Case Study: Jack & Susanna

Jack and Susanna Thompson.


To Jack and Susanna, it seemed like retirement age was coming way too quickly. They both worked for the federal government, Jack as a meteorologist for the National Weather Service and Susanna as an air traffic controller for the FAA. They’d been contributing 10% to their TSP regularly and they invested a little in some stocks that a friend recommended, although they hadn’t monitored that investment for a while. They’d been putting most of their money into their savings account, and although it wasn’t earning much interest there, they never seemed to have enough time to sit down together to decide how to invest it.

At ages 58 and 55, Jack and Susanna were hoping to retire within the next 5-8 years so that they could travel and visit their two children who recently finished college. As government employees, they knew they had some kind of pension but they weren’t sure what it offered, and they’ve been receiving information in the mail about social security benefits that they’d be eligible to take in a few years. They had so many questions—questions about when they should start their benefits, about making additional contributions to their TSP and other investments, about long-term-care insurance, and about helping their children pay back their college loans. They were also worried that they hadn’t prepared a will or created a trust for their family, something they knew they should do.

They knew that they should have started to plan more carefully for this stage, and for their upcoming retirement, but it always seemed like it was still several years away. They lacked a clear path forward for the next stage of life.

Recently at breakfast they noticed a quote in USA Today about retirement services at GLFA NOVA. They realized that the office was near their home. They were impressed by what they read and decided to give them a call to see if they could help them get organized.

After meeting with their advisor at Good Life, they were thrilled to discover that he could answer their list of questions. With guidance from him, they began developing their own N.G.P.S., integrating their goals and desires into a plan. They’ve met with an estate attorney who their advisor recommended, and they’ve organized the necessary paperwork so that their assets are set to go to their children. And now they’ve consolidated their investments into a coherent plan. Retirement looks like it is within reach after all.

When it comes to financial planning, finding the right fit in an advisor is essential—and finding the right fit in a client is critical for the advisor as well.