Joe’s Story: From Layoff to Lakefront with OnTrajectory

We love hearing how folks in the OnTrajectory community are using the tool to chart their financial future. And every once in a while, the story is so heartwarming that we can’t resist sharing it. 

This story is from Joe in his own words and images (shared with his permission). Enter Joe:


I started using OT several years ago while I was still working, my job wasn’t going well, and I was dreaming of retiring.  I lived in what I consider to be a very large, nasty city with horrible traffic, terrible weather, crime, pollution, noise, etc.  I had moved there 10 years prior for a better paying job to try to make enough money to retire someday.  

I dreamed of retiring in a beautiful part of the country, and my biggest dream of all was to live on a lake.  But who can afford to live on a lake? If someone has enough money to buy a lakefront home, what money will they live on for the rest of their life?

I looked at many financial modeling programs, especially those for retirement planning.  Most were so superficial that they weren’t useful to me. I found OT when someone published a review of financial modeling programs, and OT sounded the best.

Over the last three years, I’ve continued to improve the accuracy and completeness of my trajectory.  Whenever I get a significant new piece of the financial puzzle, it goes into OT. I’ve used OT for MANY what-if scenarios to figure out when, where, and how I could afford to retire.

Nearly two years ago, I was laid-off.  Once the initial shock wore off, I looked even more closely at my trajectory, figured out that I could probably afford to retire, and got much more serious about figuring out where and how I wanted to retire, and if I could afford my dream.  Here’s the result:

Joe's lake house
Joe's lakefront view

I would not have dared to pursue my dream like this without the OnTrajectory.  OT helped me clearly see that, as long as my estimations and assumptions are reasonably accurate, I can comfortably retire here until I’m too old to enjoy it any longer.

I plan to continue using OT for as long as it’s available, and continue refining and updating my trajectory as life twists and turns.  I’m confidant that I’ll be able to see any financial speed bumps that come up in time to make any necessary course corrections.

Keep up the great work!


Later, after we responded to Joe to thank him for sharing his amazing story, he shared a little more with us. 


One of my other retirement options was selling my previous home, buying an expensive, live-aboard trawler, and cruising nice parts of the world.  I modeled this scenario with OT and quickly saw that it wasn’t nearly as financially viable as a beautiful home on a great lake, primarily due to depreciation of the boat and, with any luck, appreciation of a lakefront home.  

There were other, nonfinancial reasons why I decided on the lake house instead of cruising, and I could have purchased a less expensive boat and probably made that scenario work.  I’m very happy with my decision to retire on a lake. The peace of mind OT provides by clearly showing me that I’m living within my means is invaluable.

Of course, one has to have a boat when they live on the water, right?  So within the last two weeks, I bought a second-hand pontoon boat. This was yet another major purchase immediately on the heels of the huge expenses of fixing up and selling my previous home, buying a lake home, moving across the country, and making some initial improvements to my lake home.  But I had included the purchase of a boat in my OT lake home scenario, so I knew I could afford it.  

Without OT, I could only guess whether I could afford any of these expenditures.  I wouldn’t have had any idea how long my retirement savings would last, and that would have been a huge source of stress that would have detracted from enjoying retirement and living my dream.

One of the best things about OT is that it’s so easy to get started.  Over time, as one gets more and more information about their unique, financial situation, they can gradually refine and improve their trajectory.  When financial surprises occur, and they will occur, it’s simple and quick to adjust one’s OT scenario and immediately see how they affect your financial health for the rest of your life.


Thank you, Joe, and congratulations on achieving your retirement dream! We’re so pleased to have played a part in your financial life journey.

If you’d like to share your personal OnTrajectory story, email us at questions@ontrajectory.com. Not using OnTrajectory yet? Visit our homepage to start your free trial.

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