About


Here's our story. We look forward to hearing yours.

Meet the Retire SMART Team


We're committed to helping you work toward achieving the retirement you want. We do this by providing guidance to help you develop an overall retirement income strategy and offering a variety of insurance and investment products to help achieve the objectives of that strategy.

The team at Retire SMART is here to help ensure you receive all the assistance you need, not only in developing your retirement income strategy but in maintaining it
throughout your retirement.

DAVID BROOKS CIS®

PRESIDENT & FINANCIAL ADVISOR

David is in his third decade as a financial advisor helping people realize their dreams in retirement. He is a nationally known keynote speaker at events all over the country on various aspects of financial planning, especially tax strategies. He is a Certified Income Specialist and a member of Ed Slott's Master Elite IRA Advisor Group, but he's a go-to guy for national events and for media because he uses plain language that normal people use, and because his approach is both unique and comprehensive. He has been published in numerous newspapers and magazines. He appears on local radio as a guest commentator and on his weekly show, "Retire SMART with David Brooks." He also has a weekly 30-minute show on local television and shorter "SMART Money Minute" interviews. David and his wife, Melissa, are devout Christians with two sons and numerous adopted local and national charities.

Mike Schudel

MIKE SCHUDEL

CFP, CLU, ChFC, CFS, CAS

FINANCIAL ADVISOR

Mike grew up in a family with a background in both financial services and the law.  After obtaining a bachelor's degree, juris doctorate, and other financial service designations, he then served as an adjunct professor in the Certified Financial Planning program at Creighton University's College of Business.  He enjoys translating complex concepts to help clients better understand tax planning, estate planning, and income planning.

I have a lot of family experiences where either taxes or a health event caused us financial stress.  I have also seen how proper planning and the right solutions can change a family’s life by providing the security that they need.  I’m on a mission to help clients keep their wealth through tax planning and protect their financial future by making every dollar they have work as hard as possible.”

Mike struggled to find a firm earlier in his career that did anything other than just “sell products”.  Retire SMART was instantly attractive in that he finally found a great fit with a firm and a leader in David Brooks who proactively seek strategies and comprehensive solutions that can make a significant and positive impact on people’s retirement.

Mike inherited his love of cars from his family, and he will gladly debate and engage in conversation on the subject!  His strong faith helps guide him to continue to serve and give back to his community.

Sean Swanson

SEAN SWANSON CLU®, RICP®, LUTCF

FINANCIAL ADVISOR

Sean has 22 years of experience helping people succeed financially. Now, as a Senior Fiduciary Advisor with the resources and shared expertise of the entire Retire SMART team and planning process, Sean believes there’s a winning formula for client success.  “I am a servant and coach at heart.  I became a financial advisor to help coach and educate clients on how to make wise financial decisions.  I greatly enjoy helping people live out the retirement of their dreams”. 

He met David Brooks through his son Ian’s first radio program, and once Sean understood what David was doing and building at Retire SMART, “I knew it would be a great fit for me and provide an opportunity to pursue my passion for helping people succeed in retirement.”

Sean has been married to his lovely wife Julie for 33 years, has three adult children and two grandchildren. To appreciate all his talents, watch Sean and his daughter Allie perform their version of a father-daughter wedding dance, with over 2.4 million views online.  Search YouTube for “best father daughter dance Swanson”.

DUSTIN GALVAN

FINANCIAL ADVISOR

While serving in the Marine Corps, Dustin began investing on his own and became more interested in learning all he could to not only help himself, but other Marines who sought his guidance.  Dustin realized there was a great need for financial literacy, and he enjoyed sharing his knowledge which started his initial path towards becoming a financial advisor after his military service.

Dustin is thankful to be a part of the Retire SMART team and being able to serve the community with a unique and holistic approach to helping people realize and protect their retirement dreams. “My faith and family are what motivates me to attack every day with passion and purpose to serve my clients in the best way possible.”

Dustin and his wife Tabitha are busy raising two young daughters.  He’s a passionate Huskers and KC Chiefs fan, enjoys playing golf, spending time with his family…including Sadie, their mischievous but loveable black Lab mix dog.

David-Brooks_Headshot_Brad-Starken_7.23

BRAD STARKEN

FINANCIAL ADVISOR

Brad was drawn to Retire SMART once he learned how unique and different the firm was in their approach at looking through the tax lens first to dramatically impact someone’s retirement. He comes from a family of accountants, though he wanted to direct his love of numbers and analytical mind to financial planning. Brad shared, “I get tremendous satisfaction seeing the impact of the work we do for our clients. It excites me and gives a sense of purpose to attack each day and know I’m truly making a difference. Retirees need the most help with all the knowns & unknowns in navigating retirement, and I want to be the one to help them.”

Brad has more than a decade of financial planning experience and has earned his CRPC® (Chartered Retirement Planning CounselorSM) designation. He grew up in Wisconsin, came to Nebraska to play basketball at Wayne State College, was named a team captain and had the 7th best 3-point shooting percentage in the nation his senior year! Being a Wisconsin Badger fan, thankfully he met his Husker-loving wife Shelby in college, and they have a darling young daughter that Shelby is grooming into a little lady-Husker. Brad stays active playing golf, racquetball and competing in just about everything.

Office Staff

Lou Brooks
Chief Compliance Officer

Lyndsay Stednitz
Director of Operations

Alicia Schoon
Director of Client Service

Abigail McNaney
Director of Finance

Michael Bizzarri
Director of Sales

Chip Maxwell
Director of Community Outreach

Mary Thompson
Executive Assistant

Michael Luna
Insurance Professional

Blake Grimm
Financial Advisor

Alex Murray
Financial Advisor

Nick Heesch
Financial Advisor

Karson Wille
First Impressions Coordinator

Paul Ferguson
Financial Advisor

Michael Beaulieu
Financial Advisor

Jacob Orand
Financial Advisor

Mary Lou Kane
Client Relationship Specialist

Brittany Vosika
Marketing Coordinator

Noah Brooks
Production Specialist

Teahlor Jansa
Client Service Specialist

Jordanne Batten
Client Service Specialist

Brenda Smith
Client Service Specialist

Larry Wille
Case Preparation Specialist

Mary Pat Scarpello
First Impressions Coordinator

Lucy Turner
First Impressions Coordinator

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