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NAPFA Genesis in NAPFA’s History 

By Susan Weiner

This article is one in a series of articles on initiatives that have helped engage members more deeply in NAPFA. This month, we look at Genesis, NAPFA’s peer-to-peer networking group for advisors under 33, which was founded under the leadership of Dave Grant, CFP®. The NAPFA Advisor interviewed via email former NAPFA Genesis member Grant, as well as current members Jake Kuebler, CFP®, EA, and Alan Moore, CFP®, who joined shortly after the founding of Genesis.

When and why was your group founded (and what was your role in the founding)?

Grant: NAPFA Genesis was born out of the need for a young-member group within NAPFA. I was the secretary of the Financial Planning Association’s NexGen group. As that was a thriving group, I wondered why NAPFA didn’t have its own version.

In the fall of 2010, I contacted NAFPA to see if they would support me in getting the new group off the ground. I then started working with Ben Lewis, the marketing director at the time, to start fleshing out ideas, branding, organizational structure, etc. I then contacted NAPFA members who were around my age to see if they wanted to help me start this group and see what we could make it. We hashed out roles that we would take, what initiatives we would like to accomplish, and what the group was for. The age-33 cutoff was made to create a 10-year window from college graduation. Even by 33, connecting to fresh graduates is hard, so this seemed to be an appropriate age. Jake was one of the initial members, with Alan joining us six months after Genesis had launched. In terms of my role, I was the committee chair for the first 18 months as the group got started and then stepped back to let others take it to the next level.

Moore: I was not a founding member, but I joined just after. When we went to NAPFA conferences, there would be just a handful of advisors under 40 at the event. We realized that the conference content wasn’t geared toward topics younger advisors were looking for, so they weren’t incentivized to come. It was also fairly expensive, especially if your boss wouldn’t pay for it, so we needed to create paths for young advisors to attend.

Kuebler: Dave Grant led the start-up of Genesis. As Alan pointed out, we would attend the conference as one of a handful of “kids in a sea of gray hair” (paraphrasing Linda Leitz’s words from her time as NAPFA chair). Career paths from college to Fee-Only planner were essentially nonexistent at the time.

Dave stepped down when he launched his own firm, Finance for Teachers. At that point, Alan stepped up and was a driving force behind its growth. No surprise, given what he later did with XYPN. I always thought of myself as Alan’s consigliere, trying to keep the peace as Alan moved fast and stepped on toes. The better business analogy is probably me acting as the integrator to Alan’s visionary tendencies. When Alan stepped down to focus on his new firm, I took over and focused on building infrastructure so the committee could live on beyond the founding members.

What’s the group’s accomplishment that you’re proudest of?

Grant: The group’s best accomplishment is that it’s still around! It’s been 13 years since it was just a discussion between NAPFA leadership and myself. To see young members continue to gather together to learn from and support each other means that it has been needed for a long time.

Moore: NAPFA would have to provide the data, but I would guess the median age of a NAPFA member has dropped five to 10 years since the founding of NAPFA Genesis. I would give Genesis significant credit for this. It has helped secure NAPFA’s future by engaging with the next generation of advisors versus ultimately fading out with the aging member base that existed back then.

Kuebler: Looking back as I approach the gray hair stage of my career, I think the best accomplishment of Genesis is giving a voice to the next generation. Career paths, succession strategies, and even new business models have been evolving over the last 10-plus years. I think Genesis has raised awareness and made an impact on NAFPA and the profession.

How has NAPFA supported your group?

Grant: NAPFA has provided a lot of supportive resources for the group. We’ve leaned on them for guidance in how to run the group, what structure/format our budgets and meetings need to have, and how we can better serve the members. 

Moore: NAPFA was very hands-off in the early days, which is exactly what we needed in order to build a successful group. It’s easy for organizations to want to jump in and meddle, but the leadership recognized that the advisors in the trenches were best suited to meeting the needs of the younger members in NAPFA. That said, NAPFA was extremely supportive and gave us a lot of leeway to offer content, including multiple sessions at the national conferences; build an online community; and offer CFP® and conference scholarships, all with sponsorship funds that NAPFA did not control. Some of this has changed over the years, but it was a huge help in getting the group off the ground and running.

As NAPFA celebrates its 40th anniversary, what would you like to see NAPFA accomplish next?

Kuebler: Comprehensive, Fee-Only approaches are commodities. I believe the next shift is away from yesterday’s models of wealth management to models where planning is done to support life and well-being. Instead of maximizing resources, it will be using those resources better to maximize wellness and living out a life of purpose and values.

Moore: NAPFA is entering a new era with a new CEO and a new landscape in financial planning. I firmly believe NAPFA can be the leader in fiduciary-only advice versus staying focused on Fee-Only as a compensation structure. With NAPFA’s membership growing, NAPFA has an opportunity to lead the way in advocacy for fiduciary advisors and secure its future for the next generation.

Learn more about NAPFA Genesis on the Genesis webpage and in NAPFA Genesis Chair Drew Feutz’s column in the December 2022 NAPFA Advisor. You can also follow updates on the NAPFA Genesis Community Forum and request to be a member of Genesis’s Facebook community.


Susan Weiner, CFA, is the editor of the NAPFA Advisor. Send her your ideas for articles and authors for the magazine.