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Atlanta Financial Advisor Chosen 2019 National Social Security Advisor of the Year
Thursday, January 23, 2020

Faye Sykes

Faye Sykes

From left: Jim Blair and Marc Kiner of Premier Social Security Consulting in Cincinnati

From left: Jim Blair and Marc Kiner of Premier Social Security Consulting in Cincinnati teach the National Social Security Advisor program to professional advisors nationally so they can in turn help clients maximize lifetime Social Security benefits. (Paula Norton Photo)

The National Social Security Association in Cincinnati has selected Faye Sykes, NSSA, and CEO of Scarlet Oak Financial Services in Atlanta, Ha., as its National Social Security Advisor (NSSA®) Advisor of the Year.

The award was announced by Marc Kiner, board member of the National Social Security Association. Kiner is also a partner at Premier Social Security Consulting of Cincinnati, which teaches the NSSA Social Security Advisor certificate program to professional advisors across the nation.

"Faye is an NSSA advisor and Social Security expert who is dedicated to helping others," said Kiner. "Not only does she help her clients plan and invest to secure their financial futures, she coaches them how to maximize Social Security income. She also provides Social Security training and planning for CPAs and financial advisors and educates the public at large on Social Security by speaking to media, along with corporations, church memberships, and civic and philanthropic groups. Last year she spoke to more than 90 organizations nationally."

The NSSA program is the nation's only accredited Social Security education certificate program. Accreditation is provided by the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE) in Washington, C.D. The NSSA Advisor certificate is awarded to professional advisors who take the NSSA course and pass an assessment.

More than 2,000 professional advisors have been certified as National Social Security Advisors since the program began in 2013. NSSA Advisor certificate training will be offered in 10 cities across the nation in 2020.

A native of Madison, Wisc., Sykes graduated from Syracuse University and became a financial advisor in 2005 to learn more about investing and finance to help herself and others. In 2006, her mother became ill and Sykes became her caregiver. During that time, she also became interested in long-term care and began to focus her practice on Social Security retirement income planning.

An Investment Advisor Representative, (IAR), Sykes acts as a fiduciary for clients and works on a fee-based or fee-only basis that keeps her financial consultant role transparent and simple for clients. She is a Social Security expert who helps clients maximize their Social Security income.

She owns and operates two businesses: Scarlet Oak Financial Services, a full-service fiduciary investment and financial planning company; and Social Security Benefit Planners, a Social Security flat fee planning and consulting agency.

Forty-two percent of men and 48 percent of women nationwide take Social Security early, at 62 years old, said Sykes, citing Social Security Administration statistics. Claiming Social Security before Full Retirement Age means benefits are permanently reduced by 25 to 30 percent. Workers who defer taking Social Security until the age of 70 can boost their monthly Social Security benefit in many cases by thousands of dollars per year.

Sykes said a widow’s unfortunate situation is what kicked off her interest in learning about Social Security in depth. “The widow’s husband took Social Security early at age 62 and claimed his pension only over his lifetime, not hers,” said Sykes. “They had been married for about 40 years and she had been a stay-at-home mom and didn’t have a significant work record of her own.

"When he died eight months after retiring, she was financially devastated. Her income plummeted from $5,700 per month, which included his pension, Social Security, and a half- spousal benefit to $1,670 a month representing just his Social Security. Sadly, there was nothing I could do to help her. All the planning needed to be done on the front end.  In the end, she had to move in with one of her children to survive. Unfortunately, women are left with limited resources with little to no planning in many cases.  My goal as a retirement advisor is to help as many people maximize their Social Security retirement income and use financial tools available so they don’t outlive their money.”

Sykes said the NSSA certificate program that Kiner and Premier partner Jim Blair provide has been invaluable to her and her business.

"Jim Blair’s expertise with his 35 years with the Social Security Administration, and Marc Kiner’s experience as a CPA enhanced my knowledge of Social Security,” she said. “Most importantly, since I became a certified NSSA, I can contact either one of them if I have a scenario where I need some help. They’re always extremely helpful and available and will help me find the answers.

"I've found that the certification, too, is a credential that tells people you’ve taken the time to stay on top of the Social Security issue. I know I can’t individually help the 3.6 million workers who turn 65 and will claim Social Security this year, but having Jim and Marc available for consultation, along with their annual Social Security book, are invaluable sources. They do a fantastic, high-quality job.”

Sykes said she can’t stress enough how important it is for workers in their mid-50s to educate themselves about the Social Security program and work with a professional advisor who can help them determine the best age to claim, as well as how to coordinate spousal benefits.

"People would not call the IRS to get tax advice,” she said. “Social Security is another huge government agency very similar to the IRS, and you cannot get customized advice on how and when to claim Social Security properly. Tax code and Social Security code books are more than one-inch thick. Staff at both agencies are directed that they can only answer questions; they can’t give advice. Professional advisors who are experts in Social Security can give advice, see what you are qualified for, and help you maximize Social Security income.”

Sykes has volunteered in many organizations in the Atlanta area, including Senior Connections; Life Enrichment Senior Services; the Decatur Business Association; Decatur Arts Alliance; Kiwanis, as a Distinguished Past President; and a founding member, Lt. Governor and past president of the Atlanta Independent Women’s Network. She is also a charter member of a new Optimist Club forming in the Atlanta area and has just become a Big Sister to a foster child.

For more information on flat-fee planning with Social Security Benefit Planners, visit, email, or call (877) 270-7727.

Scarlett Oak Financial Services provides holistic financial planning and wealth building services to individuals and business owners as fee-only, as well as fee-based fiduciary. For more information, contact Sykes at or call (800) 871-1219.

For more information about the NSSA Advisor® certificate program, visit or call Kiner at (513) 247-0526.

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Blog Categories

  • General
    • 01/23/2020 - Atlanta Financial Advisor Chos
    • 11/01/2019 - National Social Security Advis
    • 10/23/2019 - Premier Social Security Consul
    • 09/11/2019 - Jim Blair helps to shed light
    • 07/15/2019 - Premier Social Security Consul
    • 09/20/2018 - NAIFA Conference Highlights th
    • 10/14/2016 - Baby Boomer Market
    • 11/28/2015 - Social Strategies
    • 11/28/2015 - Budget Bill Changes
    • 11/25/2015 - New Social Security Claiming S
    • 08/26/2015 - Expert Discussion with NSSA An
    • 08/26/2015 - NSSA Exhibits Missouri Society
    • 08/26/2015 - Financially Stable Retirement
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I hope all is well my friend. We filled up another 100 people last month and taught them all about social security, this is truly something special we have created to help out thousands of San Diegans and counting.
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Rich M, Texas
Social Security is complex program where the choice you make can mean thousands of dollars of extra earnings in retirement. Knowing these choices is important to my clients and NSSA [Certificate program] has increased my ability to guide them in the right direction.
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David T, Florida
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Barbara S, Colorado
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Adam H, Illinois
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Leslie C, Kentucky
Thank you and Jim for the incredible work and effort put into these webinars, videos etc, let alone this program. Really a blessing to have been directed to you. Karl W was absolutely right: you guys are class acts.
Alan K
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Rayyan A
Over the last 12 months since earning the NSSA Certificate I have brought in 40 additional clients and $400,000 in additional revenues.
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