Retirement Equals Freedom

Retirement Equals Freedom

Got your bucket list ready to go? Been fattening up your 401k, maxing out your IRA contributions, calculating your social security pay-out? Then you’re ready to talk amongst friends, which is what The Retirement Equals Freedom Podcast is all about. This biweekly conversation features Josh Bretl, a CPA, Senior Advisor, and owner of FSR Wealth Strategies who shares financial planning tips and informative insights gleaned over two decades of helping clients achieve their retirement dreams. A lot of it has to do with a mindset shift from saving to spending – not as easy as you might imagine! Josh’s irreverent co-host and long-time pal Dave (“The Dave”) Schmidt may occasionally divert us into comical flights of fancy, but each episode is mostly about the rock-solid practical tools we need for planning – and living – our best lives. So tune in to find out how to maximize freedom beyond that last pay check. And stick around to learn why 90s music is forever, high school hoops are a metaphor for life and classic comfort foods (can you say Chocolate Puddin’ Cakes five times fast?) never get old!


July 5, 2023 39 mins

Sometimes investment decisions (like saving for retirement) are black and white. No nuance or downsides.

But when it comes to annuities, there are shades of grey that The Retirement Equals Freedom Podcast is here to help you understand.

On this second of two parts, Host Josh Bretl shares FSR Wealth Strategies’ take on when, how and why certain annuities can make the perfect fit for clients whose portfolios need rounding out.

You’ll le...

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Annuities! For years now they’ve been dissed, maligned and misunderstood … which is why we’re setting the record straight on this episode of Retirement Equals Freedom.

Host Josh Bretl, owner of FSR Wealth Strategies, explains why this particular investment vehicle has gotten a bad rap (Co-Host Dave Schmidt can relate) and how to educate ourselves on the facts.

As always, it comes down to taking a holistic look at your financial snaps...

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Clarity. Simplicity. Certainty. When it comes to turning our finances over to an expert, these are the three guiding lights that Host Josh Bretl, founder of FSR Wealth Strategies, wants us to keep in mind.

Retirement planning represents a different phase of life and requires the right expertise, which is why this episode of Retirement Equals Freedom is focused on providing you an all-important checklist to consider before turning yo...

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When it comes to Tax Prep versus Tax Planning? Hands down, planning is king!

Host Josh Bretl, founder of FSR Wealth, is showing us the difference between putting together the info we need to file our taxes (always a short-term nuisance!) and positioning ourselves to minimize what we actually owe when April 15th rolls around (a long-term proposition).

As you’ll learn on this episode of Retirement Equals Freedom, whatever stage of life...

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It’s been a bumpy ride for banks lately – but context is everything! That’s why Josh Bretl, our fearless host and founder of FSR Wealth Strategies, is here to decode the collapse in recent weeks of Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank and First Republic.

When we talk about these bank failures and the role of the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.) in bailing them out, it’s important to understand the customer base of the instituti...

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April 26, 2023 28 mins

Medicare. The beauty and the terror!

This episode of Retirement Equals Freedom features a first-ever guest, David Wylly of Medicare Solutions Network, who is here to liberate us from our fear of the unknown!

Host Josh Bretl, Founder of FSR Wealth Solutions, runs through a list of key questions covering everything we need to know about this federal health care program and how it can directly impact our quality of life. (If you missed ...

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April 12, 2023 34 mins

Medicare with all its parts and options intimidates a lot of us – with good reason. But Host Josh Bretl, Founder of FSR Wealth, and his prize pupil, Co-Host Dave Schmidt, have got our backs!

In the first of what will be a two-part blockbuster, the Retirement Equals Freedom team is bringing us the ins and outs of a federal health care benefit from which we all stand to, well … benefit.

The trick is figuring out how Medicare works and ...

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From its inception, the Retirement Equals Freedom Podcast has been laser-focused on providing practical info to help folks prepare for their golden years.

But on this very special episode Host Josh Bretl, founder of FSR Wealth Strategies, is letting us in on a secret!

As he and Co-Host Dave Schmidt explain, their team’s positive energy and client success are about more than the nuts and bolts of tax strategy, investments and savings.


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Buckle up for this one because Host Josh Bretl, founder of FSR Wealth Strategies, is not messing around. This episode of the Retirement Equals Freedom Podcast is getting down to the nitty-gritty of tax strategy for retirement.

Following up on Episode 32, as promised we’re getting the solutions and work-arounds for a range of tax-related challenges that all too often leaving us with a compelling desire to bury our heads in the sand.


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Have you ever wondered whether your retirement nest egg is mired in Tax Drag? If not, it’ll definitely be on your radar after this episode of The Retirement Equals Freedom Podcast.

Host Josh Bretl, founder of FSR Wealth Strategies, is breaking down the intent behind portfolio rebalancing and the difference between sheltered and unsheltered investment vehicles.

We don’t have to live in fear of capital gains or let tax liability on non...

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Whether we’re talking about gall bladders or the SECURE Act 2.0, there’s really no such thing as over-sharing. Right? That’s why on this episode of Retirement Equals Freedom, Host Josh Bretl is diving deep into both topics! In addition to finding out how he’s faring post-surgery, we’re also getting a thorough debrief on the many (in some cases subtle) new SECURE Act provisions adopted by Congress at the end of 2022 – many of which ...

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They are the single biggest savings tool we have available to us. Are you using them effectively? That’s the question Host Josh Bretl explores on this episode of Retirement Equals Freedom, which is devoted to all things 401k:

  • How they work.
  • Who can contribute.
  • Ways to make and monitor investments inside them.
  • When it’s okay to withdraw funds from them – and how.
  • Plus insights about #TaxNerd implications and an interesting loan optio...
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We’re at the dawn of 2023 and Co-Hosts Josh Bretl and Dave Schmidt are here to help us all fill our buckets – financially and otherwise!

Join us for a special New Year Edition of the Retirement Equals Freedom Podcast focused on figuring out how traditional and Roth IRAs as well as 401k plans can work for you!

#TaxNerds: You’ll come away understanding the benefits, limitations and rules of the road on contributions just in time for ta...

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You may be getting ready to tuck into your favorite holiday movie, but not quite yet! There’s more to learn about Social Security, thanks to Retirement Equals Freedom’s very special Part III episode all about the gift that keeps on giving!

Host Josh Bretl, founder of FSR Wealth Strategies, is closing out the year with a recap and deeper dive into some of the variables we all need to weigh when deciding when to tap federal benefits.


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Have you been counting down the hours? Well, it’s heeere! Part II of what promises to be a Retirement Equals Freedom ratings bonanza focused on – you asked for it – Social Security!

Host Josh Bretl is walking us through some of the variables that we all want to factor into the all-important decision about when to start receiving Social Security. Sooner or later? It depends on your age, health history and how much you (and your spous...

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Are you ready for all things Social Security? On this episode of Retirement Equals Freedom, Host Josh Bretl is starting off a 360° look at this federal program that touches the lives of just about every retired American. (We promise, it’s exciting!)

This jam-packed show is focused on the system’s history – from how it got started to how its parameters have evolved. Established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt at the height of the ...

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Actuarially speaking, death these days isn’t really a downer! As Host Josh Bretl highlights with data points on this episode of Retirement Equals Freedom, the average human life span has stretched way out beyond previous generations.

The good news is, that means more years to enjoy! But that positive headline also comes with a word to the wise: You’re going to want to do some planning to ensure you’ve got enough fuel in the tank to ...

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October 26, 2022 30 mins

They say timing is everything, which is most definitely the case when it comes to year-end financial planning. That’s why Host Josh Bretl is bringing us his Top Six End-of-Year Considerations as we bring 2022 to a close. This episode of Retirement Equals Freedom (crisply choreographed with a big assist from Erin!) features a comprehensive “to do” list related to taxes, retirement account distributions and charitable giving that you...

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October 12, 2022 31 mins

If you’ve been impatiently waiting for another installment in Host Josh Bretl’s compelling tutorial about all things bonds, then this episode of The Retirement Equals Freedom Podcast is for you! In addition to recapping how today’s bond market differs from what we’ve seen over the past 40 years, Josh is explaining everything you need to know about alternative investments, the bases these investments should ideally cover (risk reduc...

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September 28, 2022 27 mins

Guess what? I Bonds are no longer the bell bottoms of financial investments! In fact, they are right on point in these inflationary times! Host Josh Bretl, CPA and founder of FSR Wealth Strategies, explains exactly why Co-Host Dave Schmidt – and anyone else with some spare cash being eroded by inflation – might want to consider this low-risk government-backed vehicle.

On this episode of Retirement Equals Freedom, we are learning how...

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