Meet Sarah and Kevin: Savvy Savers


Sarah and Kevin have been saving a portion of their earnings since they started working. They recently bought a house and just had their first baby. They are in their early 30s and off to a great start. Sarah works for the State and has been contributing to a 457 deferred compensation plan. Kevin works for a corporation and maximizes his contributions to his 401(k) plan. They have a substantial emergency reserve.

Questions They Faced

  • Are we saving enough?
  • Will we be able to retire early?
  • Should we be saving more?
  • Can we afford to buy some fun things like a boat or a camper?
  • How can we start saving for our daughters’ college tuition?
  • There are also questions they haven’t asked yet, like should we have a trust or own life insurance?

How We Helped

We created a comprehensive financial plan that analyzed their projected savings balances against their estimated future needs. We helped keep them on track with annual check-ups and reviews of their progress.

We also started an after-tax investment account, a 529 college savings plan, and introduced them to an attorney to help set up a revocable living trust. We determined an appropriate amount of term life insurance for Kevin and Sarah by using the income replacement method.

Meet Grace and Martin:
Ready to Retire


Grace and Martin are in what we call the “sandwich” time of their lives. They are pulled in multiple directions, financially. They have two daughters in college and Martin’s mom is going to need assisted living. They will have to contribute some of their funds toward his mom’s care. They have been saving consistently over the years, maxing out their 401(k) plan contributions, and setting aside a substantial amount in a mutual fund account.

Questions They Faced

  • Have we saved enough?
  • Will we be able to retire early, continue to pay for college, and contribute to Martin’s mom’s care?
  • Will we have enough to travel and enjoy vacations?
  • Will we be able to afford a new car every five years?

How We Helped

We put together a comprehensive financial plan that gives them a detailed analysis of their retirement income cash flow. In addition, we stress tested the plan against unforeseen expenses and potential stock market downturns to help keep them on track during unexpected situations. We meet regularly to update their plan. They confidently retired early and are planning a family vacation.

Meet Ellen and Clark: A Loving Legacy


Ellen and Clark are in their 80s and have lived wonderful lives, taking rewarding vacations and spending time with family. They consistently saved their money over the years and received a modest inheritance when Ellen’s parents passed away. Having accumulated a substantial net worth, the issue they are concerned with now is the tax implication for their children when they pass. Included in Clark’s and Ellen’s assets is a large IRA with more than $1 million, several properties, CDs, and after-tax investment accounts.

Questions They Faced

  • How can we avoid saddling our children with a lot of taxes after we pass?
  • How can our children benefit by using some of the money now while also earmarking some gifts to our grandchildren?

How We Helped

After thoroughly reviewing all the moving parts of their financial situation, we implemented two strategies: one was a Roth conversion, and the other was a donor-advised fund. We also helped set up a 529 college savings plan for their grandchildren.

The preceding case studies are for illustrative purposes only and may not be representative of the experience of other clients. Actual performance and results will vary. These case studies do not constitute a recommendation as to the suitability of any investment for any person or persons having circumstances similar to those portrayed, and a financial advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation.