ACP delivers excellence to empower you for success. Many advisors join ACP for the systems and tools, but they stay because of the thriving community of professionals created by the unique culture at ACP. Our members credit these rich resources as the building blocks of their success.
Whether you are starting your own practice or transitioning to a fee-only firm, we understand how to tailor our programs to cater to your goals and meet your specific needs. Several members shared their experiences with ACP and how they have found success with the support from the organization.
John Einberger, CFP®, Mutual Advantage, LLC
When John Einberger launched his financial planning practice in 1996, he was starting a business for a fifth time. Though this was his first venture into financial planning, John had spent 28 years growing companies in the tech industry—getting them big enough to sell or merge and then starting over with a new idea. After almost three decades, John was ready for a change of pace. Working in the tech industry was intense and high-stress. John wanted something new, something less pressurized and more personal. After spending six months considering his options, he decided financial planning would be the right path.
With a background in business and finance, John figured that being a financial advisor would tap into his knowledge and experience, but it would also allow him to cultivate personal relationships with clients. While working in the tech industry, John didn’t get to know his customers personally, and he didn’t get to see the impact of his work. Working directly with clients appealed to him—he would be able to truly make a difference in their lives.
Seven years before opening his own firm, John began his foray into financial planning by working in the back office of a financial planning firm. Though he was not working directly with clients, he was getting to know the ropes and finding his feet. This time proved essential; soon he felt confident enough to stake out on his own. Though it was new territory, John was relieved to be a team of one. Earlier in his career he had been managing 1,500 people, and now it was a nice shift to be responsible only for himself.
As he was building his own practice, John would occasionally receive advertising from planners who were trying to recruit clients. John saw these as opportunities. He would attend these seminars to get ideas about what clients were looking for and how to package his practice. At one of these seminars, John approached the presenter, who happened to be ACP member Stewart Farnell. When John explained that he was a fellow advisor, Stewart immediately encouraged him to look into ACP.
By the time John joined ACP he’d been operating his practice for four years and had accumulated a handful of clients. “ACP gave me a system that worked right from the get-go,” he says. After going through the Success Program, John realized that he’d spent the last few years basically trying to reinvent the wheel. When he returned from his week of training, he implemented what he’d learned with his existing clients. With referrals and connections through ACP and NAPFA, John soon found himself with 20 clients on the books. He realized he needed to be intentional about how he grew. He wanted to provide consistently excellent service to his clients, but he did not want to hire any more people. He decided that 30 would be his target. With 30 clients, he could be sure he was giving each the service they deserved, and he could maintain his solo practice.
Although the ACP tools have been essential for John, he also maintains his membership for the sense of community. “When you’re getting started you get enamored with the tools—you think that’s where the value is. But the tools are a means to and end. The community is what makes ACP what it is,” John says. Working as a solo practitioner, he appreciates being able to call on his fellow members for their expertise. “It’s like having 170 bright helpful people right down the hall,” he says.
In his nearly two decades with ACP, John has served on almost every committee as well as on the board of directors. He’s been involved with the Training Committee since 2002 and has served as chair since 2010. He’s proud of the way the training has been reshaped over the years. “I like watching it click for people. And I like seeing how it helps them build their practice,” he says. John is strong, steady voice in the community. With his encouragement, the board formed the System Committee to help define the ACP system and keep it updated as things change. John served as the System Committee chair for a few years and now acts as a committee member. When asked why he dedicates himself to volunteering with ACP, John says, “You get back more than you give. I can call any member, and I know they’ll interrupt their day to talk to me. That’s the payback—that connection.”