“I was teaching in high school and when somebody asked me a question about their money, I’d give them an answer. And then another person would ask and then another and it blossomed from there,” she said.
Soon, the English teacher was hosting informal financial seminars after school in the lunchroom. She loved encouraging people to take control of their finances and saw a genuine need to help people who had no idea how to plan for their retirement. So, she earned her licenses and began a formal shift into the financial world.
In 1981, Christina opened a financial advisory firm and, 40 years later, many of the teachers who attended those lunchroom sessions are still her clients, along with more than 800 other people from around the country.
“Christina is an energetic, gregarious person who enjoys engaging others,” said Bev Underwood, a former teacher and current client who used to attend those lunchroom sessions. “Whether teaching or financial planning, one needs to connect with people; the skills overlap.”
Bev and Christina used to carpool to the high school, along with two other teachers.
“In addition to being economical, the camaraderie and laughs made the journey fun for all,” Bev said. “Before leaving for school Christina would make breakfast (often pancakes) for (her kids) and leave them in that new kitchen appliance, the microwave. She wanted them to be well fed and ready to learn when they headed out to school.”
Today, all three of Christina’s adult children are licensed financial advisors working in the firm.
In both teaching and financial planning, Christina has enjoyed offering conventional wisdom in unconventional ways. She designed and taught “the Bible as literature” to high-risk public high school students and they loved the class. In fact, they often stop in to catch her up on their lives, and many have become clients as well in the ensuing years.
Education has remained Christina’s lifeblood. An avid reader and eager seminar attendee, she has always loved to learn and to share that knowledge with the world.
A founding member of the global Christian Planning network, Kingdom Advisors, Christina has continued to seamlessly meld her passions for faith and finance into a successful, broad-ranging business.
In 2008, Wealth Manager Magazine named her one of the top 50 most influential women in finance. Christina achieved her Certified Financial Planner designation in 1998, one of just a few women to do so back then. The industry’s needle has not moved far in the years that followed.
According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, only 23% of CFP® advisors today are women.
“Women don’t speak enough about money,” Christina said. “They don’t join in the conversations. They need to educate themselves. It’s the same old advice. Save 10% of your salary. Put it away and keep saving every single year. Don’t let somebody else do it for you. You do it. And learn as much as you can. Be interested in what’s happening. It’s up to you.”