President Mark Killingsworth presided over today’s meeting. He also provided the opening prayer. Bill MacLauchlan led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. The meeting was held at the Holiday Inn North and on Zoom. Joe Bost thanked those who helped with today’s meeting. There were no guests.
Mark then introduced Richard Topp who is providing his classification talk today. Richard noted that he was the club president just a few short years ago. One of the benefits of being president is being able to attend the Rotary International Convention. He says he gained a much better appreciation of what Rotary is and what the organization does worldwide by attending the convention.
He joined our club in 1986. At the time there were approximately 150 members, but no female members. He says back in his early Rotary days the club was basically a meet and greet club. Richard says when Bob Riley assumed the club’s presidency, he changed that by getting the club involved in several community projects. That tradition continues.
Richard is a CPA with the TNH CPA firm. He began his career with the firm in 1976. There were four CPAs in the firm at the time. They then acquired a firm in Columbia and the second firm in Gulfport. Today the firm has sixty employees including 38 CPAs. They have expanded their services by increasing audit and financial planning. Richard’s focus with the firm is financial planning.
A new law was passed by Congress in 1978 allowing individuals and companies to establish several retirement planning programs such as 401(K) programs and Individual Retirement Accounts. Richard worked with Delbert Hoseman, our state’s Lt. Governor for several years. Mr. Hoseman customized retirement programs for companies. Things changed in the 1990’s making it easier to establish these financial management tools. There are now more tools available and they are less expensive to start-up.
Richard has been married for 47 years. He met his wife while both were attending Mississippi State University. He and his wife have three children. His oldest son is in the Navy and is in Jacksonville but will be moving to Portland soon. He and his wife have three children. He has a daughter who is an attorney in New Orleans. She and her wife have one daughter. His youngest son is in Gulfport as in the soft drink distribution business.
Richard then discussed a few common financial planning mistakes that people make. He is currently working with an estate where the individual created wills and trusts but never implemented them. Richard says everyone has an estate and should plan what will happen to their estate when you’re gone. He also says wills and trusts need to be updated as life situations change.
He says you need to make sure that you keep the beneficiary current on any life insurance policies you may hold. If you hold real estate, make sure your wills and trusts include plans for the distribution of those holdings.
Under current law, individuals can exclude $11 million from estate taxes. Richard says that will soon change. The new administration is considering lowering the exclusion to somewhere around $3 to $5 million. He noted that collectibles are tangible property. They should be appraised and included in your estate planning.
Mark thanked Richard for his classification talk and especially for the financial planning information.
Mark reminded members that the club will support the DuBard School this quarter. We noted that we have sold 20 tee-shirts with a goal of selling 50. If you don’t want a tee-shirt he askes that members make a financial contribution to the project.
There being no further business to come before the club, Mark then adjourned the meeting with our motto: “Service Above Self.”