We do not tell anyone that we are financially comfortable, mostly we smile when friends talk about investing; we do offer some advice based on our life experiences. Some folks talk about their broker buying this and selling that. We just feel the only one making money in all those stories is the broker. Most people just let our words pass over their heads. You see, we do not live a lavish lifestyle, we do live comfortable in a condominium. In fact we just purchased a larger one that we completely refurbishing. We have a new car and we take several vacations a year. All of this may seem like the good life to anyone, and actually, it is not far from it. We did not always live this way. It was not until one of us got sick and retired that we chose to accelerate our spending and live “our” lavish life.
We will start our story in 1989, I had just lost my job with a New York bank and we were trying to keep everything afloat. We owned a two family home and a condominium one block from the ocean in New Jersey. I had a 401K that we were drawing down – we paid a heavy tax penalty for taking our own money in early withdrawal. In 1989 through 1993, the housing market hit bottom and our condo was only worth 2/3 of what we paid for it. We rented our beloved ocean condo and tightened our belts. We were afloat, but not by much. The water heater in the rental went one week before Christmas. We were already on a budget for the holiday gifts for our family. The plumber replaced it and insisted on being paid before Christmas. I finally got a job after almost a full year; however the salary was about 20% less. We tried to sell the condo (which was under water by 33%). We found a buyer and sold our dream home at the shore. We needed to make additional changes in our lifestyle as we could no longer count on both of us always being employed. The first order of business was to get rid of the BMW. My wife started shopping in the outlets and Marshall’s. We only ate out once a month instead of once or twice a week. Our goal was to live off one salary and save the other; most months we had to rob from the savings salary. We put the two family house for sale at a price only $1,000 more than what we owed the bank on the mortgage. It took two years for the housing market to come up to our needed price, but we did clear $1000.00 after paying the realtor.
It is now 2002 and our investments were moving nicely as we had invested into T.I.P.S., Treasury Investment Protection Securities. We are introduced to Robert Walsh through a trusted friend whom my wife had worked with for more than 20 years. Our first meeting with Robert was in his Jersey City office. We never realized we had managed to save enough money that it even needed to be managed. After much discussion, we decided to have Robert manage our money. He researched our current investments and asked us what our goals were for retirement. We thought our goals were simple, retire at age 65 and live in retirement with as much money as we make when we were working. Several years went by with Robert making changes in our accounts as he followed the market changes. We found that even when the market went down, the positive was that we would buy funds at a lower price and when the market went back up, we had much more value.
Moving forward to 2009, my wife retired and then fell ill. The rain began to fall in our lives. Our retirement goals and our hopes and dreams were fading into the sunset. We met with Robert for a revaluation of our situation. He could help with the finances, but what are the rules about Medicare and Medicaid. Robert recommended an attorney who specializes senior citizen affairs. Robert handled the revaluation of our retirement and has assisted us in so many ways to keep our lives running smoothly. Our tropical storm had lessened and is now only a slight drizzle of rain. Robert and his staff at Lighthouse were just as the name implies, a lighthouse that guided my wife and me through the storm and showed us the way to a safe port.
Robert Walsh and the staff at Lighthouse were able to turn a potential disaster for my wife and me regarding the future of our retirement into a financially safe and structured retirement. There is no way that we can thank Robert and his staff for all of the help they have provided to us. I hope our story encourages you in saving, as the rain may come and go in all of our lives. Saving for retirement must continue through all kinds of weather until your goals are met. I am going to retire soon and look forward to going to Yankee and Giant games and buying new cars…all thanks to LFA, Robert Walsh and his efficient staff.