California Riding Magazine • February, 2013

On Course For
Financial Independence
Joe and Katherine O'Leary's full training program develops clients' assets.

Horse training and financial planning have a critical common denominator: They are both tasks best left to those who have the time and the expertise to do them right.

Financial advisor Katherine O'Leary had this realization after a year of working with her rescued Thoroughbred, Sam. Even though she'd ridden most of her life, she realized that, on her own, she lacked the time needed to properly finish the rehabbed horse and that a good outcome required a professional's guidance. She put Sam into a full training program. "It was a huge weight off my shoulders knowing that Sam was always taken care of even when I couldn't get out there,"
she notes.

Katherine and her father, Joe O'Leary, offer the financial equivalent of full training to their clients at Crowell, Weedon & Co.'s La Jolla office. Joe is a partner in the Los Angeles-based firm that was established in 1932. Katherine joined him after earning a degree in financial services from San Diego State University last spring.

Constant vigilance in analyzing trends and monitoring daily market activity enables the father-daughter team to expertly tend their clients' monetary assets. It's a level of scrutiny that amateurs rarely have the time or inclination for.

Income generation is Katherine and Joe's focus and creating financial independence for clients is their goal. "We try to grow our clients' wealth and assets to the point where they will eventually replace a normal income," Joe explains. Their clientele ranges from the wealthy to those of modest means and there's an appropriate path for almost everybody on the spectrum. "At some point, most people want to retire and pursue what they are passionate about," Katherine notes.

A conversation starts the planning process. "We find out what you want to do, what your goals are, then look at where you are," Joe explains. "Then we put together a program to help get you there." How quickly clients reach their goals depends on many variables. "Some people are more worried about losing money than they are concerned with making money," Joe points out. "There is a range of investment returns. As a generality, they correlate to the amount of risk you are willing to take."

Adjusting On Course

"We are not aggressive speculators," Joe continues. "The vast majority of our clients want moderate risk and a decent return." Joe and Katherine are not partial to a particular type of investment. "One of the goals of our investment discipline is flexibility," Joe explains. "We want to be able to adapt when conditions change, just like you might change your riding when you get on a different horse. Some need a bit more leg, some need a little more hand, and you adjust your ride accordingly." Whether a market is going up or down is more important to Joe and Katherine than why. Whatever direction things are going, they concentrate on responding to that movement in their clients' best interests.

Joe expresses cautious optimism about today's economy, especially as compared to how things were in the earlier phases of the drastic downturn that began five years ago. Hard-to-predict ups and downs are the one constant in today's financial market, making it all the wiser to recruit a professional's help.

Katherine and Joe make a great team to advise fellow equestrian families. Joe proudly describes himself as an experienced "horse holder" from years of accompanying Katherine to Greater San Diego Hunter/Jumper Association shows, which he still does. And Katherine has first-hand experience with balancing a passion for horses and equestrian sport with the rest of life's challenges.

Thanks to the wisdom of putting her horse into a full training program, she and Sam are fulfilling their goals. With the help of trainer Kelly Covey of Foxlair West in Poway, Sam is working his way towards a long and successful career in the hunter and equitation rings. He and Katherine competed lightly last year and are ready for a more ambitious competition schedule this year.

She and Joe look forward to guiding their clients on similar paths to fulfilling their goals.

For more information, call Joe or Katherine O'Leary at 858-875-5000 or visit