Wealth + Health Diaries Real Life Stories from Real Life People – Sasha and Diego

Janice James tkc.profilePicture Written by: Janice James
May 29, 2019

5 Min readClock Icon

Curious how your spending and money management stacks up? In this series, we talk to real folks just like you, who’ve shared their tales of spending, saving, and searching for loose change.

Today, we hear from Sasha, a 40-year-old art gallery owner, and Diego, a 37-year-old yoga studio manager, who live in Albuquerque. They meet with their financial planner each year to adjust their retirement savings plan and help them take the right steps to get to a retirement of their dreams by age 60.


Occupation: Sasha owns an art gallery, and Diego is a yoga studio manager

Industry: Art and wellness

Age: 40, 37

Location: Albuquerque

Salary/income: $200,000


Housing costs: $2,300

Groceries and home supplies: $800

Dining out: $950

Loans: $800 auto

Health, dental, and vision insurance: $850

Auto, homeowner, and umbrella liability insurance: $350

Life insurance premium: $275

Utilities: $85

Internet/digital: $150

Lawn service: $0

Cell phone: $150

Gym membership: $175

Clothing, misc.: $500

Credit card debt payments: $0


Roth IRA: $1,000

Savings: $350 a month

Employer-sponsored retirement plan: $400


How difficult is it for you to put money away for retirement? Have you had to give up anything?

Since Diego is the only one who has an employer-sponsored retirement plan, we had to be disciplined to “pay ourselves first” when contributing to our Roth IRAs. Once we got that set up, we haven’t had to give anything up. We keep increasing our contributions each year when, or if, our salaries go up.

If you had to put away more money for your retirement, what would you cut out of your budget?

If we had to cut something, we could trim some off our dining out budget to save more for retirement. We are foodies, so we are always trying new places. And with Sasha’s job in the art industry, we do a lot of networking over drinks.

What are your retirement goals? What age do you want to retire? What do you want to do in retirement?

We both love learning and experiencing new things. In retirement we won’t be tied to someone else’s schedule, so we hope to take more time to enjoy some meditation and yoga retreats. Possibly take some cooking classes in Italy and just have the freedom to do what we want, when we want. An extended trip to Asia would be fabulous, too! We plan to retire by 60 if all goes as planned.

What does “health” mean to you?

Diego is the epitome of health. So, I’m lucky to have a partner who always strives for a healthy mind, body, and spirit to learn from. We try to meditate regularly and are vegetarians. Health to me is honoring your body and mind by only fueling them with quality things.

Are there luxuries that you always need to include in your budget? Housecleaner? Grocery shopper?

We pay for premium doggy daycare for our fur-babies; we don’t have children, but we treat our two dogs like family. We also have an annual membership to the performing arts center so we can see shows regularly. I don’t see those expenses ever falling off our budget.

Do you have a financial planner? If so, explain why your planner is valuable.

We do have a financial planner that we visit with every year to make adjustments to our plan as necessary. We have found her advice invaluable ever since we joined our finances when we married. She monitors all of our choices (so we don’t have to) and is able to recommend programs that we wouldn’t know about without her.

In addition to saving for retirement, what are some of the big picture items you want to invest in?

We want to be sure we are set up with options for long term care. We don’t want the government deciding where (or when) we will go if the time comes that we can’t live independently. Also, we want to start a college fund for our niece next year. She’s just turning one, but we’d love to be able to contribute in that way for her.

What intimidates you in planning for retirement or what questions do you still have?

We’re both always wondering if we’re doing the right thing when it comes to money. That’s why seeing our financial planner is nonnegotiable every year. We need that outside guidance to keep us on track … and sane.


Checking in with a financial planner every year gives Diego and Sasha the peace of mind that they are doing what’s necessary to build a retirement where they can enjoy yoga retreats, cooking classes in Italy, and whatever else intrigues them. They’re also planning for long term care so, when they can no longer live independently, they will have choices.

Neither Transamerica nor its agents or representatives may provide tax, investment, or legal advice. Anyone to whom this material is promoted, marketed, or recommended should consult with and rely on their own independent tax and legal advisors and financial professional regarding their particular situation and the concepts presented herein.


Tags in this article

Financial Planning Financial Stability Life Span Retirement Stories

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