Case Study - Sam

Real People

Several years ago, Sam was promoted to Sales Director at his company and became very comfortable in his current role. He is beloved around the office and has worked with his boss at various firms for over 25 years. Sam felt like he could continue working for the company as long as he wanted to, but he was not emotionally invested in his work like he used to be. He began to think, "am I going to be working in five years"?

A few years ago, Sam's daughter, Jamie, went through a very rough time. Sam had to help her out financially, and for a while, she came to live at home with him. Not knowing how long this rough patch would last, Sam liquidated most of his investments in case he needed extra cash. During this time, Sam was focused on his family life and neglected his financial life. Things are much better now, and Jamie is back on her feet. Sam is finally ready to start focusing on his retirement goals. But how much should he be saving? Is now the time to get back into the stock market?

Sam began to wonder if, given his current financial situation, he would be able to retire in five years. Sam always envisioned a retirement where he could play golf at all the courses on his bucket list and spend more time with his daughter but felt this was far out of reach.

Real Goals

  • Sam has flexibility around his retirement date. He would rather make sure he had enough money for all his goals than retire tomorrow.
  • Sam not only wanted to maintain his current lifestyle but also wanted to make sure he had adequate resources to travel and play all the golf courses on his bucket list.
  • Being in sales, Sam had many "boom and bust" periods in his career. Sam wanted to make sure he had a reliable, tax-efficient, income stream in retirement.

Sam's current plan was to start maxing out his 401(k) again but didn't know what investment options he should choose. He thought to make up for "lost time", he should be as aggressive as possible. Sam was also uncertain about getting back into the market with all the cash he had been holding. Sam's initial thought was to use this cash to fund his retirement until taking social security.

Real Results

What Sam didn't realize about his current situation was that rising inflation, tax rates, and outliving his money were all risks he would face in retirement. After finding this out, we helped Sam create the following plan:

  • We were able to calculate how much he should be saving each year to retire within a reasonable time frame and have adequate funds for golfing.
  • After reviewing Sam's current and future cash flow situations, we were able to help Sam put away more towards his goals by maximizing his contributions to his 401(k) and after-tax investment accounts.
  • By coming up with a withdrawal strategy to fund his retirement expenses, we were able to show Sam how to save taxes throughout his golden years.
  • Although Sam thought he needed to take more risk with his investments, when we showed him the downside to doing this, he decided he needed a more customized approach. We designed a portfolio that could help provide for any short-term needs while allowing enough growth for his future retirement needs.
  • By analyzing Sam's projected social security benefits and other assets, we were able to show him that delaying his social security benefits meant he would get more out of the social security system and create a higher, more stable, income stream throughout his retirement.

Although Sam may have felt behind, his retirement goals were closer than he imagined. By creating a comprehensive plan, we were able to get Sam back on track to retire the way he wanted. Sam's plan reduced his exposure to rising inflation and tax rates, and also created a reliable income stream to last throughout his retirement.

Disclosure: This narrative represents a hypothetical client situation. Results are not typical or guaranteed. Any results achieved or implied in this narrative are not necessarily the most common outcome. Information presented is believed to be current and should not be viewed as personalized investment advice. Information presented in this narrative should not be viewed as an offer to buy or sell any securities or as legal or tax advice. You should always consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific legal or tax situation.


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