June 2023

Summer serenity: Enjoying calm mornings & family time

Summer is here! For those of us in Chicagoland, we break out the shorts and double our living space with usable outdoor areas. But for me, it’s something special as well: slow mornings at home with the kids.

Josh and Zach inside a California forest
Josh and Zach inside a California forest
Bretl kids inside of Alcatraz
Bretl kids inside of Alcatraz

During the school year, alarms start going off for the three little ones at 6:42 AM, and for the next hour, its mass chaos until we all run out the door. In the summer, kids sleep until they want to wake up, my wife and I can enjoy a morning coffee on the patio, and the house has a fantastic sense of calm.

As soon as school was out this year, we took the kids for a few nights out in the San Francisco area. All year the kids have asked to see two things: Alcatraz and Redwood Trees. We were a little unsure how they would handle a vacation that didn’t revolve around swimming in a pool or beach. Well, they did great! They loved Alcatraz and were rockstars on the half-day hike we took exploring the Redwoods at Muir Woods. It will be a vacation we will always remember.

Back here in the office, 2023 is in full swing. During May, we had our latest client educational event featuring Ben Sullivan, as well the first Java with Josh, a live stream with timely updates that we’ll be hosting monthly. Look for information about the next Java with Josh lower on the page.

In this edition of the newsletter we have a Wealth Report from AE Wealth management titled, “The Un-Retirement,” all about retirees going back to work. Not quite as fun of a read, we also have an article from AP about the upcoming Federal Reserve meeting where they determine what to do with interest rates.

For fun, you’ll also see links to our latest podcast episodes, a fantastic summer cocktail recipe, and some updates from the lives of your FSR friends!

I hope you are having relaxing summer!

What Josh is Reading

🎓 And you should too!

AE Wealth Report logo banner

The New “Un-Retirement”

More retirees are planning to head back to work. Will you be one of them?

Jerome Powell

Is it a skip or a pause?

When the Federal Reserve meets next week, it is widely expected to leave interest rates alone — after 10 straight meetings in which it has jacked up its key rate to fight inflation.

The FSR Water Cooler

💦 Let’s gather ’round!

Brian and Ben in San Diego


Brian, Anna, and Ben took a vacation down to San Diego this month! Ben was a champ the entire trip, including the 4-hour plan ride. ✈️
Jeri's 70th birthday celebration


The entire office spoiled Jeri as she turned 70 years young last week! Flowers, cards, cookies, and cake were plentiful. 🎂
Landon at his all star game


Dave’s son Landon made the All Star team for his baseball league. He’s looking all serious as he gets his commemorative medal! ⚾️

Happy Hour with Josh

🍹 It’s always time to try a new cocktail!

Join Josh and Mike Allas from Tannins Wine for another boozy adventure as he crafts a sensational cocktail known as “Better Than Your Mimosa.” With bottles galore, including Elderflower liqueur, vodka, and a mystery orange liqueur, Mike takes us on a flavor-packed journey. He mixes in orange juice and Prosecco, skillfully rimming the glass with an orange slice and sugar. The result is a vibrant, Instagram-worthy drink that surpasses your wildest mimosa dreams. Visit Tannins in downtown Elmhurst, ask for “Mike’s Better Than Your Mimosa,” and indulge in this game-changing concoction. Cheers to extraordinary cocktails!

The Retirement Equals Freedom Podcast

🎤 Enjoy our latest episodes!

Episode 039

Choosing the Right Retirement Financial Advisor: A Checklist for Success

Clarity. Simplicity. Certainty. When it comes to turning your finances over to an expert, these are the three guiding lights that you need to keep in mind.

Episode 038

When It Comes to Taxes, It’s All in the Planning!

When it comes to Tax Prep versus Tax Planning? Hands down, planning is king! Josh Bretl shows us the difference between filing our taxes and positioning ourselves to minimize what taxes we owe.

Episode 037

Waking Up to Bank Failures and What It All Means

It’s been a bumpy ride for banks lately – but context is everything! This episode decodes the collapse in recent weeks of Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank and First Republic.

Episode 036

De-Mystifying Medicare – Part 2

Medicare — The beauty and the terror! Dave Wylly of Medicare Solutions Network joins Josh on the podcast to liberate you from the fear of Medicare!

Episode 035

De-Mystifying Medicare – Part 1

Medicare can be intimidating, but don’t bury your head in the sand! If you want to truly own your retirement, be proactive in forming a solid Medicare strategy.

Join the awesome Retirement Equals Freedom podcast email club!

Every other Thursday you’ll receive a shiny new email with episode details, quotable quotes, images, and other fun “stuff” that will get your day off to an amazing start. Never miss a new episode — Enter your name and email below to join!


Java with josh

☕️ Sip. Learn. Ask.

On Tuesday May 23rd we recorded our first ever Java with Josh! Despite a few technical hiccups (sorry Facebook users) we had a lot of fun and had some really good feedback.

We titled this month’s show: The Market, Inflation, and Debt Ceiling Updates for Retirees.

If you were unable to join us live, don’t fret, we have the video replay available below for your viewing pleasure! 🔥