Retirement planning doesn’t have to be overwhelmingly complicated. In fact, it doesn’t have to be as complicated as most people tend to make it. In this episode, we’re going to unravel some of the unnecessary complexities that are often woven into the fabric of retirement advice.

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More About This Episode:

Ryan will debunk some of the myths, simplify some strategies for us, and uncover the beauty of simplicity and straightforward planning. Pilots need to create redundant systems in retirement planning like they do when flying, and that’s what we want to highlight today.


Here’s what we cover in this episode:

0:00 – Intro

0:55 – Update on Ryan’s mom

2:57 – Who is responsible for complicating things?

6:54 – Traits that pilots possess

8:50 – Where pilots trip up the most

14:55 – Steps to simplify things

20:32 – How we help pilots simplify



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Episode Transcription:

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

Walter Storholt  00:00

Hey pilots, you know, retirement planning doesn’t have to be overwhelmingly complicated. In fact, it certainly doesn’t have to be as complicated as most people tend to make it. In this episode, we’re going to unravel some of the unnecessary complexities that are often woven into the fabric of retirement advice. And we’re gonna do is have Ryan, join us in debunk some of the myths, simplify some strategies for us, and uncovered the beauty of simplicity, and straightforward planning. Stay tuned can be a great episode. Hey, Ryan, it is great to be with you again. My friend. How’s life treating you?


Ryan Fleming  00:35

I’m doing well. Walter, how are you? I hope you had a good Mother’s Day weekend. How was it for you and your bride?


Walter Storholt  00:41

Yes, it was very good. We had a nice time visiting with loved ones and family. And we’ve gotten some extra family time over the last couple of weeks. And those we couldn’t be in touch with. We had some nice phone calls and things like that. So it was all good. I know that this must have been a different kind of Mother’s Day for you with everything that your family has been going through lately. And but maybe a reason to be extra extra grateful this year? Well,


Ryan Fleming  01:03

absolutely. I mean, you only have one, one person that brings you into this world, you only have one mom forever. So some good news with my mom, she actually is being moved from the ICU to a rehab facility. And finally starting to come back a little bit where I could talk to her. So I actually got to talk to her on Mother’s Day and wish her happy Mother’s Day and, and she asked him relevant questions and is the first time since she got put into a medically induced coma that I saw her personality that was her there. So that was good day. That’s great. That was good. And then had a nice Mother’s Day with my wife and our kids and, you know, life, we tend to not focus on all the good things we have, you know, we tend to focus on the bad things. And I think when when life happens, and bad things happen, you realize how blessed you really are? Oh,


Walter Storholt  01:53

absolutely, I think you’re absolutely right about that. Unfortunately, the negative things in our life tend to scream a little bit louder than the positive things. And we have to sometimes actively factor against that that happened to me recently, Ryan on a trip. And it was a, it was a very interesting trip. It was one of great learning experiences. It it had a ton of positives in it. But a few of the things that were bothersome or what I would call, I guess negatives just tend to make you feel like you have this really bad impression of the trip. And then you have to zoom out and say no, no, no, there was a lot to be thankful for and happy about with that experience in life. And we’ve had to do that a lot, don’t we?


Ryan Fleming  02:27

Well, absolutely. And you know, I’m more of a realist where my wife is always positive. Okay. And so you know, I think it’s nice to have a spouse like that, that gets you to focus on all the good things and all the things you have going for you versus Hey, this one bad thing happened? Or, Hey, why do you have a bad attitude of, you know, this random thing versus just looking at your overall life, you know, being married, Happy, Healthy Kids, healthy family, I mean, the things that really matter, you’re saying


Walter Storholt  02:53

balance is a good thing. I mean, amazing who would have done. Alright, let’s talk about the beauty of simplicity on today’s show Ryan, specifically about retirement planning. And, and first of all, let’s talk about advisors, and maybe just other maybe notable figures in the financial world, even if they’re not a true advisor, maybe media members, things like that, I do think that there’s this habit of making things harder than they need to be. And that that gets communicated to the average investor and saver. One


Ryan Fleming  03:20

of the hardest things for me to learn in this industry was that people don’t want to know how smart I am. And they don’t want to know how all the education that I’ve done to get where I am to understand these concepts. You know, the old old adage of keeping it simple, stupid, I don’t want to go into the weeds with my clients unless they want to go there, the better I do at keeping concepts and ideas and things that we’re doing and retirement simple is going to help those clients. One of the other thing that I think one of the other things that I think is a huge upside to what I do is because I am a pilot, I understand their lifestyle, I understand their 401k, I understand the insurance side of things, their retirement, and that makes it a lot easier for me because I understand it better. I don’t have to reinvent the wheel. I think a lot of other advisors that work with clients from all different industries, they have to, it’s a lot harder for them to truly understand, hey, I got this new client. And here’s what they do. And I need to really understand their 401 K plan and how their business model looks and how I don’t have to do any of that. I know it, I live it. And so it makes it a lot easier to to not only have that communication with my clients, but also to try to simplify it in a way that those pilots understand and understand how we can have some redundant systems in retirement just like we do in the airplane. I


Walter Storholt  04:40

mean, sometimes I think you can have intentional complication, right? Somebody wants to make it hard so that they do seem smarter, others that may be inadvertent, it’s just because they don’t know maybe that their client really wants things simplified. And so it sounds like you’ve done a lot of work to try and find that right level. I think something else it’s been interesting to watch over the yours has just been the technological improvements, both in finding more information and having access to technology software that helps us plan for retirement better. And I gotta imagine, there’s a lot of parallels to the, to the pilot world and to flying, where you guys have had technological improvements constantly that you have to keep up with. And I’m gonna guess that sometimes those improvements make things simpler. And sometimes it makes things a little bit more complicated.


Ryan Fleming  05:23

Well, absolutely, it’s both. It’s both scenarios. I mean, one of my biggest pet peeves is to watch some advisor, have some software where they spit out a 40 page, beautiful color PDF, for some client, which looks nice. Yeah, but it’s not really given them anything. That’s, that’s useful. You know, it’s just a bunch of data that’s spit out. And so once again, you know, yes, technology gives us a lot of these tools. But I feel like we’re going to do a lot better by picking through the stuff that really matters. I hate to say the cliff notes, but a lot of pilots want to know, the Cliff Notes can be the overall of what’s going on, or the most simplest of questions, am I going to be okay? Or where am I at? in planning for retirement? So, yes, with a lot of those tools out there, there’s some stuff that you can get some data that you don’t, normally or wouldn’t previously have access to. And I think once again, it comes back to taking all that data and then simplifying it for for our clients. And the thing that I would say, most pilots know, they have to save for retirement, they get that, okay, now, making sure that you have an efficient portfolio that’s given them the best returns until they retire is important. But I think the distribution phase to retirement is where the rubber really meets the road. And it’s much, much more complicated. And that’s where pilots really, really need an advisor to help them figure it out what pots of money to pull from the tax side of retirement, and tax planning leading up to retirement is a huge thing that most people don’t focus on. There’s


Walter Storholt  06:53

a psychological component, often to this too, is it was talking about things being too complicated for somebody or needing to simplify a little bit. And if we looked at all retirement planners as a whole, there’d be a range of different emotions or habits are just psychological components that would come into play. I’m just curious if you could narrow in on one in the world of pilots, that tends to be, I don’t know, a drag for most pilots, or a reason why some pilots struggle with this planning, or why they need so much help getting through it, is there a particular personality trait that you see pop up the most that either holds pilots back? Or maybe it’s a positive one that that helps them?


Ryan Fleming  07:31

Well, the first thing that I focused on is you were used the word drag, which, you know, pilots gonna understand, you know, having induced drag on the airplane, I


Walter Storholt  07:39

wish I was smart enough to have actually made that made made that connection and that pun there. But yeah, it was an accident.


Ryan Fleming  07:45

I think pilots are really guilty of procrastinating. I think that, you know, they’re, they’re flying around the world, or whatever they might do. And when they get home, they want to focus on family. And so a lot of there’s some sort of a fear there for planning for retirement, which is probably one of the most important things you can do to protect your family. Pilots tend to procrastinate, hey, I’ll do that next week, or, Hey, I got this going on, I’ll eventually get to that. And knowing that, I can call them out on it, like, hey, you know, you can’t just ignore this and expect it to go away. You know, we, I know, hey, we might want to do this next week or next month. But I think having a way to force them to make sure they’re doing the steps for retirement, or forced discipline is what I call it is really going to help people in the long term and get to that point where we are doing some retirement planning, because the little details even in your 20s and 30s, are going to have a drastic effect on how your retirement pictures looking like as you ease into retirement.


Walter Storholt  08:44

Absolutely. All right, let’s zero in on the actual planning process. And I’m curious, where do you see pilots getting tripped up the most? Is it? Is it that they struggle with life insurance policies? Or maybe, you know, they don’t know why they have the investments they have, they don’t know what they’re paying in fees, or some other elements of the planning process? Is there an area where you see most pilots struggling?


Ryan Fleming  09:09

Um, I think all of those things you brought up, I mean, obviously, life insurance is complicated. And understanding all the little bells and whistles that come with a policy is important. I think a lot of pilots are invested in stuff and they don’t understand mutual funds ETFs what their exposure is, to certain asset classes and what the goal of those asset class exposure is. So just understanding what a portfolio is, versus just investing in one asset class. I see that a lot. You know, pilots, like the stock pick, they like to just invest in one asset class, they like to invest in stuff that’s popular right now, whether it’s, you know, Bitcoin or, or, you know, big tech, and I think all investors are guilty of that, but I think pilots especially they want that home run all the time and, and it gets them in trouble. You bring up fees. I really think a lot of investors don’t know Understand fees, I think there’s so much put out there about, hey, you know, we want to keep fees low, which that’s 100% True. But sometimes you can cut off your nose to spite your face. I think a lot of pilots out there do not get a financial advisor, because they don’t want to pay a fee. And the simple fact is had they have paid that fee, they would have gotten a lot more return over their career. And you know, they’ve done many studies of this. I mean, I think it’s an extra 3% per years, what the Alpha study did with Vanguard and there’s another one out there where you’d end up having 75% More money, over the course of your career had you worked with an advisor. So focusing on fees and not wanting, you know, being cheap, we’ll call it because that’s what it is, with pilots or being cheap, they don’t realize actually how much that hurts them in the long term. And I find myself getting a pilot that’s reaching out, they’re 6364 years old. And all these mistakes have already been made. And we can’t, it’s much, much harder to clean it up and get them prepared for retirement. Had you been working with him a long time ago, and I and I personally feel like this is the same thing with TurboTax, get a get a qualified CPA, they’re going to find something that’s going to help you more than what you’re gonna pay them. And I see pilots a lot of times still trying to do their own taxes, Turbo Tax is going on. And we’re doing backdoor Roth conversions or something like that. And guess what Turbo Tax doesn’t know how to handle that. Pilots are cheap, okay. And they know they are and I call him out for it. But this is your retirement. This is where you want to spend a little bit extra attention and maybe even a little extra money to make sure you’re gonna be in a better position.


Walter Storholt  11:37

Hey, 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  11:56

Yeah, absolutely. If you go to retire, you can get a free retirement toolkit and will 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 of 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 gets certified, we 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 of 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 what 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


Walter Storholt  13:08

cool. So 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,


Ryan Fleming  13:17

absolutely. I mean, if you have no interest in doing anything else, and you just want the freedom of 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 that’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. And then we’re going to 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’ll 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. Very good.


Walter Storholt  13:58

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 gonna 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. Great points all across the board there Ryan and I think that’s wise we need to be shifting the conversation toward value and not just the raw numbers and and really making sure that we’re squeezing the most value out of our decision making and finances, especially when it comes to fees. If there are pilots watching or listening to today’s episode Ryan and they’re kind of Alright, I want to simplify Find my retirement. Yes, I feel a little bit overwhelmed. Or maybe I’m just maybe I’m overcomplicating it myself, or I’ve got someone in the picture that’s overcomplicating it for me, whatever the case may be, what are some of the first steps that they can take to start that process of simplification? Well,


Ryan Fleming  15:15

the absolute first step is to reach out to the pilot’s advisor, and we’ll talk, you know, analyze their portfolio and start helping them with the steps to, hey, let’s simplify your life. Absolutely, I’d say one of the first things that I see with most pilots is just, we need to consolidate their accounts, they have what we call the financial junk tour, I got a little bit of this, a little bit of that over here, I forgot about those other 401 K’s from other airlines, and I never brought them together, I can’t even find where that 401k


Walter Storholt  15:46

is, started, Mike started or Roth at one point and started getting to me to start this, I don’t even


Ryan Fleming  15:51

know what it is, I forgot where it’s at. I mean, you’d be amazed about having your finances all over the place versus getting it all consolidated in one place, and then you can actually see it, and all those things are working in concert with each other. Another thing is just understanding that 401k plan, making sure that we have, you know, the ability to do Roth, but a lot of pilots don’t even realize that they can do Roth inside a 401k because they think that they’ve already exceeded those Roth IRA income limits. So in many cases, a lot of the pilots I talked to before their clients have no clue about all the options that they have in their 401 K in retirement planning that are really hurting them, by them not taking advantage of it. Sure. I think that pilots, knowing what they’re invested in is important to an extent. But I think that understanding a diversified portfolio that’s engineered to handle the ups and downs of the market is more important. And once again, this comes back to diversification. And then simplification. You know, simplifying why we’re doing what we’re doing is probably that concept of modern portfolio theory is probably bigger deal than, Hey, why are we invested in this individual stock? Yeah,


Walter Storholt  17:05

I mean, it’s a great point. I think if you’re, if you’re building something, right, you’re making a widget, if you can make that widget with 10 parts instead of 100? Why wouldn’t you do that to make things simpler, easier to understand, easier to find out what it is when something breaks or doesn’t go according to plan to solve those things, you can see the just sort of the cascading of events that would happen if you have a simpler start to your plan. And everything else just gets easier, right?


Ryan Fleming  17:31

Well, and actually, there’s a good lead in for you bringing that up. And what I’d say about that is when we used to fly these older airplanes, and for me, it was the 727, they wanted us to know every little detail about that airplane, they wanted to know what this screw did whether this was on the AC or DC bus. And I mean, you basically had to build the airplane from the ground up. And over time, they started realizing, why are we teaching pilots? And why are we making them do this? You know, I think a lot of it was the culture back then it was a little bit more of a haze, the pain that you had to go through the plate to play the game. And I think as we’ve evolved, we started learning, well, hey, if the pilot can’t do anything to affect that, then who cares, it’s not going to help them in an emergency situation or while they’re flying the airplane, let’s focus on the things they they can control. And if we can simplify those systems, so they understand it in a better way for the things that they can touch and adjust, then it doesn’t really matter what kind of screw is over, you know, keeping that that thing together, or whether it’s on the AC or DC bus. And so


Walter Storholt  18:36

if your life saving checklist can be 20 steps instead of 150. Your your you’ve got a better chance of saving that airplane, right focus


Ryan Fleming  18:43

on what matters? Absolutely, yeah. And I think that evolution is a good thing. And I think there’s a little bit of that in the financial services industry as well, to where we have these things that are old, and they’re outdated, and they haven’t evolved. And I hate to say it, a lot of advisors have evolved. I think over time, we’ve learned what’s good and bad for clients. And when I see that we still have registered reps, and I’m gonna say it and it’s gonna make a lot of people upset even broker dealers. Maybe that’s not in the best interest of our clients. Maybe picking individual stocks isn’t, you know, in speculating and gambling with our money. Why are we still teaching that? Why would we not have every client working with a fiduciary working with somebody that they know is legally obligated to act in their best interest? And like any other industry, I think, you know, there’s always evolution and a lot of things are learned from stuff that happens in the market and bad things that happen to clients. I think that something as simple as what we just watched with the the cryptocurrency scam, I mean, what a Tom Brady lost 30 million or something


Walter Storholt  19:47

like that. Yeah. Was that the F FTX or whatever? Yeah, one and


Ryan Fleming  19:51

even Bernie Madoff. I mean, what do we learn from that? We need multiple levels of oversight. You can’t have your money custody in one place and investing at the same Same place. We


Walter Storholt  20:00

don’t all have $30 million to lose and not, you know, have it be more than a bad day like Tom Brady does. So


Ryan Fleming  20:06

did you watch the rest of Tom Brady?


Walter Storholt  20:08

I saw clips. I didn’t see the whole thing. But I saw some clips online.


Ryan Fleming  20:12

I really enjoyed it. It


Walter Storholt  20:13

was there was no holding back. Yeah, there was no holding back in that. So yeah, go check that out if you haven’t seen it, folks. Well, I think that’s a great place to to wrap up, Ryan. Because yeah, the message is simple. Simplify. There is a lot of power in simplifying your financial plan, your portfolio, your approach to finances and retirement. And Ryan is really good at helping people simplify. It seems like what probably every single day Ryan, you’re meeting with somebody and you’re finding a complicated plan and helping make it simpler. Is that pretty much a daily routine for you at this point?


Ryan Fleming  20:42

Well, absolutely. And I never realized how much of this is behavioral. And so being able to help people through the emotion of it is a huge thing. And we’re talking about making it real simple for all the pilots out there. Remember how we joke about push down trees get big pull back trees get smaller. We’re talking about that kind of level, like, Oh, I’m going to try to draw it out with big fat Kranz. And I actually find that the most of my clients appreciate that, you know, and if, and if they want to get into the weeds, we can get into the weeds. But for the far majority of people, they don’t want that. They just want to be able to give be given the tools, understand why we’re doing it. And just knowing that we’re going to be in a much better position and ready for retirement because of us planning in advance and making sure that we have all these systems working together.


Walter Storholt  21:26

Absolutely. Well, here you go. If you want to get in touch with Ryan, and have a conversation about your financial plan, how can I improve? How can I simplify this? How can I take the next steps to a better and more solid financial future, all you have to do is call or text Ryan directly at 843-475-3038. And you can set up a time to meet remotely or maybe at an airport. You know, if your pants crossed somewhere in the near future, wherever you are doesn’t matter, Ryan can work with you and help you get to and through retirement with more confidence and clarity 843-475-3038 If you’re not quite ready to take that step of having a one on one conversation, but you want to learn a little bit more. A great first step for many to take is to get the retirement toolkit that Ryan has assembled and put together. It’s packed with great information, Ryan’s book, the pilots, advisor, and so much more goodies and helpful tidbits that really kind of give you that just first introduction to what it really means to put together a solid financial plan and to walk down the right path of planning for retirement, you can get that toolkit for free by going to retire and just look for the toolkit on the homepage there retire We’re going to link to it in the description of today’s show as well. So you can find that very easily. Ryan, thank you so much for your help today, my friend. Appreciate it.


Ryan Fleming  22:39

Well, Walter, I always appreciate you having me on. And I want to reiterate what you brought up, I want to help people and so I don’t have a problem sending out a bunch of free materials to help people and I think that best first step is ordering the retirement toolkit, you’re gonna get my books, you’re gonna get some stuff on tax planning, you’re gonna get a lot of stuff on how to handle the ups and downs of the market. And I think a lot of people enjoy reading and getting some some research done in advance listening to some of the podcasts. And by the time you set up a meeting with me, you already know the philosophy and you’re ready to move forward. And I think that helps a lot of people. So I appreciate you putting the retirement toolkit out there front and center. Yeah, and


Walter Storholt  23:19

I should mention the tagline of the book that you wrote Ryan, the pilots advisor name of the podcast, of course, why pilots today need specific financial advice. And so true. Just working with any old advisor may not do the trick. You may need somebody who kind of can walk the walk the walk, talk, the talk knows the language that you go through knows what’s important knows what it’s like to be a pilot and that’s somebody like Ryan who can help kind of on both sides of the equation, the financial side but also knows the pilot world and has kind of walked in your shoes. And there’s something really important I think about having that is it not every industry is got that Ryan where somebody can do that, do both things and help them out and get all the way to that finish line. So it’s pretty nice that you have carved out that niche to be able to help people. So for neat thanks for joining us, everybody. We’ll see you next time right back here on the pilots advisor. Until then, take care