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Peek Inside Her Portfolio: How I’ll Retire by 50 Comments

“Peek Inside Her Portfolio” looks beyond charts and formulas to explore how real women are (really) planning for retirement. Erica is a 39-year-old single woman who will be eligible for retirement from her job as a firefighter in 11 years. But she wonders -- will she really be able to afford to retire? She shared her portfolio with Sharon Appelman, director of financial planning and investment management at Francis Financial in New York City.

One year ago, Erica hit a career milestone: She was halfway through the 25 years she needed to log before being eligible for her retirement pension from her job as a firefighter. 

“That hit me hard,” says Erica. “I realized that I have this idea that I want to retire at 50 but honestly no plan on how I am going to do it. I’m not a financially savvy person. I had a few investments but they’ve been sitting there for probably 15 years. I’d never looked at them.”

Erica’s plan is to leave the fire department at 50, go back to school for her nursing degree and then work part-time as a way to help fund her real retirement dreams. “I plan to retire in January 2025,” Erica says. “As a reward I want to bike across the continent of Africa.”

That trip will cost $10,000. Also on her list is a motorcycle trip starting in Western Europe and ending in Southeast Asia. She’d like to use her nursing degree to do volunteer trips with charitable organizations around the world. To do so, she has to pay for her own travel expenses. The price tag is hefty: Just one volunteer trip she’s planning to Africa in 2014 will cost $5,000.

But are these dreams even remotely possible? To find out, Erica needed a financial planner. 

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