Realizing the Dream

People often view retirement as a destination. In fact, it is simply the first in a series of transitions that you’ll cross as you journey through the rest of your life. For early retirees Sandy and Fred Osborn, preparing for those milestones has been a key to avoiding some of the potholes that can throw a plan off course. Here is their story.

Sandy and Fred Osborn joke that they were each born with the “saving gene.” Frugality may be in their blood — both are children of farm workers — but their lives have been rich in all the ways that matter. They have a happy marriage, own a home and enjoy full lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Along the way, their disciplined approach to saving enabled them to retire in their 50s.

“Early on, Fred and I decided to pay ourselves first and sock away as much as we could for the future,” said Sandy. “We started small, but our enthusiasm for saving increased as we watched our retirement accounts grow with time and compounding.”

Having access to a comprehensive 401(k) plan and working with Mutual of America’s San Francisco Regional Office, headed by Abbas Moloo, helped.

“When I worked at Consumer Credit Counseling Services of San Francisco, our plan was provided by Mutual of America,” Sandy said. “What I remember most was how Abbas and his team would regularly come out to meet with us. I was always a good saver, but what I learned in those meetings helped me to grow as an investor and to truly embrace the importance of having a long-term plan for retirement.”

3 Quick TipsQuick Tips

For Savers Living in Retirement

  1. Make sure you have enough income to meet your needs.

  2. Review the asset allocation strategy for your portfolio to ensure it reflects your new stage of life.

  3. If possible, pay off your debt. Not having a mortgage, car payment or credit card balance will help your income stretch further.

While Sandy was maximizing her 401(k) plan, Fred, who had access to a pension plan where he worked, was also setting aside money in an Individual Retirement Account to boost their savings. “I learned a lot about investing from the information Sandy brought home and from the online tools and resources Mutual of America makes available on its website.”

Specifically, Sandy and Fred leveraged Mutual of America’s Retirement Nest Egg calculator, which they used to quantify the amount of savings they needed to fund the lifestyle they envisioned for retirement. “We also used the Retirement Readiness calculator to determine whether, given Fred’s pension and IRA and my 401(k) savings, we were on track to reaching our retirement goals.”

We’re hoping to buy an RV and travel across the country. Mutual of America has been a big part of helping us to make our dreams happen.”

– Sandy Osborn

As important as these tools have been to the Osborns’ success, they credit Zohreh Ghaissari, Mutual of America Vice President and Regional Financial Consultant, and the services she provided, for helping them gain the confidence to retire early.

“Fred exited the workforce first, so that we could test to see if we could live solely on his pension and allow my retirement savings to keep growing,” said Sandy. “Once we saw that the financial projections that Zohreh helped us to develop were sound, I stopped working. As we’ve become more comfortable with our plan, Fred and I have begun to move toward the next phase of our retirement. We’re hoping to buy an RV and travel across the country. Mutual of America has been a big part of helping us to make our dreams happen.”