A Financial Fairy Godmother

KATHLEEN GRACE, BBA ’89
MANAGING DIRECTOR, UNITED CAPITAL ADVISORS, BOCA RATON

BY DOREEN HEMLOCK

Romance and finance are two words that usually don’t go together, but financial planner Kathleen Grace thinks they should. She’s seen too many women fall in love and put off talks on money, only to find themselves in a hole later when their once-ideal mate drains their bank account or moves on.

A longtime fan of romance novels, Grace opted to write one herself to address the problem: “Prince Not So Charming: Cinderella’s Guide to Financial Independence.” The book has ranked as a best-seller in the U.S., U.K. and Australia in some Kindle business categories, with thousands of copies sold worldwide. Grace writes with compassion, for she too has been “overcome with euphoria in a relationship, and you can easily lose good judgment on your finances.” She started the novel after a divorce, aiming to reach generations of women like herself raised on fairy tales.

“Based on the title, some people may think it’s a ‘prince’-bashing book, but it’s not at all. My point is there is a happily ever after. You really don’t need anyone else to succeed,” she says. “You can become financially independent all on your own.” Crafted with romance novelist Donna Peerce, the book tells the story of Cinderella Patterson – Cindi – a divorced mom and fashion designer living in South Florida. Cindi meets an enchanting lawyer who regales her with meals at fine restaurants and lavish vacations, but after they marry, he turns out to be a fraud. There were warning signs, but Cindi overlooked them and never squarely addressed finances. 

And why don’t women – even smart, successful ones – talk financial priorities with their new mates? “Because it’s an uncomfortable, awkward and unromantic subject,” Grace says. “And historically, women have been programmed to take a back seat when it comes to finances.” Grace is the daughter of an optionstrader dad. She studied accounting and then finance at the School and became a certified financial planner and a certified investment management analyst. She started her own advisory firm, which she sold to United Capital Financial Advisers, where she now is a managing director. She’s back at the School these days too, studying for the certified public accountant (CPA) exam. 

Spurred by success with the book, Grace is looking for other ways to empower women. She’s developing a pitch for a TV series about professional women “in the swipe-right dating world,” with episodes that will offer nuggets on finance. After all, she says: “Money is one of the leading causes of divorce.”

Back to top