We met John and Mary through an introduction from a longstanding client. John, age 61, worked as an engineer, earned a good income by most people’s standards and had a small pension. Mary, 58, raised the couple’s two children and took care of the family home.

They’ve been smart with their money, have no mortgage or other debt to speak of and are good savers. John was thinking of retirement and both he and Mary very much looked forward to traveling when John was free to do so. They had acted on the advice not to “put all your eggs in one basket” and interpreted that to mean they should spread their savings among a few institutions, “just to be safe”.

They came to wanting to know when John could retire. Their biggest priorities included maintaining their current lifestyle and travelling frequently, if finances permitted. In addition, they found the sheer volume of account statements coming in from many institutions to be overwhelming. They wanted simplicity.

Unfortunately, John and Mary had misinterpreted the idea of diversification and a review of their account statements showed very little diversification at all. In addition, tax considerations were largely ignored and most accounts were heavily weighted in each institutions in-house product. They had a financial plan prepared several years ago however it has never been reviewed or updated since.

After clarifying their priorities, we helped John and Mary establish specific goals and this information served as the basis for developing a written financial plan. In our analysis, we considered both their needs and wants and included a number of options for discussion purposes.

The results of our work revealed that John could already afford to retire. We consolidated their accounts and reallocated the holdings so that proper diversification, greater tax efficiency and reduced costs all were achieved. We reviewed John’s pension statements, discussed their estate plans and reviewed their wills to ensure that their intentions would become reality. Finally we entered into an on-going relationship which included regular reviews of their entire situation to ensure they would always be on track.

Both John and Mary were delighted … they could have the retirement they desired. Additionally, because they received fewer account statements and a better explanation of those that came in, John and Mary always knew exactly where they stood. In Mary’s words “I finally feel that we have our affairs in order.”

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