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Case Study: How We Helped A Client Pay Off Debt And Retire Early

By Diana Blair

The Client

When we first started Sage Capital Advisors, we had the opportunity to meet with a small construction business owner and his wife who were referred to us by an attorney. The wife wanted to retire within a year and they were uncertain if this was possible.

We spent time and interviewed the couple to discover their financial and retirement goals, determining what was important to them during retirement and for their estate. After several meetings, we were able to determine the couple had the following goals for their wealth:

The Couple’s Goals

  • Both retire within five years.

  • Both pay off all debt, including mortgages on homes.

  • While budgeting for retirement and paying off debt, still maintain funds for travel.

  • Pay tuition for grandchildren’s university education.

Overall, the couple needed a professional’s help to determine the timeline of these goals and if they would be able to meet their financial objectives if the wife retired a bit earlier.

How We Helped

We reviewed the couple’s bank and investment statements and then developed their Sage Plan, which included a net worth statement and budget. As part of the Sage Plan, we developed a budget and recommended an annual savings goal that would allow the wife to retire in the next six months and allow the husband to retire three to five years later. We had conversations about their ability and willingness to take risk to meet their financial goals and began managing their investments according to their Investment Guidelines.

We then continued to meet with the client every six months to review their overall plan, adjust the budget as needed, and confirm that they were on track to meet their goals.

Complications And Outcome

When we met with this couple in 2005, no one could predict that the Great Recession loomed just over the horizon. The wife was able to retire within six months as planned, but the husband ended up working until the tail end of his three- to five-year retirement schedule. The housing market crash of 2008 caused his construction business to close in late 2009.

Fortunately, they had stuck to the savings plan we had prepared and reviewed at each meeting, which allowed them to pay off their debt and save tremendously before the economic downturn. The husband was able to retire in 2010 after finalizing the dissolution of his construction business.

We continue to meet with this couple, and after meeting their goals, they are now enjoying their retirement. They truly are one of our favorite clients and a great success story that we enjoy sharing!

Wondering When You Can Retire?

Like the Great Recession, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted many people’s retirement plans and wealth management strategies. Whatever your situation is, we can help you create a Sage Plan that fits your financial needs and will help you retire how you want and when you want. Whether you have needs similar to the couple in this case study or you are facing an entirely different situation, we can help. Contact us at (844) 279-7243 or by email at

About Diana

Diana Blair is president and co-founder of Sage Capital Advisors, LLC, an independent, fee-only boutique wealth management firm based in San Diego, California. Diana is passionate about educating and empowering her clients so they can make financial decisions they are proud of. She is known for her commitment to working with vulnerable and traditionally underserved clients so they are not taken advantage of or fall prey to avoidable financial mistakes. Diana has over 25 years of experience in the financial industry and specializes in serving affluent individuals, business owners, institutions, tribal entities, and charitable organizations. To learn more about Diana, connect with her on LinkedIn.


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