Somerset Wealth Strategies

Our Process

We scour the industry in search of the best financial solutions to help you reduce your risk while maximizing your returns.

We simply do what people think they’re paying for when they meet with a financial advisor: We give them solid, unbiased, customized advice based on more than 67 combined years of research and experience. We dig deep to determine their current situation and goals, then we match those with the right strategies and products.

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We make no recommandations until we fully understand where you are and where you want to go. And that starts by exploring the following 10 questions:

10 Questions to Develop Your Retirement Plan

  1. Assets. How much assets do you have (qualified plans, IRAs, annuities, cd’s, cash, money market accounts, brokerage accounts, stock and bond certificates, mutual funds, commodities, real estate, business, etc.)?
  2. Monthly expenses. What are your total monthly expenses, and can they be reduced if need be?
  3. Guaranteed income. What guaranteed income will you have to rely on (Social Security, pension(s), royalties, inheritance stipends, etc.)?
  4. Home. Do you plan on staying in your current home? If so, can you afford it, or will you downsize and/or move to a different state?
  5. Insurance. Are you thoroughly protecting yourself and your family through insurance (home, health, life, long-term care, umbrella, liability, contents, etc.)? Increasing costs among the various types of insurances are significantly higher than just about any other common necessity. Reserves in this area are very important.
  6. Time. How will you spend your time during retirement? As the saying goes, life is a journey, not a destination. Retirement is much more enjoyable for those who understand this. It’s a must to have a passion or several passions in retirement. What hobbies do you have? Do you volunteer or plan on volunteering? Hopefully, watching CBNC and day trading are not among your hobbies.
  7. Portfolio withdrawals. Can you live comfortably on 4 percent or less of your overall portfolio each year?
  8. Supplemental income. Can you turn a favorite hobby into a business? Earning extra income each year adds to your portfolio. You may end up netting even more thanks to tax incentives and write-offs. The old adage, “If you love what you do, then you never have to go to work” applies here. This is a great way to add value, give back, do something you truly love, meet new people who share the same interest, and make some extra money to meet your monthly obligations.
  9. Retirement funds. How will you invest your retirement funds to ensure you will achieve your retirement goals? Any approach that contains equities will be subject to significant market risk and value fluctuation. Even bonds have both market risk and credit risk.
  10. Annuities. Are annuities appropriate for you? There are hundreds of different annuity contracts, but the one thing they all share in common is some type of guarantee*. While most are not worthy of your investment dollars, a few may be suitable for your portfolio.
*Guarantees are based on the claims-paying ability of the insurer. Click Here to Start Planning Your Financial Future

Are You Being Properly Diagnosed?

Successful sports coaches affirm that games are won on the practice field. Carpenters urge to measure twice and cut once. The best automobile paint jobs are all in the prep work. Doctors don’t operate until after performing multiple diagnostic tests.

These same principles should hold true for financial planning. No advisor or planner can make proper recommendations until after he or she has thoroughly qualified your situation.

Most advisors are trained on one product or a limited set of products. It’s the classic case of them having hammers and therefore seeing every problem as a nail.

But financial planning is anything but a one-size-fits-all industry. Never work with an advisor who would make a quick, shoot-from-the-hip recommendation prior to having a thorough understanding of your entire situation. Only when we know where you are can we determine where you need to go.

The Right Financial Tools

Metaphorically speaking, most advisors are happy to sell you a hammer. In fact, many of them don’t even know how many types of hammers are available.

But when you research you discover that there are carpenter’s, claw, ball pein, cross and straight pein, club, sledge, joiner’s mallet, tack, finishing, and soft-faced hammers—to mention nothing of specialized hammers for specific industries, such as brick, woodcarving mallets, and veneer hammers. Each of these tools are crafted differently to perform particular jobs. There’s even a special type of hammer for upholstery workers. And picture frame makers use a sprig hammer.

In other words, be leery of any advisor who tells you they like whole life, or annuities, or mutual funds, without going deeper to explain why they recommend specific whole life or annuity contracts or certain mutual funds for specified reasons. That applies to any financial product and/or strategy.

Every financial plan is different, because everyone’s life circumstances are different. We may recommend one type of annuity to one person that is wholly inappropriate for another.

The Power of the Fine Print

If there’s any secret at all to our method, it’s that we scour the planet for the best specific products. Most advisors are content to make recommendations based on the concept of how a particular product works, such as whole life, a mutual fund, an annuity, etc. They’re then happy to recommend almost any specific contract or product, as long as the company is solid and the commission is good.

We go way deeper than that. For example, while we believe in the concept of annuities, there are very few annuities we actually recommend. Equity-indexed insurance can be a good fit for some, but few products are suitable.

We don’t just study how the general product categories work; we deeply research every individual product offering. Tiny, obscure clauses buried deep in the fine print of products can have huge impact on the success or failure of your financial plan.

In other words, the secret to effective financial planning is in the fine print.

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