It all started with our struggles at large national firms to find and provide good financial advice ––
especially in the area of college planning.

It always seemed to be about the next product sale to a client.

After months of soul searching, we decided to strike out on our own in 2009 by forming an independent fee-only practice.

We chose the name "Capstone" to reflect the new firm's focus on college planning ("capstone" refers to a student's final course of subject mastery in a higher education setting). And we included "Partners" in the name to signify our intent with client relationships –– that is, a real partnership built on trust and not just a one-time sales transaction.

Ever since day one, we have continued to adapt our service model to the changing needs of our primary client –– the college-bound family.

Our Founders


Joe Messinger, CFP®, ChFC®, CLU®

Co-founder & Director of College Planning

Professional Bio:

  • 16 years of financial services experience
  • B.S. from Penn State in 2000
  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) in 2014
  • Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC®) in 2011
  • Member of FPA (Financial Planning Association)
  • Columbus Business First "Forty Under 40" Class of 2013

Joe is leading authority on late-state college funding and frequently speaks to organizations and parent groups, such as the OSCPA, FPA, XY Planning Network, BMI Credit Union, Westerville City Schools, At The Core, and CollegeWise, among many others.

Some fun facts about Joe:

  • He was on the PSU football team for one season under Coach Paterno, but didn't see any game time.
  • Joe actually went to college to become a chef. He loved the craft, but hated the grueling hours.
  • His financial career was a total accident, spurred on by a friend's suggestion while in Atlanta.
  • When he's not in the office, Joe is most likely at "a show" with his fellow jam band junkies.
  • He is proud Victorian Village resident along with his dog, Bobby Weir.
  • He recently joined a bowling league.

Ryan Sheppard, ChFC®

Co-founder & Lead Relationship Manager

Professional Bio:

  • 13 years of client-facing experience
  • B.S. in Economics from Ohio State in 2003
  • Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC®) in 2013
  • Member of FPA (Financial Planning Association)
  • Proficient in eMoney® & MoneyGuidePro® planning platforms
  • Certified Loring Ward Advisor Network member.

While clients belong to the firm and not any individual advisor, Ryan leads almost all new relationships here Capstone, helping clients design their financial plan, create custom investment strategies, and implement action items on their behalf.

Some fun facts about Ryan:

  • He flipped his major from Biology to Economics after his first chemistry class at Ohio State.
  • Ryan is a total golf nerd and got his first hole-in-one a the age of 12 – a 3-iron from 131 yards.
  • He is a die hard Steelers fan and watches every playoff game with the exact same set of friends and family.
  • Ryan has some interesting work history, including at a local funeral home as a teenager, and then later on the wait staff at The Refectory.
  • He convinced his college sweetheart, Abbey, to marry him. They now had two kids, Lucy and Graham, who keep them on their toes.

Check out our client services: