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Londonderry business wants to help people plan for financial security

Union Leader Correspondent

May 03. 2014 1:25AM

Londonderry resident and veteran financial adviser Michael Licciardi opened the new Financial Planning Adult Education Conference Center earlier this year. An open house is planned for May 30. (APRIL GUILMET/Union Leader Correspondent)

LONDONDERRY - With four decades of financial planning under his belt, Michael Licciardi said it has always been his goal to create a place where baby boomers and senior citizens could explore their future financial prospects in a comfortable and low-pressure setting.

The longtime Londonderry resident opened the Financial Planning Adult Education Conference Center in late 2013, and since then, word is beginning to spread among the area's retirees.

Initial workshops were held in mid-January. So far, workshops aimed at helping attendees understand their Social Security benefits have been well attended, according to Nichole Burke, the center's marketing and communications manager.

"We've already seen a couple sell-out classes," Burke said.

Later this month, Licciardi and fellow financial instructors are inviting community members to attend an open house of the 77 Gilcreast Road facility, where members of the local senior population can tour the classrooms and meet some of the professionals that lead the workshops.

Representatives from the Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce will conduct a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. on May 30, with a light lunch to commence immediately after. Open House hours are 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. that day.

Burke said the facility is believed to be the first of its kind.

"We're working hard to reinvent the process by which baby boomers and seniors get educated and plan for their financial future," Burke said.

While the 55-plus age group is center's main focus, Friday afternoon Lunch & Learns are also being offered as a resource for small business owners.Licciardi said one of his main missions at the center is moving away from the so-called "one and done" free dinner seminars that most folks have pondered at one time or another.

"The idea is to offer a place where they can become a member, take part in an array of workshops and truly develop a relationship with the instructors," he said. "And this is an age group that's at the forefront when it comes to financial planning needs."

Jamie Bulen, spokeswoman for the AARP's New Hampshire chapter, stressed the importance of financial literacy in general, noting that the AARP likewise offers a variety of resources for seniors with financial questions.

"Anything people can do to shine the light on their financial future is a good thing," Bulen said on Friday. "And I think people tend to underestimate the costs of health care and long-term care."

Licciardi is hoping to eventually establish other centers in other parts of the country, with particular emphasis on communities with high concentrations of retirees and seniors.

A native of Lawrence, Mass., Licciardi moved to New Hampshire in 1974. His financial planning firm, ABC Financial Planning, has an office in North Andover, Mass., as well as in the unit next door to the center, though he stressed the two entities would remain mostly separate.

For starters, the center doesn't have employees, per se, but calls on several area professionals to share their areas of expertise during the workshops.

In addition to Licciardi, instructors include reverse mortgage specialist Susan Hopp, attorney Gregory Majewski, certified wealth transfer practitioner Mark Perkin and investment adviser Michael Ventura.

Licciardi said the plan is to ultimately bring other area professionals to the head of the class in order to expand workshop offerings.

This month's offerings include Investment Basics & Your Retirement, Understanding Your Social Security Benefit Options and Planning For Long-Term Care.

Lifetime membership to the Center is $19.95 per individual or $29.95 per couple. Members are eligible for half-price admissions to workshops.

Most workshops are $19.95 per person for non-members, or $7.50 per couple/$5 per individual for members.

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