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Kristen’s Story

Kristen’s Story

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Kristen Buchanan Headshot

Kristen's Story

Late in 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic was wreaking financial havoc on communities across the country, Kristen Buchanan, CFP® was looking for ways to help those who were struggling. Feeling grateful for her employment at her firm, which experienced little disruption and even some growth during those hard times, she found herself looking for a way to give back using her time and expertise as a financial advisor.

Through her search, she found Foundation for Financial Planning (FFP)’s volunteer platform, ProBonoPlannerMatch.Org, which launched that year to connect CFP® professionals who want to help with skills-based pro bono opportunities (virtual and in-person) at nonprofit organizations across the country. Since then, she has used ProBonoPlannerMatch.Org to connect with pro bono clients at numerous nonprofit organizations, most notably: Family Reach, helping patients and their families lessen the financial burden of a cancer diagnosis; Savvy Ladies, helping low-income women take control of their money; and Wings for Widows, helping widows and widowers navigate the trauma of loss to regain financial stability for themselves and their families.

“Wings for Widows has been my favorite volunteer experience,” she says. “In addition to having a huge impact on pro bono clients, they have a team of staff available to support the volunteers and always looking for ways to make the program better.” Kristen’s most memorable Wings for Widows client was a woman who was forced to take control of her family’s financial situation when her husband, the primary earner, passed away, also leaving behind their 8-year-old daughter. “It was important to educate my client about her financial picture so she could pass that on to her daughter,” Kristen said. “The 8-year-old is going to have learning moments with her mom that would never occur if I did not have that connection with her.”

After studying Education in college and teaching middle school for a year, Kristen became disillusioned by issues within the school system. She pursued other career options in the financial services industry, obtaining her CFP® designation because she wanted to continue helping and educating others. She is especially passionate about serving younger professionals, who may not have wealth yet but who are driven, on a career trajectory, and who need to make smart decisions to strengthen their financial futures.

Through her work with pro bono clients, Kristen’s belief in financial planning has only been strengthened. “We need to educate people about money. We need to give them the knowledge and confidence to make good financial decisions, and we have to help them early on, not when it is more difficult to make changes to their situation.”

Published on May 28, 2024

“We need to give people the knowledge and confidence to make good financial decisions, and we have to help them early on, not when it is more difficult to make changes to their situation.”


Planner has helped clients to:

  • Understand their finances and create a trajectory for their financial success.
  • Navigate the financial unpredictability of traumatic life events, such as a cancer diagnosis or losing a spouse.