Financial planning for the long term can be an arduous task. It requires one to factor in a multitude of variables including, but not limited life expectancy, lifestyle, retirement, income, investment returns, gifting, and legacy considerations. Kim Bourne understood the complexities involved in creating a well-thought-out written financial plan and dared to build a business explicitly designing financial road maps tailored around her clients’ lifestyles at a time when white men dominated the financial advising industry.
As a life-long Brooklynite, Kim observed decades of change in Brooklyn neighborhoods. Some underwent divestment, while some parts enjoyed gentrification. As time went on, she got married and started a family. As a mom, her metrics for success were simple:
- She had to produce strong swimmers, not for just their own sake, but to save someone else’s life.
- She helped her children to become proficient writers so that they could advocate for themselves and others.
- And finally, she supported her children to become self-sufficient and lead honest and productive lives.
One day, Kim’s middle child, Monique, unintentionally threw a monkey wrench into her success plan. Six-year-old Monique implored her to become a Girl Scout troop leader. While Kim did not think she had enough hours to be an effective troop leader, Monique persisted and eventually talked Kim into taking on this new community responsibility. This experience made Kim realize it was not enough to be a great mom to her family; she also had an obligation to the other children.
Her epiphany inspired her to build a team of volunteer parents. Together, they encouraged their girls to learn skills like budgeting and becoming proficient in Excel, so they could plan and budget for their Girl Scout dues, costs for trips, and calculate their cookie profits. Kim also recruited parents and other professionals to teach skills needed to earn badges in health, architecture, and environmental sustainability. Interestingly, Kim successfully parlayed the skills she developed as a Girl Scout troop leader to her role as the Managing Director of Playfair Planning Services and later as a board member of the Girl Scout Council of Greater New York.
It was a wild stretch of Kim’s imagination that a black girl from an underserved Brooklyn neighborhood could become the ﬁnancial advisor to some of the ﬁnest families in America. People tend to trust people with whom they identify, and race is a crucial identiﬁer. Kim wondered if it was possible to attract aﬄuent families as clients before becoming aﬄuent herself! The odds of success certainly seemed like they were stacked very high and not in her favor. Nevertheless, she did what Girl Scouts do: think forward, collaborate, innovate. Kim focused on the WHY and ignored the many why nots!
Building a Wealth Management Team
Just as it takes a village to raise children, it takes a special team to build and preserve wealth for families and institutions. Kim had the foresight to design and successfully implement a remote work model years before COVID-19. A virtual work model allowed Kim to attract top talent with a boutique firm’s budget while expanding her reach to clients outside of New York City.
Supported by client-friendly cloud-based technology, Kim positioned her company to be agile and responsive to clients’ needs without sacrificing security protocols.
Kim’s ability to innovate and leverage technology has allowed Playfair to build relationships with extended family and plan with future generations with charitable giving in mind.
Kim and her team are proud of their ESG/SRI investment models designed to ensure that their individual and institutional clients’ investment options align with their most deeply-held values. With the help of sophisticated financial planning software and tools, Playfair can easily enable clients to collaborate with them and their financial plans in real-time.
At every opportunity, Kim brings greater simplicity and transparency to investment plans. She sees the benefits in having a financial advisor’s quantitative alpha measured against goals, outcomes, and family dynamics, not only indices and ﬁnancial benchmarks.
Creating Words to Live By
The authors of books have always been Kim’s role models, and Steve Jobs and Michelle Obama are two on her long list of favorites. Kim says, “Steve Jobs was the ﬁrst person I heard say that a good artist copies, but a great artist steals.
Perhaps he also stole this idea from someone. The idea is not to steal or be unethical but to honor and replicate excellence. When thinking about Playfair’s uniqueness and what we do diﬀerently from our competitors, it boils down to the words our team lives by, both personally and professionally.”
She adds, “The Girl Scout Promise begins with, ‘On my honor….’ While we did not steal the Girl Scout Promise, the Playfair team members recognize the importance of clearly articulating what we honor. Faith, family, friends, and prosperity are our highest mission. We work hard each day to replicate the ideals from the Ritz Carlton’s Credo, Motto, Employee Promise, Steps of Service, and Service Values. We invest in each team member’s enrollment in the Ritz Carlton’s Leadership Institute. We strive to meet a gold standard and help our individual and institutional clients curate wealth.”
“Additionally, reading Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming helped me internalize the universal truth that perspective is everything. Our energy will follow our focus, and this is what I impress on the rising advisor stars that I mentor,” concludes Kim.