About Us

A Little History…

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

It always seemed to be about selling the next product to a client. After months of soul searching, we decided to strike out on our own in 2009 and form an independent fee-only practice.

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

We chose the name “Capstone” to reflect our firm’s focus on college planning (“capstone” refers to a student’s final course of subject mastery in a higher education setting). 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.

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 a leading authority on late-stage college funding. He frequently speaks to organizations and parent groups such as BMI Credit Union, Westerville City Schools, At the Core, CollegeWire, and I Know I Can, among others. He is also a highly regarded thought leader in the financial planning community. He is frequently asked to speak at industry conferences about his College Pre-Approval™ process providing continuing education for CPAs and CFPs™ through the FPA, XYPN, and OSCPA, and has been published in the Journal of Financial Planning.

Some fun facts about Joe:
  • 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 live music junkies.
  • He is a 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 have our entire team available to them, Ryan leads most of our new client relationships, helping design their financial plan, create custom investment strategies, and implement action items on their behalf.

Some fun facts about Joe:
  • 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 at the age of 12 – a three 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 a local funeral home as a teenager, and then later on the wait staff at The Refectory.
  • He married his college sweetheart, Abbey. They have two kids, Lucy and Graham, who keep them on their toes.

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