Alicia Klein, CFPÒ, EA
Cambridge Financial Group
For Alicia Klein, financial planning has always been intertwined with her sense of identity. Her desire to be an advisor can be traced all the way back to her childhood. As kids Alicia and her three siblings used to set up and run a lemonade stand together. Once they divvied up the profits, they would walk down to the corner store to shop. “I was the only one who ever had any money left,” Alicia says. “Even then I wanted to help my siblings understand that you could get what you want and also save.” Not only did Alicia have an innate sense of how to manage money, she also has a strong family connection to the industry. Bert Whitehead, the founder of ACP, is her grandfather, and his sister, Alicia’s great-aunt, also founded her own fee-only planning firm in the 1980s. With these role models to look up to, Alicia began early to set the course for her future.
After moving from Michigan to Arizona, Alicia attended the University of Arizona as an undergraduate. Since UA had only a corporate finance major, she decided not to get a finance degree. With her intentions set on opening her own firm someday, she chose marketing as her major. Before she graduated, she interned with Bert and her great-aunt Pat, learning about the fee-only philosophy from the inside. In her last year of college, as she was looking for a job, Alicia connected with Penny Marchand, a founding member of ACP who was looking to add someone to her practice in Tucson.
Alicia started as an intern at Penny Marchand’s firm and then stepped into a full-time role after graduation. She began with administrative duties as well as client prep and follow-up. As her abilities and technical knowledge grew, she began to take on more responsibilities. After four years she was serving as the lead for clients with simple portfolios and after five years she was taking the lead for clients with more complex cases. Looking back, Alicia can’t quite believe how much of an effect Penny has had on her career. “She’s been an invaluable mentor. My professional growth would have been impossible without her support,” she says.
In 2018, Alicia became a partner and the firm has used her trajectory as a model for other employees. Currently the practice has four lead advisors. Though implementing the career track has included a fair amount of trial and error, Alicia and Penny have relied on the ACP community to provide the framework. “The ACP community has been so important, not only for advice on training new advisors but also for succession planning,” Alicia says.
By starting out in an ACP firm, Alicia had the chance to get engaged with the ACP community early on in her career. At her first couple of conferences, she worked the volunteer desk, which helped her find her footing within the organization. Though she stepped back for a couple years to build relationships and come into her own as an advisor, as soon as she had the time, she jumped backed in. Her main focus has been creating more space for second-generation advisors—people like her, who aren’t original founders but are part of a succession plan and excited to carry on the legacy of ACP. Alicia founded the G2 Committee in 2018 to bring together these second-generation advisors and help them feel more connected within the ACP community. Alicia also serves on the System Committee, where she helped revamp ACP firm best practices, and this January she joined the Board of Directors.
When she looks back over the course of her career thus far, Alicia is struck by how outsized ACP’s influence has been on her life. “ACP has been core to me in terms of both my professional life and my family legacy. Without ACP I never would have found my mentor, Penny, and I’m sure I wouldn’t be the person I am today,” she says.