Welcome to!

Welcome to my new website and blog! Thank you for taking time to review my website, and for reading this initial welcome blog post.


For those of you that do not know me, my name is Derek R. Lawson and I am currently a doctoral student in Personal Financial Planning with an emphasis in Financial Therapy at Kansas State University where I also serve as a Graduate Research Assistant. Prior to pursuing a doctorate full-time, I was a financial planner in Kansas City, MO, where I earned my CFP® designation and received my Master’s Degree in Family Studies & Human Services with an emphasis in Personal Financial Planning from Kansas State University’s distance education program.

I am actively involved with the financial planning community and currently serve as Treasurer of the Financial Therapy Association, Secretary for the Financial Planning Association’s (FPA) NexGen group (planners age 36 and under), and Marketing Coordinator for the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors’ (NAPFA) Genesis group (planners under age 34). In addition, I have served on several committees and boards for other regional professional organizations, such as the FPA of Greater Kansas City chapter and the FPA 2015 Retreat Conference committee, and have acted as a social media consultant for financial planning firms. Currently, I am a research assistant for Michael Kitces.


Why the website and the blog?

The website is primarily a place for me to display my current research interests and projects, as well as a place to highlight my publications and presentations. There is a contact me and “schedule a meeting” page for media to reach out to me for comment on financial planning and financial therapy topics, and for those financial planners and current and future students to reach out to me, particularly if they are interested in graduate school for any reason. It is not meant to be a fancy website, merely a place for me to highlight to financial planners, academics, and media the work that I am doing. As a full-time graduate student, funding for a website is rather limited, but it is important to have a website nonetheless!

The blog will serve as a place for me to express my thoughts and feelings about pursuing a Ph.D. in financial planning. It is a wonderful, fulfilling, and important endeavor, but it can be lonely, stressful, and extremely difficult at times. More importantly, however, the main purpose of the blog is to dissect the financial planning research that is being done and provide practitioners with a summary of the research and key takeaways that they may be able to use with their clients. Why? Well, the goal is to help bridge that academic-practitioner gap. As someone who was a financial planner working with clients, I feel uniquely qualified given my interests and (albeit limited) experience in both the practitioner and academic sides of financial planning.

Again, thank you for taking time to read my brief welcome and introduction post!

If you have suggestions on research articles you want reviewed, blog posts about financial therapy or behavioral finance, or something else, please comment below or contact me. If you want to chat about my experiences as a Ph.D. student, about how to get more involved in the financial planning community as a young planner/student, or about anything else, please reach out to me by scheduling a meeting!

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