President, Financial Planner
Why did I start Bshapiro Financial? I grew up dreaming of a career in journalism, maybe even in sports. When I was 18, my father passed away during my high school graduation weekend. Unbeknownst to our family, his grocery store had been floundering, and he died broke and brokenhearted. It was hard enough losing my father, a man who slaved to provide for his family, but the sudden realization that my mother and I were broke was just as devastating. I had to help my mother sell the business quickly so she would have money and I would not have to skip college.
During the early years of my career as a sports and entertainment writer and editor, my mother, Beatrice “Bea” Shapiro, suffered a brain seizure and within two years began exhibiting signs of dementia. She would eventually be institutionalized and confined to a bed for seven years, oblivious to my visits. She had not updated her legal planning. There were no instructions or protective documents. New York State seized what little money she had so she could qualify for Medicaid. Everything my parents worked for was now gone. Though I knew little about financial planning, it always struck me that there must have been some way to avoid this financial indignity.
A year before my mother died, I lost two friends. The first one died of a sudden heart attack at age 39. With no life insurance or planning, his wife’s friends had to arrange a memorial fundraiser to provide income for her and her children until his business could be sold.
Not long after, I lost my friend Dave, whose car was hit by a drunk driver. Dave grew his father’s auto body business from a small repair shop into a block of stores. Sadly, he did not plan properly and his widow and four children were left to fight with his family over what Dave’s share of the business was worth.
Meanwhile, sports journalism was changing. I was writing about athletes who were unprepared for sudden wealth and squandered it all or got into trouble with the law. Coincidentally, my wife, an advertising executive, had received a recruiting letter from a financial services company. It said a career in financial services provides the opportunity to make a real difference in people’s lives. I quietly began researching the industry. Thinking of my lost friends, I decided to take the leap. And that’s how it all began.
More than 25 years later, I have advised clients through the best and worst of times. My staff and I have helped clients send their children to the college of their choice and pay for weddings and other special occasions-- and then worked with their children on their own financial plans. We have been there when clients have lost their jobs with seemingly no direction in sight, and assisted them with starting their own businesses. Whatever challenges they have faced, we have given every ounce of our ability and care.
Many of our clients are much better off today than when we were first introduced. I am grateful to know that my friends have become clients and my clients have become friends.
In the years since Bshapiro Financial was born, our company has broadened beyond product-based solutions into a comprehensive, concierge-level problem-solving firm. We thrive on finding solutions for our clients, even when it seems impossible to them. There is no way to describe our excitement and satisfaction when we help our clients reach their goals. It drives me and my team every day.
The original Bea Shapiro would be proud.