Fiduciary Standards

Don’t Leave Risk to Chance

Managing risk is not new to financial planning, but few advisors can pinpoint risk by using a scientific formula that maximizes results for each client’s individual life stage and circumstances.
Stewardship Matters’ CEO, Scott Thomas ChFC, CAP, CKA, uses a unique Risk Number tool that aids in setting transparent expectations from the start, and is used to re-evaluate each client’s situation as life events unfold.

“The risk scoring system that we utilize is based on Nobel prize-winning math and science to determine accurate and acceptable levels of risk and reward,” Thomas said. “We align people’s investments goals and expectations with their scores.”  

Thomas is an advocate of customizing plans to fit the individual noting that what makes sense during the accumulation phase is vastly different from what needs to happen during the distribution phase.

“The majority of the people I’m talking to are nearing retirement or are recent retirees. They have some unique challenges that are very different than the accumulators with young children who are just getting started,” Thomas said, adding that most robo-tools and marketplace discussions are geared toward younger investors.

“While you are accumulating money, the alpha, beta, gamma conversation is nice and somewhat appropriate; however, the day you have to start spending that money, the rules change. You have to be savvy about the risk fluctuations in the portfolio,” Thomas said.

As a retirement specialist who is very concerned about elder care issues, Thomas said that he doesn’t try to be an investment guru. Instead, he strives to meet the clients’ needs as an expert who understands strategy, tax implications and how to ask the right questions.

Social Security and V.A. benefits are the two areas he specializes in, often uncovering thousands of dollars in benefits that clients never knew they had coming to them.

“Most advisors have not spent the time to learn the rules and how to access these things,” Thomas said, adding that he talks to people on a weekly basis who didn’t know about benefits or have other income sources they’ve been overlooking. In some cases, he has found up to $34,000 in annual income that was previously missed.

The most overlooked, in his experience, is spousal benefits for wartime veterans. “A surviving spouse of a wartime veteran can receive benefits and long term care that was actually earned by the military person.”

Today’s retirees face increasingly complex decisions about claiming Social Security benefits. “There are a lot of questions that need to be asked when dealing with Social Security,” Thomas said. “People want to know that their Social Security is correct, about Medicare, healthcare and how they are going to pay for these things.”

As a lifelong learner with 30 years in the business, Thomas is an expert who can help his clients navigate these complicated issues when they need it most. “I want to do work that is meaningful to others and improves their world,” he said emphatically.

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