Many of us know it can be overwhelming prioritizing your finances when you have many goals; retirement, college, emergency savings, etc. At KHC Wealth Management, we help our clients live well today while planning for the future. Part of this planning is striking a balance among one’s various financial goals.
Our clients, Jennifer and Jim, were right in the middle of the busiest time of their lives – personally and financially; both were high-level executives, and they had twin boys who were about to enter high school. They were saving for retirement and the boys’ college, building their investment portfolio and wanted to do a major home addition. Jim and Jennifer moved into a new build 10 years ago when their kids were about to enter elementary school. At the time, the home was at the top end of their budget; however they needed the extra space and knew that their finances would be stretched for a short period as they advanced in their careers. They loved the home, the neighborhood, and the school district.
Now Jennifer and Jim wanted to finish their walk-out basement as the twins entered their teen years. This would create a designated place with games and a TV for the boys and their friends to hang out – helping to make their home the “go to” place for their kids. They also would add a much-needed guest room for their many out-of-town family members. The couple wanted to begin this renovation quickly but they weren’t sure if they could pay cash or open a home equity line of credit. They worried about how the cost would affect their other financial planning goals.
KHC worked with Jim and Jennifer to discuss the trade-offs they were willing to make to fund these changes. The couple decided not to fund the kids’ education account for one year in order to pay for the basement without having to borrow from their home. They had started the college fund the year the twins were born and had experienced enough growth in the account to withstand the delay. We also suggested reputable builders and created a timeline for the construction.
As with most home renovations, there were delays and additional costs beyond the original estimate. KHC worked with Jim and Jennifer to continually assess their priorities. They used Jim’s annual bonus to cover the additional expenses. This project also meant the couple would likely delay their retirement date for another year, but they were willing to do that because they had been saving Jim’s bonuses in a retirement fund.