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Financial Planning for Airline Pilots

Airline Pilots are a unique group of professionals who require specific and disciplined financial planning guidance. Their careers generally follow a specific “flight plan” and retirement preparation should start as early as possible. Pilots deal with a mandatory retirement age, face medical issues that could end their flying career, and have been severely affected by corporate bankruptcy filings and the loss of pension plans.

Financial planning advice provided by American Financial Advisors (AFA) focuses on assisting our pilot-clients and their families not only during their active career as commercial airline pilots but also in retirement. Even though the majority of our pilot-clients are or were employed by American Airlines, we are able to provide financial planning guidance to all U.S.-based airline pilots.

We use a “financial flight plan” (FFP) to document the current financial status of our pilot-clients and plan for future financial events, including retirement. The foundation of our financial planning process for pilots, the FFP defines the client’s financial goals and objectives and establishes a long-term plan to guide financial decisions. It also helps to balance financial goals and objectives with other essentials and addresses concerns such as debt management, tax planning, college planning, retirement planning, estate planning and investment strategy. It is designed to encompass every aspect of the personal financial planning process. Creating and maintaining this document is one of our key responsibilities as financial advisors to pilots.

AFA will use the FFP in combination with an Investment Policy Statement (IPS) when making decisions regarding the investment and allocation of assets under management. We also will regularly evaluate and update the FFP. Life events affect personal financial policy and a client’s FFP must adapt to changes as well.

We establish a FFP for each pilot-client and discuss it via webinar or conference call on a regular basis.

AFA’s pilot-client team provides assistance on the following subjects:

  • Analysis of equity distributions
  • Retirement planning
  • Regular investment updates focused on pilot-specific financial planning topics
  • Assistance with retirement process and forms
  • Assistance with investment and rollover of 401(k) plan assets
  • Developing a written investment policy statement based on the client’s objectives
  • Establishing asset allocation and rebalancing investment accounts as needed
  • Money management of retirement investment portfolios using low-cost asset class funds
  • Monthly account statements and quarterly performance reports
  • Access to the AFA financial planning team, which includes Certified Financial Planner™, MBA and CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) professionals

Pilot-clients receive financial planning advice that includes but is not limited to:

  • Estate planning/legacy planning.
  • Tax reporting – realized/unrealized gain/loss statements and more
  • Survivorship planning
  • Social Security analysis
  • Insurance planning
  • Retiree medical insurance options

In addition to the monthly Schwab statements our clients receive, they also have access to AFA’s own web portal where they can see weekly account updates and detailed quarterly reports specific to their accounts. The reports show returns compared to relative benchmarks, along with up-to-date asset allocations. 

AFA also conducts quarterly webinar reviews that cover all details of investment accounts and many salient financial points. Replays (login required) are available for clients whose schedules do not permit them to attend the live webinars.

Our clients’ comprehensive FFP is uploaded to our system as well and kept up to date with changes in their financial or family picture. It is a true go-to document for clients and their families.

Clients have constant access to our entire financial planning and investment team, which includes three Certified Financial Planner Professionals™ and a Chartered Financial Analyst. With access to a client’s FFP, we are always ready to assist with financial and estate planning questions. All AFA clients can call our Chartered Financial Analyst, who heads up the investment team, with any investment questions they may have. Our entire team can be reached by phone at our toll-free number -- 888-679-9779 -- as well as by email.

More information is available on our website about pilot-specific financial topics. People interested in a personalized AFA-recommended asset allocation based on their risk tolerance are welcome to complete our Risk Questionnaire.

To reach the AFA financial planning team, call 888-679-9779 and use the following extensions, or email us at the addresses listed.

  • Leslie Kelly, CFP®, AIF®, Ext. 1
  • Joan Morales, Ext. 6
  • Matt Boyce, CFP®, Ext. 2
  • Bill Mertes, CFA, Ext. 5
  • Mark Bras, CFP®, MBA, Ext. 3
  • Jim Cable, Ext. 8
  • Alex Bras, Ext. 4

Advisory services offered through American Financial Advisors, Inc., a registered investment advisor.

American Airlines, Inc. (“American Airlines” and/or “AA”) is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse American Financial Advisors, Inc. (“American Financial Advisors” and/or “AFA”). The AFA website is not authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by American Airlines, Inc., and American Airlines is not responsible for the content of the AFA website, nor of any promotional materials prepared by American Financial Advisors.


201 South Orange Avenue - Suite 1005
Orlando, FL 32801

Toll Free: 888-679-9779
Office: 407-207-9006
Fax: 407-207-0106