David Wiesner | President of Leap Systems
It would be an understatement to say that 2020 hasn’t been what we all hoped it would when we were celebrating New Year’s Eve. For me, I had arrived home from a wonderful family trip abroad to discover my drumming idol, Neil Peart, had passed away. I was shocked to hear the news. In fact, I didn’t believe it! After he retired from drumming in 2015, the perception of all Rush fans was that he was home enjoying his wife and daughter. No longer would he have callused hands from the drum sticks, nor a sore back from playing night after night. At least that is what we all assumed. What we didn’t realize was that he was losing a battle with brain cancer.
Three short months later… COVID 19! The media was reporting about the “pandemic” from around the world and the highly spreadable virus was making its way to the United States (and little did we know was already here). On March 12, we were mandated to work from home and to limit contact with the outside world. In Pennsylvania, my county was moved to the “yellow” status in May which allowed for small gatherings, provided social distancing was observed. Looking forward to social interaction, I jumped at an invitation to have a beverage on a friend’s deck. We had gone to high school together and he had another one of our friends join us.
Our conversation soon turned to the stock market volatility. We are all 51 years old and retirement isn’t that far off. One friend mentioned he was reluctant to invest in the stock market due to the uncertainly of the tax rate in the future. The other friend was saying how he contributed as much as he could into his qualified plan at work because, in his words, “the longer the money is in there, the less I will have to pay in taxes when I get to retirement”. Two very different philosophies.
The conversation hit home for me. Both of these men were successful in their respective businesses. One an engineer working for a stable company, the other operating his own consulting business as an electrical engineer. I assumed they knew how money worked, particularly with retirement plans and investments.
I’ve been in the financial arena on the development side for many years. I am not a financial professional, but I knew what my friends were saying was not accurate. I explained how qualified plans worked, the good and the bad. When it came to investments, I explained the tax implication if you hold onto the stock for at least a year rather than selling right away. I described my experience with the Leap process and how much I’ve learned and encouraged them to do the same.
Topics like money, debt, investments, retirement, and protection aren’t always comfortable conversations. Success doesn’t always mean a person is prepared for a life event or has even thought of certain areas of money. Protecting wealth, having your documents properly prepared, and planning for the future is important. Don’t assume everything will be ok if you haven’t planned. My experience with these two friends has highlighted that there are many people who are misinformed and could benefit from consulting with a Leap professional.