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Mindy Diamond on Freedom: From Musician to Mentor

Picture this: A 23-year-old with a college degree in music, earned while singing with the Cash Family, decides to leave the Nashville and country music scene behind to follow his life’s dream.

That means becoming a financial planner.

Sure, you might think that the story needs to be told in another way.

But for Katherine Forrester Schneewind, her life’s goal wasn’t just about becoming the next country music star. Instead, she was driven by a strong desire to help others become the stars in their lives – their financial lives – by empowering them with knowledge and advice so they can take control of their own destiny.

So in 1996 she joined Northwestern Mutual, and learned the ropes in “defensive planning,” as she describes it, estate planning and insurance as well as investing.

It was a recipe for success that resulted in a turnover of $500 million in assets under management over two decades, making Katherine one of Northwestern Mutual’s top advisors.

But, as is common with many self-motivated entrepreneurial types, she began to feel restricted by the firm’s “red tape” in serving customers and growing the business. After due diligence, Catherine and brother/partner Michael Forester decided that a move to another firm was felt too late. So in 2019, he launched the independent firm High Note Wealth in partnership with Dynasty Financial Partners and Schwab Advisor Services.

In this episode, Katherine shares her story with Louis Diamond, including:

  • His journey from Nashville to the world of financial planning—and how Northwestern Mutual provided the perfect foundation for him to enter the investing world.
  • The changes Katherine saw in the firm—and how a strong “sales” culture can be both positive and negative.
  • The choice to be independent – and why a hiring deal with a bigger firm didn’t seem like the right path for his business.
  • The one thing she misses the most in freedom – and what she is doing to recreate it in high note wealth.
  • The economic benefits she is seeing as an RIA – and how the business is now feeling the 5x increase in valuation.

It’s amazing how many top mentors we talk with, discussing key moments in their lives that color their destiny—sending them in a new direction with a level of drive and inspiration that feels unstoppable.

For Katherine, taking the leap ultimately came down to a sense of empowerment—that is, “earning the right to be independent” and owning her clients.

This is likely to rank as one of our most interesting conversations ever, so be sure to listen to it.

Download the transcript of this episode…

Hear more episodes of Mindy Diamond on Freedom, A Podcast for Financial Advisors Considering Change,

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