Karen C. Altfest,  CFP<sup>&reg;</sup> - Financial Advisor

Karen C. Altfest, CFP®


Principal Advisor

Altfest Personal Wealth Management

445 Park Ave, 6th Flr
New York, NY 10022
(212) 406-0850 CONNECT WITH Karen
  • linkedin link


Karen Altfest is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and member of the Financial Planning Association. Serving clients at Altfest Personal Wealth Management in New York, NY and the surrounding communities.

Financial Advisor Overview

Karen Caplan Altfest, Ph.D., CFP, is a Principal Advisor at Altfest Personal Wealth Management. She helps many of the firm’s clients on a variety of investment and financial planning issues.

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).

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. Her Financially Savvy Woman™ programs, including the Women’s Financial $pa™, are popular with clients.

In 2017, Forbes named Karen Altfest to their inaugural 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.

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.

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 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 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.

Recognition of Our Principals

    America’s Top Next-Generation Wealth Advisors
    Forbes – Andrew Altfest, 2017

    America’s Top 200 Women Advisors
    Forbes – Karen Altfest, 2017

    Top 1,200 Financial Advisors in the Country
    Barron’s – Lew Altfest, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017

    Top 100 Independent Financial Advisors in the Nation
    Barron’s – Lew Altfest, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

    New York SmartCEO Family Business Award
    SmartCEO - Karen Altfest, 2016

    Top 20 Most Influential Women to Watch
    InvestmentNews - Karen Altfest, 2015

    Top 100 Women Financial Advisors
    Financial Times – Karen Altfest, 2014

    Advisor Hall of Fame Inductee
    Research Magazine - Lew Altfest, 2014

    The Influencers - Lifetime Achievement Award
    Financial Planning magazine - Lew and Karen Altfest, 2013

    NAPFA's 30 Most Influential
    NAPFA (The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors)
    Lew Altfest, 2013

    InvestmentNews and Invest in Others Charitable Foundation Community Leadership Award - Karen Altfest, 2012

    Best Financial Advisors for Dentists
    Dental Practice Report – Lew Altfest, 2011, 2012, 2013

    150 Best Financial Advisors for Doctors
    Medical Economics – Lew Altfest, 1998-2013

    One of the “financial planning profession’s most respected veterans.”
    Money magazine – Lew Altfest, 2009

    The 50 Distinguished Women in Wealth Management
    "One of the most prominent female wealth managers in the business"
    Wealth Manager* magazine – Karen C. Altfest, 2008-2009

    Recognition for Altfest Personal Wealth ManagementSM

    300 Top Registered Investment Advisors in the Nation
    Financial Times, 2014, 2015, 2017

    Top 10 Rated Wealth Advisors in New York, NY
    AdvisoryHQ, 2016, 2017

    Leading Registered Investment Advisors in the US
    Financial Advisor magazine 2006-2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017

    Best Practices Award
    InvestmentNews, 2014

    Due Diligence/Research Manager All-Star Team Award
    Financial Advisor magazine 2012, 2013

    Top 150 Wealth Managers in the Nation
    AdvisorOne* magazine 2011, 2012

    Bloomberg's Top 300 Wealth Managers in the Country
    Bloomberg Wealth Manager* 2003-2008, 2010


Financial Advisor Experience

The Altfest Approach

At Altfest Personal Wealth Management, we want to help you meet your goals. We understand that each person’s lifestyle is unique and requires distinct consideration and planning. That’s why we provide services with a personal touch, whether it’s investing client money or providing advanced financial planning guidance. Clients benefit from our expertise, objectivity and genuine service, which have been a hallmark at our firm since 1983.

Objective Advice

Our fee-only approach is simple and straightforward: we work strictly for our clients and receive only your fees as compensation. We neither sell products nor accept commissions – whether for investments that we purchase for client accounts, or insurance that we recommend. We have a fiduciary responsibility to put our clients’ interests ahead of our own, and we embrace that. We have a genuine concern for our clients and are very sensitive to real or perceived conflicts of interest.

Investment Management Approach

We actively manage diversified, customized portfolios on our clients’ behalf. Having invested client money since 1983, we’ve lived through many economic cycles, and bull and bear markets, from the crash of ’87 to the roaring market of the 90’s.


TPM™ stands for Total Portfolio Management, a proprietary investment and financial planning tool that reflects the holistic approach we apply to our clients’ financial lives and the rigor of our analysis. It is an innovative advancement in the field of portfolio construction, grown out of our commitment to move the profession forward and our ties to academia. Rather than designing a portfolio in isolation, we use TPM™ to take into account all your assets and liabilities, including future earnings and spending requirements. We believe this method can help reduce risk and optimize investment returns for you.

Financial Planning

Our financial planning analyses, and in particular our retirement planning analyses, are highly sophisticated. Many members of the firm hold CFP® certificates – the leading designation in the field.

In addition to our depth of general planning knowledge, we have specialists in a number of targeted areas who can help answer your specific questions. We provide information in a straightforward manner and pride ourselves on our ability to listen, to understand your needs and then develop solutions that make financial sense in addition to providing personal comfort and satisfaction to you.

Financial Advisor Certifications

Securities Registrations or Exam Qualifications

Designations & Certifications


Broker-Dealer Affiliation


Financial Advisor's Specialties

Comprehensive Financial Planning, 401(k)/403(b)/IRAs, Asset Allocation, Estate Planning, Investment Management, Getting Divorced, Mutual Funds, Retirement, Stocks & Bonds, Sudden Wealth, Nontraditional Households, Women's Finances


Helpful Financial Planning Resources