Jeff McClarren, CFP®, EA, McClarren Financial Advisors
A State College, PA native, Jeff has not strayed far from the area over the years. After graduating from Pennsylvania State University (“If I toss a stone from my office, it would land on the PSU campus”), he began a career as an accountant and equity research analyst for a large institutional investment advisor. He discovered an interest in taxes, and started a tax business on the side. Doing so led to the realization that he enjoyed interacting with clients and hearing their stories much more than staring at a computer screen and crunching numbers all day, so he began investigating how to change his professional focus. The idea of financial planning came up, but Jeff was not interested in sales. He read an article by ACP founder Bert Whitehead and was intrigued by the fee-only approach. After mirroring Bert for a day at his office, Jeff was ready to make the change. He earned his CFP® designation, joined ACP (then ACA) in 1998, and founded McClarren Financial Advisors in 1999.
For the last 19 years, McClarren Financial Advisors has experienced steady and consistent growth. Jeff was a sole practitioner to start, then added part- and full-time positions as his firm grew. “I would say we added about 10 new clients per year, and did our best to keep them,” Jeff explains. “This allowed us to grow while maintaining a sense of family with our clients.”
When asked if his ACP membership contributed to his success, he responded: “If I had not met Bert and joined ACP, I would have failed fantastically. ACP provided the knowledge and tools I needed to learn how to run a business, manage client relationships, and price services for what they are worth. Only ACP tells you how to be truly profitable and create the kind of firm you want to create. Others can teach you the fundamentals, but they don’t teach you how to make a living in this profession. The ACP Success Program does.”
When asked what makes him stay in ACP, Jeff describes its members as his peer group. “I don’t want to be an island. I utilize the other members of ACP for feedback, advice and guidance. I can do without the tools now, but I cannot do without the support of the ACP community. ACP will provide the next generation of advisors with this same invaluable peer group where they can learn from like-minded professionals.”
Speaking of the next generation, Jeff’s firm has evolved to the point where he is planning for the years to come. He will transition his clients to other ACP advisors who will perpetuate the practice of comprehensive, fee-only financial advising. Proof, he says, that “ACP can create firms of enduring value.”