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Insights & Education

Meet Jessica, a 47-year-old nurse

Jessica is a 47-year-old nurse from Wisconsin who has big travel goals and an eye for real estate. While she thinks she’s doing the best she can to save for retirement right now, she recognizes that things could always be better. Here she discusses some of her biggest financial mentors were, some of her short-term financial goals, and how her retirement objectives factor into her daily living.

Read Jessica's interview below or listen here.

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

My husband and I go back and forth, but I know I want to retire before I’m too old to enjoy it. I’m hoping to be around 60 or 65. We talk about moving to Arizona — we don’t have family there; we really just like the area — or staying around here. We have a lot of family within 2.5 hours from us here in Wisconsin. We know that traveling is a big part of whatever we do, though. Right now, our short-term financial goals include being able to go on vacation. We want to take cruises to Hawaii and Alaska, but we tend to end up in South Dakota at least once every couple of years because we love the area up there, too. We’re also currently renting, which is a waste of money. Buying a place is another financial goal. I keep track of our savings for these goals on a spreadsheet.

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

I think I could probably be better off. Everybody probably thinks they could be better off. But I’m doing okay. With my ex-husband, our main goal was retirement. We were constantly planning for retirement. We had about 25% of our incomes in 401(k)s. We bought real estate land and sold it for a profit. We did a lot to save for the future. That helped jumpstart my retirement funds. I also have two rollover IRAs, a 401(k) with my current employer, and a Roth IRA. I try to max out both of those each year, which makes it hard sometimes on our monthly budget. I sometimes feel like we’re shortchanging ourselves a little, but we make it work. It’s only on silly things, like getting my nails done, because I prioritize that stuff as not as important right now.

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?

My mother-in-law is good with money, and she’s pushing me to talk to her financial advisor, which I might do in the future. My ex was also good with money and knowing how to invest, so I learned a lot from him. But it was my dad who started teaching me early. My dad, he’s something special. He always has something to say to boost your morale and get you to add something in addition to what you’re already doing to save. He’s big on saving, and the main thing he first instilled in me was the idea of having a rainy-day savings account so that if I got hurt and couldn’t work, I’d be covered. He always told us to have two to three months of bills in the bank in case something happened.

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

I would say the one smart thing my ex and I did early on — which he was against, but I talked him into — was buying a 100-acre plot of land for around $200,000 to build on. He thought we’d never be able to get out from under that, but we got a good deal on it, and we built four top-of-the-line houses on it that we were able to sell for a good profit. The one thing I might change was a 2,500-square-foot ranch with a finished basement that my ex and I bought right when the stock and housing markets crashed. We probably could have made a couple hundred thousand more off selling it if we waited, but at the time we had to sell because we had so much in loans on it. Changing the time frame on that would be the one thing I would change, but we were already building the house when the crash happened, and I knew we would have to just suck it up.

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

I have thought about it, but I haven’t sat down to figure out if I could make it if I lived to 100. I don’t plan on living that long! We’ve planned to live until around 80 or 85. So knowing that people are living longer might mean we have to readjust. Still, right now, I’m doing all I can to save. I think that’s something I could talk to my mother-in-law’s financial advisor about.


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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