The reason I got into this profession
My entrepreneur father experienced massive career success when I was growing up. In the 1970’s, he created and sold several large companies, netting a fortune. Due to some misguided financial advice and an unfortunate sequence of events, one of his subsequent companies was unable to secure additional financing, which set off a financial ripple effect in our household. I hated seeing the stress this caused my parents and siblings, which fundamentally shaped how I viewed money.
I was taught to value creativity and innovation, but also how to protect oneself from unnecessary risk. It became clear to me that wealth comes in many forms, that being wealthy can manifest in different ways for different people, and that passion for what you do is more important than any bank balance.
Following an early interest in personal finance, I left a high paying job in software engineering to take an unpaid internship with Abacus. I felt an instant fit in working with people directly on their dreams and goals. I knew that helping people find what true wealth could look like for them was my passion.
Neela has been a partner with Abacus since 2014. She is a Certified Financial Planner™, serves on the five-member Board of Directors, and is Abacus’ Chief Planning Officer. She was named as Investment News’ “40 Under 40” for financial advisors in 2016. She specializes in working with breadwinning women and young inheritors.
One thing I’m doing to help the planet
I shop locally and buy organic whenever possible, and am a regular at my Sunday farmer’s market. I drive a diesel engine car, recycle, am paperless with my accounts, and bring my own lunches to work. Abacus also has a great telecommuting policy which cuts down on unnecessary transportation.
I support the individual entrepreneur in everyone by giving to Kiva.org, a non-profit dedicated to helping people pull themselves out of poverty through their own creative initiative.
Outside of work, my passions include
As a former NCAA athlete (NCAA Rowing), I love most forms of physical activity. I spend my spare time running on the beach, snowboarding, or circuit training. When I am not exhausting myself, I enjoy reading, cooking, traveling to obscure destinations, trying new restaurants and curling up with the LA Times Sunday crossword.
I am also an avid lover of languages. I lived in Madrid, Spain for a year and speak Spanish fluently, and am currently learning Italian.
One goal I’m saving for
A kitchen remodel—my husband and I are hoping for a kitchen that can fit both of us!
The primary way I’m advancing my career knowledge
I studied history at UC Berkeley and am fascinated by the cycles that exist in financial markets, ranging from Tulip Mania and the South Sea crash in the 1600’s to the more recent 2008 financial crisis. I enjoy reading the history of investing and the role investor behavior plays in decision-making. As Mark Twain said, “History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
Financial planning has aspects that are constantly changing, so I stay up to date on tax changes and planning opportunities through a variety of publications, advisor conferences, classes and study groups.