Category: Education

Juggling Retirement & College Debt with Dan Cieniewicz (Ep. 45)

Juggling Retirement & College Debt with Dan Cieniewicz (Ep. 45)

Are you nearing retirement but still burdened with your kid’s college debt payments? Discover how you can potentially cut those payments in half with The College Dude.

Today on Relax, It’s Retirement, Josh Leonard and Dan Cieniewicz, CFP®, CCFC, CSLP®, a.k.a. The College Dude, delve into the world of managing Parent PLUS loans to balance funding education and retirement savings effectively. They discuss the nuances of student debt repayment strategies, income-driven repayment plans, the double consolidation loophole, and the impact on retirement planning.

Josh and Dan discuss:

  • Understanding Parent PLUS loans and their underwriting criteria.
  • Exploring income-driven repayment plans for managing student loan debt effectively.
  • Unveiling the double consolidation loophole as a strategy to lower Parent PLUS loan payments.
  • Examining the implications of student loan repayment on retirement income and estate planning.
  • And more

Resources:

Connect with Josh Leonard: 

Connect with Dan Cieniewicz:

About our Guest: 

Dan Cieniewicz works with parents of teenage children as they find themselves in a position to strategize to pay for college while also staying on track for retirement. Dan’s goal when working with clients is to explain the complexities of the financial aid & college application process and to strategize to make sure that both parents and children are set up for long-term success. 

Dan was born & raised in Berks County. He attended Albright College, majoring in Economics & Political Science and played on the football team.  Dan has obtained the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation. 

Dan is the head girls basketball coach at Warwick High School in Lititz, PA and loves working out and playing basketball. He resides in Lititz with his wife, Carly.  He also became a father in March of 2022, to a beautiful daughter, Stella.

Navigating Financial Storms: Lessons from Market Meltdowns (Ep. 44)

Navigating Financial Storms: Lessons from Market Meltdowns (Ep. 44)

Have you ever wondered how quickly the stock market can plunge into a bear market and the impact it has on your investments?

Join Josh Leonard and our Pete Belcastro, as they delve into three significant market crashes in history, including the 1929 stock market crash, Black Monday in 1987, and the recent COVID market meltdown. Discover how fear drives investors, the role of margin accounts, and the importance of long-term investing, even in times of extreme volatility.

Josh and Pete discuss:

  • Historical market crashes: 1929, Black Monday 1987, and the COVID crash in 2020
  • Examining the impact of fear on market behavior and investor decisions
  • Understanding the role of margin accounts and their implications in market downturns
  • Highlighting the importance of staying committed to long-term investing despite market volatility
  • And More!

Resources:

Connect with Josh Leonard: 

Connect with Pete Belcastro: 

 

Empowering Women in Retirement: The Legacy of Barbara Hillary (Ep. 43)

Empowering Women in Retirement: The Legacy of Barbara Hillary (Ep. 43)

What’s your retirement adventure? Meet Barbara Hillary, the trailblazer who set foot on the North Pole at 76. Let’s explore her remarkable story!

In this special Women’s History Month episode, Josh Leonard and Yana Leonard, CIA, MBA, Director of Finance, share the incredible life story of Barbara Hillary, an inspiring woman who challenged herself to achieve the impossible. From battling cancer to conquering the North Pole at 76, Barbara’s journey is a testament to resilience and determination. Discover how she raised funds, trained rigorously, and embodied the spirit of adventure in retirement, inspiring others along the way. Get ready to be inspired to embrace new horizons and set audacious goals.

Josh and Yana discuss: 

  • How Barbara Hillary conquered the North Pole at 76 and later the South Pole
  • Overcoming health challenges and turning them into inspiration
  • The importance of finding purpose and adventure in retirement
  • Planning for the next chapter in life and empowering women to chase their dreams
  • Embracing new challenges and adventures in retirement
  • And more

Resources:

Connect with Josh Leonard: 

Connect with Yana Leonard:

About our Guest: 

Yana Leonard, CIA, MBA, is the Director of Finance at Leonard Advisory Group. Ms. Leonard has held various finance roles within the manufacturing, pharmaceutical, and food and beverage industries. In her current role, Ms. Leonard delivers strategic recommendations and implements targeted solutions to drive business growth and optimize financial performance. Ms. Leonard earned a bachelor of arts degree in accounting and a minor in economics from Baldwin Wallace University and a masters of business administration (MBA) with a concentration in Accounting. She is a certified internal auditor (CIA). Ms. Leonard grew up in Solon, OH and resides in St. Joseph, MI with her husband Josh, their children, Eli and Isaac, and Layla, a golden retriever. In her spare time, she enjoys attending her kids’ extracurricular activities, traveling, volunteering, reading, and spending time at the lake with friends and family.

Are Behavioral Biases Affecting Your Retirement Planning & Investment Decisions? (Ep. 42)

Are Behavioral Biases Affecting Your Retirement Planning & Investment Decisions? (Ep. 42)

Have you ever found yourself making financial decisions based on instinct rather than informed choices? 

In this episode, Josh Leonard talks about five common behavioral biases that can influence financial decision-making. He addresses loss aversion, confirmation bias, herd mentality, overconfidence, and anchoring bias, illustrating each with real-world examples. He also discusses the influence of laziness and habit on decision-making and suggests a four-step approach to counteract biases: recognition, education, professional advice, and informed decision-making.

Josh discusses: 

  • Loss aversion and its impact on investment decisions
  • Confirmation bias and its influence on perceptions and decision-making
  • Herd mentality and the potential financial risks associated with following the crowd
  • Overconfidence and its role in guiding risky financial decisions
  • Anchoring bias and its impact on decision-making and perceptions of value
  • Four steps to outsmarting behavioral biases
  • And more

Resources:

Connect with Josh Leonard: 

Retirement Success Through Discipline and Goal-Setting with Pete Belcastro, CFP® (Ep. 41)

Retirement Success Through Discipline and Goal-Setting with Pete Belcastro, CFP® (Ep. 41)

In a world filled with distractions and temptations, discipline stands as a beacon of consistency and success, guiding us toward our goals and aspirations. Whether in financial planning, health routines, or personal growth, discipline forms the foundation for long-term achievement and fulfillment.

Today on Relax, It’s Retirement, Josh and Pete Belcastro, CFP®, talk about discipline in various aspects of life, drawing parallels between maintaining financial discipline and personal habits. Using personal anecdotes, they emphasize the importance of setting realistic goals, committing to long-term strategies, and seeking professional guidance to achieve financial success in retirement. They discuss the three-bucket approach to retirement planning, emphasizing the significance of consistent contributions and staying invested for long-term growth. 

The conversation touches on the value of discipline in navigating market fluctuations and resisting short-term impulses. The episode concludes with insights on the positive impact of discipline in achieving financial goals and the benefit of seeking professional advice for retirement planning.

Key topics include: 

  • The concept of discipline in various aspects of life, including health decisions and financial planning for retirement.
  • Why setting realistic expectations, consistent behavior, and long-term goals to achieve success is important.
  • Discipline’s role in investing, and the need for a disciplined approach to navigate market volatility and achieve financial goals.
  • How discipline can help achieve financial security for retirement.
  • Negative connotations associated with discipline and how it can actually lead to positive outcomes and personal growth.
  • The challenges of maintaining discipline and the benefits of setting disciplined goals
  • And more

Resources:

Connect with Josh Leonard: 

Connect with Pete Belcastro: 

Don’t Let Taxes Crash Your Party – How to Maximize Your Tax Savings with Pete Belcastro, CFP® (Ep. 40)

Don’t Let Taxes Crash Your Party – How to Maximize Your Tax Savings with Pete Belcastro, CFP® (Ep. 40)

Tax time is near. Nobody wants to pay taxes, but we have to, so let’s talk about how we can maximize our tax savings.

In this episode, Josh Leonard and Pete Belcastro, Financial Planner at Leonard Advisory Group, talk about tax planning. They share tips for filing taxes this year and some ways to help reduce taxation in the future and be more tax-efficient. Josh and Pete cover the importance of reporting interest from savings accounts, accurately reporting capital gains from stock sales, and the benefits of qualified charitable distributions. 

Their conversation also includes strategies for making HSA and IRA contributions to reduce taxable income and the significance of conducting a thorough tax analysis for future savings. Additionally, Josh and Pete explore the pros and cons of traditional versus Roth 401(k)s, tax diversification, Roth conversions, and managing capital gains and charitable giving. They also discuss handling sudden income increases and the use of donor-advised funds for tax-efficient charitable contributions.

Josh and Pete discuss:

  • Importance of reporting interest earned on savings accounts and capital gains from stock sales for tax purposes
  • Qualified charitable distributions as a tax-efficient way to donate to charities
  • Tax implications of qualified accounts and making direct contributions to charities from these accounts
  • Opportunity to make HSA and IRA contributions before the tax filing deadline to lower taxable income
  • Benefits of traditional 401(k) versus Roth 401(k) contributions
  • Strategies for managing capital gains and charitable giving as part of comprehensive tax planning
  • Importance of proactive tax planning and practical advice for optimizing tax strategies
  • And more

Resources:

Connect with Josh Leonard: 

Connect with Pete Belcastro: 

Navigating Life’s Twists and Turns: A Candid Conversation with Yana Leonard | Family, Finance, and More (Ep. 39)

Navigating Life’s Twists and Turns: A Candid Conversation with Yana Leonard | Family, Finance, and More (Ep. 39)

Have you ever wondered how successful couples navigate the challenges of marriage, parenthood, and career?

Meet Yana Leonard, CIA, MBA, a key member of the team at Josh Leonard Advisory Group, as she steps into the spotlight in this episode of Relax, It’s Retirement.

Today, Josh introduces his wife, Yana Leonard, CIA, MBA, Director of Finance, to listeners. They dive into the evolution of their relationship from their college days to marriage. Josh and Yana candidly discuss the hurdles they’ve overcome, including the birth of their children and the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic on their family life. 

Knowing the team at Leonard Advisory Group is very important to them. The episode aims to give listeners the opportunity to get to know Yana.

Josh and Yana talk about: 

  • The story of their relationship from college to marriage
  • Challenges faced as a couple, including the birth of their children and the impact of COVID-19
  • Importance of communication, balancing priorities, and finding time for each other
  • Challenges of finding a balance between individual interests, work, and family commitments
  • And more

Resources:

Connect with Josh Leonard: 

Connect with Yana Leonard:

Navigating Post-Employment 401(k) Options (Ep. 38)

Navigating Post-Employment 401(k) Options (Ep. 38)

What are the long-term impacts of keeping your 401(k) with a former employer versus rolling it over to an IRA or a new employer’s plan? How can the benefits of IRA rollovers and Roth conversions influence your decision for penalty-free withdrawals?

Josh Leonard explores the advantages and disadvantages of maintaining the 401(k) with a past employer, transitioning it into an IRA, or moving it to the retirement plan of a new employer.  He highlights the importance of comprehending the regulations, costs, and tax consequences associated with each plan. 

Josh discusses: 

  • What are the options for handling a 401(k) with a previous employer
  •  When is it appropriate to roll over a 401(k) to an IRA
  • How do automatic savings and employer matching contributions benefit 401(k) participants
  • What are the potential tax implications and benefits of converting a traditional 401(k) or IRA to a Roth IRA
  • And more

Resources:

Connect with Josh Leonard: 

The Three-Bucket Strategy for Retirement Planning with Pete Belcastro (Ep. 37)

The Three-Bucket Strategy for Retirement Planning with Pete Belcastro (Ep. 37)

Is your financial plan secure enough to last until retirement? How could dividing your income into separate groups help ensure your retirement income will last?

Check out this episode as Josh Leonard and Pete Belcastro from the Leonard Advisory team explore the essential elements of retirement preparation. They delve into the “three baskets” strategy, which includes the cash, income, and growth categories. Emphasizing the necessity of an emergency reserve, they discuss allocating funds for predictable costs through secure investments and the importance of long-term growth strategies to manage significant future expenses such as healthcare.

Josh and Pete discuss: 

  • Why is comprehensive retirement planning important
  • What are the three baskets in retirement planning
  • How do stable investments ensure a steady income stream during retirement
  • What role do different financial buckets play in providing insulation and protection for retirement savings
  • And more

Resources:

Connect with Josh Leonard: 

Connect with Pete Belcastro: 

Seven Steps to Successful Retirement (Ep. 36)

Seven Steps to Successful Retirement (Ep. 36)

Is your retirement plan set for a successful future? When was the last time you reviewed your plan and ensured it has been adapted for any life-changing events?

Discover the seven key steps for achieving a fulfilling retirement with Josh Leonard. He touches on everything from crafting a budget and merging accounts to making savvy choices regarding health insurance and maximizing entitlements.

Josh discusses: 

  • What is the first step in building a successful retirement plan
  • When should you start tax planning for retirement
  • Why is understanding Social Security important for retirement
  • How do you approach legacy planning
  • And more

Resources:

Connect with Josh Leonard: