Case Studies

The following case studies illustrate the varied challenges faced by people who have come to Safe Harbor for retirement and financial advice and investment management. Please click on the image below for a short video discussion of Safe Harbor's focus on its clients and client service.

The following are hypothetical case studies and are for illustrative purposes only. These studies do not represent actual clients. Any resemblance to actual people or situations is purely coincidental. Actual results will vary.


The Gift of Freedom

Our long-term clients, Harry and Louise, came to us to revisit their plan because a new situation had arisen in their lives. We know that things will change, people's priorities change and this situation was no different. Although this couple had a well working retirement plan, their priorities had shifted a bit. Louise was now considering leaving the workforce altogether to take care of their 13-year-old daughter. They were in their 50's and were worried about her as she was entering middle school. After school, she would be home alone without supervision everyday from 2 - 5 p.m. Louise really wanted to be there for her, but the couple didn't want to sacrifice their retirement. In their 50's, they had made plans to retire in about 8 years.

We reviewed their Retirement Roadmap to reevaluate the numbers if Louise were to now stay home. As we went through their cash flow worksheet information, we found that their current cash flow would be sufficient if she left the work force, but only if Harry cut his retirement contributions in half. The good news was that we could solve their immediate cash flow issues. However, Harry expressed concern because he did not want the reduced contributions to prevent them from meeting their retirement goals.  He had always been told to maximize his retirement savings.

We went through the numbers in detail using the reduced contribution amount but still targeting the same date for retirement. We found that by making some adjustments in the portfolio allocation, and by rethinking some of our original calculations, the couple could give up Louise's income and have her stay home with their daughter, and still remain on track to pursue a successful retirement.

Without a Retirement Roadmap, they would not have been able to coordinate the different issues that were concerning them. With the Retirement Roadmap to work from, we took the guesswork out of what they should do and how it would impact them. 

Instead of spending the next few years wondering if they made the right move, we took the mystery out of the decision making process and gave them the gift of freedom to choose what they wanted. Now they can take care of their family, and their future, feeling confident in their decisions.

Getting Organized - and On Track

Karen and David had several different advisors working with them as they planned for their retirement. They were receiving so much advice they believed they were adequately planning for their retirement. As we worked with them and performed a comprehensive assessment of their financial situation, we found they were not on track to reach their retirement goals - and in fact were missing key elements of their plan. Playing the role of their financial quarterback, we were able to effectively coordinate their financial plan and align it with their goals. They got back on track with their desired Retirement Roadmap.

As we worked through the process, we also found areas of redundancy. As one example, our total wealth management viewpoint allowed us to find unnecessary insurance policies in their portfolio. They cashed these in and used the cash value to take their children on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Kauai.

We can't promise that you'll be able to take a dream vacation after visiting our office, but we can promise we will efficiently coordinate all aspects of your financial planning. Most clients feel that this approach increases their comfort level with the overall retirement process.

What's Your Retirement Benchmark?

Shirley was three years away from her planned retirement date. She had actually reached her number, but didn't realize it. Her financial advisor didn't realize it either and continued to orient her portfolio toward the riskier growth style. If there was an understanding that she had reached her number then her advisor should have moved to a more conservative posture. Instead, when the market difficulties occurred, Shirley lost 40% of her total and as a result was no longer in a position to retire.

Shirley came to our office after this happened, and now is set with the proper investment strategy for her stage of life. Why wait until your savings evaporate to have your portfolio reviewed and correctly benchmarked?

Asking the Right Questions Leads to the Right Result

Without having the proper knowledge, it's impossible to ask the right questions - the type of questions that can lead to a happy retirement.

A New Hampshire couple, hoping to retire in five years, came to us for advice. The wife hated her job and hoped to retire soon, but felt she couldn't until she had maximized her pension. We asked a lot of questions, taking them through a review of the information they provided. 

After evaluating their responses, we asked them to return to the office for a second interview. She was delighted to learn that - based on her cash flow needs and already-accumulated assets - she could retire immediately. 

By asking insightful questions, carefully listening to the answers, and completing a thorough retirement analysis, we were able to determine the couple didn't need to maximize her pension in order to reach their retirement goals. The result? She quit her job shortly afterward, and began enjoying retired life.

If we didn't understand the retirement process, she would still be working today. This is just one example of why it's vital to have your retirement planning conducted by a firm with considerable experience in this field.