Client Profile: How We Helped a Couple Transition to Retirement

By Jeremy Wallace and Andrew Hart

At Wallace Hart, we have more than 30 years of experience helping individuals and couples transition to retirement. While every client’s situation is different, we want to share an example of a couple we recently helped, so you can get a better understanding of our processes. 

We hope this story inspires you to be proactive in your financial planning, so you can live out your dream life in retirement too.

A Little About the Johnsons

Meet Dr. and Mrs. Johnson (​​names have been changed to protect clients’ identities). They’re both in their early 60s and are now retired. Before retirement, Dr. Johnson worked for 30 years at a public university and Mrs. Johnson worked part time. They both live below their means and their only debt is a small remaining balance on their mortgage. They’re in good health and expect to live 30 more years. 

Why They Came to Wallace Hart

The Johnsons came to us a few years ago because they were approaching retirement and had a few financial concerns. They had dreams of traveling and spending time with family, but they were afraid of running out of money and becoming a burden on their children. They needed some financial clarity and help addressing a few key financial concerns. 

After our initial consultation with the Johnsons, we identified the following areas that needed improvement:  

  • Lack of monthly cash-flow planning 
  • No strategy for drawing Social Security 
  • Too many investment accounts and strategies to keep track of
  • No strategy for gifting money tax efficiently 
  • A lot of anxiety about health care expenses 
  • No long-term care planning

How We Helped the Johnsons

As with most couples, the Johnsons’ financial concerns spanned a lot of different areas (from Social Security benefits to charitable giving and everything in between). Here’s how we helped them in each area: 

Income Distribution

We simulated various retirement cash-flow projections and scenarios. Doing so allowed us to create an income distribution strategy that saved them about $67,000 in taxes and increased their Social Security benefits by approximately $50,000.

Investment Planning

We analyzed their overall investment strategy, which included: 

  • Reviewing their fees
  • Evaluating their asset types and tax efficiencies
  • Properly realigning investment risk tolerance with performance targets

Tax Strategies

Taxes are arguably more complicated in retirement than when you’re working. We rebalanced the Johnsons’ Roth IRA and rolled their 401(k)s into a traditional IRA. We helped them create a charitable donation strategy that allows them to give tax-efficient gifts while they’re alive and discussed various tax-saving strategies they can use year to year. 

Estate Planning

After looking at the Johnsons’ estate plan, we discovered that their assets were going to go to their heirs outright, which meant they could spend down their inheritance rather quickly or risk having it taken by creditors. To minimize these risks, we coordinated with an attorney to help them create a trust that restricts the distribution of assets. We also reviewed their insurance policies and updated their powers of attorney, powers of healthcare, living will, and last will and testament. 

Medical Expenses

An average retired couple age 65 in 2021 may need approximately $300,000 saved after taxes to cover healthcare expenses in retirement, according to a Fidelity estimate. (1) We helped the Johnsons plan for these costs by estimating health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket Medicare costs, and by getting them a long-term care insurance policy for added protection.

We Can Help You Too

Overall, we helped the Johnsons have more confidence in their financial decisions, which is giving them the comfort they need to travel the world and live out their dreams in retirement. If you need help planning for a safe and secure future, Wallace Hart Capital Management would love to help. To get started, contact us at (859) 300.3030 or request an appointment online today!

About Jeremy

Jeremy Wallace is founder and chief investment officer at Wallace Hart Capital Management, an independent financial services firm committed to offering comprehensive advice and customized services. Jeremy has 20 years of experience in the financial industry and is passionate about helping clients preserve and enhance their wealth so they can pursue their passions. Jeremy graduated from Emory University with a degree in international economics and a certificate in financial planning. Outside of the office, Jeremy spends most of his free time with his wife, Julie, and their three children, Isabel, Lincoln, and Reid. He is an avid Chicago Cubs baseball fan, and  he enjoys golfing with his wife and traveling with his family. Learn more about Jeremy by connecting with him on LinkedIn.

About Andrew

Andrew Hart is co-founder and chief planning strategist at Wallace Hart Capital Management, an independent financial services firm committed to offering comprehensive advice and customized services. Andrew has 15 years of experience in the financial industry and strives to provide new and better strategies and processes to improve his clients’ lives. Andrew graduated from Wittenberg University with a bachelor’s degree in business management and holds a certificate in financial planning from Georgetown University and the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) designation. When he’s not working, you can find him enjoying the city of Lexington, Kentucky, teaching at the University of Kentucky’s Financial Planning program, and spending time with his wife, Susan, twin sons, George and Ted, and daughters, Merritt and Philippa. To learn more about Andrew, connect with him on LinkedIn.


*Names have been changed to protect clients’ identities.