Financial Planning Success Stories

Read about the situations people have found themselves in before meeting with an advisor, and how financial planning brought clarity and confidence to their retirement picture

After retiring early from career in the public sector, Brian and Molly have a long life ahead. It is time to make their assets last and navigate the next 50 years. 

Main Goals

Brian and Mary have already retired but they are only in their early 50’s. To make things better and more complex, they are very active and healthy. They both loved their careers as fire fighters and Brad may even continue to work in a new role at a new department.


Brian and Mary, along with their two daughters, just relocated to begin this new phase of their lives.

The problem, they are so young. They have a lifetime ahead of them. They were fortunate to receive an annual pension until they pass away but that pension negates their future social security benefits. 

Their new home is paid off and will have large tax bill from the sale of properties before the move.

They also have the passion to help their children through college, protect each other with insurance, because of the pensions, and spend freely and happily for the rest of their lives. 

The years of hard work have accumulated retirement assets and some taxable assets that need to be evaluated through this ongoing relationship.

Plan Variables
  • What if one passes away early?

  • What if there is poor market performance

  • What if they live a really long time?

  • Will their assets last?

  • What if they want to relocate?

  • What if Brian retires from second career early

  • What should they do about college?

  • How will their health impact insurance?

Initial Recommendations
  • Brian continue to work for 10 more years to help pay for college, provide insurance, and accumulate more savings

  • Rebuilt investment porfolio in low cost, diversified investments build for the long term. The portfolio was also optimized for asset allocation, asset location, and future taxes and distributions. 

  • We did a life insurance analysis to provide the proper coverage including long term care.

  • We also did an elaborate cash flow analysis to make sure we have enough current income to cover all goals and still invest for the future. 

Teri and Jonathan have worked hard for over thirty years and can finally see the retirement finish line. Their view of retirement is different from traditional retirement plans. Teri would like to officially stop working and Jonathan would like to continue doing odds and ends.

Main Goals

Teri and Jonathan are nearing the retirement finish line and would like to set themselves up to start other businesses.


Teri and Jonathan have worked hard for over thirty years and can finally see the retirement finish line. Their view of retirement is different from traditional retirement plans. Teri would like to officially stop working and Jonathan would like to continue doing odds and ends. Then, after Teri has settled into retirement, she would like to build another business and be the boss. As we approach retirement in this timeframe, we need to be particularly careful that we are saving the proper amount in the proper investments. We want to avoid any sequence of returns risk that could ruin potential income. It is important to avoid withdrawing money for income when assets are worth less – think 2008 to 2009.

We also need to confirm that higher education for their child is a top priority, and that we can pay for as many college expenses as possible. This can be challenging when deciding how important retirement is versus funding a college education. As important as furthering their child’s education is, we can’t let it ruin Teri and Jonathan’s retirement goals.

Plan Variables
  • A proper savings rate

  • Limiting spending

  • Keeping goals at the forefront

  • Evaluating social security

  • Managing investments and retirement accounts properly

  • Preparing for healthcare

  • Fine-tuning income needs

  • Evaluating college expenses

First Places To Start

Do a comprehensive breakdown of Teri and Jonathan’s entire financial picture. We need to know all of the current details about where they are at in their finances. Primarily, there needs to be an assessment to gauge whether or not an early retirement is completely possible.

Once the situation is thoroughly evaluated, we can start to create actionable items that work towards building their goals. This evaluation may take some time, but it is crucial that it is completed before anything else.

Both Ryan and Emily are very active. They make a habit to exercise daily, develop healthy eating habits, and spend lots of time outdoors by skiing frequently. As a result of their active lifestyles, they could live quite a long time in retirement, so it is vital to prepare their financial situation for that longevity.

Main Goals

Ryan and Emily are active professionals who want to optimize their retirement income and mitigate taxes while they plan for their future.


Ryan has already retired from an executive role at a previous company, and as a result, he has received stock options. However, he has started a new business venture that consistently provides him with a very high income. The business has a strong probability of being sold in the future for a large windfall.

Emily has been a high school counselor for over thirty years. Along with her current job, she is already receiving a pension from another school system, but she is still working and will have an additional pension once she retires.

The majority of their assets are within an IRA that came from a large 401k, which was established at Ryan’s former employer.

Their actual retirement date is presently unknown; however, we still need to prepare them for required minimum distributions, pension income, and proper income supplementation. We also need to decide how they will take social security benefits, as there may be reductions that need to be evaluated.

Plan Variables
  • Distribution of large amounts from tax deferred accounts

  • Tax liability in high income years relating to company stock options and stock units

  • Maximizing the proper pension amount from Emily’s second pension

  • Making money last for the future so that they can live the way they want

  • Being as tax efficient as possible and managing proper income strategies

First Places To Start

We need to understand specifically how much Ryan and Emily need to live the life of their dreams in retirement. This is a cash flow evaluation. Then, we need to manage assets in a way that keeps their costs low and their tax liabilities as low as possible. This could include asset allocation.

We also need to start to whey all income sources now and maintain it in the future when they begin to take social security. Additionally, we need to assist in timing the proper social security strategy. This retirement plan can be implemented over one year, but it will take years of evaluations, adaptations, and corrective behaviors when addressing current market conditions.

Like a spotter in the gym, but for your money.
At Pro Path Financial, we live by one mantra: Goals, Plan, Assets – in that order. We begin by obtaining a complete understanding of your most cherished goals and move on through the process once we have a strong comprehension of what you want to achieve. We then build a plan that achieves those goals, which includes an estimate of how much capital you will need. Lastly, we manage and accumulate assets to support the plan that is intended to achieve your goals.
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