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Carson Wealth Management Review

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This review was produced by SmartAsset based on publicly available information. The named firm and its financial professionals have not reviewed, approved, or endorsed this review and are not responsible for its accuracy. Review content is produced by SmartAsset independently of any business relationships that might exist between SmartAsset and the named firm and its financial professionals, and firms and financial professionals having business relationships with SmartAsset receive no special treatment or consideration in SmartAsset’s reviews. This page contains links to SmartAsset’s financial advisor matching tool, which may or may not match you with the firm mentioned in this review or its financial professionals.

Carson Wealth is a registered investment advisor that's based in Omaha, Nebraska, and has locations across the U.S. The firm is registered with the SEC under the name CWM. Its team of financial advisors provides investment management services, as well as financial planning and investment advice. Its client base includes individuals, high-net-worth families, foundations, endowments and institutional investors.

Carson Wealth Background

Carson Wealth was formed in 1983. It's wholly owned by Carson Group Holdings, LLC, which is majority held by Ron Carson. Carson is the the CEO and founder of Carson Group, and he has repeatedly been named a top advisor by Forbes, FinancialTimes, and Barron's.

Carson Wealth is one of three companies that comprise Carson Wealth Management Group. The other companies are Carson Group Coaching, a coaching program for wealth management firms, and Carson Group Partners, a program designed to help financial advisors grow their businesses. Carson Wealth is the division that provides wealth management to investors.

Carson Wealth is one of several names the division does business as. The firm has a number of partner offices that provide advisory services under different local business names.

Carson Wealth Client Types and Account Minimums

Carson Wealth is capable of working with individuals and high-net-worth individuals. It also serves pension and profit-sharing plans, trusts, estates, 401(k) sponsor plans, individual retirement accounts, charitable organizations, corporations and other business entities.

There is no account minimum at the firm, but certain investment strategies will have a minimum investment.

Services Offered by Carson Wealth

Carson says its primary focus is managing its clients' investment portfolios. The firm provides asset management services on a discretionary basis through both wrap fee and non-wrap fee programs. It creates personalized investment plans based on clients' financial goals, risk tolerance and needs.

In addition, it offers the following services:

  • Financial planning
    • Focused Wealth Planning Program: for clients who don't need a full analysis of their financial situation
    • Traditional financial planning services: determines short-term objectives based on long-term goals
    • True Wealth Plans: a more robust service that includes retirement planning, education planning, planning for major purchases, life and disability insurance needs, long-term care needs and estate planning
  • Risk management
  • Estate planning
  • Tax planning 
  • Private trust services

Carson Wealth Investment Philosophy

The foundation of Carson Wealth's investment managed process is disciplined investment strategies. Carson offers its clients more than 20 proprietary investment strategies, which fall into one of six categories:

  • Irreplaceable Capital
  • Model
  • Yield
  • Growth
  • Specialty Strategies
  • Allocate

The strategy an advisor at Carson uses will depend on the client. Someone with a smaller account might not need advanced solutions, but advisors can also give extra support to those with high-net-worth accounts who need it. For those big accounts, some of the available options include separate accounts, bond ladders, alternative investments and hedging solutions. For people planning for retirement in the future, options like ETF allocation models are available.

Fees Under Carson Wealth

Asset Management Fees

Carson Wealth charges clients for its asset management services based on a percentage of assets under management. The annual fee is based on household accounts or the aggregate client assets under management, and it's paid quarterly, in advance. This asset-based fee can range from 1% up to 2.5% depending on the size of your accounts and the types of services you need.

Carson notes that fees are negotiable based on a variety of factors, including the representative managing the portfolio and the account's market value, complexity, asset types and level of trading activity. Investment advisor representatives may charge different fee rates for comparable services.

Financial Planning Fees

Carson's financial planning fees vary depending on which level of financial planning services a client selects. For traditional financial planning, Carson charges hourly or fixed fees. Hourly fees can range up to $500 an hour, depending on how complex a client's situation is. The minimum fixed fee is $500 and the maximum is $25,000, or more if a situation is particularly complex. Carson will provide clients either an estimate of the number of hours required to complete the service or the amount of the fixed fee will be specified in the financial planning agreement.

For True Wealth Financial Planning Program, Carson's most robust financial planning service, clients will be charged a one-time fee of 0.20% of the financial plan's total assets. However, clients who transfer assets to the firm to also receive investment advisory services within six months of the financial planning process will pay only 0.10% of the financial plan's total assets. The minimum fee is $3,500.

Focused Wealth Planning Program, Carson's most basic financial planning program, is offered to the firm's asset management clients at no additional charge.

What to Watch out For

Prospective clients should be aware that your advisor may either be an employee of Carson or an independent contractor. Advisors have the ability to negotiate fees charged for services, and thus different advisors may charge different rates for the same service. Also, while Carson does say that asset level factors into the fee rate charged, it does not disclose clear fee breakpoints like many of its competitors do, which makes it difficult to determine exactly how the firm’s fees stack up.

Additionally, some of Carson's advisor representatives are also registered representatives of a broker-dealer and/or insurance agents. When acting in these separate roles, the advisor may sell products on a commission basis, thus incentivizing them to recommend certain products. Additionally, the company is under common ownership with Carson Group Coaching, which has an insurance agency through which Carson  Wealth advisors may offer insurance products.

Neither Carson nor its advisory affiliates have faced disciplinary actions by government regulators.

Opening an Account With Carson Wealth

You can learn more about Carson Wealth's services by contacting one of the firm's primary offices. The firm provides each office's address and phone number on its website. To reach the firm for more information, you can call (888) 321-0808.

Before Carson begins providing investment advice, clients must sign an Investment Advisory Agreement, which outlines specific fees. In your initial meeting with your advisor, you'll complete a Confidential Client Profile, which will better define your level of risk tolerance and your long-term financial goals. This information will be used to create a specific asset allocation strategy and suitability profile.

Tips for Finding a Qualified Financial Advisor

  • Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can have a free introductory call with your advisor matches to decide which one you feel is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Note advisors' certifications, as these can be indicative of their area of expertise and level of experience. Two of the most prestiguous designations are the certified financial planner (CFP) and chartered financial consultant (ChFC), which require extensive coursework, a background check and a certain level of experience and education to obtain.

How Long $1mm Lasts in Retirement

SmartAsset's interactive map highlights places where $1 million will last the longest in retirement. Zoom between states and the national map to see the top spots in each region. Also, scroll over any city to learn about the cost of living in retirement for that location.

Rank City Housing Expenses Food Expenses Healthcare Expenses Utilities Expenses Transportation Expenses

Methodology We analyzed data on average expenditures for seniors, cost of living and investment returns to determine how many years of retirement a $1 million nest egg would cover in cities across America.

First, we looked at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on the average annual expenditures of seniors. We then applied cost of living data from the Council for Community and Economic Research to adjust those national average spending levels based on the costs of each expense category (housing, food, healthcare, utilities, transportation and other) in each city. Using this data, SmartAsset calculated the average cost of living for retirees in the largest U.S. cities.

We assumed the $1 million would grow at a real return (interest minus inflation) of 2%. Then, we divided $1 million by the sum of each of those annual numbers to determine how long $1 million would cover retirement expenses in each of the cities in our study. Cities where $1 million lasted the longest ranked the highest in the study.

Sources: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Council for Community and Economic Research