5 Years Or Less From Retirement

Case study #2: Mike & Carol

Mike (59) & Carol (58)


Mike worked in various corporate management jobs throughout his career. The last employer, an international manufacturer for whom he has worked for 20 years, has been really good to him. He enjoys his work but wants to travel more including a goal of visiting all national parks.

Carol ran a photography business after she left a corporate job in her 30s. The photography business has grown well over the years but she wants to slow down. She wants to publish a photo book of all the national parks.


  • Retire together in 3 years with a monthly income of $5,000 + healthcare + taxes.
  • Buy an RV to travel to the national parks for a couple of years. Estimated cost $60,000
  • Sell the house and buy a condo to downsize.

Personal Financial Summary (Recommendations and Outcome*)

  • Review retirement income spending needs to determine the feasibility of retiring in 3 years
  • Max-out Roth IRAs for the next 3 years. (This will help cover costs so income can stay under the income limit for premium credits to pay for healthcare.)
  • Max out HSA for the next 3 years creating a pool of tax-free income to use for health expenses.
  • Reallocate retirement accounts so the first 3 years of income needs are in low–risk investments.
  • At retirement, utilize the Net Unrealized Appreciation (NUA) Strategy with the stock in Mike’s 401k to minimize taxes in retirement.
  • Implement a “hybrid” Social Security strategy with Carol planning to elect benefits early and Mike waiting until age 70 to claim benefits.


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*This is a hypothetical case study provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a projection of current of future performance or indication or future results.  The information provided is not based on actual current or past clients. All situations are unique, and results will differ depending on individual situation.  Past performance is not indicative of future results.