Mary Alpers, CFP®,EA, MBA, Alpers Financial Planning
Mary Alpers first learned about ACP as a client. After a bad experience with a commissioned broker, she sought out someone she could trust to help set the course for her family’s financial future. That someone was an ACP member. Little did Mary know that by meeting a financial planner she would change the course for her own professional life. After sitting down to work with Mary, the financial planner saw how much she could bring to the table and offered Mary a job on the spot.
Working under the ACP model with a mentor exposed Mary to a new world of financial planning. She knew there was something missing from the standard commission-based model, and ACP put the pieces together, including a high ethical standard. Mary was unsettled by the dynamics of commission-based sales, especially after her personal experience. With ACP and working with a fee-only retainer planner, she saw the ability to serve clients’ best interests, including tax planning.
With a master’s degree in finance, a background in productivity analytics in Silicon Valley, and as an Enrolled Agent with a tax practice, Mary had an ideal foundation to begin her career in financial planning. She learned quickly, watching her mentor connect with clients while helping them create robust plans to meet their financial goals. “That was the best training—to work next to someone who bought into the ACP model and was successful,” she says. Mary also had the chance to meet Bert Whitehead who encouraged her to stick with ACP.
In late 2004 Mary decided to start her own practice and joined ACP as a new member. She opened her firm from her home office in Colorado Springs in 2005 and obtained her CFP® in six months. Though she didn’t do much marketing, a steady flow of clients came from word of mouth and referrals. Her outgoing personality and ability to connect with people attracted a growing network. She also created and taught a series of financial planning seminars in community spaces such as women’s executive breakfasts and churches. Through these face-to-face connections, Mary found herself with a thriving business. She now has an outside office with two employees. She credits ACP with providing the framework to help her build the kind of practice she envisioned. “I’m proud of our level of service and our employee standards,” she says. “It’s allowed me to attract incredible clients.”
Over the years, ACP has provided Mary with not only the tools to run a successful practice, but a community to rely on for support. Because she began her career with a mentor from ACP, Mary understands the value of professional and personal connections, and is impressed with the people she meets through ACP. “The caliber is high,” she says. To help foster these relationships, she is part of a small study group within ACP along with five other advisors. They are known as the Falcons and meet monthly (twice annually in person) to share knowledge and offer support to one another. For Mary, this camaraderie is part of what makes ACP special.