Welcome back to the 294th episode of the Financial Advisor Success Podcast!
My guest on today’s podcast is Neel Shah. Neel is the Founder of Shah Total Planning, which itself is a combination of Beacon Wealth Solutions (an independent RIA) and Shah & Associates (a law firm) in Monroe Township, New Jersey, and oversees $57 million in assets under management for 50 client households.
What’s unique about Neel, though, is how, as an estate planning attorney turned financial advisor, he combines estate and elder care legal services with his advisory firm to be a more one-stop-shop for advice while outsourcing his investments altogether… and then leverages his background as an attorney to generate referrals from attorneys and other Centers of Influence to help spur his growth.
In this episode, we talk in-depth about how Neel transitioned from attorney to advisor by launching an RIA alongside his law firm to operate, as Neel puts it, in a “duplex” situation where both firms work jointly under one roof but also independently behind separate walls, how Neel went from being an attorney who got most of his clients from financial advisor referrals to a financial advisor who now builds his business with COI referrals (and Neel’s tips as an attorney on what it takes to get referrals from attorneys), and the path Neel took to outsource so much of his investment and operations back office, so he can focus more on client relationships and have confidence in his ability to scale his firms without having to worry about and be responsible for hiring and training more personnel.
We also talk about how working with other attorneys in study and coaching groups that were exploring opening up their own RIAs led Neel to an aha moment where he realized that the legal business is very transactional but that becoming a financial advisor would give him the opportunity to form deeper relationships with his clients, why Neel views himself as more of a career-adder than a career changer as he has always been able to apply the new skills he has gained over each of the stages in his professional life to the stage that came next, and the way that, having worked in different legal and advisory capacities with clients in his career, Neel has lived firsthand the importance of working with other advisors, attorneys, and CPAs, as a collective, and continues to do so in joint work with other professionals.
And be certain to listen to the end, where Neel shares how he overcame the internalized fears with a realization that getting to the next level in a career meant leaving behind what was comfortable (and recognizing that he could always return to where he began if it wasn’t working out), how, even though he has been disappointed by business mistakes and relationships in the past, Neel has been able to turn them into learning opportunities, and how Neel ultimately got comfortable with the reality that building his business was kind of like driving in a murky desert where he can’t see beyond his headlights… and consequently has adopted an approach of just trying to make each year better than the last and see where the growth takes him.
So, whether you’re interested in learning about why Neel was inspired to transition from attorney to financial advisor but maintain firms for both titles, how Neel leverages Center of Influence referrals from attorneys to enhance the growth of his firm, or how Neel outsources some of the firms’ operations to provide a truly collective service for his clients, then we hope you enjoy this episode of the Financial Advisor Success podcast, with Neel Shah.