Women’s History Month: Kirsten Ashbaugh
"It’s OK to try things out, and if they don’t work, strategize about how to shift."
Kirsten Ashbaugh is a Financial Advisor & Financial Planner for Wilkinson Wealth Management, LLC
What kind of work do you do?
I’m a financial advisor and planner, which means that I help people not just understand how to invest their money, but also see the pathways for all of their financial decisions. Planning is a key focus for our firm and for me, and so we work with a lot of folks on building out and showing what it looks like at various financial crossroads. And we also help manage IRAs, investment accounts, 529s, that sort of thing, too.
What goals and values motivate your work?
Part of the reason I got into this line of work was because I wanted to be helpful. Sometimes it’s hard to get there—you can’t make decisions or take action for people—but I ultimately don’t want to do work that I don’t feel like is making a positive impact for people’s lives. That’s also why I wanted to switch from a career in national security/intelligence to a career where I could work with people on an individual level, because I felt like I could understand better if my actions were impactful and helpful, or if I needed to adjust course.
I also really believe in trying to meet people where they are. Personal finance is hard, and just because you know what you “should” do doesn’t mean it’s easy or the right path for you. So, I always try to think about how am I listening, am I hearing what the client is telling me. How can I learn more about others’ experiences to better understand my clients’ experiences.
In your career so far, what positive personal changes have helped you to be more impactful?
Recognizing the value of our emotions at work has helped me be more impactful. Again, there are words and advice on paper, but it’s about where you are with the person sitting in front of you. Finance is often very emotional, and being aware of and accepting our emotions can be helpful to figuring out the best decisions for us.
I’ve also made changes in the past few years to better take care of myself after pushing myself too hard in the professional arena. After working some stressful jobs and going to grad school while working full-time, I developed some health issues that have been very persistent. It’s made me realize that I can be a better person at work, and more impactful in the long run, if I also prioritize my personal health.
What’s your advice for young women starting their careers?
Don’t feel like the first or second job is where you “have” to be for the rest of your career. I made a total career shift in my late 20s/early 30s, and it was very scary, but also not as bad as I thought it would be—and it made me realize how many people do transition in their careers. It’s OK to try things out, and if they don’t work, strategize about how to shift. Also why I highly recommend career coaches to help you with something like that—it was one of the best decisions I ever made to work with one!
Kirsten has a newsletter! Sign up for The Wealth Intel Brief to get monthly personal finance tips in your inbox.
Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advice offered through Private Advisor Group, a registered investment advisor. Private Advisor Group and Wilkinson Wealth Management are separate entities from LPL Financial.