Case Studies

A solid retirement plan for a Union Retiree

This case study examines the challenges James and his wife faced as he neared retirement and how the team at Blue Bell Wealth was able to provide a solid retirement plan so that James and his wife can embark on the new chapter of their life with peace of mind.

  • James, a 56-year-old married male, retired after 30 years of service 
  • 2 children: 1 living at home and 1 independent
  • Mortgage: 8 years left at 3.5%
  • One income from the double pension and part-time income 
  • Their main goal is to ensure they maintain their lifestyle in retirement

James, a 56-year-old married male, recently retired after 30 years of dedicated service to his Trade Union. He was referred to Blue Bell PWM by a fellow Union retiree and sought assistance in maintaining his desired lifestyle during retirement. Lynne worked full-time as a nurse during her career but recently began working part-time. James and his wife Lynne have two children, with one still living at home and the other being financially independent. Their main goal is to ensure a comfortable retirement without compromising their financial well-being. After conducting a thorough fact-finding process and reviewing their financial situation, our team at Blue Bell PWM has provided them with the following recommendations:

  1. Consolidating Retirement Savings: James has an annuity and supplemental plan accumulated over his 30 years of Union service, totaling approximately $550,000. Our recommendation is for James to roll his primary annuity and additional savings plan into an eligible IRA, which will allow us to invest this money strategically to generate growth and income over time.
  2. Maximizing Income Sources: James and Lynne currently enjoy a surplus of cash every month, thanks to James’ double pension and Lynne’s part-time income. However, it is crucial to plan for the future when James turns 62 and his double pension stops. At that point, he may need to apply for social security benefits. We will work closely with James to ensure a smooth transition and optimize his income streams during this transition period. Lynne has $60,000 in a qualified retirement plan that she can access once she retires.
  3. Tax Planning: Analyzing their tax return, we determined that James and Lynne’s income level places them in the top quarter of the 12% marginal tax bracket. Based on this assessment and their belief that income taxes may rise, we recommended converting $15,000 from James’ traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. By paying taxes at the current 12% marginal rate, they can shift some of their income to lower tax years vs. where they believe taxes will be in the future – higher. Further, they can benefit from tax-free withdrawals in the future when they need to access income from the Roth IRA. We want to evaluate their tax situation to ensure that we can minimize their total lifetime tax burden. 
  4. Investing Excess Cash: James and Lynne have approximately $50,000 in taxable savings split between a checking account and a savings account. Of the $50,000, $20,000 was in a checking account, earning 0%, and $30,000 was in savings, earning 0.95%. Given their mentioned expenses, such as home repairs and supporting their daughter, we suggest moving $30,000 from their savings account into investments within a joint taxable investment account. This account will be linked to their bank account, providing quick access to additional cash if needed.

With a solid retirement plan in place and an investment strategy tailored to their goals, James and Lynne are excited to embark on this new chapter in their lives. They can now have peace of mind, knowing they have taken the necessary steps to preserve their desired lifestyle and secure their financial future.

At Blue Bell PWM, we are committed to supporting our clients throughout their retirement journey, ensuring their financial well-being, and providing them with personalized strategies to meet their unique goals.

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