John Einberger, CFP®, Mutual Advantage, LLC
Financial planner and avid cyclist John Einberger knows how to balance - and not just on a bicycle. John manages a dynamic balance between running a successful financial planning practice and indulging his passion for cycling.
In 1972, a few years after graduating from college, John settled in Boulder, Colorado, home of the University of Colorado, a mecca for fitness buffs and a center of entrepreneurial fervor.
John and like-minded friends found venture capital easy to get; and by the end of the 1980s John and two co-owners were beginning to sell off John’s fourth startup, a software company that the three had founded and which had grown into an enterprise employing 1,500 people.
Looking for a change, and no longer being fully involved in the software enterprise, John began working as a paraplanner for a fee- and commission-based planner, doing back office work, part time on an hourly basis. In 1996, with the software enterprise successfully sold off, John bought out the other planner for a modest sum and took over the practice, known as Mutual Advantage Inc., along with half a dozen clients. Running the practice alone, he quickly found himself both reinventing the wheel and looking for a better way to get paid for his work than fee plus commission.
In 1997 John met another Boulder financial planner (and ACP member), Stewart Farnell, who told him about the ACP approach to fee-only financial planning. To John, the ACP model seemed to provide both the tools he needed to stop reinventing the wheel and a roadmap for going fee-only. He joined ACP in 1999 (the same year in which he received his CFP® certification), attended the January 2000 ACP training class, and quickly began to incorporate the ACP System™ into his practice.
The firm’s target size is 30 clients, and while the actual number may be slightly above or below 30 at any given time, it never strays far from its target.
In order to combine financial planning work with cycling and other activities, John works 3½ days a week from September through May and then cuts back to 2½ days a week for the summer. This schedule works just fine for his clients - he tells them up front that he practices financial planning part-time. John has not encountered any pushback from his clients on this (probably because he has successfully managed their expectations). He regularly takes extended vACPtions of one to two months to engage in recreational expeditions. On some of these trips John has had another advisor on call in case of a client emergency, but no incidents have ever come up.
John is a generalist who enjoys working on the entire range of financial planning with his clients. He does not accept tax-only clients and prepares taxes only for ongoing, full-retainer clients.
New clients approach John as the result of referrals from existing clients, the NAPFA website, and their research on the web. John does not advertise and is not listed in the Yellow Pages.
In working with clients, John follows the ACP model closely in the areas of tax planning, tax preparation, retirement planning, estate planning, investing, insurance, record keeping, Quicken training, and cash flow projections. John knows the ACP System™ so well he has been one of the instructors for the ACP training class. John does most of the planning work himself. His part-time paraplanner does the data entry for tax preparation and back office research on individual stocks or annuities a client might own, insurance, Social Security, or Medicare.
Mutual Advantage, Inc. does not place trades for clients or take custody of client assets. This approach of giving advice only with clients placing their trades at retail works well for John’s clients, who are drawn from the hands-on, entrepreneurial culture of Boulder.
John’s goal is to maintain his practice in its current state, giving him the opportunity to practice professionally and still indulge his other interests. “Going along flat and level” is how this cyclist describes the road ahead for his practice.