Kevin Jacobs, CFP, EA
Step by Step Financial, LLC
Broken Arrow, OK
Kevin Jacobs remembers applying for college as his first foray into the financial world. After taking a year off between high school and college to serve in youth ministry, Kevin dove into the application process alone. As the first one in his family to attend college, he tackled the FAFSA paperwork, learning about tax returns and negotiating financial aid packages. Although he decided to major in theology and religious education, that initial introduction to the power of financial planning stuck with him.
After graduating and moving to Memphis to be closer to his parents, Kevin took a position in youth ministry. It wasn’t until he met his wife that the possibility of being a financial planner entered his consciousness. Kevin’s mother-in-law owned a standalone tax practice, and over the years, she introduced him to the idea of financial planning as a career. Kevin was pursuing his master’s degree in theology and religious studies at the time, but the seed was planted.
For Kevin, although the journey into financial planning took some time, the next step happened swiftly. With a few spare minutes one day he decided to research the CFPÒ. By the end of the day, he was enrolled in 50-week program, and he started classes that night. “I didn’t really know what CFPÒ meant at the time, but I knew I was interested in numbers and personal finance, and I knew I wanted to work directly with people,” he says. Kevin took a position at a local firm, which allowed him to get his feet wet and earn the licenses he needed. “Looking back with all I know now, it was really more of an insurance company with a financial planning label, but it allowed me to learn the ropes,” he says.
As their family grew, Kevin and his wife decided they wanted to move to Oklahoma to be closer to her family. Kevin began to form a plan of opening a financial planning business to work in conjunction with his mother-in-law’s tax practice. It was during this time of preparing to launch his practice that Kevin stumbled upon ACP. He picked up the book, So You Want to Be a Financial Planner by Nancy Langdon Jones, which included a blurb about ACP (at the time known as Cambridge Advisors). The more he learned about the organization, the more it aligned with how he wanted to run his practice. “I love the consultative approach; being able to dialogue and treat people with dignity meant so much to me. It also aligned with my experience and passion for ministry,” he says.
Kevin and his family moved in February of 2008. The weekend before leaving he was able to connect with a local ACP member and they talked about opening a practice and the state of the market. By the following Monday Kevin left his position at the financial planning practice and set off for Tulsa. Although the initial plan had been to work in conjunction with his mother-in-law, Kevin ultimately decided to venture out on his own. “It was a bit daunting at first—being in this new city and not knowing anyone,” he says. But soon he plugged into networking groups and built up his online presence. ACP was a huge part of creating the momentum he needed to be successful. “Having a system to lean on was essential. ACP gave me the simplified concepts and actionable steps I needed to get started,” he says.
Since then, Kevin has built a healthy practice made up mostly of family-focused clients who are interested in charitable giving. Finding this niche has allowed Kevin to thrive while working with a client base he connects with easily. All the while ACP has provided the support and community he needs. “It’s amazing to have all these brilliant planners to lean on and bounce ideas off of,” he says.
Currently, Kevin is on the ACP Board of Directors. He’s been active over the years, connecting with prospective members, speaking at the annual conference, and serving as chairman of the Marketing Committee. Kevin has been focused on helping ACP strengthen its online presence by launching new initiatives such as blogs, podcasts, and the partnership with Impact Communications. “I’m really proud to see the work we’re doing as ACP grows,” he says.