PRIDE Month Feature - Q&A with Mindy Neira, Principal and Wealth Manager for Modera Wealth Management
To celebrate PRIDE Month, we’re spotlighting a member of the LGBTQ+ community and a professional in the wealth management industry. Mindy Neira is a Principal and Wealth Manager for Modera Wealth Management, and below she shares her thoughts regarding financial planning, advice for young professionals, and celebrating PRIDE.
What personality traits make you an excellent candidate to work in the field?
Many people may be surprised to hear that empathy and a good listener are the two most prominent personality traits in this field. Financial planning is a relationship-based profession. People trust you to provide sound financial guidance directly impacting themselves and their loved ones.
To build that trust, spending time listening to your clients’ stories, concerns, and dreams will make all the difference. From there, you can help them build a diversified investment strategy and make vital decisions to help them reach their financial goals. My background is in Psychology and Financial Economics. Psychology has greatly impacted my ability to help those who come to me for advice.
What advice would you give to other LGBTQ+ students/young professionals thinking about joining the industry?
This is a great place to be! Financial planning is so rewarding. Helping someone navigate a financial decision that allows them to buy that dream home, get out of debt, or put their children and grandchildren through college is life-changing.
We need more professionals in the field who are out in the LGBTQ+ community. So many clients in our community are looking for someone to trust. Having more financial planners who are LGBTQ+ and who are proactive allies can allow more people to feel comfortable seeking pivotal advice.
Are there any changes you want to see in the wealth management industry? If so, what would those changes be?
I’d like to see a greater representation of people from various backgrounds. For example, only 24% of CFPs are women, 4.1% are Asian, 1.9% are Black, and 2.1% are Hispanic or Latinx. We don’t have statistics on sexual orientation, but we know that percentage is small also. With greater representation, we can reach more clients, increase access to financial knowledge, and help reduce America’s wealth gap.
Modera Wealth Management, the firm I work for, and The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA), an association where I volunteer, are working to help increase diversity and improve equity and inclusion in the industry. One way we are doing this is by reaching more students to educate them about the financial planning profession and providing internships and job opportunities for students from underrepresented communities.
Do you and your family celebrate PRIDE month, and if so, how?
Yes! We love celebrating PRIDE. We used to go to the NYC PRIDE parade every year. Now that we are in NJ, we go to Asbury Park and Montclair. These are the two biggest PRIDE festivals in the state. My wife and I have a six-month-old daughter, Jackson. We are so excited to bring her to her first Pride celebration. She already has her outfit picked out and ready to go!
It is so important to me that Jackson grow up with strong allies and people in the community. Especially given the ever-growing concerns about our human rights, she will inevitably have experiences where she must rely on the community around her. Teaching her at a young age to celebrate our differences, to respect others, and that love is love will instill essential values that she will carry throughout her life.
How has being a part of the LGBTQ+ community impacted your career?
I didn’t come out to my family and friends until 2012. Professionally I began to come out a few years after that until I was fully out in 2018. I didn’t think being part of the LGBTQ+ community would impact my career in any way. Since I have been able to be my authentic self in and out of the workplace, it has had a considerable impact. Much of my work is geared toward giving back to the community – helping individuals and families with financial planning and educating other advisors and professionals about the critical, unique factors to consider when working with someone in the community.
Often, someone will reach out to me from a state far away from NJ and tell me that they are looking for an LGBTQ+ advisor and that I am the only one who came up. Whether I can work with them or introduce them to another advisor in the community, I make sure they leave the discussion with me better off than when they first called. Being part of the community has allowed me to positively impact my career, the careers of others around me, and those seeking financial advice.
Mindy Neira (she/her) is a Principal and Wealth Manager for Modera Wealth Management. As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and Chartered Special Needs Consultant®, she helps individuals and families who have planning needs centered around disability or other medical conditions. She also partners with those who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Queer (LGBTQ). Mindy is currently the Chair of Modera’s Diversity Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee and the Co-Chair of NAPFA’s DEI Steering Committee. She lives with her wife, Lisa, dog, Avery, and their daughter, Jackson, in Cedar Grove, NJ.
You can connect with Mindy via LinkedIn here.