Neela Hummel, CFP®

Neela smiling happily

My Story

I was on a flight home with my family as a six year old, filling out my own customs form. The form asked for my parents profession. Having pegged my dad early as my professional role model, I proudly wrote “entrepreneur”. My mom’s job, on the other hand, stumped me. At the last minute, I filled in “housewife.”

I don’t know if it was my confusion or my mom’s face when she saw my form that stuck with me. But after that flight, I started paying attention to my mom’s “job.”

Late one night I found my mom crouched over her typewriter, “the car’s brakes are malfunctioning.” She declared, “But the dealer can’t find anything wrong with the car. I’m writing letters every week to the CEO and board members until it gets resolved.” A year later, she proudly reported that after eight batches of letters, the CEO reached out to buy the car back and settle. “Anything” he allegedly said, “to stop all the letters.”

Tagging along to the farmer’s market one day, my mom and I came upon a man berating a vendor for not discounting his corn. The farmer kept saying, “I’m sorry sir, I can’t sell it for any less – I have to pay my people.” Having heard enough, my mom stepped in. “You know” she interjected, “this man got up at 4AM to drive three hours to bring you this fresh, hand-picked produce. I can’t wait to pay him exactly what he thinks it is worth.” The farmer looked at my mom, astonished. As we were leaving, he whispered, “thank you.”

Integrity. Advocacy. Tenacity. Community. These were the values my mom imprinted on my seven siblings and me. Every time I go to bat for a client, help them navigate their relationship with money, or see their shoulders relax in a meeting, my passion for what I do is renewed. My love of math and quest for order (remember the seven siblings part?) brought me into financial planning over a decade ago, but doing right by people is what keeps me going. And at the end of the day, I hope to inspire my three kids the way my mom continues to inspire me.

Several years after that first customs form incident, I was presented with a new one to fill out. This time, I left entrepreneur as my dad’s job, but I filled in, “business executive” for my mom. My dad has always been the visionary. My mom, the practicality. My dad could inspire investors, but it was my mom who built lifelong relationships with them. My dad may have taught me how to get into business, but my mom taught me how to run one.

How I’m expanding what’s possible with money

Money has a marketing problem, particularly when it comes to answering the questions women have. That’s why I co-created and co-host the financial education podcast, If Money Were Easy, which teaches women how to expand what’s possible with their money. I’m also an active speaker and lead workshops to make finance interesting, engaging, and above all, empowering. 

Outside of work, my passions include

Juggling three young kids, my husband’s and my careers, and two big dogs, I consider every day that I make it to 8pm a success. But in those rare moments that I have to myself, I enjoy good food, natural wine, my Peloton, and reading the latest Michael Lewis book.

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