Guiding The Transition to Retirement

Seniors want to enjoy the golden retirement years that follow decades of hard work and sacrifice. The transition to retirement can throw soon-to-retire seniors for a loop, however, and an expert advisor is essential for guiding them through complex decisions during this stage of life.

“We’re different in that we don’t just look at investable assets,” said Jim Artman, managing partner of Success Financial Solutions, during a recent interview with “Advisors Magazine.” Artman and fellow managing partner Sandor Zell specialize in retirement transition and primarily work with clients in their early 60s to ensure they move into retirement after the right preparation.

Based in Pittsburgh, Success Financial Solutions serves clients across age and income spectrums, but the “cornerstone” is retirement transition, Zell said. The firm does not require a minimum to sign up as a client.

Taking a holistic view of clients’ situations, soon-to-retire clients can expect Artman and Zell to discuss savings and investments, of course, but also health care, life insurance, and long-term care needs. The pair works to understand as much about clients as possible, and simplifies complex financial jargon into regular language. Removing any self-consciousness around financial illiteracy and opening clients up to the education they need is the goal.

Artman Zell 4“You need to ask us every question that comes into your head, because if it pertains to your situation then it is important to us,” Artman said.

The firm also encourages clients to make finance a family activity. Artman and Zell include, when possible, clients’ children in the planning process to make sure they are aware of their parents’ situation.

“The first call that we get if something happens prematurely to the parents is from the children,” Zell said, adding that including children in financial planning can ease the messy process of winding down a parent’s estate.

Success Financial Solutions prepares a customized financial plan for each client. The firm does not have standard portfolios, cookie-cutter allocations, or other “out-of-the-box” packages and instead opts for a tailored solution designed around clients’ unique financial goals. The open-ended, customized approach is one of the reasons Artman and Zell founded Success Financial Solutions; years spent in a captive organization had left them feeling stifled by limited company approved products and solutions.

The pair also believe that clients need advice tailored to their situation. Automated advising tools – the so-called “robo-advisors” – may be helpful to some, but the advice those tools spit out often is generic, Artman said.

“They explain a lot of rules of thumb, but everybody’s thumbs are different is what I say to that,” he said.

Customized advice is part of the package at Success Financial Solutions. Prospective clients should feel comfortable asking any questions and should especially make sure to walk away from a possible future advisor knowing their communication style and planning philosophy. Zell added that if a prospect feels uncomfortable interviewing an advisor candidate, they should seek out others to consider.

“You need to get an idea now of what the course of your marriage is going to be with your advisor,” Zell said.

Success Financial Solutions will handle any client but specializes in the sometimes-complicated transition to retirement. The firm’s customized solutions and personal touch provide clients with a transparent service focused not on making decisions for them, but rather on educating investors to make the right decisions for themselves.

“The more that they know, the better they are,” Zell said.

In additon to their Pittsburgh headquarters, Success Financial Solutions also has branch offices in Harrisburg, Meyersdale, PA and Columbus OH.

For more information on Success Financial Solutions visit:

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