PDS Planning Employee Spotlight – Rita Itsell

Managing Principal of PDS Planning, Rita Itsell took a nontraditional path through her educational and professional careers which have influenced how she approaches her work and relationship with her clients. 

Rita ultimately received her B.S. in Finance from Franklin University after nearly nine years of coursework – mostly at night – at a variety of institutions that she attended as she moved across the country with her husband before finally landing in Columbus. She actually began her career in agriculture, helping farmers with their cash grain marketing and personal finances. 

In her role as a Wealth Manager, Rita leans on this experience as she works with clients to help them address their personal financial goals through face-to-face meetings and ongoing client communications. Her experience, she says. “helps me value and communicate with folks in a variety of ways and to meet them where they are.”  

It is in her role as Managing Principal that she is responsible for overseeing the company finances, setting the short- and long-term strategic goals for the organization, and working with the staff to address the operations of the business. 

At PDS, we are proud to have a team of forward-thinking leaders and to count Rita among them. We recently had the opportunity to talk with Rita about her career with PDS, as well as about how she spends his time away from work. 


How do you think PDS is different from other financial planning firms?

We have always focused our energy wholly on the outcome for our clients rather than the amount of assets or fees they would be able to bring to the firm.  We have built so many long-term relationships focusing on caring rather than just revenue.  

I have always been a buyer of value, meaning I have to receive something directly in return for what I am giving up or paying. I always found it hard to align that thought process with any other fee structure than a flat-fee model which is what PDS has been offering our clients for the last 20 years.  


What do you see on the horizon for the financial planning industry?

I think our industry will see a transition in how the consumer approaches evaluating financial advisory services.  With the increased consumer education toward our industry, I believe the consumer is becoming more knowledgeable in how to value services and that the outdated commission or percentage of assets fee structure doesn’t translate to value in their personal financial growth. But rather having the support and knowledge that impacts the outcome of a more informed financial decision. 


Tell us about your family.

My husband and I are high school sweethearts getting ready to celebrate 35 years of companionship and 29 years of marriage and we still enjoy spending time with each other.  We live outside the city and have space that accommodates the members of our family – the four-legged ones. 


When you are not working, how do you like to spend your free time?

I am a creative person by nature so having a balance of right-brain and left-brain activities helps keep me centered and focused.  I always have a project going that allows me to separate from my day to day.  As a routine, I continue my long time obsession with health and fitness through gardening, exercise and regular reading on the subjects. 


Share your involvement with PDS Cares.

The giving nature of our charitable fund “PDS Cares” is something that we talked about starting long before the program was actually created. It aligns with the philosophy of PDS, giving back to the community. I like knowing that not only can we make contributions but that our staff can make charitable gifts through PDS Cares, as well.

Connect with Rita on linkedin

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