Money Magazine profiles the Wilkes family of Danville, California in the current issue.
With three children, ages 13 to 17, all of them college material, the Wilkes will be looking at retirement just as the youngest child finishes his higher education. Bruce Wilkes, age 52, supports the family and stay-at-home mom, Lorri, age 48, on $100,000 a year. Given the pricey Bay Area locale, that's not a lot of income. On the other hand, that same locale means that they now have significant equity in their home, notwithstanding the leveling-out of housing prices in California. The Wilkes owe $144,000 on a house valued at 1.2 million.
What I found interesting was how the Wilkes seem to have done everything right, financially. They have over $500,000 in retirement funds and regularly contribute an additional $600 a month. They have put aside funds (apparently around $16,000 per child) for their children's higher education. They intend that their children pay at least half of their own college costs. Their children appear to be headed to state institutions.
Still, there's no cheap and easy solution to their looming budget crisis.
The advice given looked pretty good to me. Though I did wonder why no one suggested the obvious boost to the Wilkes' income that would come if Lorri would get even a part-time job.