In 2008 this country saw many pre-retirees wholly unprepared for the reality that large portions of their life savings had vanished in a matter of months. Years of work, saving, and being financially responsible in preparation for retirement had been reversed.

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In 2008 I was just a few years into my career. Even now, as I reflect back upon that period of time, the conversations I had with families seem like yesterday where the tears flowed freely. It was disturbing. It just wasn’t fair…” said Ross Welte – Partner and Financial Advisor at Solid Rock Financial Group. “I met with countless people who had, by all accounts, been doing the ‘right things’ for decades, in hopes of retiring and happily living out their golden years – only to be in a position where that dream would need to be delayed significantly” he continued. “What’s even worse, is that they had been following the same advice that I would have given them at the time based on all the training I had received since entering the financial services industry.” He went on to explain, “There were just a few people I met during the following months who were having the time of their lives and watching their wealth grow significantly. The difference between these two groups of people was that the latter had done things differently.”

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Ross recounted that he was disheartened by all of this and had a decision to make. “It was either time to throw in the towel, or time to start asking some hard questions and figure out how to do things differently,” he said. “Good thing I’m not a quitter.”

At the same time, in Bismarck, ND, another man, John Dwyer, (a former educator and coach who found his calling in the financial world) was asking many of the same questions. With the goal to do things differently, he co-founded Solid Rock Financial Group. His aim was to create a financial firm that was open to looking at the financial industry from another perspective and to educate consumers about how money really worked. He was passionate in his belief that there was more than one road to financial success for his clients, and that there were a lot of things that people weren’t being told.

As it turns out, when one starts asking questions and not getting satisfactory
answers, they end up finding others who are on a similar journey. A s a result, Solid Rock Financial Group has grown to a firm comprised of uncommon advisors in North Dakota, Minnesota, Ohio, and Colorado.

One such advisor is J. Chett Carter – a former CPA. He asserted, “I really believe that people deserve to understand the consequences of their financial decisions, good or bad… a financial decision is only as good as the outcome it produces and whether or not that aligns with what one wants.” Together, Welte and Carter are leading the charge to bring into focus a new conversation in the way people make decisions and plan their finances in Minnesota. Carter continued, “It all comes down to understanding why a person is saving money, and for most, that reason is to spend it in retirement or leave it for the benefit of future generations.”

Because of this, the firm is committed to helping their clients plan for and navigate the complexities that surround retirement. They have found that though most people are saving for retirement, they have never had a conversation about the distribution phase of their financial life and arrive at retirement with little to no idea how – or if – it will actually work. “Most people believe that having to take a risk with their money is a requirement. We believe that it is an option, but not a necessity.”

Welte concluded. “ Ultimately, there are four financial forces that affect people in retirement: Inflation, Taxes, Market Fluctuation, and Health Care costs. If we can help our clients understand and mitigate these threats, we can significantly contribute to helping them get what they want.”

by Lee Ann Erie