A commitment to doing what’s right, not what’s easy, featuring Kim Mondoñedo

Kim Mondoñedo

Financial advisor Kim Mondoñedo’s 20 years of active military duty taught her discipline that she still taps into every day

Every morning – whether she feels like it or not – Kim Lieutenant Colonel, US Army (Retired), CFP®, Mondoñedo gets on her floor to do what she calls her “Tama Two.”

“I promised my friend Tama I’d do two push-ups, two sit-ups, and a two-minute walk,” she says, pressing dumbbells over her head. “Once you get on your hands and knees on the floor, you do more than two – but you make a commitment and you do it.”

Mondoñedo knows a thing or two about discipline. The third-generation financial advisor joined the Army National Guard while she was still in high school and spent 20 years on active duty.

“I’ve jumped out of airplanes and rappelled out of helicopters. I was one of two women in an Eisenhower Fellowship at West Point, getting my master’s in leadership. We lived all over the world, and I had a great time. I loved it.”

When she retired from the military, Mondoñedo moved back to her home state of Maine and joined the family’s financial services firm, which started with her grandfather. “My mom was like, ‘Kim, I need a woman financial advisor to come in and join me.’” 

The transition wasn’t easy. “I felt like I was at a disadvantage,” she says. “You don’t speak the same lexicon going from one career to another, but I knew I had to assimilate quickly. I worked hard, got all my credentialing, and then got my CFP® certification.”

But she wasn’t finished learning. A few years ago, Mondoñedo earned her Doctor of Education in transformative leadership – one of her biggest accomplishments, along with retiring from the military as a lieutenant colonel.

It was one of her doctoral advisors who encouraged Mondoñedo to join the council of VFAN.

“I really lost touch with veterans after I got out of the service,” Mondoñedo says. “Getting involved with VFAN has made me realize how much I miss my veteran brothers and sisters. It’s very helpful, just sharing information about our business with a similar language – it feels safe talking to other veterans and knowing you’re not going to be judged.”

Discipline, honesty, candor, caring, commitment, compassion, resilience, and the willingness to work hard are what make veterans particularly wellsuited for a career in financial services, says Mondoñedo. “At West Point, they say ‘You choose the harder right than the easier wrong.’ It’s hard to tell people when they’ve lost money. Those are difficult conversations.

“But it’s a very interesting and fun career,” she continues. “You get to work with smart, kind and caring people, and you can coordinate your time around your family, vacation and things you’re passionate about.”

For Mondoñedo, those passions include doing volunteer advocacy for women’s financial literacy and promoting environmental sustainability.

“I can’t say I’m a complete tree-hugger,” she jokes, “but I’ve been places in the world where there’s been destruction and it made me reflect. If I can help to create awareness around that or in my own way mitigate it, then I want to do so.

“See this?” she says, holding up a mostly eaten pear. “I’m at my commercial building, eating a pear from my rewilded yard.”

Mondoñedo has replaced what was once a mowed-flat corporate lawn with fruit trees and wildflowers, along with a QR code passersby can scan to learn more about rewilding. “I do mow a tiny bit, so it looks polite,” she laughs. Although Mondoñedo doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon, she has recently brought her 29-year-old son, Max, into the firm. “Four generations now,” she says, “we’ve been very happy with Raymond James.

“We’ve chosen to stay with Raymond James, which we value for the conservative approach to investing, full client review and due diligence. They hold us to a high standard, which speaks to the military ethic.”

This piece was featured in Veteran Voice, an annual publication from the Veteran Financial Advisors Network. View the latest.

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Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, and CFP® (with plaque design) in the United States, which it authorizes use of by individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.

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