Goal: Early Retirement
Career: Business Executive
Peter was in his mid-career when he came to us wanting to retire early. He was happy enough in his career, but he knew in ten years, he would be ready to spend his days hiking and taking nature photographs.
Peter was organized and already had some good savings in place, and even though his wife planned to work at least fifteen more years, he wasn’t sure it would be enough to keep them living their current lifestyle.
Together, we worked through several scenarios that would have him retired and secure in 10 years, calculating how much money he had in his savings accounts, investments, retirement accounts, and looking at his current earnings.
We also asked about his photography, and found out that even though it was a hobby, he secretly hoped he could make it a small business.
We projected his future living expenses based on his current lifestyle
We projected his future living expenses based on his current lifestyle, figured out how we could move some of his investments, and considered whether he should take his retirement money in a lump sum or as monthly distributions, among other considerations.
Essentially, we created a clear path to the hiking trail of his dreams and figured out a way for him to keep his current lifestyle without putting a significant burden on his wife’s income.
Exactly ten years later, in the first month of his retirement, Peter’s wife died unexpectedly. He was heartbroken and grief stricken. And, it turned out, she had left most her savings to her son from a previous marriage.
We sat down with Peter several weeks after her funeral and studied the state of his finances. Because he had planned ahead, Peter realized he would have enough money to live as they had hoped for the next 7 years, keeping the house, and living his retirement dream. But after that, the money would start to dwindle, so adjustments had to be made.
Almost immediately, Peter’s life vision began to change. He decided he wanted to sell their house and rent a small apartment outside a ski town in Colorado where he had grown up. He wanted to use that money to buy photography equipment and open a small gallery to sell his work.
Again, we tested the scenarios available to him, accounting for the cost of starting a new business and whether he could afford to rent for the rest of his life. We projected what he had to earn to live comfortably and gave his business ten years to meet its full earning potential. We also looked at Peter’s health and talked about what would happen if he fell ill and couldn’t live on his own.
Peter has been in Colorado ever since, financially and physically healthy and just starting to sell his photographs. Every six months, we have a virtual meeting and see how he’s doing. Last we talked, he was headed to Alaska to take pictures of sled dogs!