2019 RPAY – The Parks Group at Graystone Consulting, Morgan Stanley

Tom Parks, founder of The Parks Group at Graystone Consulting in Milwaukee, says he became motivated to enter the retirement planning industry when he witnessed his parents work tirelessly to support their eight children, with his father working at an automotive company during the day and his mother at a grocery store at night. Parks’ parents could not afford to travel or go out to dinner—until his father retired with a retirement plan. “I witnessed firsthand the incredible importance of having a retirement plan nest egg that very directly impacted the quality of life for my parents post-retirement,” he says. “Upon entering the financial services marketplace many years ago, I was determined to help as many people as possible enjoy a successful, dignified retirement.”

Parks says that his practice has been successful because it continues to adapt to the ever-changing environment of retirement plans—the regulatory and legislative changes and the capital markets. “Accordingly, our team’s processes and structure are constantly evolving, making the adjustments necessary to fulfill our goal of delivering the highest level of retirement plan consulting in the industry today. To that end, each and every member of our team recognizes the importance of continued education as we all strive to expand our knowledge of the issues and challenges inherent in the retirement plan marketplace.”

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To improve retirement outcomes, The Parks Group recommends automatic enrollment at 6% rather than 3%, automatic escalation at 2% rather than 1%, and a stretch match to encourage employees to increase their savings. Parks says this has resulted in improved retirement outcomes for tens of thousands of hardworking individuals, in terms of their higher deferral rates and greater amassed savings.