Beyond Budgeting Money Bootcamp Case Study: Mary’s Story
Mary went from a high-paying career with substantial annual bonuses to suddenly being laid off and having difficulty finding a similar position with a similar salary. Ultimately she took a job at less than half of her previous salary, and was really feeling the strain of the reduced income. She also worried for her retirement account, and she questioned whether she would even be able to retire at all.
When we started working together, Mary was feeling completely distraught about her future. As a single mom of three now adult children, it was really clear that her family’s wellbeing was her #1 priority. She wisely knew that she did not want to create a financial burden for them in her retirement years, so she was wholly committed to the process of setting herself up for the best possible future, where she was totally independent and enjoying life on her own terms.
In her own words..."I wanted to review my spending but otherwise thought I was doing really well with saving and investing ... I was shocked by what I learned! I can honestly say this has saved me tens of thousands of dollars in spending, not to mention all of the fees I uncovered in my retirement portfolio. I also really beefed up my savings plan! Now it's all laid out in a way that allows me to make informed, rational decisions. Amazing!!"
Using the Safe Withdrawal Rate concept I mentioned the other day, Mary set her target and got to work. Her goal: save $1,000,000 in her IRA by age 65 when she planned to retire. This amount would allow her to comfortably live off of the earned interest for many years to come.
Through working together we identified a few things:
- How to cut $4,000 per year out of her expenses without messing with her lifestyle
- How to reduce the fees she was paying for her retirement account, saving over $140,000 in excess fees by the time she retires (yes, $140,000 … that is not a typo!)
- How to safely and effectively further diversify her portfolio holdings while reducing her risk exposure and increasing her expected returns, without confusion or frustration
- How to ask the right questions when making investing decisions going forward
This allowed Mary to:
- Contribute more money to her IRA, which was a key goal
- Streamline her financial processes each month, saving time and energy
- Get on a path towards having $1,000,000 in her IRA by age 65
- Enjoy her current job without fear of whether she has enough money to retire
- Get really excited about what her retirement plan will enable her to do
- Take ownership of her financial well-being, which enhanced every aspect of her life