Doing what’s best for his clients and delivering results (even if it means sometimes going against the status quo) is the name of the game for Paul Salamon. As Miser Wealth Partners’ Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor, Paul’s specialization in important business matters, such as fiduciary outsourcing for companies, reducing fiduciary risks, evaluating both single employer plans and pulled employer retirement plans, and much more, helps bring some welcomed peace of mind for small to mid-sized business owners. That’s especially true for those who wish to concentrate more on the core of their business rather than get mired down with trying to become retirement plan experts.
Born and raised in Stamford, Connecticut, Paul was quite the well-rounded athlete throughout his youth. His enthusiasm for a gamut of sporting activities included a good bit of baseball, football, basketball, street hockey, wrestling, golf, and running track. Baseball, however, was king all the way through high school.
“I was center field,” he said. “Even in the off season, I’d be dreaming about shagging fly balls.”
When it was time for college, Paul’s interest shifted in more a business-oriented direction. And thanks to influence from his father, he knew he wanted his career trajectory to be rooted in interaction with people.
“I’m a people person. I was always around small business owners with my dad,” Paul said. “He was actually a business contractor, and I had seen him around a lot of different people, whether it was another contractor, a homeowner, a commercial construction project engineer, and so on. So I knew I wanted to be around people, helping them with whatever project they were involved in.”
In those early days, Paul admits he didn’t have a forecast for the financial services side. That would soon change, however.
“I kind of fell into it because I saw where the economy was at that time, and I felt like I needed to take a progressive step,” he said. “Out of the realm of the business that my dad was in, I felt like business owners needed help with insurance, healthcare, and retirement plans. That was kind of the beginning of it.”
Paul focused his intentions in that direction and began his academic journey at Eastern Connecticut State University as a marketing and finance major. After graduation, more would fall into place, especially in the wilds of the business world when he worked for a captive insurance company in his mid-twenties. While it was a great experience, Paul would eventually realize he wanted to forge a more independent path and not be restricted to only what the company dictated.
“For a number of years, I kind of straddled business healthcare and business retirement,” he said. “Once I got a true taste of what it meant to really represent a company’s interest, I knew I needed to be independent and not with the herd. The majority of the herd has some sort of built-in bias. I approach it as what’s in my client’s best interest. That’s what I want to deliver. So that set me on a path of delivering both corporate healthcare and retirement plan services for small companies.”
But before achieving that independence, Paul was honing his skills through a valuable network of seasoned professionals who would eventually help him swim upstream to larger opportunities.
“I did a lot of partnering with other advisors, investment companies, record keepers, third-party administrators, and so on,” he said. “I look at those people as my outsource team. Today, those are the kind of people that I can collectively bring to the table.”
After having a family and an eventual move to the Atlanta, Georgia area to be closer to extended family, Paul concentrated on graduating his market and focusing more on the corporate side of things. But it would end up being a chance meeting with Derek Miser at a Registered Investment Advisory (RIA) firm function in Connecticut that would essentially lay the groundwork for Paul to get where he wanted to be.
“Somehow, we got introduced at one of the RIA functions and we just hit it off,” Paul said. “We get along very well. Derek has a big personality and great strategic vision.”
Within a year of that meeting, Paul invited Derek to a conference in Atlanta on retirement plan consulting for small businesses. That was the beginning of many conversations the pair would have about establishing a pulled retirement plan.
“That was kind of the foundation,” Paul said “I told him, ‘Look, you’re focused over here on the wealth management, but all the people that you deal with that are the decision makers in those companies, they have a corporate retirement plan and corporate healthcare plan.’ Healthcare is the number two expenditure behind employee salaries. These are big issues. We have solutions. That day that we spent in Atlanta was very well-received and we kept in touch.”
Derek even joined Paul in Connecticut to tour several prospective companies that could benefit from both men’s specialized services. It was evident that a budding business relationship was in the works, as Paul recollects.
“I told Derek, ‘At some point, we’re going to come together in some kind of symbiotic fashion,” he said. “You’re going to stay in your lane doing your work, and I’m going to do my work.’ But again, all of the people we work with need this kind of specialization and expertise.”
That predicted collaboration would indeed soon materialize. For Paul as well as Derek, it’s all about forming a more well-rounded, diverse practice that provides clients a one-stop shop for virtually everything they need. Small business owners, in particular, may need extra help in navigating all the changes that have come about in recent years, as far as Paul is concerned.
“For small business owners today, especially through COVID, the workforce has changed,” he said. “They don’t necessarily have the staff or the time, so they’re leaning on us to build a model for them where the plan runs more efficiently and they have less risk from an administrative perspective, less personal liability. What we find is that companies often set up a plan, and it goes unchecked for a number of years.”
That’s when Paul goes to work and makes sure to find the path of least resistance that also provides the most attainable benefit for his clients, including evaluating potentially new methods for employers who don’t have the time, tolerance, or staff to do it on their own.
“What we do in that situation is we will bring that plan to market,” he explains. “We’re skilled enough to know the market and bring value and evaluate the fees and services and investments. In some cases, the company doesn’t even have to make a wholesale change from the provider they’re with. We’ve seen anywhere from 20-60% net savings to companies. All in all, what I try to impress upon them is that their due diligence never ends. That’s why you hire me to help peel back the onion. The majority of the time, we’re able to find some improvement for them.”
In his spare time, Paul’s love of sports remains. He regularly plays golf and pickleball, but he’s also developed quite the passion for nature photography. Paul and his wife have four children.
To tap Paul’s wealth of knowledge and experience and find out how he can help your business, call us today at (865) 281-1616 or click here to set up a meeting at a time that’s convenient for you.