For many years, I have worked with a couple that had a very specific retirement dream. They wanted to travel the country in their camper. At first, I thought this was something that would be a passing fancy. Over the years, many clients have expressed visions for retirement and yet many of them evolve over time to something entirely different. This couple was unique. They were very consistent and in sync with their dream. Don’t get me wrong. They loved their careers in medicine and education and were dedicated and true professionals. But, when they talked about riding through the country without an agenda or a definite plan but instead stopping wherever they found something interesting, they always lit up with smiles.
As the years went by, we continued to plan for their retirements. The dates were set. They brought pictures of their camper to our meetings and talked about weekend trips they had taken in it. Without fail, as they talked about their journeys, they were animated and happy. And so we planned.
As is always the case with planning for retirement, saving is just the start. There are many other things to consider. In this case, the husband would be retiring before he was eligible for Medicare. We discussed this and made sure that he would be covered adequately until age 65. What about their house? Did they want to keep it and return back to it when they were done with their travels? Or, did they want to sell it and be completely unencumbered as they traveled, spending that time deciding where they want to live next and in what kind of residence? We looked at this several different ways but the option that was most appealing to them was to sell the home and decide later where and how to live. After all, this was going to be an adventure so no holding back!
As their retirement date approached, I wondered if they would begin to get cold feet. Would selling the house and putting everything in storage in order to drive into the sunset be too much when it came right down to it? But, every time they came into my office, they had made more progress on their goals. The wife was cleaning out the house one room at a time. Their grown daughters chipped in as they took what they wanted from their childhood rooms. The husband was busy doing projects fixing up the house to get it ready to sell. Within a couple of months of both of them retiring, the house was on the market. And, it sold quickly! Still no regrets – just smiles.
They came into my office for the last time before their big adventure, overjoyed and ready to go. We discussed how we would stay in touch and that they would be back from time-to-time to visit their daughters. We talked about how the years of saving that they had done and planning that we had done together had given them the ability to drive down the road with confidence. And, that they did. They have been traveling now since the end of 2016 with no itinerary. Just moving at the pace they want and going wherever the mood strikes them. I have met with them once in our office since their journey began. Their enthusiasm was contagious and they showed no signs of tiring of their adventure.