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 68-year-old William and 65-year-old Rosa, a couple who are both attorneys in Phoenix. As real estate attorneys, they were on track to retire by 62 until the real estate bubble burst in 2008. Now, they plan to work at least another five years to continue catch-up contributions to their retirement account. That way, when they do retire, they can play on golf courses around the world and spoil grandchildren.
WILLIAM & ROSA’S PROFILE
Occupation: Attorneys, William works full time, Rosa is part time
Age: 68, 65
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Housing costs: $4,000
Groceries and home supplies : $950
Dining out: $1,200
Loans: $1,500 auto
Health, dental, and vision insurance: $800
Auto, homeowner, and umbrella liability insurance: $550
Life insurance premium: $400
Lawn service: $150
Cell phone: $175
Gym/country club membership: $1,250
Clothing, misc.: $600
Credit card debt payments: $300
MONTHLY SAVINGS AND INVESTMENTS
Traditional IRA: $1,000
Savings: $1,000 a month
Employer-sponsored retirement plan: $3,160
OUR CHAT WITH WILLIAM AND ROSA
How difficult is it for you to put money away for retirement? Have you had to give up anything?
We’ve been playing catch-up with our retirement savings. We are both real estate attorneys and had our own firm. This was great until the real estate market tanked in 2008, and we lost the majority of our clients due to their economic struggles. After that, we decided we didn’t want to build up our own firm again and joined bigger firms downtown. The five years after the real estate market crashed, we struggled. We had two kids about to head to college, and we had to stop saving as much for retirement.
If you had to put away more money for your retirement, what would you cut out of your budget?
We do plan to downsize in a few years. The market hasn’t adjusted enough to make a smaller house more cost-effective yet. Also, we will have our car paid off next year, so that should allow us to put more into retirement.
What are your retirement goals? What age do you want to retire? What do you want to do in retirement?
Well, before the downturn, we had hoped to be retired by now. Instead, we’re planning on working for another five years or so. We definitely want to travel and play on as many famous golf courses as we can. We have courses on our list from all over the world. Our kids aren’t married yet, but we hope they bless us with grandchildren someday, as we’d love to spend a good chunk of our retirement years spoiling some grandchildren.
What does “health” mean to you?
We have been incredibly fortunate. So far, neither one of us has had any life-threatening illnesses in our life, like so many of our friends and family. First, health is just being free from disease. Then, it’s having minimal aches and pains so we can still get out on the links every week.
Are there luxuries/discretionary items that you always need to include in your budget?
We don’t cook as much as we used to. It’s harder with just the two of us and with our work schedules. So we’d like to keep our meal service in our budget and, of course, we love to dine out. Our country club membership is another luxury that needs to be part of our budget.
How did you come up with a plan for retirement?
We have a financial planner that we’ve been with for the last 10 years. We were grateful for his guidance when we shifted from being self-employed to being employees, as well as helping us determine our options for catching up our retirement savings. He talked us through things like contribution limits for different types of retirement accounts and has us on a schedule to max out our company 401(k) contributions based on this year’s limits. Because of our salaries, we can’t contribute to Roth IRAs anymore, so we’re focusing on pretax contributions that are helping us reduce our taxable income.
In addition to saving for retirement, what are some of the big picture items you want to invest in?
We got the kids through college, so with that behind us, the biggest thing we want to invest in is travel. At our stage of life, we want to have some conveniences when traveling — the perks are worth paying for. Also, if our daughter chooses to marry, we’d like to help her have the wedding of her dreams.
What intimidates you in planning for retirement or what questions do you still have?
With all the uncertainty about Social Security and health care, we do worry about our long-term healthcare needs when we retire. We hope we get many years of healthy living in retirement, even with the delay in our retirement from our original plans.
THE WRAP UP
William and Rosa are playing catch-up with their retirement savings since they got behind during the real estate market crash of 2008. With another five years to go before they retire, they are hopeful that they will be set up to enjoy travel, future grandkids, and health in their retirement.
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