145 N. Lakeshore Drive, Suite 9, Lake Junaluska, NC 28745

More about R. Joseph Ritter, Jr. CFP® EA

On most any day in the office, I am not working. I enjoy what I do, and for that reason, it’s not work to me, even though on my days my brain gets a good workout. I am one of those weird people who love taxes … well, tax planning, that is … not paying taxes. Nobody likes paying taxes. Because I enjoy what I do, I’m not staring at the clock hoping for 5pm.

I am a 1996 graduate of Indian River Community College, Ft. Pierce, Florida, a 1998 graduate of Palm Beach Atlantic University, West Palm Beach, Florida, and a 2013 graduate of Florida State University. My education includes an A.A. degree in Business Administration, a B.S. degree in Business Management, and Certificate in Financial Planning. Within the Business Management major, I took advanced accounting courses and had a significant interest in business finance. (Fun fact 1: I only live in a dorm one semester and couldn’t handle it. I was fortunate enough to live with my parents and save a lot of money!) (Fun fact 2: In my senior year, I wanted to change my major to Business Finance, but my advisor talked me about of it. But although I love taxes, accounting and numbers, I am terrible at algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus.)

From 1996 to 1998, I was employed by Thomas N. Silverman, P.A., a Florida Bar board certified tax attorney, in Palm Beach Gardens Florida. I returned to work for Mr. Silverman in 2004 as a Senior Paralegal. Through the end of 2013, my role was to conduct advanced legal research, prepare legal documents for attorney review, and administer probate and trust proceedings. My specialties were tax research, real estate contracts, probate and trust administration, managing corporate books and documents for our business clients, and fiduciary accountings. The largest fiduciary accounting project I was responsible for was a $100 million estate with assets around the world. (Fun fact: My first choice for graduate school was law school, and my desire was in environmental law. Regrettably, I decided not to pursue law school.)

Since 2014, I have freelanced with Charles T. Weiss, P.A., a Florida Bar board certified attorney in wills, trusts and estates of North Palm Beach, Florida. His office sends me their fiduciary accountings to prepare and handle any other need his office has. The association provides me with ongoing access to one of the most capable attorneys in the nation in tax matters and probate litigation.

In 2012, I started pursuing the CFP® Professional and achieved the Certificate in Financial Planning (a 2 year program) within one year. (Fun fact: Studying for the exam was the first time I spent multiple nights away from home, and I connected with my children one evening watching the movie Planet 51 over the phone. They were watching it at home, and I found it on the hotel room TV. They now hate the movie, but it brings back memories for me!)

My driving motivation to improve myself was to consider changing careers away from the legal field and out of concern because Mr. Silverman was nearing retirement. Initially, I started Zacchaeus Financial Counseling, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, because I had hoped it would provide full-time clientele. Mr. Silverman’s practice was geared toward high net worth clients, and I was becoming disillusioned at not ever being able to help struggling families. My desire was to start my own business assisting those who truly needed professional help especially in financial counseling. However, I constantly had people asking me for help with taxes, so my practice today is very tax heavy, though I still do a fair amount of financial counseling and financial planning through Zacchaeus Financial Counseling.

My specialty is helping small businesses run by families who rely on the business for their sole income. Still, we’re also equipped to work with multi-million dollar clients.

My hometown is Crisfield, MD, but as a pastor’s kid, we lived in quite a few places in my growing up years. The longest place I lived was South Florida for 23 years, starting when I was entering the tenth grade. I was married in 1999, and together, we have four children, two boys and two girls. We relocated to Waynesville, North Carolina in 2018 to escape the Florida hurricanes, heat and traffic, and we felt Waynesville is the place we are called to be. (Fun fact: I always wanted to purchase a particular home in Crisfield, MD which had great significance in my childhood, but it was destroyed in Hurricane Sandy.)

I started Somerset Tax Partners, LLC at the request of our liability insurance carrier to separate out our tax work from financial planning and to accommodate business clients who were requesting my assistance. Today, our office has individual, business and fiduciary clients in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, Florida, Ohio, Arizona, Guatemala, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Virginia, Washington state, to name a few.

Outside the office, I enjoy kayaking on the beautiful Lake Junaluska, hiking, automotive mechanics, carpentry, and traveling. (Fun fact: Between my wife, daughter and son, we together have 7 Volvos. I am a member of Volvo Sports of America and Volvo Club of America and have been a Volvo enthusiast for more than 20 years. If you see me driving an old Volvo, it is because I am an enthusiast and enjoy seeing them preserved. Two of our vehicles have over 300,000 miles!)