About Hife

The Heartland Institute of Financial Education (HIFE) was officially granted a 501(c)(3) public charity designation on 11/7/2006. This process really began in 1997 when Alan Gappinger began considering a more effective method for bringing financial education to adults. It quickly became evident that most adults never received effective guidance about managing their finances and preparing for the future.

Supported by a Consortium of Colleges and Universities across the United States, HIFE began specializing in the offering of financial wellness education courses for companies and their employees. This quickly expanded to include organizations and entities of all types, shapes and sizes, including general classes for the public, as people everywhere realized the need for hands-on instruction and guidance.

Before long, it became obvious that Canadians were dealing with the same needs for financial education and guidance. HIFE expanded its services by selecting Canadian Instructors to help fulfill the mission in Canada. Soon, the Philippines was included and to date, the Institute has received requests from all over the world.

As this process continued to expand, it became obvious that the Institute needed to include high school students in the financial wellness process. Along with helping these students through understanding financial basics, HIFE now offers college planning and preparation services to students throughout the world.


The Institute provides a unique, dynamic learning opportunity in the critical area of financial education. Course instruction occurs in the workplace or in privately hosted group settings. This offers employees and/or association members convenient access to education that will give them a better understanding of financial fundamentals.

These days, we are besieged with ever-increasing responsibilities and demands on our time.  People work more hours than ever before and statistics tell us we are not taking adequate time to strategically organize and implement effective personal financial planning. The key to this type of planning begins with financial education – something most of us never received in school but we all desperately need.

The Heartland Institute of Financial Education was founded to provide this education.  Founder Alan Gappinger, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and long-time financial advisor, was well aware of this need for financial literacy education and recognized the unique role financial advisors could play in providing it.  He also realized the tremendous benefit there would be for individuals, businesses and other organizations to have access to this education through a national consortium of colleges and universities.

The Objective

The Institute’s objective is to ensure affordable, easily accessible financial education for people everywhere. While this concept has often been discussed in the media, in the classroom and in the boardroom, little has been done to bring it to reality. However, a new model has been developed which offers hope that this goal may be achieved.

The Concept

After many years spent in course development through the Community College of Aurora (Colorado) and Colorado State University, the Board of Governors of the Heartland Institute recognized that consumers would be well-served if the success of these financial programs was duplicated in colleges and universities across North America. The concept is simple:

  • Bring financial expertise and training on an educational, non-solicitous basis to employees at their work location for their convenience.
  • Provide knowledgeable, qualified instructors equipped with practical course material.
  • Require that an accredited college or university sponsor every course offered.

Board of Governors

As an independent certifying group, the CFEd® Governing Board oversees the development, professionalism and standard of practices for all CFE Certified Financial Educators®. The Board acts in the public interest by partnering with accredited schools to foster professional standards in financial planning education. It is a regulatory entity.

Click each photo for a biography of the member

Doug has been an entrepreneur for the past 45 years. Starting his own businesses has been as natural as it has been continuous for Doug, beginning in his college days and progressing through several different industries and skill sets. Having earned a BMEd, (piano) from the University of Colorado, Boulder, he performed professionally for several years (incl. Las Vegas, Capitol Records), taught at the Boulder High School and then opened a professional theatre (Boulder’s Dinner Theatre, 1977). As a developer, owner, manager, and Musical Director, he staged over 75 Broadway Musicals. After a three-year stint with major cruise lines across the world as Music Director, he returned and opened another 500-seat Performance/Events Restaurant (The Iron Horse Stage and Grill) in Lafayette, Colorado.

Changing gears and pursuing his love of teaching and interest in the financial field, he opened his current financial advisory/planning firm, McLemore Financial Eduvisors. This chapter brought him and the Heartland Institute together 10 years ago, as one of their adjunct instructors in the Elite Registry of HIFE. These Registry Instructors are authorized by colleges and universities across the U.S. to teach HIFE’s flagship course “The Journey to Financial Success” in business, organizations, and employee populations.

Doug’s considerable experience in the Non-Profit space in Colorado includes President of the Rotary Club of Denver and Board of Directors, Assistant Governor Area 1 Rotary District 5450, Chairman of the Colorado Ethics in Business Alliance, Vice-Chair of the University of Colorado, Boulder Vocal Advisory Board, a member of Community Resources, Inc., Chairman and member of the Harmony Project (Integrated Arts in Education), and member of Jumpstart Colorado (Financial Education Support).

McLemore looks forward to helping the Heartland Institute of Financial Education grow its mission of effective delivery of financial literacy across America, and now internationally.

He lives in Aurora, CO with his beloved wife Holly. They enjoy their three dogs, their son Taylor and wife Maggi as well as continuing as an active professional jazz pianist, teacher and public speaker in the Denver and Colorado area.


David L. McConico has a depth and breadth of knowledge and experience in strategic planning, accounting, finance and investment management. David is Senior Managing Director for Watts Global, LLC, a boutique investment banking firm. He is a Registered Representative with First Florida Securities, Inc., a securities broker dealer.
David has served as a trustee for City of Aurora’s General Employees Retirement Plan since 1994 and is actively involved in the investment decision making process for this defined benefit public pension plan with assets in excess of $400 million.
He has been an invited speaker at many investment conferences in the United States on subjects including emerging managers, emerging markets, real estate, private equity and commercial litigation financing.
David’s experience as a former Certified Public Accountant and Certified Financial Planner add to his insights and knowledge base.
He is the founder and chairman of the Financial Education and Economic Transformation Center, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization providing economic empowerment opportunities to youth in underserved communities since 2002.
David has served since 2013 as a board member for the Heartland Institute of Financial Education, a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization empowering organizations and their people through financial education and families through career and college planning.
David’s previous experience includes over 20 years as the founder and president of McConico
Investment Management Corporation (MIMC), an asset development firm specializing in asset management and business management consulting services.
He spent four years with the Internal Revenue Service as a revenue agent gaining experience as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and obtaining exposure to income taxes and value creation for partnerships and business ventures.
Additional experience gained includes as an accountant with the Security Assistance
Accounting Center (Department of Defense Agency).
David holds a BS degree in Accounting and an MBA in Finance both from the University of Colorado at Denver. He also holds a Master’s of Divinity from Iliff School of Theology.
David maintains his Series 82 and 63 securities licenses.

Vice President

Mr. Anderson is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of GRAnderson Wealth Management Group.

GRAnderson Wealth Management Group, Inc. is a registered investment advisory firm specializing in comprehensive financial planning and investment management services designing plans to meet clients’ life goals, with an emphasis on alternative and tax advantaged investments.

Prior to forming GRAnderson Wealth Management Group, Mr. Anderson completed a 15-year career with financial services giant TIAA-CREF.  In his last position with TIAA-CREF, Mr. Anderson was the Managing Director for the Western Counseling Center.  In that role he was responsible for the inbound call center that provided financial and retirement planning services to its participants. Previously, he was the National Sales Director of TIAA-CREF’s Trust Company in St. Louis from 1998 to 2000.  He started his TIAA‑CREF career in 1990 in the Denver Regional Office.  There, he worked directly with institutions and participants, providing financial and retirement planning services. Immediately prior to joining the Trust Company, Mr. Anderson managed the Service Plus and Tax Deferred Annuity units in the Western Counseling Center.  In this capacity, Mr. Anderson was responsible for managing and directing a sales group and a project management team for the division.

Mr. Anderson started his career in the financial services industry with a regional banking group as a commercial loan analyst and banking officer from 1983 to 1986.  He then worked with Merrill Lynch as a financial consultant from 1987 to 1990.

Mr. Anderson received his Master degree in Financial Services from The American College (1995), and his Bachelor degree in Business Administration from The Colorado College (1982).  He holds the following designations: Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) and Chartered Mutual Fund Counselor (CMFC).

Mr. Anderson’s community activities include board membership with The Owl Club of Denver and the Greater Park Hill SERTOMA Club.  He also is an alumnus of Leadership Denver.

He is married to a Certified Residential Appraiser.  And, his son is an information technology professional.  Mr. Anderson also enjoys cycling and the outdoors.

Member at Large

Lillie Ben, MSFS, MBA, MS is a Colorado-based wealth strategist and licensed fiduciary financial adviser.  For nearly two decades, she continues to focus on educating her clients…especially women clients…to understand the financial decision-making process that empowers them to take control of their monies. Now a PhD candidate at Walden University in the School of Decision Science & Applied Management with the emphasis on Finance, she is researching best practices for mentorships—based on gender mentoring protocols to implement as a Mentor and as a financial educator. As an Adjunct Professor at several Denver education institutions, she teaches and applies financial decision-making with ‘emotional intelligence [EI]’.  She guides her students and her clients to view their financial situations based on their awareness of their mindset and perceptions around money—a specific focus that she coined, “Gender-Based Neural-Financial Cognition [GB/NFC]™”.  GB/NFC™ is an awareness of the clients to view their overall financial conditions while optimizing their decision-making process according to their cognition of wants and needs relative to their cognition of self and money.

Her firm, the Essentria Financial Experience, LLC, and her team of advisors work together with enterprises to primarily focus on expense reduction through tax mitigation and forensic audits; and with business owners on their employee benefits as 3(38) fiduciaries and ERISA §404(a).  With individuals, Lillie and her team work on retirement and income planning [implementing efficient tax strategies for higher income accumulations and higher income distributions]; and with families to also focus on college planning that lowers ‘expected family contributions’ [EFC]; maintains the cost of attendance’ [COA]; that ultimately lowers overall ‘family needs’ [FN]—lowering out-of-pocket tuition payments.

The Consortium

Accredited Colleges and Universities are the critical link between the Heartland Institute of Financial Education, businesses and their employees and retirees. The Institute has created an opportunity for employees to receive excellent financial education at the worksite through nationally sponsored classes, as well as retirees through public classes. It is easy to sponsor our classes in your local area. Schools interested in sponsoring our courses should contact the Institute.

For course qualification questions, please contact:

Bob Fulcomer
Dean of Education

Phone: (303) 597-0197
E-mail: deanofed@hife-usa.org

National Program

The Heartland Institute of Financial Education is partnering with colleges and universities to provide financial education courses in their local areas.  There are certified instructors in each state whose credentials have been accepted by the HIFE Board and the Consortium of Colleges and Universities.  Instructor certification and supervision are provided through the Heartland Institute of Financial Education.  Only Instructors who have earned the designation of CFE Certified Financial Educator® may teach these classes.  All class materials are provided and updated by the Institute.

Benefits to Your Educational Institution

  • No staff, time, space or money demands are placed on your school.
  • Classes are generally taught on-site at the business location.
  • Awareness of your school increases in the business community and opens the door to additional courses that you offer.
  • Our program provides an income stream to your school.
  • Affiliated schools are included on the Heartland Institute of Financial Education Web site. This provides businesses greater access to your other courses.


The Heartland Institute of Financial Education is a national non-profit organization that partners with colleges and universities to offer financial wellness classes for Human Resource Professionals as well as their employees.

PFEEF_LogoThe Heartland Institute has been approved by SHRM’s Human Resource Certification Institute as an Approved Provider and are endorsed as a “Best Provider” by the Personal Finance Employee Education Foundation,http://www.pfeef.org/

SHRM_LogoThe Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. Representing more than 250,000 members in over 140 countries, the Society serves the needs of HR professionals and advances the interests of the HR profession.

HRCI-LogoIn 2003, the Approved-For-Credit and Approved Provider Programs were launched via SHRM’s HR Certification Institute.  Through the Approved Provider Program, an organization undergoes an extensive application and review process to ensure the quality of the education programs and to attain the HR Certification Institute Approved Provider status.  If approved, an organization participates in random audits and signs a pledge to qualify and commitment to the SHRM principles.  The Approved-For-Credit program eliminates the guesswork in calculating credits for recertification candidates for the PHR (Professional in Human Resources), SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources), and GPHR (Global Professional in Human Resources) designations.  As an HR Professional, you can feel confident in offering educational programs to your employees, from organizations who have achieved this status from the SHRM organization.

How can this benefit your membership?

  • By Providing Continuing Education to your member HR professionals.
    The Heartland Institute will provide a 1 credit hour class “The Human Resource Guide to Employee Financial Wellness” for Human Resource Professionals at your association’s location at no cost. Any fee charged is at your association’s discretion for non-dues revenue.
  • By Providing Financial Education for your member’s employees.
    The Institute can help the company fulfill their Fiduciary responsibility from ERISA guidelines, lower company liability and receive member discounts for their employees’ tuition because they are recognized as a member of your association.
  • By Being Our Only Provider of this type of education in your industry. The Institute will work with only one association in each industry to provide financial education, and therefore give you an exclusive benefit to offer existing and prospective member companies.


Why Heartland?

  • Non Profit Driven Financial Education
  • Discounted Classes for Association members
  • CE Credit for HR professionals
  • Non Solicitous Instructors
  • Backed by a Consortium of Colleges and Universities
  • Classes are offered on-site at your company
  • Our Instructors are CFE Certified Financial Educators®


Why Financial Education?

  • ERISA Act
  • Pension Protection Act
  • Higher Productivity
  • Higher Employee Loyalty
  • Potential Lower Health Costs
Click each photo for a biography of the member.
Founder & CEO

Alan J. Gappinger, CLU, ChFC, CFP®, CFEd®, has a Masters in Financial Planning and was one of the original members of the Registry of Financial Planning Practitioners. Alan is the Founder of the Heartland Institute of Financial Education, a national nonprofit organization that provides financial education for companies and their employees and college planning for students. Alan has thirty (30) years experience in the financial services industry and specializes both in financial planning for personal clients and the promotion of financial literacy through the Institute. In 1996, Alan was instrumental in the development and copywriting of financial educational courses, which have been accepted and promoted by Colleges and Universities across America and are taught through the Heartland Institute of Financial Education.

Alan graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Education, before going on to earn the Certified Life Underwriter designation and the Chartered Financial Consultant designation from the American College. He holds the Registered Health Underwriter designation, as well as the Certified Financial Planner designation, which was granted by the College of Financial Planning. Alan earned the Certified Financial Educator registered designation from the Heartland Institute of Financial Education.


Ryan is the Chief Operating Officer of The Heartland Institute of Financial Education. Ryan graduated from Colorado State University in 2005 with a Bachelor’s degree in Finance. Ryan began working with the Heartland Institute as a technical specialist in developing the website and various materials for HIFE. After obtaining the required experience, he took and passed the exam to become a Certified Financial Educator®.

His role within the Heartland Institute expanded over the years where he began working more closely with the various programs (CFEd® and CPP) and learning the overall operations of the organization. Ryan and his wife Kathy have 2 children and currently reside in Parker, CO.


David is an Ohio native and achieved a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Bowling Green State University in 1991. David pursued management training and experience with The Sherwin Williams Co. out of Cleveland, OH from 1991-1996 before entering the financial services industry. David is a Chartered Financial Consultant, ChFC® a CFE Certified Financial Educator® and a CRE Certified Retirement Educator and has nearly 15 years of experience in business management and in the financial services industry. David is the Chief Financial Officer and an Instructor for the Heartland Institute of Financial Education, teaching financial management courses to employees of small and large companies. David and his wife Kelly have two children and currently live in Parker, CO.

VP of Education

Bob is the Vice President of Education for the Heartland Institute of Financial Education. He has an MBA in Information Systems and a BS in Management and Information Systems.

Bob spent 20 years in the U.S. Air Force, finishing his career at Lowry AFB where he was the Superintendent of Education and Training. He then transitioned becoming the Dean of Business, Math and Computers at the Community College of Aurora. For CISCO, he developed the CISCO Systems Networking Academy in the Rocky Mountain Region and was instrumental in the Training the Trainers program as a CISCO Certified Instructor. After retiring from the Community College of Aurora, he continued in the financial services industry where he obtained his real estate, mortgage broker, and insurance licenses.


Eric has been with the Heartland Institute of Financial Education since 1999 instructing financial wellness classes. He is also a trainer/coach for the Institute. In addition, Eric has been in the financial services industry since 1994. Eric was born and raised in Ohio where he received his B.A. in Economics from Wittenberg University. He resides in Denver with his wife, Julie, and four children. He enjoys spending time with his family and outdoor activities such as soccer, golf, and skiing.

Executive Administrator

Allyson is the Executive Administrator of The Heartland Institute of Financial Education.  She achieved a Bachelor of Science in Journalism with an emphasis in Business Communications from the University of Kansas in 1992. Allyson had a successful career with Starbucks Coffee Company from 1999-2008. At both Store Manager and District Manager levels, she gained valuable experience in managing all aspects of operations, opening new stores in the Denver area, and developing and promoting staff; she was responsible for roughly $10M in sales. Before joining the Heartland Insitute, she left retail in 2008 to broaden her knowledge by embracing the financial services industry. Allyson focused on protecting people as a life and health advisor for 4 years, and she also obtained her P&C license. She and her husband currently live in Denver, CO.


Kathryn manages the day-to-day accounting functions for the Heartland Institute of Financial Education.  She received a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Colorado State University – Pueblo in 2008 then went on to obtain her Master’s degree from the University of Colorado – Denver.  Before joining the Heartland Institute in early 2013, Kathryn was a part of the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program which provides free income tax preparation services to qualified individuals and families.  She helped to direct activities at a local tax site in her role as a Site Coordinator, in addition to preparing and reviewing returns.  She currently lives in Aurora, Colorado.

Program Coordinator

Shelbye joined The Heartland Institute in 2012 to provide administrative support and daily office maintenance. Currently, she works alongside the Dean of Education to coordinate program development and implementation.

Previously in school, Shelbye was a teacher’s assistant to younger classes in theatre and also triple lettered as a Thespian. Following graduation, she volunteered at pet shelters and worked towards an Early Childhood Education degree online.

Director - Corporate Relations
Dean of Education
College Planning National Trainer
Director- College Planning Program



Current and Former Consortium Members