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home : opinion : opinion May 30, 2020

1/20/2020 12:11:00 AM
Guest Column
Leonard Wealth Management - 60th Year Anniversary!
Top Left – Old Sign; Top Right – New SignBottom Left – Joe Leonard; Bottom Right – Cain Leonard(Photos Courtesy Cain Leonard)

Top Left – Old Sign;
Top Right – New Sign

Bottom Left – Joe Leonard;
Bottom Right – Cain Leonard

(Photos Courtesy Cain Leonard)


J. Cain Leonard, CEP®
Leonard Wealth Management


October 1959, my father, Joseph “Joe” C. Leonard began what is now Leonard Wealth Management.

Joe was the consummate entrepreneur. He was a silent partner in business with Tommy Shuford at Lincoln Antiques & Plumbing. He used to travel to the Bronx and the Brownsville section of Brooklyn to buy antiques at estate sales. He would hire a driver and truck and then have them hauled back to North Carolina to his store. That business was very successful and was open for many decades.

For a short while, he also was part owner in a car body shop with Wilbur Lowe.

He began a restaurant in a large “wagon” that could house about 1-2 people serving food to those that would stand outside to purchase the food; like a modern “food truck”. It was located in front of where the Jonas Law firm is today. Later, he bought a lot on main street to open what later became the “Carolina Diner”. He went to Charlotte and purchased two trolley cars from Duke Energy; as they were retiring their entire fleet. Many if not most of the cars were shipped to Brazil, according to Joe When you are on the rail trail in Lincolnton, there is a mural on the side of a building with pictures of people in the windows. Joe is depicted serving a couple in one of the windows.

Joe had been in the North Carolina Calvary here in Lincolnton when they rode horses. He also attended two summers in Fort Bragg in a forerunner of the modern Army ROTC. So, when he was drafted, he already had experience in the military. He was in the 34th (later name changed to 1341st) U.S. Army combat engineers stationed at Schofield Barracks in Oahu, Hawaii prior to the onset of the war. He was there during the attack on Pearl Harbor. His barracks were one of the first to receive a bullet from a Japanese “zero” attack fighter/torpedo bomber, bringing the U.S. into WWII. Later while stationed on the Pacific island of Tinian, he helped to build the runway that the “Enola Gay”, the B29 bomber that took off with the atom bomb named “Fat Boy”, to bomb Hiroshima, Japan. Of course, that ended the war in the Pacific.



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While he was serving his 4-years of active duty, he had family running the Carolina Diner. When he returned from service, he attended Davidson College for around a year and then decided to return to the business world and once again took over the management of his diner.

One day while driving down Highway 150, he noticed a crowd gathered on the side of the road. He stopped to find out what was happening. There was a farm being auctioned off. After looking at the acreage of the farm and the quality of the land, he decided to bid and ended up buying the farm! He raised cattle there for his restaurant.

Joe married a Lincolnton teacher originally from Shelby, N.C., Lorene Hamrick. She was teaching here in Lincolnton at what is now the County Planning Department. She also taught many years at South Aspen Street School, and later at Oaklawn. Her career was primarily as a 3rd grade teacher but changed to 2nd grade during her years at Oaklawn.

In 1959, Joe closed the diner after around 28 years in business in downtown Lincolnton. Looking for a change, he became a real estate agent opening JC Realty. But after a short time, he decided that he wanted to explore the financial arena so he joined a brokerage firm out of Greensboro. Later they were purchased by a firm in Charlotte and later went through many buyouts and mergers. In 1984, his son, Cain joined the firm. In 1994, the Leonard’s became an “independent financial firm” owning and operating what is known today as Leonard Wealth Management, located at 312 East Water Street, in Lincolnton.

After retiring in December 2006 at 89-½ years old, Joe passed away about 6-months later.

Cain continues the firm, expanding and growing its services. He renovated the building, paving the parking lot, put up a new sign, and made many new major changes both in the property and in the running of the business. Cain fully embraces technology in both hardware, software, and concept. “I like providing clients with cutting edge financial technology and making things as visual as possible”, says Leonard.

Several years ago, Cain dropped his registration under the brokerage model and began operating investments under the fiduciary model. This allowed him to fully embrace the highest level of financial accountability. As an Investment Adviser Representative, he is held to a fiduciary duty of care, which means he is legally required to work in you best interest when providing investment advice. When Cain makes insurance recommendations, the regulatory standard that applies is the suitability standard, which means that the recommendation meets your needs and objectives.

Leonard is proud to say that he is not an employee of a bank, brokerage firm, savings & loan, insurance company, or mutual fund. “We are legally required to put the best interest of our clients first when providing investment advice. We have no sales quotas or proprietary products. Our clients are our only boss!”

He achieved two professional designations in the past 10 years. The CEP® (Certified Estate Planner®) and then became only the 2nd MCEP® (Master Certified Estate Planner) in the state of North Carolina.

Leonard Wealth Management held its 60th Anniversary Party in August 2019, celebrating their decades’ long success here in Lincolnton.

“We are excited about the future. In January of 2020, we will be “rolling out” a new centerpiece of technology that will help our clients to simplify and organize their financial lives. It will put a lot of control in the hands of our clients while allowing for collaboration with us, as their advisor”; says Leonard.

“We work with some of the largest financial firms in America, such as Fidelity Investments and TD Ameritrade (offered to be acquired soon by Charles Schwab) and also some of the nation’s top money managers. As a long-term optimist I believe in the future of America. But I am also aware of both economic and business cycles. We always want our clients to be well-positioned in conservative financial platforms and accounts, so they will be prepared should a market downturn occurs.

Retirement looks different to each person. Some people are looking for adventure with sky diving or scuba diving in the picture. Others want to travel and experience new places and great food. Yet others just want to spend time with their grandkids and have a great garden for those good old North Carolina tomato sandwiches, says Leonard.

Leonard says, we all should live life to the fullest, whatever that may mean to each person. Because life is short, retirement should not be spent worrying about financial issues! It’s time to have a little fun! Do out and see the world! If not now…when?

Investment advisory services offered only by duly registered individuals through AE Wealth Management, LLC (AEWM). AEWM and Leonard Wealth Management are not affiliated companies. Investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal. 449135


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