Investing Isn’t a Game

by Mike Lester

May 10, 2021

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Speaker 1 (00:02):

Welcome to the Retirement Wealth podcast. Our goal is to help those retired or soon to be retired investors, make more informed financial decisions and live an enjoyable retirement. Our host, Mike Lester, is the founder and CEO of Talon Wealth Management. Mike is an investment advisor representative of Retirement Wealth Advisors Inc. an SEC registered investment advisor. Thanks for joining us today, and let’s get started.

Kristen (00:31):

I want to talk about morning Mike Lester. Not weekend Mike Lester necessarily or evening Mike Lester.

Mike Lester (00:38):

Morning Mike Lester. Okay.

Kristen (00:39):

Morning Mike.

Mike Lester (00:40):


Kristen (00:40):

Oh, you could be Magic Mike. Okay, I’ll stay focused here, sorry.

Mike Lester (00:43):

Not quite, yes.

Kristen (00:44):

Are you someone that when the alarm goes off, you get up and you get going or do you hit the snooze a time or two?

Mike Lester (00:51):

It’s weird. The alarm typically doesn’t go off. So I’m the one that gets up before the alarm goes off because I’m afraid it’s going to go off. So I don’t know just I have this internal clock and I get up. And first of all, I don’t like the alarm. It’s pretty startling.

Kristen (01:04):

Yes. That’s true.

Mike Lester (01:06):

So yeah, somehow I’ve got this internal clock and I tend to wake up before the alarm goes off. How about you?

Kristen (01:12):

I’m a snoozer and I got to stop.

Mike Lester (01:13):


Kristen (01:13):

Because they say that hitting the snooze button once or twice as part of your morning routine, according to the Cleveland Clinic, it could disrupt our late stage REM sleep. Which can cause a fight or flight response and increased blood pressure and heartbeat. I don’t need to be any more amped up than I already am. You know me too well.

Mike Lester (01:32):

You don’t need to be more afraid of flight. No go from there.

Kristen (01:35):

So, just a little tip to pass along to you listening. On the weekend especially most of us land on HGTV a time or two and end up binging a few reality Fixer Upper shows.

Speaker 4 (01:48):

All new Flip or Flop.

Speaker 5 (01:49):

Get your Fixer-Upper Fix on HGTV.

Speaker 4 (01:51):

Watch an all new House Hunters on HGTV.

Kristen (01:55):

They make it look so easy. Renovating an entire home and selling it for a profit in just a matter of days, having a few whimsical arguments here and there that are clearly planned out. Either way it’s entertaining and I’m in to it but-

Mike Lester (02:07):

I enjoy it.

Kristen (02:08):


Mike Lester (02:08):

But remember when there were maybe three channels and then HBO came out?

Kristen (02:13):

Uh-huh (affirmative).

Mike Lester (02:13):

And now we’ve got a gazillion. And I mean, who imagined we’d have a channel just completely dedicated to people renovating houses? I’m not saying I don’t like it. It also is absurd to me at the same time.

Kristen (02:25):

It also irritates me when I hear a kid say, “There’s nothing on TV.” Are you serious right now? They’re is streaming everything.

Mike Lester (02:31):

Well, yeah.

Kristen (02:32):

And hello, Cable. Get it together anyway-

Mike Lester (02:35):

Well, anymore it’s not I used to walk to school in the snow uphill both ways, its I had three channels when I was a kid.

Kristen (02:42):


Mike Lester (02:43):

So it’s the same.

Kristen (02:44):

My grandmother used to be so proud to say, “We have five stations. Now you get up and you go turn the knob to make them work, but now we got five stations. We’re big time.” But truthfully, these HGTV shows and they’re on so many different networks, they make it look so easy.

Kristen (02:57):

And to me, some of these TV commercials about investing make retiring look unbelievably simple too Mike. I mean, we call a number or we go to a website and all of a sudden there I am with my perfect gray hair by the way. And my happy husband is just pushing me on a swing beach side. Is that truly the reality of hiring an advisor like you?

Mike Lester (03:19):

I hope not. I watched those and I hope they’re ineffective. I see what’s going on. The problem is, I understand marketing. I understand what it takes for companies to be successful when they market things. And the cost of those ads that they’re running it’s crazy what they’re paying for those. And in order to cover the expense of those advertisements, they have to have someone on the other end that’s essentially got a way to make enough money to cover it, right?

Mike Lester (03:46):

And usually there’s a product involved. So the reality is most of these companies doing sort of the national advertising and we see that and everybody’s happy. But then the job or the purpose of those ads is to generate leads and then advisors around the country are buying the leads. And they’re paying a lot for those leads they’re not cheap. We don’t do that, Kristen. We have a radio show.

Kristen (04:11):


Mike Lester (04:11):

You and I talk. Right? So, but for advisors who don’t have a radio show and not all advisors, but some of them are buying these leads. And then, so just imagine a scenario where you paid potentially, let’s just say you paid a $1000 for the opportunity to talk to somebody who had responded to that ad. And Kristen, that wouldn’t be crazy I mean, that goes on.

Mike Lester (04:32):

I mean, are you going to have a really big incentive to try to convince that person to work with you? I’d argue, yes. I don’t think it’s always going to be a laid back conversation. I think that person is very driven to sell you whatever it is that they do for a living. And I wouldn’t respond well to that. Which is why we do our radio program the way that we do it. So, no, I’m not a big fan of that. And when you say hiring advisors like me, I think there’s advisors out there of all types. Advisors that-

Kristen (05:02):

So you get offended, advisors like you?

Mike Lester (05:04):

That’s a little bit, yeah.

Kristen (05:05):

You’re not all the same I get it.

Mike Lester (05:07):

Well, we’re not doing TV ads at this point with people in swings. But I mean, I don’t know if it comes up to it because I-

Kristen (05:15):

No, we’re never doing that. I can promise you that.

Mike Lester (05:15):

Well, now we can’t because you brought it up on the radio but it’s meant to be a conversation. And Kristen, when we talk about what we do and how we do it, we’re fiduciaries. We’re fee-based advisors. It’s not our job to sell products, it’s our job to help people with solutions. And we just happened to work with people that are looking for solutions to retirement. It’s meant to be a conversation. It’s not meant to be a heavy handed sales pitch. So we’re inviting you through our conversation on the radio, if you’re interested to come have a conversation with us about your situation, what’s important to you, what you’re looking to accomplish. We are fiduciaries.

Mike Lester (05:50):

We are fee-based advisors. And if you’d like to have that conversation, it’s going to be very laid back. We’re just going to take a look at your current situation compared what it is you’re looking to accomplish. And we’re going to put numbers in front of you. But we’ve come up with a really good way of explaining those numbers and how they work. The biggest compliment that I get is, “Hey, listen, I really appreciate you putting it in a format or in terms that are easy for me to understand. Because this was confusing to me before I sat down and talked to you about it. And thank you so much for that complete financial plan.”

Kristen (06:19):

Well, something that’s cool in the world of investing Robinhood, that popular trading app that allows regular everyday investors to make trades without paying commissions or fees. I have a couple of friends that use Robinhood, but they’re not near retirement are already there. But anyway, Robinhood recently got rid of the confetti animation that appears after a user completes their very first trade or accomplishes other milestones.

Speaker 6 (06:47):


Kristen (06:47):

Because they’ve been criticized for creating a feeling that trading is a game and downplayed the potential for real losses. Now, Mike, the people that you work with are typically in their 50s and up and investing is very much not a game for them. How should their portfolio strategy evolve at this age?

Mike Lester (07:06):

Well, first of all, we’re not going to play that audio every time we make a trade for them. Just like that.

Speaker 6 (07:09):


Kristen (07:09):


Mike Lester (07:12):

And I agree with that. It’s not a game. And Robinhood, look at where they’re at. I mean, we just had this whole game stop thing going on and Robinhood tied into it. The way I view our job, Kristen is there are some things I don’t like a lot about Robinhood and what’s going on. And it’s not just their company, there are other companies in the same area. But we do need to take a close look at a lot of things that they’re doing. And they’ve been very innovative. And a lot of that innovation is very good and sometimes change it’s hard for individuals. It’s hard for investors. It’s hard for companies that are sort of more old school.

Mike Lester (07:48):

But we pride ourselves on evolving over time. And at Talon Wealth Management, we like innovation. We like anything that helps our clients be more efficient or us more efficient. Robinhood and other companies like them. It’s a very interesting platform. Anytime you can cut fees, anytime you can make transactions easier, anytime you can make just paperwork easier for clients, all of this goes into efficiency. And yeah, younger people are more, I think, open to that than people that are maybe closer to retirement age. But what I would say is our clients have an expectation that we are going to not just become antiquated over time and we’re going to be cognizant of all of these changes. And we’re going to take advantages of things that make sense for our clients and avoid things that don’t make sense for our clients.

Kristen (08:33):


Mike Lester (08:33):

And there are aspects to Robinhood that are important and we are working currently at implementing a lot of the best parts of those efficiencies that are there so that our clients don’t have to worry about it. And I think that’s a big component to working with a firm that is understanding of changes. Understanding that things don’t always stay the same. And it’s going to our clients so they don’t have… My job is to take care of things my clients don’t want to have to take care of or my clients don’t want to have to worry about.

Mike Lester (09:03):

We worry about it for them so they don’t have to. We can’t change government. We can change this. We can’t change that. What we can do is adapt. And part of what’s going on here is we have to make sure that our management, our portfolios how they work, we’re adapting those moving forward to become more efficient for our clients. And so I’m always open to a conversation about companies like Robinhood. There’s good, there’s bad. How does it affect our clients? That’s what we’re doing every day.

Kristen (09:29):

And if you can find a way to have some of those electronic efficiencies paired with real life people that are actually watching out for your best interests. They’re called fiduciaries by the way. That’s a financial advisor, Mike and his team at Talon Wealth Management. That’s who they are, what they do. Connect to Mike and the team anytime Yes, the IRS has given us a little more time to get our taxes done this year I think it’s mid may. It maybe a good time to consider some tax moves that might help our retirement too. Mike, what do you do for people that their CPAs or tax preparers don’t do for them?

Speaker 4 (10:07):

Well, I think there’s certainly some CPAs and tax preparers that get involved in financial planning. I’m not a CPA or a tax preparer but we have accountants not necessarily CPAs. But we have accountants that work with us and we want to make sure that we’re being cognizant of what’s going on with taxes. Not everybody understands the transition in retirement between getting a W-2 from your employer and now being retired and getting a 1099 and a 1099-R or a 1099-DIV dividend. I mean, it gets complicated. The reality is when you’re doing financial planning, you also have to take a look at the impact of the financial planning on taxes.

Kristen (10:46):


Speaker 4 (10:46):

You have to take a look at not just taxes, but inflation all of it. I don’t like this example, but it’s very real. The sort of, people say three legged stool, right?

Kristen (10:54):

Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Speaker 4 (10:55):

Two legs falls over. You’ve got to have every component working together. You have to understand how your portfolio is likely to work. You have to understand how taxes work. Which accounts do you pull money out of? You’ve got IRA accounts, you’ve got Roth IRA accounts, you’ve got individual accounts. They all work differently. And it gets very confusing for individuals. It’s not that they couldn’t figure it out for themselves but frankly, our clients have hired us to figure it out for them and to manage it for them.

Speaker 4 (11:20):

And as long as we continue to do a good job and provide value and give them more peace of mind, they’ll continue to employ us to do that for them. If along the way they decide we’re not doing a good job, they’re just going to go find somebody else. I’m very aware of that. And very comfortable with it. Which is why we strive to provide value week after week, month after month, year after year. So if you’re in a situation where you’d like more information about what we do, how we do it, if you’d like to find out whether or not we can help you be more confident in your retirement, confident in your investments, confident in your tax strategies, we can do that for you complimentary.

Speaker 1 (11:55):

If you would like to have a comprehensive financial plan and an analysis of your current portfolio, go ahead and visit our website And we can do that for you complimentary. Thanks so much for joining us on today’s show. Be sure to subscribe to our podcast. Visit our website for more free retirement planning and investment resources. Thanks for tuning into today’s show. And we’ll see you next time on the Retirement Wealth podcast.

Speaker 1 (12:28):

Exposure to ideas and financial vehicles discussed should not be considered investment advice or recommendation to buy or sell any financial vehicle. This information should not be considered tax or legal advice. Individuals should consult with professionals specializing in the fields of tax, legal, accounting or investments regarding the applicability of this information to their situation. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Investments may fluctuate and when redeemed may be worth more or less than originally invested.

Mike Lester

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Investing Isn’t a Game