Everest Wealth Management
A firefighter with a pension and some retirement savings. A small business owner who wants to transfer the business to the next generation. A couple who has been saving to travel in retirement. A would-be entrepreneur who will finally have the time to start a business.
Everyone’s retirement looks different, but what remains true for all is the need to carefully plan. The first step is an evaluation by someone who understands who you are and what your goals are.
“No. 1: let’s figure out where you are,” says Philip Rousseaux, founder and president of Everest Wealth Management. “A lot of people have no idea where they land on the retirement roadmap. We almost do a backwards approach. Instead of looking at investments for investment’s sake, we look at the person – where are you and what are your needs? We’re going to get to know the person and do an assessment, and we’ll talk about the investments last.”
|Everest Wealth Management
100 West Road, Suite 405
Towson, MD 21204
Rousseaux says Everest’s highly trained staff spends time with clients to discover what it is they really hope to do, whether it’s move to Florida, travel or maximize wealth for their heirs.
As the 401k has replaced the pension as the mode of retirement income for most people, few people understand the tax ramifications when it comes to leaving that money to the next generation.
“Are you aware that if a 401k goes to your kids, they’ll lose 50 percent?” Rousseaux says. “We cover the basics, but we also talk about the things that are more complex, like living trusts, living wills and how you want to pass your money on.”
That personal attention and service are what sets Everest apart. Each of the Towson firm’s 10 employees holds licenses and designations “that have meaningful impacts on how much money our clients make,” Rousseaux says. “You’re going to get universal advice regardless of how much money you have and who you meet with. We have a universal way to manage money, regardless of wealth. We are here to make our clients money in a way that protects what they have and grow it.”
The emphasis on protecting money comes from understanding how hard people have worked for it.
“Our clients are typically the firefighters, the police officers, teachers and small business owners,” Rousseaux says. Everest works with anyone who has $100,000 or more in assets.
Rousseaux is particularly sensitive to the needs of small business owners, since he’s one himself. “I understand the challenges they go through,” he says, noting that the firm offers business continuity planning and business valuation. Small business owners need to determine how to replace their income from the business in retirement, transfer the business and reduce tax impacts. “We can increase the return and get them tax-free income in retirement,” Rousseaux says.
For everyone, he notes, a key question is, “how do we put together a plan that won’t be burdensome with fees?” His staff is also adept at understanding the latest changes to laws that govern annuities, insurance and long-term care.
For those who haven’t saved, Rousseaux notes that it’s never too late to start. He advises people to take advantage of an employer match – and the IRS has a catch-up provision to allow older workers to create more savings. Even if a baby boomer is struggling with debt, they still need to take advantage of the match.
“They’re giving away free money if they don’t,” he says.
To ensure a personalized approach, the firm’s experts meet face-to-face with clients once a year and remain in contact through regular emails, quarterly calls and a monthly newsletter. Everest also hosts regular client appreciation events to connect with its thousands of clients. Past events have included suite rentals at Camden Yards for an Orioles game and trips to Atlantic City. Although clients primarily reside in the mid-Atlantic region, the firm continues to serve them as they move about in retirement. Rousseaux recalls one instance where a couple had retired to Florida, and the husband, who handled all the finances, died. Understanding how overwhelmed his widow was, Rousseaux flew down to Florida to help.
“You’re not just a number – we get to know you and get to know your family,” he says. I95