Karen Altfest

Personal Finance, Retirement, Investing
“Karen C. Altfest, Ph.D., is a Principal Advisor at Altfest Personal Wealth Management, which manages more than $1.1 billion. She often hosts educational events for women, widows, and those planning for retirement.”

Altfest Personal Wealth Management

Job Title:

Principal Advisor


Karen Caplan Altfest, Ph.D., is a Principal Advisor and Executive Vice President of Client Relations. She helps many of the firm’s clients on a variety of investment and financial planning issues.

Karen is frequently a speaker on the subject of women and money and conducts educational seminars for recent widows and people looking to retire. She is often interviewed by the national media and wrote a monthly Financial Question and Answer column for All You magazine. Her Financially Savvy Woman™ programs, including the Women’s Financial $pa™, are popular with clients.

In 2017, Forbes named Karen Altfest to their list of "America's Top 200 Women Advisors." Investment News identified Karen as one of the "Top 20 Most Influential Women to Watch" in 2015, and Financial Times placed Karen on their list of "Top 100 Women Financial Advisors" in 2014. Previously, InvestmentNews recognized her with their Community Leadership Award, and Worth magazine named Karen one of the "Best Financial Advisers" in the United States. She has been named one of the "120 Best Financial Advisers" by Medical Economics, and selected as "Planner of the Month" and one of "100 Top Advisors" by Mutual Funds magazine. In 2013, Financial Planning magazine honored Karen in a cover story with the Lifetime Achievement Influencer Award, as an advisor who over the course of her career, has empowered women and pushed the financial planning industry to higher levels. Wealth Manager named Karen one of the "50 Distinguished Women in Wealth Management" in 2008 and 2009.

She is also listed in "Who’s Who of American Women" and in 2007 was awarded the Thornton Award by the Ph.D. Alumni Association of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York in recognition of her skills in combining the business world with that of academia. 

Karen’s most recent book, Keeping Clients for Life, was published by John Wiley & Sons in 2001. An earlier book, Lew Altfest Answers Almost All Your Questions About Money, which she co-wrote, was published by McGraw-Hill and was named one of the best financial planning books by Money magazine.

Karen received her Ph.D. in history from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She also holds M.A. and B.A. degrees from Hunter College, is a graduate of McGill University in Montreal, and holds the CFP® designation. She is a member of the Financial Women’s Association and is on the board of directors of Temple Shaaray Tefila in Manhattan. Karen is co-chair of the Alumni Professional Development Task Force of the Graduate Center of CUNY, serves on the CUNY Graduate Center Foundation Board, sits on McGill’s Alumni Board of New York, and is a founder and former chair of the New York Common Pantry. She is also the president of her co-op Board.

Karen is a former President and Chairperson of the New York Chapter of the Financial Planning Association (FPA) and a former Chairperson of the Northeast Region of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA). She was the co-Director of the Financial Planning and Investments Program at The New School in New York City and the Coordinator of the Certified Financial Planner™ program, a professional program for financial planners, which she originated at Pace University in White Plains, New York.


PhD, The Graduate Center, City University of New York
MA, City University of New York-Hunter College
Bachelor of Education, McGill University

Assets Under Management:

$1.2 billion

Fee Structure:


CRD Number:


  • Womens Financial Salon with Beth Kobliner: Hosted by Altfest Personal Wealth Management
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