Licensee Spotlight: Karen H. Smith

M.Q. “Licensee Spotlight” articles interview Money Quotient Licensees and ask them to share their experiences with Money Quotient materials and the Financial Life Planning process.

This “Licensee Spotlight” shines on Karen H. Smith of  Hausman Advisors located in Hood River and Portland, Oregon.  Karen splits her time between managing the operations of the firm, client education, and Financial Life Planning along with her husband and business partner, Jason A. Smith, CFP®.  Together they offer an “un-sales” level of care for individuals who appreciate thinking methodically about financial concepts such as risk and reward, and who relish a strategy based on combining empirical evidence with highly personalized solutions.  Karen received her Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Portland State University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from The Colorado College.

What attracted you to Money Quotient’s approach to life-centered financial planning?

I have always believed that money is a tool to be used to create your best life and it never made sense to talk to our clients about money in a vacuum.  I was previously exposed to the life-centered approach to financial planning and loved the concept, but knew we needed a structured way to get it launched.  Jason, the principal of our firm, was introduced to M.Q. at a conference and we quickly decided to sign up for the “Fundamentals of Financial Life Planning” training.

How long have you been using M.Q. materials? How long did it take to implement?

I trained with M.Q. in July of 2011 and have been using the materials ever since.  Our firm implemented the process rather quickly and it took only a couple of months to get comfortable using the tools.  Recently, we have just started to develop some workshops using the M.Q. tools to be rolled out in 2014.

How many M.Q. tools have you implemented into your client meetings? Describe the process you followed to implement the tools.

We use the Level 2 tools with all of our current clients and prospects, whether they are a financial planning client or investment management client.  In our comprehensive financial planning engagements, we follow the Level 3 tools and agenda suggested by Money Quotient.  We will use the Level 4 tools in a few cases as needed and for subsequent annual reviews with clients.  We worked closely with M.Q. to identify the approach that worked for us prior to implementation.

How do the M.Q. tools enhance your client experience?

Clients understand from the very beginning that our work is about them simply by the questions that we ask.  Money Quotient’s tools have helped us to ask much better questions and deliver a consistent and professional process.  Our clients feel understood, they can see how the solutions we develop fit their goals, and there is significantly more ownership of the plan we provide.  I also feel our clients have a tighter bond with us as advisors.

What has the life-centered approach done for you, both professionally and personally?

As a husband and wife team, there are a lot of blurred lines between professional and personal.  Jason and I completed all the M.Q. tools after our training in 2011 and it helped us to create our combined financial life plan with great clarity.  We update it every year and I especially enjoy having a decision framework in place to navigate those inevitable choices about where to spend money on competing priorities that always seem to crop up.  Professionally, the M.Q. tools allowed us to become a life-centered financial planning firm without having to reinvent the wheel.  Our guiding principle at Hausman Advisors is to be a contribution in the lives of our clients.  Getting to know our clients’ dreams, values, and goals allows us to be the best financial advocate for them—a true contribution.

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