Though Britta Koepf was always drawn to finance and economics, she didn’t consider it as a possible career path. She was convinced early on that she would have to sell her soul to be successful in the world of finance, so she turned her attention to a profession that would allow her to directly help people—medicine. In college she studied biology and biomedical humanities with plans to go into medical care. However, during her senior year she realized she wanted something else. She tried working in a research lab, but that wasn’t quite the right fit either. After graduating, she decided to take some time to figure out what was next. She became a dog walker and began listening to podcasts while she worked.
Although Britta was interested in all sorts of topics, she found herself returning again and again to podcasts focused on personal finance. The stories she listened to pushed back against her preconceived notions that personal financial planning was just to make the wealthy wealthier. “It had never occurred to me that personal finance was a helping profession. But it is—it’s about providing comfort. You’re helping people achieve their goals and retire,” she says. When Britta realized she wanted to pursue financial planning as a career she began investigating from the consumer side.
Right away Britta was drawn to the fee-only model. “I wanted to do everything in my power to do this the right way,” she says. It wasn’t only the client-centered focus that made sense for her, she liked the guarantee that there would be no conflict of interest. “If you’re commission-based, even when you think you’re doing your best for your clients, your commission will be in the back of your mind. I didn’t want that for me or my clients,” she says. Plus, she liked the idea of not being tied to certain products; she would be able to offer the whole world of investment and insurance options.
Approaching the industry as a consumer, Britta realized swiftly that earning her CFP® would put her in the best position. Resources everywhere advised folks to find a planner with a CFP, and so she decided to enroll. As she was finishing up her coursework, she began to send letters to the fee-only planners in the Cleveland area. It was during this time she found the perfect job listing which advertised working with real people to help them retire. The listing was posted by ACP member Ken Robinson and during the interview he introduced Britta to ACP.
Joining an ACP firm meant Britta got to see the process in motion. Within the first six months of starting her job she went to the ACP conference and had the chance to connect with the community in person. “I got to know the people so that it wasn’t just names on message boards. I felt like I could reach out and ask questions,” she says. She attended the Success Program training, which provided a broader context and framework for the work she was doing day to day. After plotting her course from dog walking to financial planning, Britta was thrilled to be doing the work of helping regular people achieve their financial and life goals.
Becoming part of an existing firm has given Britta a unique take. She can view firm decisions from the perspective of an employee but also as a potential firm leader. This has helped shape her understanding of the mechanics of a successful practice. As an additional member in firm, Britta has gotten involved with the G2 Committee, which is focused on connecting and supporting the next generation of planners. “We want to make sure ACP is an organization that serves these G2 members after the founders retire,” she says. For Britta, the social aspect of the G2 community has been especially beneficial. “I’ve gotten to know people who have been through the buy-in process or are considering it,” she says. With in-person events at the conference and virtual get-togethers throughout the year, the G2 community is building a new brain trust within ACP. “It’s so amazing to have a community like this,” Britta says. “They’re my go-to people.”
For all you do for ACP, thank you, Britta!