An interview with Kim Bridges, a 2004 master’s degree graduate.
- Where are you from? Where do you live now? What is your background? What do you do now? When you were choosing programs, why did you choose K-State PFP?
I grew up in Southern California and then New Orleans. At eighteen I left home to attend college and after one semester joined the marines. The next twenty years were spent moving between military assignments in Okinawa, Southern California, Utah and Virginia (first as a marine, then as the spouse of one) while raising four children. We landed in Kansas City for my husband’s final military assignment and decided to put down roots. I transferred 100 credit hours to K-State and completed my bachelor’s degree in human ecology. At the tail end of my undergraduate studies I took a personal finance class and was hooked. I knew I wanted to continue my studies in personal financial planning so I went right into the graduate program in PFP at K-State. After graduation (and my husband’s military retirement) I decided to pursue a PhD in personal financial planning and was fortunate to be admitted to the first cohort of doctoral students in PFP at Texas Tech University. After 3 ½ years in Lubbock I spent four years at a wealth management firm in Scottsdale before making my way back to Kansas City. I now work as a senior financial planner at Commerce Trust Company.
- How has your education in PFP enhanced your current career path?
My PFP education created my career path. I hate to think of what I might be doing had I never discovered the PFP program at K-State. I have never doubted that financial planning was the right fit for me. I’ve known it since the day that I took my first class.
- What recommendations would you make for future financial planners?
Get as much out of your education as you can. Don’t just go through the motions or study just enough to get by. Really embrace your coursework and try to learn as much as you can. You will be a better planner for it. Looking back, I wish I had taken more classes in investments and business. After graduation, work towards attaining the CFP® designation and maintain a habit of lifelong learning.
Try to get a position in a financial planning firm where you will be able to learn under more experienced planners. Don’t be too anxious to move up or move on. Learn as much as you can while you are fulfilling your CFP® requirements. Building financial plans is a great way to learn. An ideal position is one where you will build a lot of plans for a lot of different of clients. Own your work. Review everything for accuracy. Treat each plan as if you will be presenting it yourself. Before you know it you will be.
- What kinds of awards have you received?
None, but in the practitioner world we don’t really work for awards. (We get rewarded through bonuses.)
- What kinds of things do you do in your community?
I have been actively involved in the financial planning community for years as a volunteer leader in the Financial Planning Association. While in Phoenix I served as the president-elect, president and chair of the Greater Phoenix chapter. I have served for two years on the board of directors of the FPA of Kansas City, and was recently elected to the national FPA board of directors beginning in 2018. In addition to FPA service, I have consistently held volunteer assignments at my church, and have served local charities.
- What are your hobbies/interests? What do you do for fun?
I enjoy spending time with family and friends, reading, and playing golf. My favorite activity is lounging on a beach, so I try to get a week-long beach vacation in each year.