Planning for decades in retirement isn’t for the faint of heart

Debbie Todd, 55 and a resident of Washington state, married into a family who tends to live into their upper 90s and early 100s. “This is a reality we have baked into the foundation of our spending, saving and retirement planning for over 30 years,” she said.

Todd and her husband monitor costs for health care, mobility, assistance with adult daily living tasks and not being a burden on their children. For nearly 30 years, the couple has stuck to a weekly allowance system. Each can spend, save or give whatever they like from that amount.

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They’d like to keep on thriving as long as their mental and physical capacity allows. It helps that she is a licensed CPA and financial educator.

Todd’s strategy is simple and commonsense. They spend less than they earn each year and take advantage of any available retirement plans. “We live life as treasure hunters, knowing what we want and staying positioned to get deals,” she said.

The Todds paid cash to build a retirement dream home, which they built themselves. “Persistence and creativity can really pay off,” Todd said.

Julie Starnes Rains, 58, of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, isn’t sure she’ll live till 100 but she’s planning to. “I’ve always planned to live off investment earnings, not to deplete investments, which has been or had been the model for many financial advisors,” Rains said.

She intends to delay Social Security and use an annuity to address living for many years in retirement. “I’m observing how my dad lives, as he’s 92 and has no plans to slow down,” Rains said.

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