Neela Bushnell Hummel

Neela Bushnell Hummelage 31

Partner and chief planning officer, Abacus Wealth Partners

Fast Facts

  • Favorite financial website is
  • Wanted to be a pediatrician and veterinarian growing up
  • Guilty pleasure: 90s boy bands

Understanding what drives Neela Bushnell Hummel requires looking no further than her upbringing in a home with five brothers, an entrepreneurial father and a mother she describes as “the toughest woman I’ve ever met.”

Ms. Hummel, a partner at the Los Angeles-based advisory firm Abacus Wealth Partners, said seeing her father, Nolan Bushnell, make and then lose a fortune has motivated her to constantly promote financial independence and financial literacy.

Her father founded both Atari and Chuck E. Cheese Pizza Time Theater, but was driven to near bankruptcy by shady investment bankers, she said. That experience pushes Ms. Hummel to help prevent other families from going through what her family experienced.

“We grew up affluent, but finance was never really talked about in our house,” she said. But when her dad’s “next big thing turned sour, mainly based on bad advice and a pretty egregious turn of events,” that left a mark.

“The effect that had on me was two-fold,” she said. “I saw the ups and downs an entrepreneur goes through, and I also knew what type of adviser I wanted to be.”

The youngest partner at her firm by a decade, Ms. Hummel said she sometimes jokes with older clients about her lack of grey hair, while also trying to leverage her youth.

“A lot of clients come to me because their current adviser is retiring, and they see me as somebody who will be around the rest of their lives,” she said.

Unlike many in the advice industry, Ms. Hummel even sees robo-advice as something other than a threat.

“It won’t replace financial advice, but I think it’s a good thing and we shouldn’t hide from it,” she said. “It might lead to fee compression.”

Ms. Hummel doesn’t specifically focus on female clients, but she does enjoy working with “high-earning females.”

“They are often the decision-making women in their household,” she said. “I’m kind of an alpha woman myself, so we get along.”

– Jeff Benjamin


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