Kansas State University


Personal Financial Planning

A message from our Program Director

By Kristy Archuleta




  • PFP is always on the move to make K-State PFP the best in the nation! In fact, each year before the Fall semester begins, the PFP faculty and staff convene to evaluate our movement towards our strategic goals and identify the year’s priorities to keep us moving forward. It is my pleasure to share some of our program’s updates in this message!






  • First, on behalf of the PFP faculty and staff, we extend a warm welcome to our newest team member, Dr. HanNa Lim. Dr. Lim earned her B.S. and M.S. in Consumer Science from Seoul National University and her Ph.D. in Family Resource Management from the Ohio State University. Most recently, she has served as a senior researcher at Samsung Life Insurance in Seoul, South Korea. This year, she will be teaching courses in both the B.S. and Ph.D. programs. Her research areas include college students’ financial wellness and the effect of family relationship on financial behaviors. In Dr. Lim’s spare time, she enjoys playing violin! Welcome Dr. Lim!


  • In other exciting news, our new curriculum for the M.S. program has been approved! The M.S. degree will remain a degree in Personal Financial Planning but will now offer three tracks for students. The first track combines two of our graduate certificate programs, including financial therapy and personal financial planning. The second track is geared for the existing financial planner who already has the CFP® certification. This track combines the financial therapy graduate certificate, advanced financial planning courses in retirement and estate, and related elective courses. The third track focuses on financial planning and includes the personal financial planning graduate certificate, advanced financial planning courses in estate and retirement planning, and related elective courses. For more information about our new M.S. program, please visit www.ipfp.ksu.edu or email ipfp@ksu.edu.


  • In collaboration with K-State’s Global campus, we are increasing the access to our nationally recognized undergraduate program by taking it online! We are currently working with 2-year colleges across Kansas to develop transition agreements in order to help students who aspire to work in financial services and related careers to have a clear pathway towards baccalaureate degree completion on-campus or online. You can learn more about the online Personal Financial Planning B.S. program here,and reading the recent new release.


  • Finally, we want to celebrate the many contributions Dr. Ann Coulson has made to the Personal Financial Planning program. Many of you reading this newsletter had Dr. Coulson as a professor and she made an impact on your life by sharing her wisdom and knowledge about financial planning or lending her support of your endeavors. I was once a student of Dr. Coulson as well and can speak first hand to her the tremendous mentoring and tutelage she provides to her students. This summer, Dr. Coulson transitioned off campus to begin phased retirement. Although she will continue to teach in the PFP graduate certificate program, we miss her physical presence in the office.


With so much happening in our programs, it is a difficult task to keep the program updates short. As always, please stay connected! We love to hear from our alums and friends of the program! If you are interested in helping to support the PFP program, please reach out to myself, Dr. Martin Seay, PFP faculty members, or Dana Hunter, our Kansas State University Foundation Director of Development.


You can also shop at our team store and sport your purple pride!

Highlights from the 2017 Practice-Oriented Research Poster Forum

The 3rd annual K-State Personal Financial Planning Practice-Oriented Research Poster Forum was held at the Bluemont Hotel in Manhattan, KS on August 3. This is an opportunity for doctoral students to showcase their research projects. Students may have presented these research projects at an academic conference during the previous academic year or are planning to present them in the upcoming year. One of the major objectives of the poster forum is to provide a place where practitioners and researchers can interact in order to help connect research and practice. Students have to articulate the implications and practical usefulness of their research without using academic jargon. Feedback can be provided by attendees to help further inform the researcher’s project.

The poster forum is also a competition where students compete for travel funds to attend conferences in the upcoming year. The student winners are in bold and listed below:

1st place: “Federal Student Loan Entrance Counseling: Student Perceptions and Influence on Anticipated Debt Burdens” by Somer Anderson, Stuart Heckman and Derek Lawson.

2nd place: “I Know I Should, but Do I Do it? Introducing the Financial Cognition Scale” by Kristy Archuleta, Christina Glenn, Derek Lawson, Joy Clady, and Syble Solomon

3rd place: “Variation in Client Characteristics between Financial Planning Compensation Models” by Martin Seay, Somer Anderson, Derek Lawson, and Kyoung Tae Kim

First place received $600, second place received $500, and third place received $400. Travels funds are split among student presenters. The travel funds this year were made possible by Eagle Ridge Investment Management, LLC; ESB Financial;

and Julie Cumbie, Ph.D. 2012 alum. We are thankful for these generous entities and individuals and their commitment to helping our doctoral students succeed.

Judges from both practice and research evaluate the posters and decide the top three posters. The judges comment each year on the difficulty to make a decision because the research judges are looking at different aspects than the practitioner judges. In the end, judges select high quality research that is relevant to practice. Judging this year were Ms. Jamie Bosse, KHC Wealth Management; Dr. Bronwyn Fees, K-State College of Human Dean’s Office; and Ms. Amy Guerich, Stepp & Rothwell, Inc. We are appreciative of these judges’ time and willingness to read each poster and interact with the student presenters.

Where in the world were our students this summer? Summer Internships in 2017

By Connor Stats

Students were busy this summer with internships and holding their first jobs upon graduation. Here is a list of where some of our students interned this summer. A few of them were featured in the School of Family Studies and Human Services intern spotlight this summer.

Nolan Keim                 Mariner Wealth Advisors                          Leawood, KS

Abby Pope                  Mariner Wealth Advisors                          Leawood, KS

Garrett Huerter           It’s Not Just Money                       Colorado Spring, CO

Joseph Nafzinger         Advisor’s Excel                                           Topeka, KS

Aubrianna Graham      Advisor’s Excel                                           Topeka, KS

Scott McGehee            Reed Financial Services                          Cleveland, OH

Allison Becker             Reed Financial Services                          Cleveland, OH

Zac Pohlenz                Lord’s Financial Planning                             Topeka, KS

Mari Herb                   Demming Financial Services                    Cleveland, OH

Greg Giardino             Northwestern Mutual                            Kansas City, KS

Matt Buckwalter          Paradigm Advisors                                       Dallas, TX

Stephen Phillips          Financial Strategies, Inc.                         Brookfield, WI

Madison Burton           Bank of the Flint Hills                            Manhattan, KS

Racheal Davis             Swindoll, Janzen, Hawk & Loyd               McPherson, KS

Kyler Jost                   Merck Animal Hospital                               De Soto, KS

Rachel McCullough      Anthony Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Kansas City, KS

Brianna Schartz          Via Christi Hospital                                Manhattan, KS

Let’s Connect What We Do With What You Do! How to Read Research

By Dr. Sonya Britt-Lutter

Have you ever wondered what professors do when they are staring at their computers? Teaching is the most commonly understood part of our job, when in reality we spend just as much or more time with research. So, what are we looking at on our computers? Probably a research article, a student’s dissertation, a statistics program, or a blank Word document getting ready to write about our own research.


K-State PFP faculty attempt to connect research and practice by conducting research and writing about that research on topics that are applicable to practitioners. Unfortunately, the language researchers and practitioners use is different. For example, the statistical and research jargon that is needed for researchers to continue to build upon the financial planning knowledge base can get in the way of interpretation and implementation for practitioners. Likewise, some researchers often do not understand that importance of certain research areas because of the disconnect researchers have from practice. At K-State, most of the PFP faculty have practical experience working with clients that have helped to inform their own research interests.


A 2016 Journal of Financial Planning Practice Management blog by Dave Yeske posted eight items to look for when evaluating research (https://practicemanagementblog.onefpa.org/tag/how-to-read-research-papers/). The Association of Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE) Research Task Force comprised of some of our own, like faculty member, Dr. Sonya Britt-Lutter; Ph.D. student, Cherie Stueve; and Ph.D. alum, Dr. Sarah Asebedo, has continued to build upon this framework in presentations to financial counselors and planners. The combined writings of Dave Yeske’s blog post and the AFCPE Research Task Force are summarized here to help bridge practice and research to you become a consumer of research and to see what our faculty spend much of their time doing.


The next time you read a research article, first look for the research question. This is usually found in the abstract/executive summary. If the research question is about an area in which you do not work or have no interest, perhaps you should move on to the next article.


Next, browse the literature review. This is the author’s attempt to summarize what is already known about the problem. There is no sense spending time researching something when we already know the answer. How are the authors building upon the knowledge base or questioning something that is commonly believed to be a truth? Applying a theoretical or conceptual framework allows the research to take a short cut to the finish line. Frameworks have been repeatedly tested to show hypothesized relationships. Frameworks are essentially roadmaps to help researchers focus on a specific issue and make sure they account for the right intervening factors along the way. Without a framework, you can find whatever you want to find if you put in enough random variables. You might call this data fishing or data mining. If you fish long enough, you are bound to pull something out of the water!


Then, examine who the research subjects are. In other words, is this a study about college students, high net worth retirees, or a select group of single parents from the mid-west? Understanding who is in the sample will inform how generalizable the results are to the clients in which you work.


The statistics can seem like the daunting part of the study. However, if it is published in a peer-reviewed scholarly journal then rest assured it has been peer-reviewed by two or more other researchers. This makes it easier to trust the data and processes used. If you are so inclined, definitely read this section. Otherwise, skip ahead to the discussion where the statistical results are summarized into words.


Finally, how will the research change the way you think or work? If something in the article sparked your interest, but you want to know more, ask the authors! Their contact information is generally provided in the footnotes.


Most researchers genuinely want to know what questions need answers. Writing papers to write papers is not that much fun unless we think it will benefit the profession. Let us know when you have ideas for topics you think the field needs to understand better. Here at K-State we have dozens of doctoral students in need of completed dissertations. Guiding them with practical research ideas helps everyone!


Not sure where to look for research? In this issue of the PFP Newsletter, Dr. Linda Leitz connects research and practice by summarizing the implications of a study published by K-State PFP faculty members. (insert link to Linda’s article here). In addition, K-State PFP faculty often publish in the Journal of Financial Planning and the Journal of Financial Counseling and Planning (insert link), to name a few. The Journal of Financial Therapy (insert link) is edited and published at K-State and is free to access by anyone.



Personal Financial Planning Academic Studies Help Financial Planners

By Linda Leitz, Ph.D., CFP®, EA

Linda Leitz has her PhD in Personal Financial Planning from Kansas State University and co-owns the Peace of Mind Financial Planning in Colorado Springs, CO.


As a growing profession, personal financial planning practitioners have the opportunity to establish a mutually beneficial relationship with the academic programs that support the profession. This includes supporting and hiring graduates from the certificate, undergraduate, and Master’s levels programs in financial planning. It also includes connecting research and practice by giving ideas for potential exploration to the academic community and to be consumers of research by gathering and implementing information from that research.


One of many great examples of helpful research for practitioners comes from an article by Drs. Martin Seay and Stuart Heckman from Kansas State, along with Dr. Kyoung Tae Kim from the University of Alabama. This article, entitled “Exploring the Demand for Retirement Planning Advice: The Role of Financial Literacy” was published in 2016 in Financial Services Review.


Drs. Seay, Kim, and Heckman measured financial literacy through financial knowledge and confidence as well as the ability to put financial concepts into practice. Their research questions involved the relationship between financial literacy and whether consumers sought, initiated, and maintained relationships with financial planners, and suggested that there is a positive relationship. This article has excellent resources in the literature review to bolster the concepts around how financial literacy among consumers can help positive financial outcomes.


Any well done research article like this one allows practitioners to gather experience and expertise that wouldn’t be available in a single practice. For instance, the study in this article used a national data set that drew answers from over 12,000 consumers. Objective research like this can either change how planners approach client concerns or reinforce the approach the planners are taking by supporting their financial planning methods.


This study helps bridge a gap between research and practice. The findings from this study stimulate ideas for offering financial literacy services (i.e., educational offerings for consumers) and may give ideas about reaching prospective clients who are financial literate. Articles such as this one can be an excellent tool for practitioners and academics to support each other. To read the full length article, go to: XXX

Alumni Update: Julie Fletcher, ’06

An interview with Julie Fletcher, B.S. in personal financial planning

Tell us about yourself.  

I grew up in Lenexa, Kansas and attended high school at Shawnee Mission Northwest. Two days after graduating from K-State in 2006, I moved to Denver with one folding chair and possibly a lamp. Eleven years later, I have more furniture and I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

I feel incredibly blessed to spend my weeks visiting with clients one-on-one and helping them navigate all areas of their financial lives.

What is your background?

After graduating from K-State in 2006, I spent a few years working at a branch of a large global wirehouse. During this time, I obtained the Series 7, Series 66, and Life/Health Insurance licenses. In addition, I sat for the CFP® certification exam while fulfilling the work experience requirement. I found that the greatest benefit of taking the exam at age 24 was that I was still used to my college days of spending evenings and weekends studying. This would not be the case today.

My time with this wirehouse during the latter half of 2008 was incredibly eye-opening and instigated a shift to spending my future with small firms. Therefore, I enjoyed 2009 to 2013 with a small fee-based firm where I transitioned from a paraplanner to an advisor role.

What do you do now?

In 2013, I decided that working with a fee-only firm was the best fit for my career path, which led me to an RIA, Sharkey, Howes & Javer. By structuring the firm as fee-only, we have the freedom to truly act in the best interest of our clients. There is no such thing as “sales” in this office, which leaves our clients with a peace of mind.

When you were choosing programs, why did you choose K-State PFP?

During the time that I was in college, my mother was working for a financial planning firm in Overland Park, Kansas and she met recent graduates from the (brand new!) K-State PFP program. She was very impressed with the program and introduced me to Dr. John Grable, a K-State PFP faculty member at the time. I switched my major to PFP just after my freshman year because I felt like it was the perfect blend of using my analytical skills with the desire to help people one-on-one.

 How has your education in PFP enhanced your current career path? 

When I graduated from the K-State PFP program in 2006, the degree was very new and rather surprising for future employers. I have found that the education set me up perfectly to pursue the CFP® certification and created a solid foundation to build my career upon. The CFP® certification has opened every door that I’ve needed in my career path.

What recommendations would you make for future financial planners? 

A great way to learn about the industry is to conduct as many “informational interviews” as possible. Visit with various financial planners and ask them all about their practice and experiences. Beware of “financial planners” who want to hire you to sell unnecessary financial products to people you know. Unfortunately, these jobs still exist, so run far away from these traps.

What kinds of awards have you received?

It’s been awhile since I’ve received any kind of formal award! Instead, my greatest award is receiving a semi-monthly paycheck for doing what I love. And possibly a few karaoke awards along the way.

What kinds of things do you do in your community? 

I spent the majority of my 20’s volunteering at several non-profits around Denver, such as Project Angel Heart, Sunrise Senior Living, the Junior League of Denver, and Upstream Impact. In addition, I served on the board of the Women’s Estate Planning Council and committees of the FPA of Colorado. In my 30’s, I am making a conscious effort to slow down and enjoy a bit more downtime.

What are your hobbies/interests? What do you do for fun?

I spend a large portion of my free time with friends and family, whether it’s trying a new restaurant, celebrating a birthday or the birth of a baby, bringing meals to new parents, going for walks, visiting a new home, or simply sharing a bottle of wine. In the summer, I want to spend every second outdoors hiking, golfing, BBQ’ing, and visiting all the beautiful towns in Colorado. In the winter, you will find me skiing in the mountains.

Alumni Update: Julie Cumbie, ’12

An interview with Julie Cumbie, Ph.D. in personal financial planning

Tell us about yourself.  

I grew up in the small Oklahoma town of El Reno, and I have lived in Edmond, Oklahoma, a suburb of Oklahoma City, for the last 33 years.

What is your background?

I graduated from Central State University (now the University of Central Oklahoma) in 1982 with a BBA in Finance, and in 1983, with a MBA.  After graduation, I entered the banking industry. First, I worked for First National Bank of Norman as a Consumer Loan Officer. A year later, I joined MidFirst Bank as a Branch Manager. After managing two different branches, I became the Assistant Vice President in charge of Wholesale Funds Acquisition.

At the birth of my first child, I became a stay-at-home mom. A few years after the birth of my second child, I began adjunct teaching in the Finance Department at the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO), which soon developed into a full time Instructor position. Once both of my daughters entered college, I began fulfilling my desire to complete a Ph.D. in Personal Financial Planning at KSU. I graduated from KSU in 2012.

What do you do now?

 After acquiring my Ph.D. I was promoted to Assistant Professor of Finance at UCO.  Soon thereafter, I received tenure and I am now an Associate Professor.  I teach courses in Business Finance, Financial Institutions, Personal Finance, and Case Studies in Financial Planning.

Over the past few years, I have been developing the curriculum for the CFP Board-Registered Program education requirements. We received approval from the CFP Board at the beginning of this year. I serve as the coordinator of our CFP program.

When you were choosing programs, why did you choose K-State PFP?

 First, for flexibility, and the fact that KSU offered a program taught by true academics. Because of my employment, I needed an online program. KSU’s PFP Ph.D. program was a perfect fit. In fact, I waited a few years for them to develop their Ph.D program. As soon as it was offered and with my husband’s strong encouragement, I applied and was accepted into the first cohort. I made life-long friends in the cohort and with several of the professors. I will always be thankful for the Ph.D. experience at KSU.

 How has your education in PFP enhanced your current career path? 

 As mentioned before, completing my Ph.D. in PFP made me eligible for promotion and tenure at my university.

What recommendations would you make for future financial planners? 

 Financial Planning is an exciting, dynamic career path and is very flexible in its application.  Investment advisors, insurance agents, trust department officers, accountants and attorneys can all benefit their clients with their planning knowledge, even if financial planning is not their primary function.

What kinds of awards have you received?

 In 2007, I was honored with the Vanderford Distinguished Teaching Award at the University of Central Oklahoma.

What kinds of things do you do in your community? 

 I currently mentor children in OKC at Positive Tomorrows, Oklahoma City’s only school for homeless children. I’ve also mentored inner-city children through Whiz Kids, an after school reading program. I believe that if you can have a positive influence on a child, you can possibly impact their future life.

What are your hobbies/interests? What do you do for fun?

 Being a new grandma, my favorite pastime is spending time with my two granddaughters. This can be a challenge at times since one lives in North Carolina and the other in New Jersey. I spend a lot of time in the sky! Also, my husband and I like to travel, and try to incorporate hiking into as many of our trips as possible.



Message from our program director

Kristy ArchuletaOn behalf of the Personal Financial Planning, PFP, faculty, I am pleased to share our spring newsletter.

An objective we have in the PFP program is to provide our students with professional development experiences. Exposing students to various aspects of financial planning, financial counseling and financial therapy helps raise students’ awareness of many career opportunities that exist with a Personal Financial Planning degree. We offer unique experiences that expand students’ knowledge and understanding of the financial services industry. We have highlighted a few of these professional development experiences in this newsletter, and I would like to mention a few below.

  • AFCPE team Dominic Crook, Allison Becker, Scott McGeheeIn November, our undergraduate team of Allison Becker, Scott McGehee and Dominic Crook, competed and placed 3rd in the Association of Financial Counseling and Planning Education’s (AFCPE) Knowledge Bowl. Their essay submission earned them a seat at this challenge where they were one of five teams selected to compete in the Jeopardy-like game.


  • In February, Ann Coulson took undergraduates Emily Stec and Nolan Keim to TD Ameritrade’s LINC 2017 conference in San Diego, CA.






  • Nolan, Lindsey, and Stephen presenting at CFP Board Program Directors ConferenceThe undergraduate Personal Financial Planning team of Lindsey Adams, Nolan Keim and Stephen Phillips that placed 3rd in the Financial Planning Association’s national competition in 2016 presented at the 2017 CFP Board Program Directors conference in February.


  • EJ Portfolio Challenge Dayton Schmalzried, Aubrianna Graham, Josh Harper, Courtney HoffmanThis spring, Edward Jones partnered with K-State in the first K-State Portfolio Challenge. George Belin worked with his Investments II course and local Edward Jones advisors. Dayton Schmalzried, Aubrianna Graham, Courtney Hoffman and Josh Harper and were members of the winning team.


We revised the the Bachelor of Science in Personal Financial Planning curriculum and now require students to complete an internship. Students can now choose a track in family financial planning, sales or entrepreneurship. Faculty have worked with College of Business colleagues, specifically the National Strategic Selling Institute and the Center for the Advancement of Entrepreneurship, to create these specialized academic opportunities.

In August, we will welcome a new cohort of doctoral students to campus. As part of the residency experience, we will host our third annual Practitioner Oriented Poster Forum. This event will take place on Thursday, August 3 at 6 p.m. We are looking for sponsors of travel awards for the winners – please email me if interested in sponsoring an award or attending.

We are also continuing our campaign for the PFP scholarship initiative. This initiative aids in recruiting new students, not currently at K-State, to the major and provides scholarships during their four years of education. If you are interested in this initiative or would like to support PFP, please reach out to me or Dana Hunter, our Kansas State University Foundation development professional.

We hope you enjoy reading about the alumni, programs and activities highlighted in this issue.

Best regards,

Kristy Archuleta, program director and associate professor

PS. Check out our teamstore to get your PFP gear!