If you want to learn who I am, you can read my "real story" or my business bio (kind of boring) below:
The Real Story
My resume in financial planning goes back longer than I care to think, approaching forty years now! I am, as they say, an elder stateswoman. However I have not yet taken up wearing hats a la Bella Abzug, although that day is assuredly coming. (And if you know who Bella is you have outed yourself as my contemporary). In the spring of 2013 I retired to pursue my interest in research, writing and speaking on the topic of personal legacy and to pursue my own philanthropy. I come by this naturally after years of work helping others plan for the things that matter most in life. Now I get to work on what matters most to me.
My passion for helping individuals and families sprang from my own life experience. I learned firsthand as a teenager - at the time of my father’s accidental death - that families (and particularly the women who may lead them) need to be prepared for any eventuality. That knowledge became the guiding star of my career.
I began my financial career as a CPA in 1979, ultimately becoming a partner with Moss Adams, one of the largest CPA firms in the United States. Throughout my work in public accounting I stayed focus on the needs of individuals and private businesses.
In 1995 I saw a growing need among my tax clients for better way to plan and invest their finances. They wanted a partner - an advocate if you will - with no conflicts of interest; someone who could provide strategic guidance about personal financial goals. Their need was reflected in the wider community. This made feasible a brand new approach to financial planning and a real business opportunity.
So I left Moss Adams to co-found Tyee Asset Strategies, one of the first fee-only planning firms in the Pacific Northwest. We offered a conflict free strategic approach that was rare at that time and remains difficult to find today. Tyee grew rapidly, exceeding 1 billion in assets under management by early 2000.
In 2001, the majority interest in Tyee was purchased by the Laird Norton Financial Group. The Laird Norton family, now in their seventh generation as business owners, focuses heavily on sustainability of their businesses and their family. so Tyee was a natural fit. In 2004 a merger created Laird Norton Tyee and I became it’s CEO. Today, as Laird Norton Wealth Management (LNWM), the company has over $4 billion in assets under advisement.
Throughout my career, I threw myself wholeheartedly into my work. I was luckier than many talented people in that my work got noticed. I was recognized six times by Worth magazine on its list of best financial advisors in United States. I am also the former chair of the American Institute of CPAs Personal Financial Planning division. Locally I was honored in 2006 as one of Puget Sound business Journal’s Women of Influence and have been named a Five Star Wealth Manager multiple times.
Rising to the role of CEO of the company I helped create was a dream come true for me. I loved my work, my clients, and my colleagues. Transition was the furthest thing from my mind – I mean, couldn’t this good thing go on forever? That is until I got a big dose of reality.
In 2007 I was diagnosed with breast cancer – and not just one tumor but two. Now there’s a wake-up call if there ever was one. Yet it was not until the experience of the breast cancer treatment – particularly the chemotherapy in 2008 – that my health finally got my attention. It was a crucible moment. Suddenly thoughts about my own legacy burst into high relief. If not now, when? And what? The wheels began to turn.
Now cancer free, I came to recognize that this was the right moment in my life to go back to doing what I loved the most: asking hard questions about the things in life that truly matter. I wanted to spend hands-on time exploring the fundamental instinct we all have to create a personal legacy. I knew I wanted to write and teach as well. So as I asked myself some of those hard questions, one fact became inescapable: the 24/7 nature of the CEO’s role was no longer a good fit. It was time to get serious about a succession plan.
After a nationwide search, a new president, Bob Moser, came to LNWM in the fall of 2008. We worked together side-by-side until I was ready to step back and hand over the CEO reins at the end of 2010. In 2012, with Bob's help and blessing, I completed writing Wealth Regeneration at Retirement. which was then published by Bloomberg Press. And in 2013 I completely retired.
Trust me, I am still busy, now working on many different things that are important to me. The difference now is I get to sleep in; spend more time with my husband, Michael; my dogs get longer walks and I can choose everyday where best to put my energies. I know that in a few years I will be helping cut the ribbon on an amazing new animal shelter. Retirement has given me the freedom and time to dig deeply into the larger issues we all face as we age – legacy, purpose, meaning and sustainability.
I aim to use it well.
Boring Business Bio
Kaycee W. Krysty
Graduated from Colorado College in 1973 – Bachelor of Arts in Humanities
Postgraduate work at University of Denver in 1976 and 1977 - Accounting
Financial Advisory Experience
In 1995 Kaycee left the practice of public accounting to co-found Tyee Asset Strategies, a financial planning firm catering to wealthy individuals. Under Kaycee's leadership as its president, Tyee grew rapidly to over $1 billion in assets. In 2001 the founders sold the majority interest in Tyee to Laird Norton Financial Group. In 2003 Laird Norton Wealth Management (LNWM) was formed, combining Laird Norton Trust Company and Tyee Asset Strategies. Kaycee became its first CEO. At the end of 2010, as part of a carefully planned succession strategy, she stepped down from the CEO role to become an ambassador for the company with the title of President Emerita. In March of 2013 she officially retired. Today the company has over $4 billion in assets under advisement, 90 employees and over 400 clients.
Public Accounting Experience
Kaycee's career in public accounting spanned almost 20 years - from 1977 to the founding of Tyee. Her early technical focus was on taxation of individuals, investments, trusts and estates. This led naturally to an interest in the emerging discipline of Personal Financial Planning (PFP). During this time (the mid-80s) she was a founding member and chairwoman of Washington Women in Tax. She was also a founding member and chair of the Washington State CPA Society’s Personal Financial Planning Committee. She attained her Certified Financial Planner designation during that time, becoming one of the first practicing CPAs in the state to be co-certified. Nationally she became chair of the American Institute of CPAs Personal Financial Planning Division, a membership group of over 7000 practicing CPAs. Her last position in public accounting was as a partner of Moss Adams, a regional accounting firm. While at Moss Adams she was responsible for oversight of PFP activities in multiple offices.
Kaycee has served on both for-profit and non-profit boards. Her for-profit director experience includes stints on the Laird Norton Wealth Management board and the Laird Norton Trust board from 2003 through 2010. She also served as a director for HomeStreet Bank from 2003 to 2007. While with HomeStreet, she served on both the main bank board and the board for the bank’s holding company.
Recently Kaycee was elected to the Board of Trustees of Russell investment Company where she serves on the investment committee.
Kaycee remains actively involved in community affairs. Over the years she has been a member of a number of nonprofit boards. The most recent are: the YWCA, Washington Women's Foundation and Seattle Humane Society. Today she serves as the chairman emeritus of the board of Seattle Humane Society.
Kaycee is a frequent writer and speaker on topics related to retirement, investments, estate planning, and personal legacy. In October, of 2012 Bloomberg published her most recent book, Wealth Regeneration at Retirement. The book was a collaboration with her successor at LNWM, Bob Moser, and looks at the unique issues faced by business leaders, CEOs and business founders as they consider retirement.
Kaycee has been widely recognized for her professional expertise and commitment to the community. Most notably she was included six times by Worth Magazine on its list of Best Financial Advisors in the United State. She has also been honored by Puget Sound Business Journal as a Woman of Influence.
Kaycee lives in Seattle with her husband Michael and two lively dogs.