Sensible Scenarios: Dreams of an Arizona Retirement
Posted by Gyb Spilsbury on November 20, 2019
Cindy and John came to Sensible Financial for a plan in 2008. At the time, they lived in Boston and dreamt of retiring in Arizona’s warmer and sunnier climes. With each passing month and year, they found themselves lamenting the cold more often. They felt constrained because they owned a successful small business near the city.
Creating a financial plan
We analyzed their financial situation and recommended that they wait until 2015 before retiring to Arizona. Because they would earn substantially less in Arizona, they needed several more years at their higher paying jobs in Boston before they could safely move. Although they were emotionally ready to retire in 2008, they were not financially ready.
Making a change
In 2013, Cindy and John sold their business – two years before we recommended – and moved. Shortly after moving, they both began jobs earning substantially less money than in Boston—but they were happy! They decided to work longer at lower earnings to compensate for the lost years of higher income. We imagine that their free time was spent enjoying the sun.
However, a dilemma arose in 2019. Cindy and John expressed concern that their jobs were too physically demanding. “How soon can we retire?” they asked. It was clear that their jobs in Arizona were not sustainable. Their knees were tired. Physical stress can easily lead to emotional stress.
Reassessing their financial plan
Since their original financial plan, they had moved from one state to another, from one home to another, and to two new jobs. We recommended that we update their financial plan to reflect these changes to their financial situation. We couldn’t confidently make recommendations with stale information and analysis.
This past summer, it was a pleasure for us to tell Cindy and John that they could retire immediately. They needed no more earnings to meet their lifetime goals and maintain their current (and preferred) living standard.
Retiring with confidence
A combination of factors allowed them to retire immediately. Their portfolio had grown significantly since 2013 and their lower-earning Arizona jobs had lasted long enough to make up for lost Boston earnings. As each of us takes a unique path through life and to retirement, financial planning can help us make better informed life decisions and avoid the regrets sometimes associated with snap decisions. Rick Miller, Sensible Financial’s founder, sometimes paraphrases Dwight Eisenhower when he quips, “Plans are useless; planning is essential.”
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