Frank and Nancy
Frank and Nancy are an energetic couple in their 50s who love to travel and evolved their small business by way of smart management to allow for periodic absences. We have worked together over the past 15 years and always had lively discussions about frugality, the importance of good health and the possibility of financial freedom.
They have made smart decisions for themselves such as paying extra on their mortgage, which led to an early payoff, and not living above, or even AT their means. Guided by their priorities, they found a healthy balance between present spending and freedom funding.
Early in our discussions I encouraged them to implement a qualified retirement plan for themselves and their employees and contribute all that they could. We found a suitable plan with a low cost, reputable mutual fund family and they accumulated healthy balances thanks to consistent contributions and a strong market.
Frank and Nancy weathered the recession of 2008 and significant changes in their industry before finally determining that this would be the year to wind down their small business and rest a spell before their next great adventures. We looked at their current assets, liabilities, insurance coverage and monthly cash flow needs and concluded that they would be able to generate sufficient income from their investments to comfortably meet their needs and continue traveling.
In other words...they are financially free.
Despite their relatively frugal lifestyle and good incomes, they had not considered financial freedom a possibility when we began working together. My biggest challenge this year was convincing them that they had succeeded. I could not be happier for them.
Mark was in his early 20s and single when we first started talking. He had two part time employers with income variability and had opened a Roth IRA at the suggestion of his mother. Since few people his age like to take guidance from their parents, no matter how sound, his mother referred him to me.
One of the first priorities for Mark was to determine whether to participate in his employer’s 401(k) plan for which he had recently become eligible. After evaluating his situation, we established the priority of participation to receive his full employer match, followed by the establishment of an emergency fund to help with his variable income.
As agreed, he got back in touch once his emergency fund was in place and we made some decisions about getting back to his Roth IRA while considering his real estate investment ambitions. I loved hearing him talk about his passive income goals.
Recently he has gotten married, a major life event and a great time to touch base. After our discussion, he purchased life and disability insurance. I just learned he has acquired his first house. He has a solid financial foundation and a bright future. When youth is combined with solid financial planning, there is almost nothing that can’t be achieved. I look forward to working with him through the years.
Janet was in her early 60s and had been getting by for some time on a small pension and with the help of her high income earning partner when she began caring for her mother who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. With her brother she shared care duties and managed her mother’s finances until she ultimately needed nursing home care.
After her mother’s passing, Janet and her brother inherited her mother’s residence which had much appreciated over the years. We worked together to find a real estate professional who collaborated with us to determine how much investment of cash would be required to successfully sell the property in the current market. There were many decisions to be made.
Once the sale was final, Janet’s portion of the proceeds became her retirement fund. This, along with her reaching social security age, made for a whole new batch of decisions to be made. As is usually the case, we had many conversations and exchanged a lot of information over a period of 6-9 months.
We considered a potential move to a new city, her insurance needs, her tax liabilities, her risk tolerance (this was her first investment) and a reasonable asset allocation that would comply with it. Estate considerations involving her partner and her son also informed our iterative work. Ultimately, we created a spending plan which is both comfortable and sustainable and she was able to open the investment account with the help of her partner. I expect our partnership to continue as new challenges arise.