The West Region board exists to connect NAPFA members, deepen relationships between academic programs and planning firms, expand diversity, equity, and inclusion, support local professional education, and connect members with resources made available by the national organization within the western U.S. We are a group of volunteers committed to moving fee-only financial planning forward by giving back to the profession.

Contact the West Region

West Region Local Groups

Financial Planning Students Competition

The NAPFA West Region Board is hosting its second annual financial planning competition designed to help you hone your financial planning skills and connect with experienced practitioners.

This financial planning competition will be a unique opportunity to showcase your skills, knowledge, and creativity. Teams of up to three members will be provided a case study and will submit their planning recommendations via a video recording. Our judges will evaluate the recorded presentation based on:

  • Demonstration of CFP Board’s eight principal knowledge domains
  • Mastery of advanced planning techniques
  • Creativity in identifying unique solutions
  • Presentation skills

Download the poster for the FP Planning Competition here!


The competition is open to all students within the NAPFA West Region who:

  • Are currently enrolled in a CFP Board-recognized program, including those pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees or a program certificate, or,
  • Are program graduates currently studying to sit for the CFP® exam

To maintain equality amongst participants, eligible students cannot have worked in the financial services industry for more than 12 months.


The West Region Board is pleased to offer an exciting prize:

For students, a cash award of $3,000 to be shared equally among the winning team’s members. The award may be used to cover:

  • CFP Board program expenses such as tuition and books and/or
  • CFP® exam registration and study materials

In addition to the prize, students will connect with highly experienced planners and mentors who may serve as a resource for advancing their careers in financial planning. For the winning team’s program, a cash award of $2,000 to support their academic outreach and initiatives.

Important Dates At-A-Glance

  • Now - November 10, 2023 - the application window is open! Click here for the application.
  • November 13, 2023 - Case study sent to all applicants
  • December 31, 2023 - Submissions are due
  • January 15, 2024 - Finalists are announced and connected with a mentor for 1:1 coaching to hone their submission
  • February 14, 2024 - Final submissions are due for judging
  • March 1, 2024 - Winners announced at our 2024 Spring Symposium

Structure and Detail

November 13, 2023 - Case study sent to all applicants

Once students receive the case study, they will have a month and a half to collaborate on putting together a comprehensive financial plan that addresses the unique circumstances of the case.

The case study will give you a data set about a client, including their personal and family information, family history, cash flow, insurance coverage, estate plan, investments, and goals. With this information, you will be asked to produce a clearly laid out comprehensive financial plan, including prioritization of goals and objectives, clearly stated recommendations and their impact on cash flow and net worth, and a delineated implementation plan to enable them to accomplish their primary financial aspirations.

If you’d like an example of a case study and supporting materials, click here to review the documents provided to our 2023 participants (2024 will be different, of course).

December 31, 2023 - Submissions are due

Students will submit their plan via video recording as if they were presenting their plan to a client. The presentation should be between 10-20 minutes. If you’re presenting with a team, make sure each team member gets a chance to participate in the presentation. They will also provide materials on supporting documents shared during the presentation. Students are not expected to submit a written version of that financial plan. We are encouraging students to focus on honing the presentation of the plan through video and supporting documents.

January 15, 2024 - Finalists are announced

After submissions come in, our judges will evaluate the recorded presentation based on:

  • Demonstration of CFP Board’s eight principal knowledge domains
  • Mastery of advanced planning techniques
  • Creativity in identifying unique solutions

After finalists are announced, they will be paired with a mentor for guidance on honing and refining their plans. They will receive two mentorship meetings, up to three hours each. One to strategize and refine their plan, and one to practice their presentation and receive feedback. Our mentors are experienced financial professionals with years of client-facing experience. With guidance from mentors, students will record their final presentation for submission.

February 15, 2024 - Final submissions are due for judging

After the final presentations are submitted, judges will reevaluate the plans for the final decision. The final grading rubric is based on that of CFP Board registered programs.

March 1, 2024 - Winners announced at the 2024 Spring Forum

The Spring Symposium is set to bring in ~50 financial professionals from across the West Region. The competition winners will be announced to this room full of influential individuals, and their presentation video will be shared.


  • How long does it take to put a case study together?
    • It varies from team to team, but we were intentional when choosing a window that is seven weeks long and spans two typical holiday breaks from your usual school workload. We’re hopeful that will give you and your team plenty of time.
  • How long should the presentation videos be?
    • Between 10-20 minutes.
  • Can schools have more than one team?
    • Yes! The more the merrier.
  • How many times can one person compete?
    • The competition aims to impact as many students as possible; therefore, a person may only compete once.
  • I am enrolled in a finance major at my university, but not a CFP-registered program.
    • Exceptions will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis; send us an email if this situation applies to you.
  • Can I compete with a mighty team of one?
    • Yes! Applicants can have teams of 1, 2, or 3 individuals.
  • Can you pair me with other students to form a team?
    • We’ll do our best. There’s a question on the application for you to indicate whether this is something you’re hoping for.
  • What if I lose a teammate throughout the process?
    • No problem, you can finish the competition yourself or find a new teammate or two to join you. If you’re unable to find a partner and want one, reach out, and we’ll see if we can pair you with another individual or group.

A Message from the West Region Board

We hope you will take advantage of this special opportunity to develop your financial planning acumen and connect with experienced planners. Or, if you know a student who may be interested in the competition, please share this opportunity with them. If you have any questions about the competition, please contact Brenna Baucum. Good luck!

West Region Local Groups

NAPFA members have a strong history of grassroots networking and collaboration. Local groups are great places to meet other Fee-Only advisors, attend valuable CE-eligible educational programming, and connect with your peers. Join a West Region Local Group below.


Join Online Community

Contact: Susan Chesney

Los Angeles

Join Online Community

Contact: Kenneth D. Gross

Los Angeles - South Bay

Join Online Community

Contact: Scott Leonard

New Mexico

Join Online Community

Contact: Michael Albillar


Join Online Community

Contact: Brian Pon

North Bay

Join Online Community

Contact: Heidi Tennant

Northern Colorado

Join Online Community

Contact: Arlen Olberding

Orange County

Join Online Community

Contact: Randa Hoffman

Oregon/SW WA

Join Online Community

Contact: Megan Buchanan and Andrea Vetter


Join Online Community

Contact: Craig Ritter

Salt Lake City

Join Online Community

Contact: Neil Mahoney

San Diego

Join Online Community

Contact: Heidi Tennant


Join Online Community

Contact: Irene Dabanian


Join Online Community

Contact: Denis Smirnov

West Region Board of Directors


Andy Mardock


Evan Loomis


Kaydee Cole


Daniel Yerger

Local Groups

Danielle Miura


Courtney Ranstrom

Academic Outreach

Brenna Baucum and Shalmali Kulkarni