Kevin Christensen (09) has been organizing his life ever since he could remember. He remembers his mom keeping paper to-do lists all over the house. Now, in both his career and personal life, Christensen is a firm believer in the power of planning, even through the unpredictable.

“I’m a list maker,” Christensen said. “My wife and kids give me a hard time… I have 100–200 lists on my phone.

“I’ve carried that forward into my career — financial planning. Looking into the future, but then also a lot of checklists and workflows, and organization around keeping track of everything. I always look into the future more than dwell on the past. That’s just how I am — just keep moving forward.” 

Christensen works as an LPL Financial Planner and founder of Aligned Financial Planning. His family is originally from Southern California, but Christensen grew up in Northern California before moving to San Diego to attend PLNU in 2005. Now, he and his wife, Alyc (12), and their two kids live in North Park.

Kevin Christensen headshot

Although Christensen has found both personal and professional success from careful planning, he knows that as you look to the future, there are things in life you cannot control. Christensen started his company, Aligned Financial Planning, during April of 2020. With a baby on the way and the world starting to shake, his plans rapidly changed.

“COVID hit and the stock market fell 34%,” Christensen described. “There were days when the stock market was down 8-10% in one day.”

However, he kept moving forward and his company continued to grow. Fast forward to today, his business is still thriving. Yet the difficulties of navigating not being able to meet with clients, the unpredictability of the stock market, as well as the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, were all difficult to plan for. 

“I’m not really sure how I got through it,” Christensen said. “I suppose just taking it one day at a time”

As someone who plans their life out, having the unknown come knocking was a good way for Christensen to be reminded that the unplanned must be expected. As a financial planner, he guides his clients to be as prepared as possible for the time their lives do not unfold in line with the lists they originally planned their life to follow. 

“Our future is not guaranteed,” Christensen explains, “That really reinforces the importance of moderation…You can’t save every penny for [when you are] retired, because you may not have the health to enjoy it or you may not be around at that point.

“But on the flip side, you can’t live frivolously and spend all your money today and not [save] for your future self. So it’s really just a balancing act. How can you live life to the fullest today, while also setting yourself up for a good financial future?”

His method for planning this future while living life to the fullest today is to make sure his money aligns with his values. He explained that it is hard to narrow them down to your top 5, but it is important to consider before trying to create your next steps. The slogan of his company is Your money. Your values. Aligned

Christensen Family at Hotel Del Coronado

“My top values are faith, family, health, friendship, and philanthropy,” Christensen said.

Once you have your values, you can go to the next step.

“How much time do you devote to each of those values? And then, how much money do you spend advancing toward those values?” Christensen asks, “You look at your calendar and you look at your checkbook to make sure there’s alignment and if not, you either need to raise the bar of your time and money [toward this value], or maybe that’s not your most important value after all.”

If they are someone’s real values, why can it be so hard for people to match their values with their finances? Christensen explained that often it can simply be a lack of information. He has seen CEOs make incredible incomes, but spend their money on things that are not important to them. More and more, you have infinite things like travel, entertainment, housing and more that can distract you when you don’t have clear goals.

“There’s so many things. It’s easy to spend money, it’s difficult to save money.” Christensen said. “The most important thing is to integrate your values into your financial plan to create a life worth living.”

Additionally, Christensen cites focusing on uncontrollable financial markets as being an easy stumbling block for good planning. 

“Sometimes it’s focusing on things that we can’t control like the stock market, or politics, or inflation, or any of these things you can get wrapped up in.” Christensen said, “You hear on the news, people become ‘overnight’ millionaires from investing in Bitcoin. But that’s not a consistent, sustainable way to build wealth. So some people just get distracted by these shiny objects.”

Kevin Christensen PLNU graduation with Val and Millie

Christensen learned much of this wisdom during his time at PLNU. Through the Fermanian School of Business — in addition to shaping his values through lifelong friendships, internships, and connecting to his wife — Christensen found a new meaning to his value of philanthropy.  He explained that the tagline in his major was more than the bottom line. 

“You’re doing business to make a profit, of course, but it’s so much more than the bottom line.” Christensen said, “It’s how can you really make a difference in people’s lives and engage your clients and your employees… it’s not just the shareholders, it’s all of the stakeholders. So it’s your employees, your suppliers, your clients, and the community. In addition to, or sometimes above profit.”

Kevin Christensen and fellow business grads of 2009

This communal view of business gives an avenue to see his financial planning business as a way to give back to the community. Christensen referenced philanthropist and former PLNU professor Bob Goff’s approach to use his financial growth as a way to fuel his work in the community, as an inspiration. 

“I love my work, but it’s not just about how we can get the best rate of return in investments,” Christensen explained. “And it’s not just about making a profit. It’s what we do with that money and how we can help other people.”

“It’s how can you really make a difference in people’s lives and engage your clients and your employees”

He explained that volunteering was something he fondly remembered doing with his family while growing up. His family had inspired him to both plan, and give back, and so he is coming full circle now in San Diego. Christensen now works full time as a financial planner and has been involved with the non-profit, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, for over 12 years, currently serving on the board of directors. He has also been a part of a group called Advisors in Philanthropy. 

“[The group gathers] all different types of professional advisors,” Christensen says, “There’s a networking aspect, education aspect, and then how can we help our clients make better decisions around philanthropy and giving money to charity.” 

When it comes to aligning your finances and plans with your values, Christensen knows well the process can be unpredictable. You cannot predict the future, and yet time will not stop moving forward with or without a plan in place. Christensen encourages anyone who feels like they are behind to consider a quote.

“There is an old Chinese proverb that says, The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, but the second best time is today.” Christensen said, “We can’t go back in the past and change anything… but we can start today.” 

Kevin Christensen is a registered representative with, and securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a registered investment advisor. Member FINRA/SIPC.

Elizabeth Jordan (21) is a Concert Choir alumni who graduated summa cum laude with a degree in psychology from PLNU. While pursuing her degree, she added classes in writing and biology to research different ways of connection and communication. She is passionate about exploring philosophy and psychology through writing and writes stories to start conversations in the community.