Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Financial Background

With my first few posts, I'll try and provide a bit of background on where we currently are with our finances, and our goals - both short-term and long-term. I'll discuss the challenges we're currently facing, and the opportunities.

My husband and I are planning to retire in 20 years, which will make me 55 and my husband 64. At that point, I imagine both of us will choose some sort of part-time employment, be it volunteer or for pay. We'd like the flexibility of not working if health is a concern, but both like to be busy with activities. I'm not sure how that will change as we enter our 50s and beyond. :-)

Our goal is to move, sell our current home in Seattle (it will need to be fully paid off at that point), and take the settlement from that house & buy a house outright in Hawaii. We're anticipating downsizing, and hope to have additional funds leftover to cover taxes, insurance, start up costs (furniture), etc on our new home.

The Plan:
Obviously, we're a long way from making this a reality, but planning for retirement requires a bunch of steps along the way, so I am looking at 1 year, 5 year, 10 year, etc plans to get us there and make sure we are no track for retirement. We also have other financial goals related to our children, like sending them to college, so you'll so those goals weaved in as well.

Here are the things I can currently think for our retirement plan:
  • Primary residence fully paid off (we're 5 years in to a 30 year mortgage, so we'll need to accelerate payments to make this happen). Goal is to pay this house off in 15ish years - so have it paid off by 2027.
  • Vacation home fully paid off. We may or may not sell this house when we retire, but it will need to be paid off. We're aggressively paying this off, and my goal is to have this house paid off by February, 2017.
  • Fully fund our kids college accounts. We're currently saving in GET accounts, and I have 40% of tuition credits saved for our oldest, and 37% for our youngest. (Our kids are 5 1/2 & 4 1/2.) I'm still wrestling with how much we will need to save, so more to come as I work on this goal.
  • I've run quite a few simulations on how much money we will actually need to retire, and I'm just not sure I have a firm answer. I'm using $6,000,000 as our current target, but I'm sure that will get revised along the way.
  • Retire with no debt (credit card, auto loan, etc).
Ahhhh, such small goals to focus on. ;-)


  1. Hi Hawaii Planner! I love your plans!
    I have a couple of questions (if you don't mind :))
    Would you consider buying in Hawaii once the vacation home is paid off? Do you rent out the vacation home?

  2. Good questions, and happy to answer them. :-)

    We have thought about buying a place in Hawaii once we pay off our current vacation home. If interest rates stay low, and property values remain low (I hope they go up, for our sake & everyone elses!), we would definitely consider making the investment in our retirement home now and renting it out.

    Hawaii is far enough away (6ish hour flight)that we'd likely rent it using a rental property management firm for the majority of the year, and use it for a vacation here & there.

    Our current vacation home is within a 4 hour drive (and, close to my parents, sister, and assorted other relatives) & we do not rent it out. We've been using it quite a bit (we average 40+ nights/year there), but it is getting harder to make that work now that my son is in Kindergarten. The town we purchased in has an extremely long rental list (it would probably take 2+ years for us to get our house on the list to rent out) as the number of rentals are capped. We haven't explored it, because we love the flexiblity of using it whenever we want, we leave clothes, food, EVERYTHING there. We let family members use the house for free anytime we're not there.

    It's funny because out of all of our financial decisions, the vacation house is the one I'm happiest with. . . we have had the most amazing family memories there. With our immediate family, but also with my extended family. Buying it was completely a whim (story for another day), but so very worth it!