How we helped Jeff and Sheila plan financial goals for college for their three children, retirement, and, also, how to manage their needs!

Jeff and Sheila were both in their early 40s when they first came to see us.  At the time their children were 16, 14, and 10. They already knew the costs of college education, and those costs were intimidating! Jeff and Sheila had tried their best to do all the right things: they both had a good education; they worked diligently in their careers; they had a beautiful family, a comfortable home; and they had sacrificed to save consistently by using their retirement plans from the workplace. They felt as though they had been financially responsible, but looming college costs were daunting. Life just seemed to be getting financially complicated to the point where they thought it best to meet with a financial advisor to help guide them through the next steps in their lives.

Grandparents giving granddaughter ride on shoulders


We started out by getting to know Jeff and Sheila—what they enjoy, how they have chosen to raise a family, their careers, and their money situation. What is the future they envision?

We spoke about their children—what do their kids enjoy? What aptitudes does each of the kids exhibit? What are their personalities and in which direction might each child go? We talked about the time left with their kids at home and what experiences they wanted to share with them. 

They talked about practical things like home remodeling. We discussed their thoughts about retirement and how they envision those years. Although there are a number of things of which they’re not positive, we were able to establish a good baseline for their expectations in retirement and what kind of income they might need to provide for that. 

After obtaining a strong understanding of their goals and preferences, we were able to generate income projections for college, retirement, and lifestyle continuity.

First, we developed a realistic plan for their most important priorities and desires:

  • Retire on time with less anxiety
  • Provide for college
  • Free up the cash necessary to do those home improvements
  • Create a significant annual budget for family vacations—experiences they can look back upon as some of their most precious family memories

Once we addressed these “big picture plans,” we were able to work together on a host of significant second-tier priorities:

  • Developed a will, a living will, and assigned a power of attorney. We even introduced them to the attorney with whom they are now very comfortable.
  • Increased their life insurance coverage.
  • We have updated their health and disability insurance programs.
  • We’ve enhanced Jeff and Sheila’s stock purchase plans, their portfolio, and adjusted their flexible spending account.
  • Together, we’ve restructured their auto and homeowner’s insurance, recommending a personal umbrella liability policy, and introduced them to an independent insurance agency, enabling Jeff and Sheila to increase their coverage for less money
  • We have updated their estate plan; coordinating the insurances, retirement, beneficiary designations, and their will.
  • Evaluated different college savings programs for their children’s education savings.
  • We thoroughly reviewed their mortgage and home equity line of credit, providing advice on the best way to structure their debt to minimize cost and provide maximum flexibility, all while ensuring that they would be debt-free at retirement.

If you have a lifestyle that is in many ways similar to that of Jeff and Sheila, give us a call! Let’s see what we can do together.

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.