out what the secret was to making money.
When I graduated from High School, I received two college scholarships. A friend found out about the money and asked if he could borrow the money for a short time to get his car fixed. He assured me he would pay me back with his next paycheck. He never paid me back.
My fourth lesson about money: Never lend money you can’t afford to lose.
Working my way through college, I explored various careers and ended up as a hospital administrator. After a painful divorce, I did a lot of soul searching and decided that the financial services industry needed more women and needed someone like me. I knew it was a big risk, but thought: “if not now, when?”
My career has taken me from working with very high net worth families in their private family offices to being an executive in a large broker dealer.
Today, I own my own independent financial planning firm. The lessons I learned from Main Street to Wall Street have given me the ability to create a financial planning experience for our clients that I wish my parents would have had access to.
Our process takes into consideration all of the lessons about money I have learned over the years so you benefit from my decades of experience.
Today and every day I’m thankful I have to opportunity to help people and make a difference in their lives.
University of California, Los Angeles - Personal Financial Planning Certificate-Certified Financial Planner candidate
University of Southern California - alumni
BS Business Administration: summa cum laude
Northeastern University - MBA coursework
Yale - Financial Markets Certificate
CFA Institute - Investment Foundations Certificate holder
About the CFA Institute
CFA Institute is the global association of investment professionals whose mission is to lead the investment profession globally by promoting the highest standards of ethics, education, and professional excellence for the ultimate benefit of society.
Founder/ Certified Financial Planner candidate - Aurora Financial Planning & Investment Management
Financial Advisor - Alta Pacific Wealth Management
Financial Advisor - Morgan Stanley Wealth Management
Money Manager - Family Office Management
Registered Investment Advisor Representative Registration: Series 66 - active & in good standing
Member - Barron's Advisory Board
Executive Board Member - The Salvation Army
Member - Financial Planning Association