Q&A: Craig Schneider is Serving Erie's Downtown

Craig Schneider is a volunteer, donor, and leader in organization that make Erie great. As we got to know Craig, we realized that he is one the most interesting people in Erie – from Diamond Back skier to Chess Master, Actor, Director, and Ballot Counter for the Erie Film Society’s Annual Oscar Dinner, the surprises kept coming. We sat down with Craig to learn more about his life and why he’s all-in on Erie’s downtown.

Radius: Who is Craig Schneider?

Craig: I’ve been married for twenty years to my lovely wife, Diane. I’m originally born in Erie and I live in downtown on West 9th Street, about a 5 block walk to Radius. I’m seeing people here at Radius because I wanted to serve folks who can’t make it out to Prudential’s offices in Wattsburg.

RadiusWe heard you’re part of the 9th Street neighborhood renewal and your home earned some recognition recently.

Craig: My home was built in 1885 and completed in 1886. The woodwork has never been painted. There are a lot of English Walnut and Cherry woods that you don’t see much nowadays. It has been updated with Central Air and a modern kitchen, but the original charm is left intact with Victorian style Gingerbread and Fish Scale trim.

My wife and I think of ourselves as stewards of the home and the home has history we appreciate. The first owner considered himself a ‘gentleman’ and the second owner operated a bar and restaurant. The Erie Times had a contest two years ago for historic homes and ours won. In addition to preserving the home, my wife keeps a beautiful garden that participates on the Erie garden tours.

Craig acts in and directs plays at PACA.

Craig acts in and directs plays at PACA.

RadiusJudging by some Facebook posts you’re an avid Chess Player. It seems like you participate in tournaments a lot.

Craig: I’m a United States Chess Federation Senior Master, which puts me at about the top 2% in Pennsylvania. I participate in regular competitions. I’ve competed in US championships in Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis, D.C. and I’ve won some pretty good prize money. But I mainly play because it is a fun hobby that is good for your brain. It also affords me the opportunity to travel.

I carry some chess wisdom over to financial advising. When you look at somebody’s financial situation you have to look at the whole board – their strengths and weaknesses and see where you can make the best impact.

RadiusHow do you assist clients as a Financial Adviser?

I help individuals grow and protect their wealth. People with a clear financial plan do better than people without a plan. A lot of my work is educational, but it starts with a free consultation. We sit down for about a half an hour. I show them my financial process which is goal-oriented and facts based. We outline a financial plan based upon what they want to accomplish in their life. This will differ for folks based on age.

After we develop a plan, I’ll guide clients into the right investment vehicles to accomplish their goals. These vehicles includes mutual funds, IRA’s, annuities and many others. Through Prudential, clients of mine have access to major mutual funds including Goldman Sachs, Dreyfuss, and T. Rowe Price. The right investment vehicles help secure my client’s wealth and helps mitigate tax implications and stock market risk.

I can also provide different types of insurances through our partner Liberty Mutual, MetLife, and Mutual of Omaha.

Radius: Any tips for individuals who haven’t developed a financial plan?

Craig: For younger folks, start saving as early as you can. If you can save early, it makes life so much easier. There are different ways to save, but you want to have a diversified portfolio. A yearly return of 5-6 % on your savings is healthy. Take charge of your money now.

RadiusWhen you are not helping folks manage their wealth, what are you up to?

Craig:  I’m passionate about local theatre. I’ve directed ten shows and am currently directing a show at the Riverside dinner Theatre called Driving Miss Daisy. The Riverside Theatre is one of the only places where actors get paid. This is important. I also enjoy supporting local film. Recently I sponsored two movies at the Erie Art Museum’s FILM series: ‘The Fits’ and ‘Songs my Brother Taught Me.’

If you attend Film at the Erie Art Museum, the proceeds and sponsorships go toward supporting the NWPA Film Society, which recently received some great press in the Erie Reader. Each year my wife and I act as ballot counters for the Erie Film Society’s Oscar Party.

The other hobby I enjoy is skiing. Each year I organize a trip to Ski Resorts in Colorado. We attend resorts like Breckenridge and Arapahoe Basin. I try to go out West about three times a year and once a year I will lead a ski trip.

RadiusIt sounds like you keep busy! Thank you for sharing, Craig! And thank you for committing to many organizations and communities throughout Downtown Erie!

Craig: Thank you! It has been a pleasure working at Radius. I’ve made some great connections at the space that have lead to new business and I enjoy working downtown.

Want to connect with Craig? Maybe try Ski Club, Chess Club, or Acting? Reach him via LinkedIn.