In finances and in life, we all have to balance living well today while planning for a more secure future. That’s not just about hitting an elusive “retirement” number, it’s about making important trade-offs between maintaining your current lifestyle and saving to build wealth. This is difficult as many Americans simply don’t want to make sacrifices and our culture often encourages overconsumption.
Regardless of your salary, everyone can make good trade-offs to live well now and save for the future. Recently, clients of ours, both business executives, decided to do just that. The wife, who was a corporate executive with a higher salary than her husband, decided she wanted to transition to a different life. Juggling two high powered careers with two young children was not working for the family.
She chose to change her career to become a college professor, which would mean a more flexible schedule and allow her more time with her family. We worked with the couple to build a new plan and identify the lifestyle changes required to reach this dream. It meant reconfiguring how they use their human capital and financial capital, and making changes like expenditure cuts and working longer before retirement.
The family put this plan into action and adjusted their annual expenses. While having less disposable income, they found that their schedules allowed them to spend more time as a family, often doing more inexpensive activities. Happily, we can report that the wife completed her PhD last May, found a professor position and the family re-located. The husband continues to telecommute to his position in Kansas City.
Their trade-off is allowing this couple to make their lives count in a meaningful way. They are living the life they envisioned, balancing career and family while still staying on course to meet their financial planning goals. It takes a solid plan, hard work and commitment, but this couple will tell you it is worth it.