A while back, I met with a couple I started working with 15 years prior. They were in their forties at the time – one of my favorite ages to start working with people; the longer the time you have to plan, the greater impact I can help make on your future.
These clients were average clients: they had average salaries, and they had average expenses. There was nothing extraordinary about them from a financial perspective.
Yet, they will soon enter a comfortable retirement.
Ordinary circumstances can still produce a comfortable retirement.
During the last 15 years, they have had a lot of the same decisions to make as others have:
- They refinanced when they should have.
- They saved in tax-advantaged ways.
- They minimized debt along the way.
- They paid off their mortgage.
- They changed jobs.
- They inherited a modest sum of money.
Most importantly, they knew where they stood in relation to their financial plan when making all these decisions.
For a lot of my clients, retirement planning starts with the goal of maintaining their current standard of living and staying in the Washington DC area when they enter retirement at a certain age. In the case of this couple, they didn’t have their entire retirement picture figured out in their forties and they don’t have the entire picture figured out today. It’s still evolving. What we did know is that they wanted to retire, they wanted to make sure that they took advantage of every tool they could that would get them to retirement, and they wanted to know where they stood.
From the moment we started working together, we evaluated where they were on an annual basis. The result? Fifteen years later, retirement is looking pretty good. They didn’t have extraordinary circumstances – what they had was a PLAN. They consistently made the best decisions they could based on the information they had along the way.
What’s the moral of this story?
- Plan early.
- Check in regularly.
- Adjust as needed.
- Design your own future.