Smart Planning
Roy Williams, author and CEO of Prestige Wealth Management Group, works with clients to help them achieve financial security for the future
by Jenny Graham

Roy Williams, ChFC, always knew he wanted to help people. Williams, CEO and wealth advisor with Prestige Wealth Management Group, actually thought he would pursue a career in social work. Yet Williams thought he could better serve his community by helping people pursue and achieve their financial and life goals.

To this end, Williams went on to earn a ChFC designation through The American College of Financial Services in Bryn Mawr after receiving his undergraduate degree in business from Lycoming College in Williamsport. Today, he brings more than 30 years of professional experience in financial planning and investment management to his clients at Prestige Wealth Management Group.

“At our firm, we work with individuals, executives, managers and small-business owners and their families,” says Williams. He notes that an additional benefit for many clients is Prestige’s willingness to share wealth advisors’ knowledge with a client’s children or additional family members.

“Whether a person is planning to retire or just move on to the next phase in their life, we want to make an impactful difference with them and their family,” he says.

Having said this, Williams does have a particular expertise when it comes to retirement planning.

“More than 10,000 people are turning 65 every day,” he says. “So we want to make sure [those retirees] have all the tools they need to make the right decisions.”

Williams’ drive to help others reach their financial goals also spurred him to pen his first book, “Only Retire Once: How to Avoid the 9 Deadly Mistakes of Retirement.”

“I give tips in the book on how to transition into retirement,” Williams says, noting, “Socially, women are better at transitioning into retirement than men. As a group, men just have a lot more difficulty transitioning to [retirement].

“The best time to start [planning] is when you first graduate college,” he continues. “You pay yourself first: This means that you put money away for retirement before you go out and buy a fancy car.”

Williams notes that such sage advice has been of personal benefit to his own loved ones. “My son owned a home a lot earlier than his friends because he didn’t have a $3,000 car-insurance bill and a $600- or $700-a-month car payment,” he says.

When looking to spend one’s golden years in financial security, planning for the future is paramount.  Williams observes, “We’ve seen people who spend more time thinking about what color car they’re going to buy than planning for retirement.”

One of the biggest mistakes a person can make, according to Williams, is underestimating the expenses that an individual will incur after retirement. This includes costs such as health care, utilities, travel, life staples such as food and clothing, even small things people might not take into account such as Christmas gifts or birthday presents for future grandchildren.

“When a person retired in 1997, they were paying $30 a month for health care. Now average costs are around $700 per month,” Williams says. “A lot of people don’t consider things that will come up in their retirement; they don’t consider needing to buy a new roof or a new air conditioning unit or providing financial help to family members. … So that’s where people fail—they fail to plan and have a plan that is bulletproof. It’s then that they get in trouble.”

Such “trouble” can manifest in a number of life-altering ways. “We’ve seen people retire too early, when they didn’t have enough money saved; suddenly, now they have to sell their home,” he says. “One should also think about where to retire. For example, Pennsylvania is a great state for retirees because they don’t tax pensions or retirement distributions.”

Facets of the aforementioned issue are amongst the “9 Deadly Mistakes of Retirement” Williams mentions in his book—specifically, outliving one’s savings. This can include underestimating health care costs, inconsistent income and unrealistic spending expectations. Such spending expectations, along with debt and failing to plan for the life a person wants to live, can also leave a retiree in the lurch. For this reason Williams advises people to “budget for the unexpected,” such as the extended care of a loved one.

“God forbid one spouse has an illness or requires extended long-term care,” he says. “This could leave the other spouse to live in a very challenging financial situation.”

Selecting the wrong Social Security benefits can also hurt a person financially.

“Sometimes if a person claims benefits too early, it can cost them upwards of $100,000 in lost benefit,” Williams says. “If one waited until they reached age 70, then over their lifetime they would have had additional dollars.”

Other common pitfalls include overpaying taxes, failing to plan the succession of the family business, and having a negative attitude.

“We’ve always, as a firm, wanted to learn and grow,” he says. “That’s always been the philosophy: to learn and grow to enhance our clients’ experiences.”

Fittingly, Williams’ altruistic business and personal goals stretch outside the world of finance. A member of the Financial Planning Association and the Society of Financial Service Professionals, Williams is an active family man and community pillar. He is a member of the Hunterdon County Chamber of Commerce and the 200 Club of Flemington, which supports police, firefighters and EMTs. He also participates in fundraising activities for local organizations such as the Bonnie Brae School, Residential Treatment Center and the Hunterdon Medical Center. Lastly, he is a former board member of Hunterdon’s SAFE, an organization designed to empower and uplift survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse, both adults and children.

Of particular note, proceeds from the sale of Williams’ book, which is available for purchase at, are going to benefit to the Williams Family Make-A-Difference Foundation, which provides assistance to charities that support veterans through job training, children with learning challenges, seniors in need of medical or rehabilitative care, and abused women and children.

The goal of the Williams Family Make-A-Difference Foundation mirrors Williams’ own goal in life: “We’re really trying to contribute, to make a difference and help people.”

Prestige Wealth Management Group

31 State Route 12
Flemington, NJ 08822

Schoolhouse Plaza
374 Millburn Avenue
Millburn, NJ 07041

31 Ocean Reef Drive, Suite C-208
Key Largo, FL 33037

Photograph by Kim Billingsley