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Van Leeuwen on financial planning during an election

Ken Van Leeuwen, Van Leeuwen & Company’s Managing Director & Founder, joins The Final Round to discuss his views on the market and how to navigate the election uncertainty in these markets.

Video Transcript

MYLES UDLAND: Myles Udland with you in New York. Quick check of the markets here again. Off-session lows, but pretty close to them. NASDAQ is off about 2.9% with about 12 minutes to go in today's trading session.

Well, for more on everything going on in the markets now, how investors need to be thinking about the markets as we head towards the election, potential changes in savings plans, other considerations, we're joined now by Ken Van Leeuwen. He's the managing director and the founder of Van Leeuwen & Company.

And let's talk about how you are talking through the election with your clients, things that you expect could change, things that people need to be aware may change, depending on what happens on November 3.

KEN VAN LEEUWEN: Sure, Myles. I think one of the things is, of course, is that we always try to deal with the knowns. We want to look at, because we don't know clients'-- [INAUDIBLE] or their political leagues, so what we are looking into now for clients to help them regardless of what's going to happen in the election.

So one of the things that is we look at what they call a Roth conversion, taking money out of your IRA, transferring it to a Roth where it can grow, continue tax free. But the distributions are tax free as well, so that's super important. People love that.

We're also looking at-- for we work with a predominately a corporate executive base-- hey, if you have some stock options, because you've benefited from this market rally since March or April, maybe you want to consider taking some money off the table, just banking some dollars. I think that's really important also.

I think if you're looking-- I have a saying here. You never go broke taking a profit. We've done very well in terms of the rebound here for a client. So the issue is sell some things, lock in some gains, especially if you use that cash flow and support your lifestyle in 2021. So I think that that's where we're being proactive, because we don't want to get caught by which result happens on November 3.

MYLES UDLAND: And then, Ken, I guess thinking about how the market has behaved since April. How have the conversations you've had with clients changed over that time? I imagine that in March there was a lot of fear out there, and you were likely maybe counseling people against making any drastic changes. Everything was very scary. How has that evolved in the last few months there?

KEN VAN LEEUWEN: [CHUCKLES] Well, Myles, it's interesting. Everybody wants to talk politics right now. They have their distinct view about either Mr. Trump or Mr. Biden, or they just want to know what our opinion is. So politics and now with Justice Ginsburg passing on Friday, that has become a very hot topic also in terms of the deadlock and the gridlock and the infighting in Washington. Because most of our clients are very concerned, Myles, that nothing's happening.

And that especially this stimulus package, nothing again is happening there. So again, that's on their minds, and it's not necessarily who wins and who loses. Of course, depending on the person, they have different feelings. But again, it's about what's happening, and let's get the politicians out of the way. That's the big issue, I would say.

MYLES UDLAND: And so then, I guess, thinking about the other issue at hand, which would be like the pandemic right now, where the virus is at and the progress on that. How is your client base thinking about that? Given that we're past six months in, a lot of things have changed. There's been a lot of positive news on the vaccine and treatment front, but we are still-- life is kind of where it's been for the last few months, at least here in the Northeast.

KEN VAN LEEUWEN: Sure, Myles. And then what's happening is that we're getting constant crosscurrents of news stories, because on Monday it was the story about how the UK the cases are increasing. So then the fear is well, is that going to happen here. Because then the UK talked about shut down, which we saw Boris Johnson-- they're limiting some people's access to restaurants and bars particularly. So we saw that happening. So they worry about how is their lifestyle going to be affected here.

But then we hear a good news today. We hear that Johnson & Johnson is entering another phase of testing, and they believe that we're going to be able to have a vaccine in January, which is very positive news. So we're seeing all these different crosscurrents occurring right now, but it's never far away.

Because I think Dan was speaking earlier about movies. For example, what we're seeing is that people are getting tired of the restrictions in their life. They want to go to the movies. They want to go to dinner. They want to go on a plane and fly to Florida. They want to do all these things, but their freedom is somewhat restricted. So that's what we see our clients focusing on too.

Like we've had-- I have a client base of course that you can imagine being in the Northeast close to Florida in the winter. Two of our clients have already told us that they don't know if they're going this winter, because they don't want to fly. And they don't want to drive. So where can they go? So it's the question is how does that impact everybody day to day? But I think there's a feeling of, "When is this going to be over?" That's what we are seeing.

MYLES UDLAND: And the challenge of keeping six months and a day in the state of Florida when you can't drive or fly there, I'm sure you know well. All right, Ken Van Leeuwen, founder of Van Leeuwen & Company. Ken, thanks for joining the program. Great to get your thoughts

KEN VAN LEEUWEN: Yeah, thanks for your time. Appreciate it.