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Meet Trailblazer Karen Sarten

Today we’d like to introduce you to Karen Sarten.

Karen, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I gave up my dream of being a singer at a young age, following a painfully honest conversation with my mom. I come from an amazing and modest family; I can still hear the sound of my mom’s ten-key clicking away when she balanced her checkbook, nearly every week. I can also remember asking my parents why we couldn’t shop at Miller’s Outpost, having no real idea at the time that we were living paycheck to paycheck. It became clear in high school that, if I wanted to attend college, I would have to pay for it myself. I think that’s when I started thinking about my future and, for what seems like obvious reasons now, I was drawn toward helping people with money.

At one point, I was working two jobs while attending Cal State Fullerton, still, my intrigue of the curriculum is what I remember, not the stress of it all. I graduated with honors with a BA in Finance and landed a job with Fidelity Investments. My six years there were invaluable.

In 2011, I decided to further my career with Beacon Pointe and obtained my Certified Financial Planner(R) designation in 2014. Through Beacon Pointe, I have been given the opportunity to take financial literacy to the next level. I have had the honor of guest lecturing at the University of California, Irvine, I co-founded our Women’s Advisory Institute (WAI) where I sit as board director with a goal of inviting women to the financial table, was voted Top 40 Under 40 by InvestmentNews and, most recently, I co-authored my first book (with six other amazing women) – Your Dollars, Our Sense: A Fun and Simple Guide to Money Matters – which has become an international best-seller and has ranked #1 in six business/finance categories. All the while, I have been able to work intimately with my clients to help them navigate the complex financial decisions of life.

Has it been a smooth road?
Is life supposed to be smooth? I think it’s important to accept that life is unpredictable, at times hard and seemingly unfair. Although we can’t control everything, we can control our response to everything. An elderly client once offered the advice that “everything is neutral – events, independently, are neutral occurrences and they only become what we make of them”. I have never forgotten that.

My advice for young women is to focus on within. Strive to be the very best version of yourself – do what you love and dedicate your efforts to being great at it and trust that it will help you navigate all of the outside forces that you cannot control. Once, in a meeting, I was rudely interrupted and asked if I was wearing my glasses to look smarter or because I needed them. I set my glasses aside and responded with “you be the judge” then continued our meeting. Hone your skills and dare people to question your ability. After all, if someone is going to set a lower bar for you – for any reason at all – just imagine how far you will exceed it!

We’d love to hear more about Beacon Pointe Advisors & The Sense.
I’ll summarize and say that, on a daily basis, I field questions and offer guidance on any and everything related to money.

I am most proud of my/Beacon Pointe’s educational approach to finance. When it comes to something as personal and important as money, I want my clients to understand the advice that I’m giving and help them relate to it in a way many people do not. I don’t expect my clients to have my level of knowledge, but, when they need guidance, I want them to feel at ease in their decision that trust and understanding can provide. This goal is why, with every entry of our book, we asked ourselves, “how will readers relate to this concept and how can we not only help them understand but remember?”

What’s the most important piece of advice you could give to a young woman just starting her career?
Strive to be the very best version of yourself – do what you love and dedicate your efforts to being great at it and trust that it will help you navigate all of the outside forces that you cannot control.

Don’t underestimate the power of a mentor. Find people in your realm that you want to learn from and aspire to be like. Lean on them.


  • Your Dollars, Our Sense is available through Amazon for $19.99

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