Navigating the transition to retirement can be daunting, but with a well-structured financial plan, it’s possible to approach this phase of life with confidence and clarity. In this case study, we’ll delve into the financial journey of Peter and Amanda, a couple on the brink of retirement, and explore how they crafted a robust plan to achieve their retirement goals.


Meet Peter and Amanda (not their real names):

Peter, 61, and Amanda, about to turn 60, have diligently saved for their future while balancing the demands of work and family life. As retirement looms closer, they’re eager to determine if they’re on track to retire comfortably and sustain their desired lifestyle.

Priorities and Financial Goals

Before diving into the specifics of their financial plan, Peter and Amanda identified their key priorities:

  1. Retirement age: They aim to retire at 65 for Peter and 64 for Amanda.
  2. Maintain lifestyle: They seek to sustain their current standard of living in retirement.
  3. Travel: Especially in the early years of retirement, they want to explore the world.
  4. Charitable giving: Continuing to support their church and other causes, including a significant one-time gift for disadvantaged youth.
  5. Family time: Spending quality time with their children and grandchildren is a top priority.

Income Strategy

Peter and Amanda’s income strategy revolves around their current salaries, estimated Social Security benefits, and contributions to their 401(k)s. They plan to defer Peter’s Social Security benefit until age 70 to maximize its value, while Amanda intends to start receiving hers at her full retirement age.

Savings and Investments

With diligent savings efforts, Peter and Amanda are maximizing contributions to their 401(k)s and benefiting from employer matches. Their investment strategy focuses on moderate growth, with an average return of 6%, ensuring a balance between growth potential and risk management.

Expense Estimation

Accurately estimating expenses is crucial for effective retirement planning. Peter and Amanda consider factors such as mortgage payments, charitable giving, healthcare costs (including private insurance before Medicare eligibility), and taxes. Realistic expense projections lay the foundation for a sustainable retirement plan.

Additional Goals and Adjustments

Beyond meeting their basic needs, Peter and Amanda have identified two additional goals:

  1. Charitable gift: They plan to donate $100,000 as a one-time gift to support disadvantaged youth.
  2. Travel: Allocating funds for travel experiences, especially in the early years of retirement, aligns with their desire to explore and create lasting memories with family.

Plan Analysis and Optimization

Analyzing their financial plan reveals its soundness, even with additional goals accounted for. They could potentially retire a year earlier, but they opt to stick with their original timeline. Optimizing tax strategies, investment management, and income distribution ensures their plan remains dynamic and adaptable to changing circumstances.


Peter and Amanda’s financial journey exemplifies the importance of meticulous planning and goal setting in retirement preparation. By prioritizing their aspirations, analyzing their finances comprehensively, and remaining flexible in their approach, they’re poised to embark on a fulfilling retirement journey with confidence and peace of mind.

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This does not constitute an investment recommendation. Investing involves risk. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Consult your financial advisor for what is appropriate for you. Disclosures:

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