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Add up all the time that Eugene and Tracy Williams spend serving God and country, and they don't have a lot left over for financial planning. Still, they've resolved to make time to properly prepare for a secure retirement beginning 20 years from now.
Eugene, 46, is a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve and a manager in the Defense Logistics Agency, the Defense Department's largest combat-support agency. If the military needs food, clothing, fuel or maintenance supplies, his agency probably provides it.
Tracy, 40, is a major in the Army Reserve. Her full-time job is as a counselor for high-school students looking for the right college.
The two met in 2003, when both were deployed to Germany at the start of the Iraq War. "I met her and said, 'Wow, she's just naturally beautiful,' " Eugene says.
Their part-time jobs at the Army Reserve are almost a full-time job as well. One weekend a month? "Those days are gone," Tracy says. Sooner or later, Tracy says, they will probably have to deploy to Iraq.
But that's not all. Eugene and Tracy are both active church members at Mount Olivet Baptist Church in Columbus, Ohio. Eugene sits on the board of the Ohio Sickle Cell and Health Association and works in his fraternity (Omega Psi Phi); Tracy works on the board of trustees for their neighborhood association.
Meantime, they're trying to schedule in time for themselves. "We like doing things together," Eugene says. They're taking golf lessons together, for example, and they love watching old movies.
Eugene, a baseball fan, is trying to see every ballpark in the country.
Combined, the Williamses earn about $153,000 a year and sock away about $1,100 a month in savings, primarily though Eugene's government Thrift Savings Plan, which works much like a 401(k) savings account. They also have some money saved in mutual funds and bank accounts. Both will be eligible for government pensions.
The Williamses are conservative investors: "slow and steady," as Tracy says. The bulk of their investments is in bank accounts and in the bond option in their government thrift plan. Eugene and Tracy want to keep three to six months' of cash as an emergency fund. And they want a diversified portfolio to augment their pensions. Their retirement goals? "To be able to breathe," Tracy says.
Eugene has a library he's accumulated over the years; he'd like to take time to read all those books. But neither of them envisions a life without working hard for their church and their community. Eugene is considering a teaching career after he leaves the military.
"I think of a life of service," he says. "No sitting around all day."