With two careers, three kids, a dog and three homes, Sean and Maggie described their family life as “just nuts!” While always in good cheer, they were perpetually 10 minutes late and their financial life was messy at best. While they were high earners and had saved a considerable amount of money together, they never had the time to make financial planning or personal investing a priority. Maggie is an esteemed interior designer, but her friend – and current client of Prio Wealth – suggested she speak with us to help them put their financial house in order.
Sean, an investment banker with long hours and a heavy travel schedule, admitted they spent money to solve problems or make life easier but they were now caught in a spiral and he wasn’t sure they could keep up. They had a large primary home with a sizable mortgage, a nanny, a ski condo and a “fixer upper” on Nantucket that Maggie hoped to restore and sell. At 48, he had wishful thoughts about changing careers to improve the quality of his life, but their cash flow kept Sean feeling like a beast of burden. He was also concerned about their college savings plan, and how they could get on the right track to plan appropriately for the big tuition years on the horizon. For Maggie, dealing with retail design projects meant she worked almost every night and weekends, but she couldn’t cut back as she felt guilty about the Nantucket investment. Both felt stuck and like they were running on empty.
We started by sharing that everything in life is about choices and that more of one thing usually means less of another. As an example, more money spent on houses means less free time as you work to pay for them. We described Prio’s goal to help people make these trade-offs consciously so they live the financial life that’s truly right for them. As we worked through an exercise to help the couple clarify their priorities, they began to see how past choices had made them feel trapped. Together we developed a list of the things they could choose from: public versus private school, a smaller house with a modest mortgage, making their secondary homes rental properties rather than residences and using excess rental income for college savings. Now Sean and Maggie have a plan to simplify their lives and live more richly, rather than just get richer on paper. On their way to unstuck!