What do you enjoy most about wealth management?
Building relationships with clients and helping them achieve their financial, estate and philanthropic goals.
What’s the biggest challenge?
Ensuring there is communication between spouses, or between parents and the younger generations, in developing a financial plan wherein the family’s interests and values are aligned.
What do you love most about being part of Aspiriant?
Collaborating with a team of smart, talented people who aspire to help others.
What professional accomplishments are you most proud of?
Navigating a successful career in the financial industry that started at a time when very few women were in leadership roles.
What quality of yours makes you best suited to what you do?
Empathy. I look at things from my client’s perspective when evaluating possible courses of action.
How should people think about their wealth?
Wealth is about more than money. How it is used can have a powerful impact on what matters to you.
What do you love to do outside of work?
I grew up in New York performing in musical theater, so I love seeing shows, concerts and operas. I also enjoy painting and old Bob Ross videos.
What would you be doing if you weren’t working for Aspiriant?
Something creative, like party planning. I’ve helped my daughter plan her wedding. I think it would be fun to share in those joyful moments as part of my job. Who doesn’t love a party!
- Vice President with HearthStone
- Manager and Wealth Management Specialist with Merrill Lynch Trust Company
- Volunteer work with Corona Angels and Alzheimer’s San Diego
- Earned my law degree in 1993
Education and accreditations
- B.A. in Business, Math and Economics, Fordham University, College at Lincoln Center, graduated Magna Cum Laude
- J.D., U.C. Davis, King Hall School of Law
What was the most influential book you’ve read and why?
“Plain English for Lawyers,” written by my law professor, Richard C. Wydick. His book promotes a clear, plain writing style, which I believe is important for effective written communication in any industry.
Karen joined Aspiriant in 2021 via a merger with HearthStone Private Wealth Management and serves as a Director in Wealth Management. Karen has more than 13 years of experience in the financial services industry serving high net worth families, business owners and nonprofit organizations.
Prior to joining Aspiriant, Karen was a vice president at HearthStone, where she provided financial planning services and served on the firm’s Investment Committee. Karen also worked as a manager and wealth management specialist at Merrill Lynch Trust Company, where she assisted clients with retirement, estate and philanthropic planning.
Karen earned a law degree from King Hall School of Law at the University of California, Davis. She earned a B.A. in Economics, Math and Business from Fordham University, College at Lincoln Center, and graduated Magna Cum Laude. She became a Certified Financial PlannerTM in 2022. Karen has volunteered in fundraising for nonprofit organizations including Alzheimer’s San Diego and Corona Angels.
Karen and her husband, Kyle Cruse, live in 4S Ranch, where they raised three wonderful children, Dana, Haley and Kevin. Now empty nesters, they are looking forward to the next chapter.