Empty Nesters


AGES: 58 & 56

Cover college costs for their children without sacrificing retirement savings and their “work optional” timeline


Tom and Sheila aren’t ready to retire but their kids are now out of the house and they’re finding themselves “empty nesters” and thinking about their future retirement plans.

They’re considering downsizing to help pay for college for their kids but aren’t sure if that’s the right move to make right now.

Tom and Sheila have both worked for major financial institutions for 25+ years and enjoy their work and their co-workers. They like that they have somewhere to go each day but still get flexibility to enjoy family time and know that being home all day, every day, is a common stress for couples in retirement.

Tom and Sheila have saved well for retirement and they’ve made a lot of positive decisions with regard to their money:

• They’ve made a good living and lived within their means
• They’ve saved into their retirement accounts and gotten “free money” from their match at their employers
• Managed debt and have a mostly paid off mortgage at this point
• Ignored the markets and kept their heads down while working and savings

What are the issues and why are they concerned?

For Tom and Sheila it’s not about simply getting by, but rather optimizing the opportunities that they’ve created for themselves.

They’re big question right now is, “what’s next?”

When is the right time for them to step away from work and enjoy their retirement years together?  Is there anything else they’re missing now that the kids are gone that they can do to maximize the years they have left working before they retire?

They’ve never worked with a financial planner and are a bit intimidated by the process.

They feel overwhelmed when they read all the rules around Social Security and are also concerned with how to reduce their taxes in retirement.

As they start to think about the go-go years of retirement, they know they need a guide and partner to help them make the right decisions with their savings so they can enjoy retirement and limit their worry.

They don’t know when they’ll retire but they want someone to confidently tell them they can when that day comes.


Tom and Sheila were overwhelmed when they started the process.  They didn’t realize they had so many accounts and assets that were scattered around but that solidified their decision to meet with a financial planner even more.  The first step was to get organized!

They’re busy with work obligations, social obligations, and trying to help their kids make smart decisions about their future while they’re away at college.   

They knew this process would take some time, and there would be a series of steps to take in order to navigate all the different planning decisions they would need to make. 

But, much like eating an elephant, they did it one bite at a time and on their own timeline.


After their first meeting, they discovered they had other things to worry about that they hadn’t even considered.  Things like long-term care, taxes, market fluctuation, inflation, and the list went on.  At that point they decided to move forward and start the implementation process.  

Over the course of several strategic meetings, they built a plan that they felt more confident in and should help to deliver a happy confident retirement.

A complete financial strategy was put in place to help them manage their retirement decisions:

  • An income strategy to reduce risk and provide them a monthly paycheck that will last them as long as they live
  • A smarter investment strategy that helped to build a more diversified portfolio, which reduced their overall expenses, and organized their accounts under one roof 
  • Improved their expected overall risk/return in their plan.
  • Managed tax obligations through a proactive tax planning strategy (rather than set it and forget it!)

They now have a comprehensive plan that offers flexibility when life throws them a curveball.   They have their accounts in one place and a financial dashboard that shows all of their accounts in one plan so they can track their progress. 

Tom and Sheila aren’t retired yet.  They have aspirations of retiring in a few years.  They’re happier and far more confident now that they have a true plan in place, and they no longer feel stressed about making the move to retirement when that time comes.



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Note: These retirement planning stories are hypothetical, do not involve specific clients of Two Waters Wealth, and should not be viewed as a guarantee of results or success.

All guarantees are backed by the claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company.  While tax and legal issues may be discussed in the general course of financial and investment planning, Advisory Alpha does not provide tax or legal services.  Please consult with your tax or legal professional prior to making decisions relative to these issues.