Living the Dream - Northwestern Mutual

Living the Dream

Q&A with Wealth Management Advisor Katherine Forrester Schneewind

Katherine Forrester Schneewind thought she was going to be a professional singer. She studied music in college and after graduation began working as a music therapist at the University Good Samaritan Center nursing home in Minneapolis.

But life had other plans.

How did you get started in financial services?

I had always been curious about financial planning and as I was researching the topic, Northwestern Mutual’s name kept coming up as a company with a great reputation. I remembered that Gene Storms (Managing Partner at the time) was my parents’ life insurance agent. So one day I walked in the door of the local office where Gene worked and asked for a chance to educate myself and others – especially women – about financial planning. Twenty-one years later, here I am.

How has your career progressed over the years?

When I started out, it was a grind. I worked hard and it took time to see solid income coming in. To help learn the business, I paired up with a more experienced advisor. After putting in the sweat equity and establishing my name and business, I was able to reduce my hours so I could be the mom I wanted to be for my son.

Today, I’m CEO of Forrester Wealth Management. I am the visionary. I bring in new referrals and conduct client meetings to help our clients navigate their financial planning. I work Monday through Thursday and in the last five years, I have traveled 16 to 20 weeks out of the year for fun. Of course, that wouldn’t be possible without the support of my world-class team, including my business partner (who happens to be my brother).

  “For the right person, this is a dream-come-true opportunity.”

What’s the most rewarding thing about the work you do?

Never in a million years did I think I’d develop the kind of meaningful relationships that have come out of working with my team and our clients. It’s so exciting to help people take advantage of opportunities like buying a business, supporting a charity or creating a greater level of financial security for their family. It’s an unbelievable blessing.

 Does being a woman in financial services give you an advantage? 

I think women take a softer approach, which can make it easier for people to talk about money. I always say I marry the mathematics of financial planning with the emotions of financial planning. Also, many women business owners like to work with other women business owners, which is an advantage for me.

What advice would you give to women who might be considering a career in financial planning?

You have to have a strong will, a passion for learning and a desire to help people be their best financially. If you have those things, this may be a dream-come-true opportunity. It was definitely the right career for me. I don’t know anyone my age that has the freedom and flexibility that I have. I’m able to attend my son’s school events, I can join him for lunch or volunteer at his holiday party – all while having an incredibly satisfying career and making as much money as I do. So for the right person, it’s worth every ounce of effort that you have to put in at the beginning to get the space shuttle off the ground.