Case Study #1. Colin & Julia. Near Retirement.

Age: 55 & 55. Profession: Insurance Company CEO & Teacher. Primary Goal: Decide whether Colin is to work another five years.


Colin and Julia had two daughters. One is 27 and married with one child. The other 25 with autism needing a lifetime of support. They owned several properties, some they rented out.


Colin was an Actuary and confident in running his investments. He had been offered a 6-month contract and then permanent employment to age 60. They tithe 10% of their income to charity and support a school in Cambodia; education is vital for them both.

The Challenge

Colin & Julia hadn't sat down and talked about what a favourite future looked like for them. What did they both want from life? This vision needed to be decided before we looked at the money.


They had a lifetime of financial commitments for one daughter. They wanted to factor in future inheritances. Consolidate properties. But what they wanted to know is, did they have enough already? Or would Colin have to work for another five years for them to be comfortable?


They were considering buying a holiday home in Asia, hoping to help local schools and charities.


Colin had the following questions:

  • Should he finish his current role?
  • Should he sell or rent out the properties?
  • Consider family gifts, bypass, and potential inheritance.
  • When to purchase the holiday home.
  • When to crystallise pensions.
  • Possible defined benefit pension transfer.

Colin had been an old work colleague of his planner and knew he was a competent professional with integrity. Someone he could trust.

The Approach

The first step was to sit Colin and Julia down together to hear them describe their values and gifts and agree on a common favourite future. Knitting together favourite futures for a couple strengthens a marriage. It wasn't difficult. They had much in common. Spiritual life and social justice were high on their priorities, as was an enjoyable, varied, and healthy life.


What stood out most was their desire to serve others. Colin was drawn to a quote which they both found relevant. "Your talent is God's gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God."


Once the favourite future was clear, we tackled a few practicalities with the Action Plan. Mainly around coping with "sandwich generation" responsibilities in the UK when travelling to Asia. We then modelled the lifetime cash flow and looked at various "what-if" scenarios to explore the alternative roads ahead.

The Result

As they approach the next stage of life, they want an expert to help them make strategic decisions with their money. They also wanted help navigating taxes in retirement. But most of all, they wanted help with the entire picture.


We were not just talking about decisions on financial assets here. Major life choices had to be made. Consideration of other assets. Property. Occupational pensions. Major business decisions. Practical solutions were required for some very challenging problems.


A comprehensive plan was put together that met their needs:

  • Please describe in detail their favourite combined future.
  • Listing actions they both needed to take to overcome significant obstacles.
  • Looking at the base plan cash flow of remaining in work to 60 or leaving now for Colin.
  • Considering meaningful projects for both Colin and Julia.
  • Looking at buy, sell, and rent decisions on properties and calculating taxes.
  • Looking at Lifetime Tax Allowance implications versus Inheritance Tax implications of timing pension crystallisation.
  • We looked at the defined benefit transfer and decided it was worthwhile referring this to a specialist authorised to deal in pension transfers.

Colin and Julia decided to make adequate care provisions for their daughter and her father, quit Colin's job immediately, and moved abroad to Asia for their "Young-Old" life phase, to manage educational projects for charities, to return to the UK later in life.


The defined benefit transfer was referred to a specialist, and after careful analysis, Colin transferred to a defined contribution pension. After 12 months, the specialist agreed to allow Colin to self-invest his portfolio.


Note: The above case studies are hypothetical and do not involve an actual Advice-only Financial Planning client. A client or prospective client should construe no portion of the content to guarantee they will experience the same or a specific level of results or satisfaction if Advice-only Financial Planning provides financial planning services.


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