In 2008, Damion Lupo had his world rocked as he saw his hardworking parents struggle financially entering retirement like millions of Americans and simultaneously facing a personal health crisis. Seeing firsthand how lack of financial literacy impeded opportunities for his folks was a transformational moment. Using his knowledge of finance, markets, economics, and the deeper patterns of human behavior culled from 25 years of entrepreneurship, including starting more than 60 companies, Damion made it his mission to help people like his parents, creating the eQRP® System in 2012 to empower ordinary people. “Our mission at eQRP is to free a million people from financial bondage,” he says, “because money and financial illiteracy is modern-day slavery.”
eQRP provides groundbreaking retirement plans and financial training to investors, solopreneurs, and business owners with employees. “We help our clients not only invest smart, but become stronger investors. There’s no more ‘hoping’ they’ll be financially free.” With legendary customer service, Birmingham, Alabama-based eQRP is the only company in the U.S. that provides fully self-directed 401(k)s to companies ranging from 1 person to 1000 employees. The unique eQRP system, developed by Damion, means clients can invest in real estate, gold and silver, crypto, startups, and more. Thanks to Damion’s vision and the dedication of eQRP’s team of 22, affectionately known as the “Honey Badger Crew,” more than 2,300 companies from all industries and from all across the country have adopted these plans—and become known as the “Honey Badger Tribe.”
We caught up with Damion to learn more about eQRP and how he’s changing the face of retirement.
What is tax-free real asset investing, and how can people benefit?
The simplest but not well-known strategy is using a Roth eQRP to invest in assets so you can buy and sell those assets among different asset classes, from apartments to bitcoin, and never have a taxable event even when you end up selling and spending the money for your lifestyle. It’s truly a permanent tax-free situation unlike certain strategies such as a 1031 exchange that only delays taxes.
What are self-directed 401(k)s and how can companies and individuals benefit from them?
The Wall Street 401(k) limits individuals to stocks and bonds, which isn’t truly self-directed, it’s self-contained inside wall street. That means you have no control and can’t really plan your future, it’s a guessing game on a roller coaster, with uncertainty if you’ll ever be able to retire with those stocks. Because conventional 401(k)s are restricted, people get stuck with paper assets and continue to watch their future vanish with zero control, only being able to exit with serious penalties and taxes. With the eQRP system, you have all the control. You can choose virtually any asset and invest in what you know and like and create a future by design, not default. Also, the eQRP system lets you pull your money out at any age with zero penalty.
You place tremendous emphasis on human interaction with your clients. What does this look like and why is it important to you?
There are two choices in business: automate everything or humanize things. The trend is automating, which makes most companies straight up commodities, robots with an INC next to their name. Most people want to connect with smart compassionate humans, a lost art in society. The eQRP organization has a world class team in Birmingham who love real conversations with real people. Our clients get to know the team, get to talk with them and the team actually shows our clients we care through action - not just lip service. We’re not a high tech robo company with a wiki FAQ, we’re a team of heart-based folks here in America ready to serve. When people call, our humans answer—not a recorded phone tree you have to navigate just to get to a human being. We’ve worked with some of our clients for over a decade, and we’ve been by their side through it all—the birth of a child, the loss of a spouse and ultimately retirement. It’s important they know we’re available to help them navigate life—to celebrate the achievements and to lift them up when they fall.
What do you enjoy most about your work, Damion?
I love seeing self-responsible people realize there’s a tool and a team that not only supports them but cheers for them to win in life. It’s so much better when they’re no longer stuck on the roller coaster of old stodgy stock market 401(k)s anymore. Our clients get to invest in and have the freedom and confidence to design and direct their futures. Time after time people reach out to us in gratitude saying things like, “the eQRP gave me the tool to bring my spouse home” or “thanks to the eQRP team for supporting my mother’s ability to retire.” That’s why we exist, to make our clients lives better.
Damion is the author of The QRP Book, Reinvented Life, Unicornomics, and seven others.
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