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Case Studies

Birth of Child

Scenario: A young couple came to see me not long after the birth of their first child. They wanted to be smart about saving for college expenses for their baby but without sacrificing their future. They were fortunate to both have good jobs and family nearby willing to care for their child, reducing their current expenses.

Solution: We discussed how they were saving for retirement, their expenses both before and after the birth, and what their college savings goals were. Based on our conversation, we crafted a plan that best fit their needs. That plan included contributing at least enough to their retirement plans to receive the full employer match and setting up a regular monthly contribution directly from their checking account into a 529 College Savings Plan. Also included in the plan was the expectation that when each member of the couple, hopefully, gets a raise, they will increase their retirement plan contributions until they reach the annual maximum.


Scenario: A young couple came into a substantial inheritance soon after their wedding. They received not only investment accounts but property, and the associated expenses, as well. They were looking for guidance on the best way to use their new wealth to meet their current needs as well as future goals.

Solution: We began by reviewing their goals. They wanted to retain the property and use the inherited investments to cover the property’s expenses as well as grow the funds for future goals, including retirement. Their flexible work positions allowed them to occupy the inherited house even though it was in a different state than their jobs, giving them slightly more control over the expenses.

We opened multiple accounts with the inherited investments. One account was focused on current income with the goal of creating enough cashflow throughout the course of the year to cover the anticipated property expenses. The other account focused on long-term growth to meet their goals with current income an afterthought.

Early Retirement

Scenario: An acquaintance approached me with a problem. He hadn’t planned on retiring for at least five years, but his company was under new management and forcing his hand. Instead of starting over with a new organization, he wanted to know if it was financially possible for him to retire now without taking on undue risk or hampering his lifestyle.

Solution: We began by reviewing his expenses. This particular client lives very frugally and keeps expenses to a minimum. He still owed a small amount on his mortgage but was otherwise debt free. He also had enough savings to live approximately 18 months before needing to access his retirement funds. We discussed his options and decided that because of his lifestyle and savings, early retirement was a viable option. Together, we formulated a plan with a focus on growth for the first 12-15 months before pivoting to income producing investments. The increased value during the growth portion allowed us to create more income than anticipated. The extra income has provided a buffer to protect him from unusual expenses.

New Job

Scenario: A client came to see me after beginning a new job. He worked at his prior employer for more than 10 years and had built up a sizable retirement account. He wanted to discuss the options available to him and determine the best course of action for the funds that remained in his former employer’s retirement plan.

Solution: We began by discussing his options. He could leave the funds in his old retirement plan, he could roll them out into a Rollover IRA, or he could possibly roll them into his new employer’s plan. We discussed the pros and cons of each choice including investment options, costs, and control. In the end, he selected the Rollover IRA as his best option because he wanted a broader selection of investments from which to choose.