Looking Ahead
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Retirement used to seem so far away, but now that my wife and I are in our early 30s, I’m starting to question whether we should have a firmer grasp on our future. | By Hannah

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It was over happy hour cocktails in Nashville’s “The District” that I started worrying about finances. My wife Lisa and I had met up with some other 30-somethings after work for drinks and live music. But when the bill came, I felt a pang of panic. I realized that all the monthly budgeting in the world wasn’t going to help us get ahead—to plan for kids, and to prepare for our future—if we keep blowing $100 on evenings like that.

I knew it was time to get serious about planning finances for today and for tomorrow. But I didn’t even know where to begin thinking about investments and retirement planning.

I never used to worry about money. My goal has always been to save enough to have some fun and pay the bills. After all, Lisa and I have only been married a couple of years, and we want to enjoy life as newlyweds. Plus, our cash flow put us in a good position to buy a great condo in a great neighborhood with excellent schools. We were feeling secure in our three-bedroom haven and excited about the possibility of children to help fill it up! We financed our place for $200,000, and we can easily make the mortgage payments on our salaries. I work as a physical therapist, earning $65,000, and Lisa’s a special ed teacher who makes $58,000.

Not knowing what the future holds made it simple to focus on the present. I track our spending with a smartphone app and contribute to my 401(k). And Lisa contributes to her 403(b) at the elementary school, even when it would be nice to have a little extra cash to play with each pay period.

But after that happy hour, I really started to question whether we should have a firmer strategy. Should we be saving more? Can we afford to raise kids and start a meaningful plan toward retirement? What about life insurance? It was time to call for professional help!

Last week, I sat down with Carl, a financial professional. I told him all about our near-term goals: We’re researching our options to build a family and we have travel expenses because we must travel to see family out-of-state—especially once a grandchild arrives.

As we talked about the current cost of raising a child, including a term life insurance policy that can help secure their future, Carl and I mapped out a spending plan. It took into account our current needs, as well as a long-term retirement savings plan that makes sense for Lisa and me. He gave me all the basics about tax-deferred savings, including our work retirement accounts. He reassured me that Lisa and I are already ahead of many people our age with our contributions and matches from our employers. And I came away with a better understanding about the tax benefits of an IRA, if either of us decides to start one in the future. Carl also explained how mutual funds offer potential investment growth that we can tap into as time goes by.

Most importantly, he assured me that Lisa and I can create a workable financial plan for the future while still enjoying the present: We can celebrate our second wedding anniversary with a fancy dinner out, or fly to Texas for Christmas. Now we have an actionable timeline that includes other investment and savings vehicles we can consider over the decades to come. What’s more, I feel much more confident about our finances. I’m less stressed and  more excited about life today about the years to come.

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Plan now, so you’re ready later

For you, family is one of the most important things in your life. You take care of them. They take care of you. Making sure that they’ll always be taken care of, no matter what happens.

LEARN MORE

Retirement income

Being happily retired looks different for everybody. Maybe you want steady retirement income that lasts or supplemental income to help you meet the unexpected in life.

LEARN MORE

Protect and grow my business

You want your business to maintain its competitive edge. Attracting talent and building a succession plan for the future means you can ensure your business stays in stable hands.

LEARN MORE

All investing involves risk, including the possible loss of the principal amount invested. The investment return and principal value of an investment will fluctuate so that shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than the original cost.

In order to sell life insurance, a financial professional must be a properly licensed and appointed life insurance producer.

Pacific Life, its affiliates, their distributors and respective representatives do not provide tax, accounting or legal advice. Any taxpayer should seek advice based on the taxpayer’s particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor or attorney.

Pacific Life refers to Pacific Life Insurance Company and its affiliates, including Pacific Life & Annuity Company. Insurance products are issued by Pacific Life Insurance Company in all states except New York and in New York by Pacific Life & Annuity Company. Product availability and features may vary by state. Each insurance company is solely responsible for the financial obligations accruing under the products it issues.

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