Some people just need a reality check when it comes to understanding their retirement. Today, we’ll explore why a realistic approach to retirement, inclusive of financial planning and the potential for unexpected challenges, is crucial.


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More About This Episode:

We’ll take a look at four different examples of times when expectations don’t match up with reality for pilots, and Ryan will share his expertise to help you get a better understanding of the complexities that we address in planning.


Here’s what we cover in this episode:

0:00 – Intro and personal up

2:06 – Manage your expectations

6:02 – Changing expenses

12:05 – Making adjustments

14:04 – Don’t be too proud to get help



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Episode Transcription:

(Note, this is an automated transcription. Please forgive any errors.)

Walter Storholt  00:00

You know, some people just need a reality check when it comes to understanding their retirement and today we’re gonna explore why a realistic approach to retirement, inclusive of financial planning and the potential for unexpected challenges is so crucial. On today’s episode with Ryan we’re tackling expectation versus reality sorting through the truth of it for retirement planning. Ryan we’re back for another episode. How’s life been treating him a friend?


Ryan Fleming  00:29

Well, here we go. Well, I guess you know, most of my clients know about this because I did send out a video but life has been happening to me quite a bit lately. Just give you a little, little brief, you know, overview of what’s going on my, my mom is went to the emergency room, they put her in the ICU, she was in a medically induced coma for over a week. finally have her awake now, but she’s still nice you. And that’s been tough. My lab Chuck, many of you guys know, Chuck, Chuck’s stopped eating and we thought he wasn’t going to make it. So it’s, it’s been been one of those things, you know, and I take a lot of pride when, you know, being there when a lot of my clients will reach out to me when life happens, because a lot of that involves needing to get access to finances, and, and life’s been happening to me lately. So, you know, the whole expectation, what we’re about to talk about on the show is, everything’s gonna be perfect. You’re gonna keep your medical till you’re 65. And nothing bad’s gonna happen. But that’s not reality. And so you gotta plan for the bad stuff as well. Yeah,


Walter Storholt  01:33

no matter how long things have been running smoothly for you, there can be things that crop up in your life that all of a sudden create all sorts of confusion. And, you know, the best laid plans can can go to waste and be changed on a dime. And you’ve had a taste of that. I guess it sounds like over the last couple of weeks here, right. So we’re thinking about you, and hope you and your family and everybody gets through this. Okay. Well,


Ryan Fleming  01:56

I appreciate that, Walter, and I definitely didn’t want it to be a sad episode. So we’re going to turn up the notch, we’re going to have a little bit of fun. We’re going to talk about some of these issues. And then by the time we get off this, it’ll be we’ll sing Kumbaya and have a good time. I


Walter Storholt  02:08

love it. All right, well, let’s pick up the pace here with our expectation versus reality conversation. And we’ve got at least four good examples or four different ways that these expectations often don’t meet reality. And I’m interested to hear your perspective on this Ryan to see maybe even in the pilot community, is there are there even more examples of this or where you specifically see this among pilots, I think there should be a bit of fun to tackle here because you kind of I don’t know, this isn’t a griping episode, but you’ll get the chance to kind of, you know, you have to give tough love sometimes. And I think whenever you’re trying to bring somebody’s expectations back to reality, that is kind of an example of tough love.


Ryan Fleming  02:42

Well, you know, I like to use tough love. I say that time so we’re gonna we’re born


Walter Storholt  02:46

and bred and tough love my friend. Yeah, exactly. All right. So the first thing and this might seem like an obvious one, but we’ve got to include is manage those expectations. That’ll help bring us back into alignment with reality. What does that typically look like for you? What kind of managing of expectations are you doing with clients?


Ryan Fleming  03:04

Obviously, the day that you retire, you immediately just get zapped to like some Caribbean beach, you know, you’re in, you’re in a swim trunks. And suddenly, you have a 30 year olds body and you’re all ripped, and you’re holding your wife’s hand, and probably have a cocktail in your hand, too. Isn’t that reality?


Walter Storholt  03:21

That sounds pretty good. I think you’re describing Larry Fedora one of our previous podcasts, yes.


Ryan Fleming  03:27

Yeah, he’s kind of a jerk to be that old and look as good as he does. Yeah, no kidding. But it takes takes a little work. But no, I mean, the funny part about pilots is I, you know, we, we, first of all, we don’t really ever think about, Hey, what is retirement really going to look like, because it’s more of him. I’m tired of flying the line, I’m tired of being on the road. And we don’t really understand, like, when you all of a sudden don’t have a trip next week or next month, things really change. And one of the things I talked about with pilots is the beauty of our job as you can practice retirement. And what I mean by that is say you’re 62. And you’re kind of done well, that might be a time to start walking the throttles back and just flying a little bit less. Because the reality is your wife or significant other does not like you that much. You’ve been gone for half the month for the last 20 some years. And she or he is not ready to see you every single day you got to ease into that because it’s a drastic lifestyle change. And it does take an independent person to be married to an aviator. So one of the first things I would say as managing expectations is you kind of got to reintroduce yourself to the spouse, where you’re going to be home a lot more. So that’s the first thing I would say that


Walter Storholt  04:37

I mean, that’s a really big one. I guess as you’re managing expectations, too. It’s not just how you’re going to spend time with your significant other but your own time as well. And I’m thinking too about just like changes in your lifestyle and community. And I’ve seen my parents go through this right now Ryan, where they retired and moved from the state of North Carolina to the state of Maine, and that’s where they’ve always wanted to live and they were so excited. They’ve got a great place, but it needs a lot of fixing up, they’re in the middle of renovations right now, they also left their church and all their friends that were connected to work. And there pretty much other than my grandparents being nearby, they’re starting all of that over. And, you know, I think expectations was that was all gonna fall into place really easily when they didn’t have work to worry about anymore. But it still carries stress and complications and new challenges that people maybe don’t always know to be on the lookout for?


Ryan Fleming  05:25

Well, and that’s a great point, because we have a lot of pilots that their plan is when they retirement retire, they’re going to move away from that hub, well, whether it’s Dallas, Memphis, Chicago, whatever it might be, that the plan is, hey, we’re all going to Florida, we’re gonna go do this. And the reality is, you’re gonna go from seeing all those crew members that you’re really great friends with, or people at the club where you live, to not seeing them at all, you might be in that warmer state, you might be in that tax free state, but suddenly, your whole support system is no longer there. And yeah, you’re starting over. And that is tough.


Walter Storholt  05:57

Well, that’s the softer side, I suppose of that expectation of what retirement is going to be like, and then maybe where it doesn’t always align or match up. Let’s talk about the financial side of that equation. So kind of our second point of expectations and reality, when it comes to changing expensive, some things are gonna go up, and some things are gonna go down. And I don’t know, maybe a few things will stay the same. But people often I feel like are a little bit out of alignment, based on the feedback I’ve heard from from you over the years when it comes to that, Ryan? Well,


Ryan Fleming  06:26

I think there’s a lot of differences. And of course, every couple is a little bit different. But one of the things I talk about with my clients, and I actually just got off a zoom call with a client, you know, if you’re going to, if you’re going to try to retire before full retirement age or before 65, it’s a much bigger decision than you realize, because you’re gonna have to start paying for health care. And a lot of a lot of our pilot clients that finished up in the military, well, guess what, they’ll have TRICARE and they’ll be fine, they might be able to retire before 65. We’re on the other side of the equation, they start seeing how much they have to pay in health care to retire early. And they’re like, and I think I’m gonna be flying the line for a few more years, because healthcare is a major cost, especially when the company is no longer paying for it.


Walter Storholt  07:12

Yeah, I can’t imagine, mean retirement planning is all about filling the gaps, right. And that’s got to be one of the biggest ones that pilots face due to the maybe earlier retirements that they’re often aiming for and or subjected to due to various reasons. So that’s got to be a huge one. And then what about I know every airline is going to be different. But I imagine you’ve got some of your expenses covered by the airline that no longer will be the case when you retire.


Ryan Fleming  07:36

Well, yeah, for sure. I mean, now, son, you’re I mean, pilots tend to jump seat, but there’s easier, like cheap ways to get around, and all those benefits are going to go away. So yeah, commuting to work might not be a thing anymore. But just meeting up with your family for vacation, you’re not going to have the same benefits, you’re not going to be a known crew member. So that’s more of a quality of life life issue. But one of the things that I see is, you know, pilots, when they’re working, they make this income. So whenever they are home, hey, let’s spend time with the family, let’s go out to eat, let’s take advantage of the things well, once you’re in retirement, you’re not gone for a week, you’re not gone for 10 to 12 days, you’re around the whole time, making less money. And you might be used to going out to lunch or going out to dinner all the time. And now you got to really figure that into your monthly expenses, because you are going to be on a fixed budget going forward, you got a


Walter Storholt  08:27

great a great point, you see a lot of pilots just going kind of going ham in their off time, because it’s in such a condensed period, and then they’re going to be gone for so long. So let’s go nuts while I’m home. And then you know, you get to retirement, you can’t live everyday like that you’re gonna get in pretty quick trouble. Well,


Ryan Fleming  08:44

it’s a real factor. I mean, it’s like, hey, you know, I’m leaving Friday. So we might as well go out today, and let’s live it up and spend some quality time or it’s date night. Well guess what date night can happen every night or you’re going to have a budget problem. And I think that’s a reality that a lot of folks don’t really think about because they’re not always the lifestyle change of not being on the road as much or when you are on the road. You get used to eating out and you get per diem and all these other things to pay for that. Yeah, all those things go away. Hey,


Walter Storholt  09:12

real quick break from the podcast, we want to talk to you about the retirement toolkit. If you have not gotten your copy yet of the toolkit, listen up closely because Ryan is gonna give us the details of what’s in the toolkit. You even have one on hand Ryan that we can show people and some of the things that are inside of it and what kind of information can people learn?


Ryan Fleming  09:30

Yeah, absolutely. If you go to retire You can get a free retirement toolkit and we actually give you a free analysis of your portfolio so you can really see what’s going on. But as you can see, we got some air mail here. Nice. That’s what the toolkit looks like. Some of the things that are in there. There’s a couple tax planning strategies with Zack Smith the pilot tax, we look at long term records where we’ve got a 21 year track record of outperforming the s&p 500 get certified I can show you that. And of course, I write these with big Kranz big fat France for pilots. I mean, there’s some Marines and army aviators out there. But I got a couple books, a couple books, I’ve written that you’re going to get to talk about retirement planning how you shouldn’t plan for your retirement, talking about taxes and tax planning, some other goodies, other goodies, advice matters, how to let an advisor help you out some of the data behind how much more you will have in retirement, if you hire a professional, what we try to do is to try to get pilots not to speculate and gamble their money, and why I want to give you all the tools, you need to not do that. Look at the data. It’s completely free. We’re here to help you out. Very cool. So


Walter Storholt  10:43

this is a free toolkit that you’re going to get. And I don’t want to gloss over that fact that you mentioned at the beginning. It also comes with a free portfolio analysis that you’ll do after people get the toolkit. Yeah, absolutely.


Ryan Fleming  10:52

I mean, if you have no interest in doing anything else, and you just want the free move materials, I’ll put your name right here, we’ll send it out to you. But yes, you do get a free portfolio analysis, I think most of the people after they see the content, it’s in there and read the book, they want to they want to talk to us, and we can analyze your portfolio. See if we can add any value, the numbers don’t lie. I mean, we’re gonna find out if we can add value. And we’ll get on a zoom call with you, we’ll go through it, we’ll teach you we’ll show you the numbers. And I like to call that the IQ test. At some point, the numbers don’t lie, and you look at and go, Hey, if we can help you out, you know, and do something better. If there’s a better way. Well, let’s help you implement that strategy.


Walter Storholt  11:32

Very good. So no obligation to work together. But you definitely get the free toolkit, great resource information. And then if you want to take next steps for that portfolio analysis, you get that as well. So a lot of great freebies there, Ryan, we appreciate you offering those to folks in the first place. I know a lot of people throughout the existence of this show have ordered them over the years. But we’ve still got a good chunk of folks that probably are new to the show, or haven’t gotten their copy of the retirement toolkit. So be sure to get yours again, the way to get it is to go to retire. That’s retire And right there on the homepage, you’re going to see an opportunity to get that toolkit. We’ll also link to it directly in the description of today’s episode. So look for it there as well. That’s your retirement toolkit here on the pilots advisor. Thanks, Ryan. Well, that leads us perfectly into our third point here, Ryan. So we’ve got the softer side, we’ve got the money and the financial side of that retirement adjustment period, and what those expectations versus reality look like. So tip number three is you kind of mentioned it be ready to adjust, you have the plan, the plan may not go according to what you thought it was gonna be. So you now need to be ready to adjust. What kinds of adjustments are you typically trying to help people make? Well,


Ryan Fleming  12:39

and this is such a huge thing in retirement income planning. I mean, we have a plan of hey, here’s what your monthly expenses might look like or should look like. And we try to plan for the best case scenario. But taxes are going to change. Okay, maybe, you know, life happens, and you’re going to take out more money that you didn’t think you’re going to need to and suddenly you’re in a different tax bracket, where you can’t just go fly an extra trip and make up for that, you know, and that’s why it’s so important in the distribution phase of retirement to constantly be looking at analyzing, seeing what your safe withdrawal rate is seeing how the markets affected your retirement savings for that year or the prior year, and resetting and of course, there’s that great quote of I don’t know if you guys are Mike Tyson fans always thought he was great. But he always said everybody has a plan until they get punched right in the mouth. That’s right. And then it’s like, oh, here we go. You know, now now it’s life.


Walter Storholt  13:31

That’s life. Isn’t that you? Were you were just alluding to that at the beginning of the show of kind of how that goes.


Ryan Fleming  13:35

Yeah, so now it’s time to fight. So so now I think I think the distribution phase is so much more complicated. pilots know they have to save for retirement, but they don’t understand how taxes are going to play into the distribution phase. And, and it’s not just saving and hoping you have time to grow your assets. Now, you’re truly having to analyze and reset, analyze, reset, and balancing the gogo years versus the no go years. Okay, I want you to have a little bit of fun, maybe you’re taking a little bit of withdrawal rate, but it’s time to slow down or, or your medical expenses are going to start increasing. So there’s a lot of things to think about. Yep.


Walter Storholt  14:11

Big time, Ryan. Alright, let’s get to our final point here. You know, it’s often because people are trying to do this whole planning thing on their own, that they then get to retirement and it’s a reason why the expectations don’t match reality. So tip number four, don’t be too proud to get some help. If you have professional help along the way. It’s going to make it so that you don’t have to adjust as much once you retire. And you’re going to be able to have a more close alignment of your expectation and reality in retirement because you’ve planned in a proper fashion. Well,


Ryan Fleming  14:41

planning is everything and you know, that’s why the more aggressively you save, you’re going to be in a better position just because you can’t go back to work after you know an airline pilot in most cases, besides some, some small things that you can do. You can’t just go keep flying. I mean, you retire out from an age perspective and you Making sure like I know a lot of pilots that do their taxes by themselves. And I’m like, Oh my God, you’re missing out on certain things that you probably know that the tax code changes so much year to year, you’re missing out on something that you would definitely help you. But strategic tax planning, I mean, getting to retirement with different pots of money and a lot more tax, never money is going to give you that flexibility between tax deferred money and tax, never money to not only control your tax brackets. But the other thing I see is, where’s your CPA so we can see what tax bracket you’re in right now. And how much we can either convert or start taking off so that we don’t get hit so hard with RMDs. And you know, your sweet spot between that is whenever you retire, or 65 and your RMD age, what’s your plan? If you haven’t thought about these things, or you don’t know what an RMD is? Or you don’t know what this funding because nobody does. If you don’t know what your tax brackets are going to look like in retirement. Well, guess what? It’s time to call us it’s time to start planning because that you know, having a plan is going to help you out.


Walter Storholt  16:02

Yeah, if you’re a pilot, you’ve never been through the formal planning process or even if you think you have a plan, but you still have a lot of question marks or some uncertainties surrounding your confidence level about getting to and not just to retire, but all the way through it as well all the way through the journey and to the destinations that you have in mind for your retirement goals. Don’t hesitate to reach out or talk to Ryan about those specifics. He is the pilots advisor of course, you can call or text him at 843-475-3038 That’s 843-475-3038 you can also go online to retire and find all sorts of great information there on the website. You can get your retirement toolkit there on retire packed with great information to help you get ready for retirement, lots of other good resources, including some great videos and courses, all that good stuff available to you there. Speaking of videos, don’t forget to subscribe to the YouTube channel. If you have not yet not only is the pilot’s advisor, an audio podcast, but we now have a video version on YouTube. And we put out all sorts of shorts and other good content there as well. So go check that out when you have a moment and subscribe so you don’t miss an episode. Ryan, thank you for all the help on the episode today. Appreciate you taking the time out to chat with us and we’ll look forward to catching up with you again soon.


Ryan Fleming  17:14

Thank you, Walter. Thank you for all the amazing work that your team does. I appreciate you keeping me awake today. I feel like I just got done with a 12 hour leg. I’m ready for bed Walter and I normally record in the mornings we’re doing late afternoon. And it’s on a Monday but it feels like a Monday and I’m dragging so right there. Thanks for keeping me going and like I said thanks for all the great work that your your team does talk to all your clients prospects out there you guys fly safe