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A Smart Path for the Future

by Lindsey Getz

These days more people are turning to financial planners for assistance with planning their future. Whether it’s college savings, smart investments, or retirement planning, money matters can be confusing without expert guidance. But how do you know if you’re being steered in the right direction? If your best interests are truly at heart? If it’s an honest, no-nonsense approach you seek to your finances, you can feel confident relying on the Leise Wealth Management Group of Janney Montgomery Scott LLC.

Janney Montgomery Scott LLC has been in business since 1832 and remains independent, which in and of itself sets the organization apart from the pack.

Jonathon Leise, who heads up the Leise Wealth Management Group, joined Janney Montgomery Scott LLC in 1992 and serves as executive vice president/wealth management as well as the assistant branch manager of the Philadelphia office. Leise calls the business incredibly “family oriented” and in fact, his own son and daughter are also involved with the business. Though it may sound cliché, clients also become part of the “family” and are treated as such.

“We manage risk and keep people in the game so that they can accumulate enough wealth to leave a legacy and be a positive influence to the people and the causes they care about,” says Leise. “It’s a responsibility that we don’t take lightly.”

And certainly the management of one’s money is no light matter. We are in a day and age when money matters seem to be stressing out more people than ever before. In fact, a survey by the American Psychological Association last year found that money is the leading cause of stress among Americans—rich or not. Perhaps surprising to some, the more affluent participants were also the ones that were more stressed. To quote the famous rapper Notorious B.I.G., “mo’ money, mo’ problems.”

But the truth is, more money doesn’t have to mean more problems—so long as it is managed intelligently. The key to that, Leise says, is “the fundamentals.” It’s not the glitz and glam or the latest trend—it’s about common sense.

“It’s blocking and tackling,” Leise continues. “I would really caution people to stay away from chasing the latest fad or whatever is being hyped up in the news. In fact, turn the TV off. We need to use more common sense and less emotion.”

Leise admits there’s nothing “exciting” about common sense but it’s the path of the wise.

“You have to have a purpose, a plan and a process,” he says. “It may not sound exciting but it works.”

Your purpose, according to Leise, is what gets you up in the morning. It’s why you go to work and why you work hard at what you do. To fulfill that purpose you must have a plan in place—and more importantly, you must stick with it.

“That’s an area where we can really help,” Leise adds. “One thing we do is try to get people back to the reason why they’re trying to accumulate money. Whether it’s helping your child pursue their education or you have dreams for a retirement where you don’t have to worry about money, we want to know your why. Keeping it at the forefront of your mind will help you stick to your plan.”

Lastly, is the process for achieving that plan, which is where the guidance of a financial expert can make all the difference.

“We’re not trying to beat the market or take huge risks—we’re just trying to get people to a place in life where work becomes optional,” Leise says. “We really want people to visualize where they see themselves in 5, 10 or 15 years. Forget about the market. Let’s focus on that goal and what we need to do to get there.”

One of the ways that Leise Wealth Management helps clients visualize their future is to encourage them to “test drive their retirement.” Working through this simple exercise with clients can be incredibly eye opening.

“We’ll have you list all your sources of potential income and your assets and then take a real-life look at what your retirement looks and feels like from a financial standpoint,” Leise says. “Is it where you want to be? Are you happy where you’re headed? If not, let’s see what we can change to fix it.”

Similarly, Leise and his team will walk clients through “stress testing” their portfolios. They’ll examine how you’ll be affected by outside events, such as if interest rates go up or down. Can your portfolio handle it? Leise says it all comes down to being “prepared for the future.”

And being prepared for the future even means looking at death or disability. Though it may sound a bit morbid, Leise says he’ll also have clients “practice dying”—financially speaking that is.

“What will happen to your family, financially, if you die or become incapacitated?” Leise says he asks clients. “Will they be running around clueless not knowing where your accounts are? Will you leave them a mess? Or will they be set up and at peace so that all they have left to do is focus on the wonderful memories rather than the difficulties of getting financial affairs in order?”

Ultimately, Leise says, it comes down to the fact that “financial planning is not just about money.” For Leise, financial planning is about preparing his clients and their families for the future so that it is bright and most importantly, stress-free. Despite the research pointing toward more money being equivalent to more stress, with wise financial guidance, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Leise Wealth Management Group of Janney Montgomery Scott LLC
1717 Arch St. | Philadelphia, Pa. | (215) 665-6658 | LeiseWMG.com

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Family Magazine, Volume 7, Issue 6 (August, 2016).
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