Exeleon Magazine

D. Scott Kenik: The Blueprint for a No-Stress Retirement

Retirement has always been perceived as the closing chapter. In reality, retirement is a fresh start, a new beginning – a gateway to personal growth, learnings, and the chance to explore life beyond the boundaries of work.

However, due to lack of understanding and inefficacy concerning retirement planning, many individuals find themselves grappling with financial and emotional burdens. Rather than basking in the opportunities that retirement can offer, they are ensnared by stress and uncertainty.

D. Scott Kenik saw first-hand the ill effects of misguided and misinformed financial decisions, one that majorly impacted his family and his eventual life choices.

Today, as the Founder and Principal of Wealth Concepts Group, Scott provides families with innovative financial strategies that enables them to lead a safe and stress-free retirement life.

Over the years, he has designed a unique No-Stress Retirement Plan that eliminates market risk and creates guaranteed, lifetime income streams. In addition to protecting the future of his clients, Scott empowers them with valuable financial insights and clarity.

Fittingly, D. Scott Kenik features as the Cover of our Transformational Leader in Finance. Herein, we look into his journey from being an accomplished photographer to becoming a leading financial professional.

A Passion Forged in Photography

For Scott, his formative years were centered around his love and passion for photography. The lessons learned along this path inspired and created the foundation for his current financial vocation.

He recalls, “I remember playing photographer as a child using an old kodak camera without film and my younger sister as the model. For some unknown reason, I was fascinated with photography even at a young age.”

A few years later, Scott began going to a local Boy’s Club. During each trip, he passed by a photography lab and each time he tried entering the door, it was locked.

One day, however, the door did crack open – literally and metaphorically. The opening of that dark mysterious lab marked the beginning of a life-long odyssey that would go on to shape his life in more ways than one.

By the age of 13, as part of his volunteer work, he began teaching photography to the younger members of the Boy’s Club, all the while still continuing his dabbles in the photo lab – learning, tinkering, and exploring. By the age of 14, photography was no longer something that Scott was just interested in; photography became his passion.

He started gaining professional experiences and subsequently, went on to become the unofficial photographer at his high school. He remembers, “I even landed a gig with the studio that was hired to do the photography for the yearbook.”

“I was the first ever student hired by the studio to do photography for his own school’s yearbook,” he proudly adds.

Eventually, Scott graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a science degree in photography, while working professionally throughout those years and gaining invaluable experience.

Soon after, he opened his own architectural photography studio, wherein he was working for many of the top architectural firms and real estate developers in the area.

Looking back, he mentions that his love for photography gave him a strong sense of confidence and self-worth. More importantly, it was the genesis of his love for teaching and helping others. “My volunteer work at the Boy’s club taught me how valuable and fulfilling it was to help others and how much I enjoy teaching, both of which are now staples of my financial services agency some 45 years later.”

Pivoting Towards Financial Security

After working successfully with his photography studio for many years, the emergence of a real estate crisis spearheaded a domino effect that led to the economic downfall of the entire nation. “The real estate crash devastated the country’s economy and my business. My architectural clients had no work, which meant that I didn’t as well.”

Scott then entered the finance space in 1995, selling life insurance, health insurance, and disability insurance. He spent several years working for an administration company, wherein he taught financial advisors from some of the biggest companies – Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Prudential, and more – about 401(k) retirement plan design. He went on to help Metropolitan Life (MetLife) launch a new retirement program,

As a financial professional, Scott had a deep understanding of the complexities in the financial world. Moreover, he was determined to help people gain financial security and decided to start his own practice.

When he decided to open his practice, Scott had two set parameters: 1. He wanted to be a specialist. 2. That specialty was to be retirement planning.

Retirement Planning Specialist

Scott explains that the concept of wanting to be a specialist was drawn from his experiences working with advisors from big investment firms.

“In meeting after meeting, it became clear to me that most advisors were generalists. They knew a little about a lot of investment topics, but for the most part, they were not experts in any segment. Which meant that they were not fully educated about all the benefits, options, and features, and therefore their clients may not be getting the best possible solution,” he further explains.

For Scott, choosing retirement planning as his specialization was based on two important events in his life: 1. The stock market crash in 2008. He saw his retirement account plunging down, as was the case for his friends and associates. 2. The second event was the financial concerns of his parents.

Following the passing of his father, Scott’s mother confessed that they had lost a major portion of their retirement income in the stock market. She was concerned to a point where she doubted if she had enough money to survive.

This came as a revelation to Scott as he considered his parents to be highly successful. “They built up a nice nest egg and spent much of their retirement taking seminars and learning about investing in the stock market, and they traded their own accounts to supplement their Social Security income.”

These were smart, educated people who dedicated a lot of their time to learn about investing. Even then, there were visible gaps. Instead of enjoying her golden years, Scott’s mother was pinching every penny, hoping for her money to last.

Having seen these experiences first-hand, Scott felt that it was essential to specialize in retirement planning and fill those visible financial gaps.

“In these uncertain times of high volatility, people watch helplessly as their retirement plan balances plunge. For many, these losses mean that they can no longer afford to retire or stay retired. Among them are those who have lost spouses and who have no financial plan at all.”

He continues, “These financial problems wouldn’t have happened if folks had structured a proper retirement plan that shielded them from market losses and provided lifetime income to protect their lifestyle. That’s exactly what I do for our clients. They sleep better at night knowing that they are protected, and I do as well.”

No Stress Retirement Roadmap book cover by D. Scott Kenik
Buy this bestseller by D. Scott Kenik

No-Stress Retirement

As the Founder and Principal of Wealth Concepts Group, a financial firm specializing in creating safe and effective retirement plans, Scott Kenik offers his No-Stress Retirement Plan that is structured for growth, safety, income, liquidly and tax efficiency. He explains this as a 3-stage process:

  • Build retirement wealth effectively in your working years.
  • Transition your financial strategy from “growth with risk” to “income and safety” when in retirement.
  • Retire with prosperity, stability, and peace of mind regarding your finances.

The philosophy of the firm is based on the belief that a steady, disciplined, and low-cost path with proven strategies will always serve you better than a lifetime of risk, volatility, and second-guessing. Wealth Concepts Group focuses on teaching its clients how to protect against market loss, reduce taxation, and lower fees while increasing and safeguarding their hard-earned assets.

He assertively mentions, “I consider myself an educator more than a salesman. I show clients the pros and cons of various options and let them choice what is best for their situation.”

For each client, Scott takes a very hands-on approach throughout the entire cycle – from the initial discovery and planning to the final completion and resolution. Moreover, he focuses on getting to know the client, the family, their needs, lifestyle, goals, and their aspirations. “All too often advisors focus solely on the money not on the people who worked decades to build their assets.”

Talking about maintaining work-life balance, he claims it to be the hard part. “Being a business owner, the mentality of taking the work when you can get it is hard to overcome. With the high volatility in the economy and market, clients are in desperate need of our solutions, and it can be overwhelming. I often work more hours than I prefer, but helping clients is the main goal.”

Finance and Beyond

When it comes to finance, Scott guides leaders and entrepreneurs to not solely focus on professional financial needs. Instead, one should also pay attention to their personal needs, both current and in retirement.

To help individuals as well as entrepreneurs understand and avoid potential problems related to finances and retirement, Scott has written four financial books. Among which, his book No-Stress Retirement Roadmap is an Amazon #1 Bestseller. “My books cover numerous financial topics that can have major influences on making retirement a success.”

Going forward, Scott envisions helping more clients protect their hard-earned assets and to have a prosperous, safe, and no-stress retirement. Most importantly, he plans to continue writing books to impact the lives of many more people.

Founder and Principal · Wealth Concepts Group

Read Digital Version of the issue.

Visit Wealth Concepts Group Website.

Contact D. Scott Kenik on LinkedIn.

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