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Finding a Financial Path: The Big Boy Pants Plan

Finding a Financial Path: The Big Boy Pants Plan

November 23, 2020

As you read this blog, if a friend or relative comes to mind, please share it, as I’m sure someone in your life will appreciate the read.  You may find yourself in the milestones below, as well. So, let’s get started…

As humans, we crave a measuring stick to evaluate our financial future. This isn’t typical coffee table conversation among neighbors, friends or even parents. Sure, you’ve got a buddy that tells you how he bought Tesla stock a few years ago and how he’s crushing it with investments…He also never lost money on a sports bet…that he shared with you anyway. So how do you know if you are on track? There are numerous robust online calculators out there, but what about something simple, something so basic that a millennial could jump on board with very minimal effort.

You are in luck! As a financial advisor and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, I’ve reviewed numerous unique financial situations and developed hundreds of retirement plans over the years. So, I wanted to discuss an easy to follow baseline plan. This is not a plan on how to get rich quick, it provides the basic building blocks to retiring with a $1 million portfolio and generating a realistic amount of retirement income in the future. This plan is designed around someone that either is married or plans to start a family. I call it the Big Boy Pants Plan and it is comprised of:

  • Easy to understand financial milestones with simple instructions
  • Five-year increments
  • Assumes a married couple

This is an achievable plan, regardless if you join the military at 18, enter trade school, or decide to pay big bucks for a really cool certificate that you hang on the wall (that’s what I did). So here goes…


Minimum Big Boy Pants Financial Milestones


  • Move out of your mom’s basement
  • Get a job…any job. The only job you are too good for at this point is being unemployed


  • Save at least 10% of income into a retirement plan
  • Protect the family (if you have one) with life insurance
  • Pay for your own phone service and Netflix subscription…seriously


  • Squirrel!!!    No, wait…. Time to stop buying things you can’t afford on a credit card
  • Develop the skill of financial discipline by living within a budget
  • Start additional monthly savings for future purchases and emergencies


  • $100k saved for retirement ($7-8k / year since you were 30 and 6-8% rate of return)
  • Increase annual retirement savings to $12k / year
  • Investing is not like fantasy football where you are going to find some hot pick on the waiver wire that will lead you to the promised lands
  • You are going to be invested for 10+ years and you are looking for consistency
  • Consider a target date retirement option in your 401k plan (for the fantasy football reference, it’s essentially an auto draft)


  • Consumer debt should be paid off
  • Mortgage should have 20 years of payments remaining
  • Avoid adding big bills (like car payments)
  • Increase your additional savings and be in a position to buy your next car with the money that you have in the extra savings account


  • $350k in retirement investments
  • Review your social security statement for expected retirement benefits at
  • If you haven’t done so previously, get your estate plan in order


  • If you are not on track, yet. It’s not too late to create a plan for success
  • Find a financial planner that can map out a specific plan with you
  • Or, click here to schedule an appointment with me (Chat with Rodd)


  • Manage expenses to less than $7k / month (the avg. monthly budget of 45-54 age range)
  • Kick your kids out of the basement


  • $750k retirement portfolio ($100k portfolio at 40 +$12k / yr. x 6% annual return)
  • Share your robust financial knowledge (ahem…this plan) with your adult kids


  • Hang up the cleats with a $1 million portfolio
  • Sort out your Medicare options
  • Invest in Your Best Life…adventures await


An example of retirement income and expenses


  • Social Security = $2,500/mo. for primary wage earner
  • Spousal Social Security = $1,250/ mo.
  • Portfolio income @ 4% withdrawal rate: $3,350 / month
  • Total: $7,100 / month

Expenses: $7k / month minus your mortgage payment (your mortgage is now paid off)

If you looked at your age and are not on track yet, find a trusted financial advisor. There are many factors that may derail this plan, but other options can put you right back on track, such as:

  • Pensions
  • Enhanced ability to save
  • Future inheritance
  • Spending habits
  • Real estate

There are plenty of knobs to turn to create the right plan for you based on your situation. The Big Boy Pants Plan is my effort to make the retirement planning process an undaunting task, and maybe to encourage some kids to move out of their parent’s house so Mom and Dad can finally retire.

Invest in Your Best Life…adventures await!

Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

All investing involves risk, including loss of principal.  No strategy assures success or protects against loss.