HER PATH: Kathleen Miller, Inspirational advisor, author and pioneer

HER PATH: Kathleen Miller, Inspirational advisor, author and pioneer

A Tribute to My friend, Kathleen Frost Miller, MBA, CFP®, CDFA

by Judith A. McGee, L.H.D., CFP®, ChFC


Have you ever had a friend who was a part of almost every important event in your life?  Someone you loved and respected and who never wavered from being your support and confidant? Someone with whom you wanted to share every significant personal event and key professional decisions?  A person you would reach out to when things got difficult knowing she was the person you could trust for honest advice and genuine support. For me, that friend is Kathleen Miller.

Kathleen and I met in 1982 in a Series 24 (FINRA), Principal’s course taught by Ms. Roma Sinn, a vivacious red-headed bar owner who had a very unusual teaching style. Kathleen and I have often looked back on that time and chuckled, visualizing Roma sketching skinny men and fat men to illustrate options. That was over 42 years ago.  Before long, our daughters, Nicole and Linette became fast friends. They had much in common, living and working with their entrepreneurial mothers.

Over the years, I watched Kathleen raise an energetic young daughter who would grow up to become an outstanding financial planner and mother herself. Together, Kathleen and Nicole built a successful firm in Kirkland, Washington. The bond between this mother and daughter is one of a kind, unconditional love, and support in life and in business.

A true pioneer, Kathleen Miller is one of the most admired financial planning experts on divorce financial advising and mediation, encouraging other professionals to adopt her philosophy to help couples avoid the courts. Her work in partnership with CPAs, attorneys, counselors and even judges helped create a new process to reach a divorce settlement through mediation, arbitration, litigation, or collaborative law. She has served as an expert in the courts providing testimony for those few cases that ended up in trial. Based on her personal experience and innovation, Kathleen authored a book to help women going through the painful process of divorce, Fair Share Divorce for Women. The book continues to be used by financial planners as a resource for their clients, helping to eliminate much of the confusion about the divorce process. It is by far the best book on the subject I have ever found.

Kathleen believes in giving back, drawing from her expertise, and has generously helped many women over the years.  I know Kathleen’s capabilities and her heart for making a difference in the lives of women. When I asked her to join the Women’s Leadership Alliance (WLA), I knew that she would be invaluable as a resource for our members and a guiding light for the organization. I look forward to continuing to work alongside Kathleen at the WLA where we serve together to help attract, engage, and develop promising women advisors.


Learn more about Kathleen’s Trailblazing Path

 by Kathleen Miller


The person I am today is the result of taking the best from what I learned growing up and using my qualities to achieve what I wanted in life. All of which was enabled by mentors.

I grew up on a dairy farm in the mid-west, where daily chores were distributed among everyone in the family regardless of gender. However, the same cannot be said for the way allowances were allotted. This was my first exposure to the double standard that still exists today when it comes to compensation. I worked alongside my four brothers and a younger sister but only the boys received an allowance. This infuriated me then and still does today. It did however, serve as a catalyst for me to become the first one in my family to attend college. I dreamed of being an English teacher and poet, and I attended the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop which has produced many well-known writers over the years. College was a turning point for me. For the first time in my life, I was defined not by my gender but rather by my thoughts and ideas.

In college I was encouraged to pursue my dreams by several mentors. After graduating I achieved my goal of becoming an English and creative writing teacher. I moved to Montana to work, met and married my husband, and then traveled to Europe to teach at the International School of Brussels. Upon our return to the U.S. we moved to Seattle and, unfortunately, it was in the midst of a teachers strike. I began temp accounting work for entrepreneur and financier, Paul Schuler. Paul saw in me the business acumen I never realized. He taught me to trust my instincts and to always be willing to take a calculated risk. He encouraged me to further my education and I earned my MBA. Paul’s untimely death, 3 years later created the next life shift for me. I was co-executrix of his estate and through that process met many attorneys, accountants, investors, and financial professionals. I realized I liked being in the midst of it all, coordinating, coaching and problem solving. There were only a few women in financial advising in the mid-eighties and it became the incentive to make financial planning my next adventure. Shortly after becoming a CFP, I opened my own consulting business. A calculated risk.

Over the span of my career, I have been fortunate to have cultivated long term investment and financial planning clients. I was a pioneer in developing a niche in divorce planning and wrote 2 books on the subject, The Fair Share Divorce for Women. I have benefited from the wisdom and helping hand of several mentors in my life. And feel deeply that the best way to expand the number and roles of women in the financial planning industry, is to foster the sense of community through mentoring programs like WLA. Succeeding in this business takes patience, time, and mentors to show you the way.

Stephanie Gularte
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