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Insights & Education

Meet Guy, a 53-year-old professor

Guy is a 53-year-old professor living in Chicago. He and his wife plan to retire somewhere other than where they are currently living, but living abroad isn’t something that’s necessarily appealing to them. Hear how Guy is currently saving, and what he hopes to have happen in the future.

Read Guy's interview below or listen here.

Let’s start with a forward-looking question: What does your dream retirement look like?

For me and my spouse, it’s about being able to retire when we’re financially comfortable, and it’s also about our physical and mental comfort. So, we want to be able to retire when we’re financially comfortable, but also well enough to enjoy the things we do now. It’s that physical and mental health, and all the other aspects of health. What I’m hoping to do is retire pre-65, but keep working part-time in some capacity in my chosen profession, perhaps as a consultant working on a part-time basis. To me, retiring means no longer working full-time. So maybe work to around 63 or 64 and then part-time until around 70. Maybe I’ll work even longer than 70, if I think I can still do it and not compromise other things.

Would you say you’re on track to make that dream come true?

Overall, I think I’d give myself a B. It’s pretty good. It could be better, but where it’s at, it’s pretty good. There are about four or five accounts we have. Checking and savings, and retirement accounts which are more deposit-only. I’m not withdrawing from those. The other ones are constant funds in and out. Retirement accounts are funds in, with maybe close to 98 to 100% of that money staying there. I’m not taking it out until I’m officially retired.

When you think about the steps you’ve taken so far, how much, if at all, did advice from other people factor into your decisions?

I have an employer-sponsored retirement plan, but I also work with a paid financial advisor and do other investments privately, either myself or that my wife and I do. So, it’s working with an advisor and our investments of various sorts. We have a real estate investment and also a business we’re invested in, so those are the two we have that are not like typical investment vehicles. But we’ve had them for a while and will hopefully continue to profit from them. Sometimes that changes on a week-to-week basis. Hopefully it’ll keep going the way we want.

I also have a relative who has a financial career. He has provided me a lot of information and guidance and mentorship over the years. He is younger than me by about 13 or 14 years, but he’s given me a lot of advice. He’s not my investment counselor or planner, but he has helped me out a lot. He’s the person I go to more than anybody. Not on a traditional basis, but a lot of our conversations is me acting as his protégé, because he’s very knowledgeable. He’s been really helping us get to where we want to be and making improvements as things change.

My employer also offers individuals and departments that can help, but for the most part it’s limited. Maybe once or twice a year there’s an opportunity where I can contact them and have conversations. Even that is pretty brief. It’s more along the lines of, this is what you have, here are the changes to make. To me, that stuff is on autopilot. That requires just a little bit of maintenance. I’ll look at it, but it’s rare I make even minor changes to that.

What smart money moves do you think you’ve made? What would you change if you could?

Probably making contributions for employee-sponsored retirement plans. I didn’t start that until later in my life, and I wish I did that from day one at my first adult job that offered benefits. I wish I would have done it then. I waited seven or eight years, so I feel bad. I wish I could change that.

For a smart money move, it’s probably in terms of other investment opportunities. I’ve had some real estate holdings for quite a while. It was something I acquired at a younger age, and I feel like that has really served me well. It was a larger financial opportunity at the time, and a big risk. In retrospect it was a smart move that’s been very beneficial to my financial health. It’s a secondary residence that I’ve converted into a rental property. It was going to be something else, but we changed direction. I’ve had it for 26 years, and it’s been repurposed, but what it’s being used for now was not its original purpose. It was something that at the time we didn’t know how it would go, but it turned out to be a positive thing.

Research shows that people are living longer. Have you factored that into your plans at all?

The thing that worries me is the lifestyle I want to have as we continue to age, that we won’t be able to have it if we live past a certain threshold. Or that it might involve going someplace where our money could go further, which might be outside of the country, or a place we’re not familiar with. We see people doing this because the cost of living is exponentially cheaper. We don’t want to have to do that if we don’t have to, but if we lived past a certain threshold, it might be impossible not to.


These interviews are published for educational use only, and are not intended to provide financial, legal, fiduciary, accounting, or tax advice, nor are they intended to make any investment or insurance recommendations. Experiences presented may not be representative of the experiences of other individuals and there is no guarantee of similar results or success. Please consult with the appropriate legal, financial, or tax professional regarding your own financial situation and investment needs and objectives.


At the time of these interviews, the individuals interviewed were not clients, shareholders, or employees of Corebridge Financial, and no direct or indirect compensation was provided in return for such interviews. The interviews have been modified for content.

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