Fee-only Advisor Journey: Shilpa Wagh’s “money personality” lessons

Published: March 7, 2018 at 10:17 am

Last Updated on

SEBI registered investment advisor Shilpa Wagh shares her journey: from IT professional to a fee-only financial planner. Shilpa resides in Mumbai and is part of Fee-only India – movement to serve investors and advisors and the freefincal list of fee-only financial planners.

It was Sukhvinder Sidhu (who was featured in the last advisor journey) who recommended Shilpa Wagh for inclusion in the above list. I met Shila during the first fee-only India meet last year (the next meet is scheduled this month) and was impressed by her no-nonsense clarity about the financial planning process. Over to her.

Shilpa Wagh’s website: Wagh financials

You can contact her for financial planning, mutual fund portfolio analysis and estate planning. She can also help in case you need clarifications on how to become a fee-only SEBI registered investment advisor.


Shilpa Wagh Sebi registered fee only investment advisor

“Financial Planning is not about collecting vast amounts of wealth but creating a kitty to meet your goals and live a fulfilled life.”

Starting out in my career I had no knowledge about finance let alone financial planning. The day I joined the workforce in 1993, I was an MCA (Masters in Computer Applications) with a BSc in Statistics from the University of Bombay. I worked in top companies like Larsen & Toubro and Siemens Information Systems Limited. My IT career stretched for 15 years. For the most part of my career, I have been a consultant. I have always advised my clients to do better in their work processes.
So in 2008 when I took the call to do a mid-career change, the obvious progression coming from the analytical skills and numbers was to do something in the financial sector.

I joined forces with my husband who is a practising Chartered Accountant handling his clients in personal taxation. I started my firm ‘Wagh Financials’. After a bit of researching and brain scratching, I decided to get professionally qualified by acquiring the CFP qualification in 2011.

For a science graduate who had little knowledge of finance, this field seemed alien at first. And I realised something rather astonishing- the majority of our workforce who graduate with an Arts or Science degree are totally clueless about money. They are well equipped with the tools to earn loads of it but when it comes to handling finances, they are often lost. This is a huge gap in our education system. This struck a chord with me, I could help those people because I was in their shoes before.

I completed my CFP qualification in 2012 and started advisory services. I must admit it was hard. Not only did it still fell like foreign territory, but it also felt lonely running my own professional business charging fees to clients instead of commissions. People used to come with expectations of returns on investments as in case of a wealth manager. So in the initial discussions, I had to clarify the differences between my services as a financial planner to them. Getting clients for financial planning was a big struggle as was the concept and it is still evolving. So it was a tough start for the initial two years with many dry spells of not acquiring new clients.

However very slowly, my client base began to grow. I could help people out- help them plan their finances to reach their goals. It made me feel satisfied and content.

When SEBI came out with the RIA registration in 2013, which prevented a registered member to take commissions for the investments clients’ made through them, I jumped at the opportunity. I got my SEBI Registration in April 2014.

It is my job to give the best to my clients. In that spirit, direct plans which are a boon thanks to the internet, help save a lot of money. I taught all my willing clients about direct plans and its advantages.

Along the way, I learnt of so many different aspects that surround financial planning. It all comes down to people- they are all different. Looking through the last 6 years of experience, I came to know that each family, each client has a very different ‘money personality.’

What is a money personality?
Money personality is every person’s ability, an appetite for risk and their comfort with accumulating or spending their money. These money personalities are deep-rooted in our thought processes often as a result of our life experiences.

Maybe then, financial planning is something more than just investing in financial securities and funds. Financial planning is more personal and unique and it’s about the fulfilment of our lives.

To help my clients achieve their goals in life, I wanted to give them a cohesive plan. In order to help and assist them in a more efficient way, I did a short course in Counselling Psychology. I got to know more about how us humans think, especially about life and money.

Combining these two experiences together I was able to prepare some of the best plans integrating my skills as a life coach and financial planning strategies. In my experience, once the life goals and the financial actions are linked, the client voluntarily takes the ownership of the plan and there is no need for any kind of external push towards the implementation and monitoring.

My relationship with the client is more of an associate or of a partner in his/her financial journey than purely a guide. I believe that the client should actively participate in the preparation of the plan.

The spectrum of my clients spans from budding youngsters to people who have retired. I am privileged to be trusted by many single women and single mothers with their finances. Being a woman and taking the clues from their life situations, I have launched a special website www.capellazen.com to educate women in Personal Finance, Career Management, Legal Rights and Well Being.

I am also a natural at training and love to give talks and spread knowledge to people. I was well established in delivering lectures in the IT industry back in the day. I decided to combine this talent to spread financial literacy amongst all classes in society. I have delivered lectures for the student community, the Police officers, women from lower-middle-income groups, our brave navy cadets and many others.

The positive response keeps me going. I also organise simple non-jargon finance talks for people in my office at Portuguese Church, Dadar, Mumbai for a small fee.

There is a long way to go for me but surely for last one and half years things are looking brighter as more and more awareness about “Fee only planners” spreads in our society, thanks to sites like Freefincal.

The financial industry is growing at a very fast pace especially in a country like India. Despite the lack of financial syllabi in our curriculum, today’s youth is much more aware of their finances. Financial dynamics are ever changing.

In this fast-paced, dynamic and challenging financial industry what holds true is that the future looks bright about client-centric financial planning.


Thank you for sharing your journey, Shilpa.

Shilpa Wagh’s website: Wagh financials

Other Fee-only advisor journeys:

Sukhvinder Sidhu’s unwavering principles

Melvin Joseph’s determined struggle to the top

Do share if you found this useful

About the Author M Pattabiraman author of freefincal.comM. Pattabiraman(PhD) is the author and owner of freefincal.com.  He is an associate professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras since Aug 2006. Pattu” as he is popularly known, has co-authored two print-books, You can be rich too with goal based investing (CNBC TV18) and Gamechanger and seven other free e-books on various topics of money management.  He is a patron and co-founder of “Fee-only India” an organisation to promote unbiased, commission-free investment advice. Pattu publishes unbiased, promotion-free research, analysis and holistic money management advice. Freefincal serves more than one million readers a year (2.5 million page views) with numbers based analysis on topical issues and has more than a 100 free calculators on different aspects of insurance and investment analysis. He conducts free money management sessions for corporates  and associations(see details below). Previous engagements include World Bank, RBI, BHEL, Asian Paints, TamilNadu Investors Association etc. Contact information: freefincal {at} Gmail {dot} com (sponsored posts or paid collaborations will not be entertained)
Want to conduct a sales-free "basics of money management" session in your office?
I conduct free seminars to employees or societies. Only the very basics and getting-started steps are discussed (no scary math):For example: How to define financial goals, how to save tax with a clear goal in mind; How to use a credit card for maximum benefit; When to buy a house; How to start investing; where to invest; how to invest for and after retirement etc. depending on the audience. If you are interested, you can contact me: freefincal [at] Gmail [dot] com. I can do the talk via conferencing software, so there is no cost for your company. If you want me to travel, you need to cover my airfare (I live in Chennai)

Connect with us on social media

Content Policy

Freefincal has original unbiased, conflict-of-interest-free,  topical reports, reviews, commentary and analysis on all aspects of personal finance like mutual funds, stocks, insurance etc. All guest authors and contributors to the site also do not have any conflict of interest. If you find the content useful, please consider supporting us by (1) sharing our articles and (2) disabling ad-blockers for our site if you are using one. No promotional content We do not accept sponsored posts and link exchange requests from content writers and agencies. This is our privacy policy Our website is non-profit in nature. The revenue from the advertisement will only be used for hosting charges, domain registration charges, specific plugins necessary for traffic growth and analytics services for search engine optimisation.

Do check out my books

You Can Be Rich Too with Goal-Based Investing

You can be rich too with goal based investingMy first book is meant to help you ask the right questions, seek the right answers and since it comes with nine online calculators, you can also create custom solutions for your lifestyle! Get it now.  It is also available in Kindle format.
Gamechanger: Forget Startups, Join Corporate & Still Live the Rich Life You WantGamechanger: Forget Start-ups, Join Corporate and Still Live the Rich Life you wantMy second book is meant for young earners to get their basics right from day one! It will also help you travel to exotic places at low cost! Get it or gift it to a young earner

The ultimate guide to travel by Pranav Surya

Travel-Training-Kit-Cover This is a deep dive analysis into vacation planning, finding cheap flights, budget accommodation, what to do when travelling, how travelling slowly is better financially and psychologically with links to the web pages and hand-holding at every step.  Get the pdf for ₹199 (instant download)

Free Apps for your Android Phone

All calculators from our book, “You can be Rich Too” are now available on Google Play!
Install Financial Freedom App! (Google Play Store)
Install Freefincal Retirement Planner App! (Google Play Store)
Find out if you have enough to say "FU" to your employer (Google Play Store)

Blog Comment Policy

Your thoughts are vital to the health of this blog and are the driving force behind the analysis and calculators that you see here. We welcome criticism and differing opinions. I will do my very best to respond to all comments asap. Please do not include hyperlinks or email ids in the comment body. Such comments will be moderated and I reserve the right to delete the entire comment or remove the links before approving them.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *