Today, I’m talking to Ryan Skinner, a retirement specialist focused on positive outcomes for his clients. We’ll talk about what he does for clients and how he does it.
AG: Ryan, what drives you in your business?
RS: As a retirement specialist, nothing brings me greater pleasure than helping people. Every day I ask God how I can be of service to others using the talents He’s given me. Making a difference in my clients’ lives drives me every day to provide excellent service and creative retirement solutions at the highest level. I’ve always believed that if you do the right thing, you can’t help but make someone else’s life better.
AG: That’s a great goal. How do you do that?
RS: As President and CEO of Summit Financial Partners, I help clients protect their nest eggs and design customized strategies to ensure that they provide them with an income for life. Our approach is both relaxed and confident, and our sound and well-researched solutions create solid financial plans. I help them achieve a regular income that lasts as long as they live, and increases every year to outpace inflation. I make sure that income is protected from stock market loss and exorbitant nursing home costs (the two greatest offenders to a happy/healthy retirement), in addition to being tax favorable.
AG: If you protect those nest eggs from plundering by market forces, does that mean poor returns?
RS: Most advisors focus on Return on Investment (ROI), but take too much risk and often lose clients’ money during economic storms. They tell the client “Don’t worry, it always comes back, we’ll ride it out … “ Meanwhile, that doesn’t happen and the client suffers. We focus on ROI, but to us, those letters mean “Reliability of Income” to ensure that our clients’ income is protected, come hell or high water. My clients are too old or too “seasoned” to weather the economic storms, so we don’t gamble with their nest eggs. In short, we are “Asset Preservation and Wealth Distribution Specialists,” dedicated to preserving assets to ensure financial independence.
AG: What tools do you use to preserve assets, yet increase wealth?
RS: To achieve this protection, I use Fixed Indexed Annuity solutions. These tools offer protection against market loss and annual interest earnings based upon the annual increase in a stock market index (subject to a limit). I also utilize the lifetime guaranteed income benefits of annuities to provide reliable, predictable, and sustainable income no matter how long a client lives. There are many “models” of these tools available, and my team and I are committed to selecting the right one based on a client’s particular situation and needs. We also are dedicated to determining how to maximize Social Security and other retirement benefits to achieve maximum retirement income – and to developing advantageous strategies for estate planning and asset distribution.
AG: You are obviously different from other retirement advisors, what do you say about how you are different?
RS: People often ask me what sets me apart from other advisors. The answer starts with my primary focus upon financial tools and solutions that provide safety of principal, and if needed, providing secure guaranteed retirement income streams that clients cannot outlive no matter what happens in the financial markets.
AG: The markets are notoriously fickle. How do you handle that?
RS: I also use mathematical analysis, starting with identifying and forecasting the two different types of income clients will need in retirement. The first type is what I call Foundation Income. This is the income that they must have to maintain their basic standard of living in retirement, such as housing, food, transportation, health costs, and other types of insurance. I call the second type of income Discretionary Income. This is the additional income the client wants over and above their Foundation Income – including such non-essential expenses as dining out, travel, family assistance and second homes.
By identifying the two types of income, we can match the right sort of financial tool to meet these income needs. My analysis reveals what I call Income Gaps. An income gap is simply the yearly difference between the income needs or wants, and what I call secure income sources. This includes Social Security, pensions, or perhaps rental income. In short, secure income sources are income streams that are not dependent upon the financial markets.
The Foundation Income Gap is the difference between the income the clients’ Foundation Income needs and their Social Security benefits. By identifying this, I can match the right financial tool to precisely provide lifetime income to close that gap. This assures that the clients always have the income they must have, no matter how long they live.
AG: You’re the company CEO, you obviously can’t do all of this on your own. What kind of a team do you have?
RS: I work with an extended team of “behind the scenes” experts in retirement income analysis and planning to ensure that the best solutions are developed on behalf of my clients. I think the more experts I have weighing in on the client’s specific situation and contributing valuable insight, the better the ultimate recommendation I can give to the client.
I also think I am different from other advisors in that I take a very practical approach to retirement income security. I seek the simplest solutions that will work. I don’t believe in complexity for my retired clients when simplicity will achieve their desired security and provide them with income for the rest of their lives.
AG: Thank you Ryan, for the great insight into your approach to retirement security.