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Helping others inspired Preece to open fee-only financial firm

Austin Preece’s passion for financial planning was sparked during a college internship

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March 18, 2024

EAU CLAIRE – Austin Preece said he launched his financial planning firm with one goal in mind: To help people.

Located in Eau Claire, Preece Financial Planning, LLC opened in August 2023.

Austin – the founder, owner and lead planner at Preece – said his interest in financial planning was originally sparked through an internship he had at Primerica while in college.

He said he liked the way financial planning allowed him to help clients reach their goals.

The New Richmond native earned a bachelor’s degree in finance (with a minor in Spanish) from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

When he graduated, Austin said he took a position with CliftonLarsonAllen Wealth Advisors, LLC.

After four years with CliftonLarsonAllen, Austin said he decided it was time to branch out on his own – and had a specific plan of how he wanted to do things.

“I wanted to be a fee-only planner and provide more advice and opportunities for my clients rather than selling from a select group of products,” he said. “I started this firm out of a desire to help people improve their lives through financial planning.”

As a fee-only financial planner, Austin said clients pay for his time – this is instead of commissions or other payments from providers of financial and insurance products.

“There are fewer conflicts of interest being a fee-only planner,” he said. “The process becomes a lot more collaborative, and we can talk about what will benefit my client the most, not just what I am selling through a standard portfolio. I have the world of investments and insurance to work from.”

Austin said he looks at a client’s entire financial picture, what investments and insurance they own, along with how taxes come into play.

He said he can also help clients get started with their estate planning. 

“A driving factor for me is making sure I know what my clients want their life to look like, and I can develop a plan to get them there,” he said. “We go over if it’s feasible and what would need to be done to get them there where they want to be.”


Austin said the letters behind his name – CFP – means he is a certified financial planner, a designation he obtained by passing an exam and accumulating relevant working industry experience.

He said he has a variety of licenses – including Series 6, 7, 63 and 65, as well as a life insurance license in the State of Wisconsin.

The CFP Board, Austin said, also requires continued education to ensure financial planners stay up to date with developments in the financial planning space.

Austin said the letters EA also follow his name, which signifies he is an enrolled agent.

An EA designation, he said, focuses entirely on U.S. federal taxes.

Austin said every financial strategy has a tax consequence.

“It’s important to me the people I work with don’t pay any more tax than legally necessary,” he said.


Austin said he works with clients in a variety of financial lanes – including investments, taxes, one-time planning and ongoing planning.

He said he also works regularly with clients who are more than 10 years out from retirement – with many investing in real estate.

Real estate investors, Austin said, have a unique perspective because it is an investment requiring some work.

“You just don’t sit there and collect a rent check every month,” he said. “There are other factors involved. You have building upkeep and involvement with your renters. There are also a lot of tax considerations around real estate. For example, if you sell a property, does it make sense to defer the taxes?”

Austin said he has grown his business primarily through word-of-mouth because there are few fee-only planners in the area.

“I post on social media and have a blog, but many people come to me because they’ve heard about me from others,” he said.

Austin said he also participates in educational sessions, when possible, and hosts a podcast through Eau Claire Hometown Media.

When it comes to the services he offers or the educational advice he provides, Austin said the first step for clients is figuring out what they want to accomplish.

“The biggest mistake people can make is not making a plan,” he said. “You need to have a plan in place so you can determine how to get there.”

At the end of the day, whether his clients are young professionals, retirees, entrepreneurs or real estate investors – his goal is still the same: “help people improve their lives through financial planning.” 

“When I meet with clients, we sometimes just discuss their goals and work on a plan on how to get there,” he said. “I want to make things accessible to people and help them, whether it’s choosing an investment vehicle or going over their benefits from work to choose the right package.”

More information on Preece Financial Planning, LLC can be found at

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