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Michael Kitces' #FASuccess Podcast: Shane Mason's Tech Startup Approach

Shane Mason describes how he and his partner, AJ, intentionally built Brooklyn FI in the style of a tech startup.



Welcome back to the 220th episode of the Financial Advisor Success podcast!

My guest on today’s podcast is Shane Mason. Shane is the co-founder of Brooklyn FI, a fee-only RIA that Shane and his partner, AJ, founded in 2018 in Brooklyn, NY (but has since shifted to being fully virtual), that serves 159 next-generation clients charging a monthly subscription fee of almost $500 per month for their ongoing financial planning services.

What’s unique about Shane, though, is how he and his partner have intentionally built their advisory business in the style of a tech startup, acting as de facto product managers within their advisory firm … where their financial advice service offering is a product unto itself, and they continually iterate on that advice product to quickly respond to new client opportunities in the marketplace.

In this episode, we talk in depth about how Shane and Brooklyn FI first launched into a niche of serving successful creatives operating as high-income sole proprietors, why they decided to pivot away from the creatives niche to a focus on people who work in the tech industry and have complex equity compensation planning needs, how almost all of Brooklyn FI’s new clients are referrals from tech industry Slack channels and message boards, and why Brooklyn FI has been especially successful by publishing their fees right on their website to maximize the accessibility of their highly specialized expertise to the most highly motivated time-sensitive clients.

We also talk about Shane’s early career as a CPA, and the path he took that eventually led him to decide to launch an independent RIA, why (after long consideration) he and AJ intentionally structured Brooklyn FI as a 50/50 partnership from the start despite the fact that he was the only one bringing existing clients and revenue (and how that partnership has turned out to be the “secret sauce” behind the rapid growth of their firm), and how Brooklyn FI communicates with legacy clients in the niche that Brooklyn FI no longer focuses on and who aren’t a good fit for the firm anymore,

And be sure to listen to the end, where we talk about how Shane has moved away from actively seeing clients in order to focus on broader business opportunities that the rapid growth of the firm has created, the firm’s internal initiatives to expand its structure to support more scalable growth in the future, and the key lesson that Shane shares around getting comfortable delegating the things that he’s already mastered.

So, whether you’re interested in how Brooklyn FI has grown so quickly since launching in 2018, why equity compensation planning is such a ripe opportunity for advisors, or why Shane and AJ structured their firm as a 50/50 partnership from the start, then we hope you enjoy this episode of the Financial Advisor Success podcast.

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