TOLL FREE:: 844.590.6081
As a second generation Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) with more than 25 years as an independent advisor, Karen McDade derives personal satisfaction from helping her clients discover and reach their goals. Her commitment to maintaining a high level of technical and professional knowledge, coupled with her focused dedication to her clients’ success, make her an invaluable asset to high-net-worth families and small organizations alike.
“My focus is on helping families and business owners simplify the confusion around their financial lives,” Karen says. “My clients’ emphasis is on their careers and families; they’re certainly intelligent enough to understand their financial circumstances, but they don’t have the time, nor the interest to properly develop or monitor a plan. I help them prioritize their goals and stay on-task to accomplish several vital action items each calendar year.” Karen supports her business clients in the same fashion, providing them with Fiduciary Advice on their 401(k) plans, as well as personal retirement and succession strategies.
As a registered investment advisor representative, Karen holds her Series 6, 7, 63 and 65 licenses with FINRA, as well as her life and health insurance licenses. In addition to being a CFP®, she recently attained the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) designation, which represents a thorough knowledge of fiduciary best practices.
Karen attributes her passion for financial planning to her background. “My father became a CFP® in the early 80s,” she says. “As a child, I remember going to out of town meetings with my Dad to babysit, while the parents discussed business at the kitchen table. By high school I spent time working in his home office, assisting with paperwork and organization and by college I was attending high-level CFP® classes at conferences in Washington D.C.”
She attended to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, earning a Bachelor of Science Degree with a concentration in Financial Consulting. “It was a new program at UW'” she says. “For the time, the curriculum was pretty robust, including classes in economics, business law, family psychology, statistics and insurance. I think I’m one of those few people who actually uses my degree.”
Karen spent 15 years affiliated with the same Independent Firm that her father had called home for much of his career. “I took the ‘independence’ thing very seriously,” she says. “For me, it meant never working for a firm that’s going to tell me what products to “sell”. I do what’s best for my clients and I was selective about who I worked with. I had a 100% referral-based practice, and my clients became my friends.”
Karen brought her full set of skills and background to bear when she joined forces with Jay R. Penney, LLC for nine years, and now brings her energy to Ashton Thomas. “Dad taught me that I had only two things in this career,” she says. “my reputation and my clients. Upholding high standards and high ethics in relationships means, never harming that reputation, as well as treating every client as if they are your most important client.” Karen was named a “Five Star Wealth Manager” in Phoenix Magazine in September 2015.
Involved in the community, Karen has served on the Financial Literacy Board for an Arizona branch of the Girl Scouts for the last three years. “We build pilot programs in effort to boost financial knowledge in young girls. The cookie drive is where the bulk of Girl Scout funding comes from, so we leverage that by developing partnerships with local businesses so girls have the opportunity to pitch their story at a board meeting or in front of a group of employees,” Karen explains. “The girls are amazing. Honestly, it shocks me that schools don’t offer better financial education programs to develop life skills.”
Running is one of Karen’s passions and she’s run in 15 marathons. “It helps clear my mind, I like the discipline of it. Plus, it allows me to eat more pizza!,” she says with a big smile. Karen’s husband, John, shares her interest for running and works at NBC New Radio in Phoenix as a Producer, while their daughter, Ella, thrives in the musical theatre arena. Her family is rounded out by Max, the dog that Ella fell in love with a local animal rescue.