Planning is a Process... Not a Product

Photo by Daniel Smyth

"Like anything, a plan is only as good as it is implemented,” says Kate Brown, CFP®, Vice President, Senior Wealth Planner at Fort Washington Private Client Group. “I don’t believe in planning with questionnaires because dreams are too big to fit in a box. At Fort Washington, our team guides the client’s experience and ultimately delivers individualized expertise.”

Brown differs from most wealth planners in that she takes an emotional approach with her clients. The investment world is typically left-brain oriented, but Brown appeals to the right hemisphere through visualization and counseling.

A first meeting with Brown doesn’t involve an overwhelming array of numbers. “Oftentimes our initial meeting is the first time our client and their spouse have talked about their dreams, hopes and goals,” says Brown. “The sign of a good meeting is when one partner turns to the other and says ‘I know I haven’t told you this before, but …’ and shares a new insight.”

Recently, a client wanted to discuss what her lifestyle might be like in retirement. Brown asked her to imagine the ideal future and describe what picture came to mind. “She immediately said she saw a large log cabin on a lake, with a big front porch and her grandchildren running through a sprawling lawn,” says Brown. “That image was one the client wanted for herself and her future grandchildren to experience.” These emotional and vivid images are Brown’s specialty. 

Transparency and trust are developed within the first meeting. After the client’s goals are established, Brown and her team at Fort Washington Private Client Group bring information to the table so that the client can make an educated decision. Together they prioritize what is most important. “Through prioritizing, I believe we have the opportunity to deliver great news and help clients achieve the experiences that are most important to them,” says Brown.

“We don’t impose our own feelings or opinions; we put the focus on the client and provide objective ideas and strategies that will lead them closer to their grand goal,” says Brown.

Strategies are important, but Brown emphasizes that planning is a process and not a product. She believes this makes her firm’s approach unique. “It’s truly an experience. One’s relationship with money can be complicated, and for us success is defined not by a benchmark but in helping clients live the one life they have in the best way they can. I look at planning as a partnership,” Brown says.

A wealth planner could grow a client’s money exponentially, but if the client’s life goals were never identified, then a huge opportunity has been missed. It is Brown’s role to strategize at a higher level to uncover a client’s intent and present new ideas.

Brown has been a wealth planner for more than 14 years and has lived in Cincinnati for six years. She works with families, executives, attorneys, doctors, business owners and a host of others in the community.

“I love working with people. Having the opportunity to share the emotional side of my clients’ legacies and explain how their wealth may affect the future is so important,” says Brown. “At Fort Washington, we share our expertise by translating life through money.”


Fort Washington Private Client Group is located at 303 Broadway, Suite 1200, Cincinnati, OH 45202. For more information, call 513.361.7600 or visit