Case Studies

Marilyn and Tom Gilmore had to make a decision about housing in late 2016. The Gilmores had been traveling to Hawaii annually for several years, and Maxwell, their financial adviser, told them thecost of the trips was unsustainable. Marilyn, 78, who owned a management consulting firm until she retired in 2007, and Tom, 73, who is about to retire as an architect, decided to move to Kauai. They sold their 2,800-square-foot home in Denver and bought a1,100-square-foot condo in Hawaii.
 
For a while, they considered buying a condo in Denver, too. They turned to Maxwell to determine whether that was financially feasible. He told them that if they simply moved to Hawaii, they would have a 97 percent chance of their money lasting. If they bought the condo, the probability dropped to 90 percent. In the end, they did not buy the condo.
 
“We got clarity from Neil,” Marilyn says. “I don’t think we’re that different from other people who have retired or are retiring who have these dreams — those things that you want to do but you’re not sure you can afford them.” Emotions can get in the way of more constructive planning and thinking.
 
“Somehow, he helped us work through all that and helped us sort out what we really wanted to do,” she says. “I feel protected. I feel that we’re not going to outlive our money but we’re going to be able to live our dream for the rest of our lives.”
 
Marc D. Allan is a writer in Indianapolis.