This small business owner wants to be semi-retired in her 50s | New

Occupation: Owner of Maximum Communications, a primarily DEI education company

Objective: go into semi-retirement in their fifties; King wants to spend his winters in Costa Rica

Some people think they’ve made it financially when they can buy a fur coat, a fancy car, or a designer handbag.

Small business owner King Ayana knew she had moved on when she could afford to pay $20,000 in taxes and still had some savings left.

King, 43, is the owner of Maximum communications, an agency with a strong focus on diversity, equity and inclusion education. After nearly four years in business, his agency offered him a six-figure income (his previous job paid $50,000 a year) and a new outlook on life.

“It’s been a rewarding experience for me,” said King, who says it’s the first time in her life that she’s had disposable income. “I see what’s possible, and I say, ‘Why not me?'”

King, who can work remotely, wants to be financially responsible so the family can afford good health care and have healthy bank accounts when her husband retires from his job at Ford.

In her perfect world, King would be semi-retired in her 50s, and she and her (then retired) husband would become snowbirds, ditching the cold winters of Detroit for the sunny beaches of Costa Rica.

“For me, wealth is freedom of time and money,” said the mother of two sons, aged 12 and 16.

King, who has been working since she was 15, says she hasn’t always been the best when it comes to finances. She got a credit card at 18 and didn’t always pay on time. These days, she has alerts on her phone to remind her when bills are due.

RELATED: Watch your money: This CEO wants to use real estate to build generational wealth

“Being a business owner forced me to be like that,” King said. “I didn’t want to fail.”

She grew up in a middle-class home, but her family never talked to her about money, credit cards, or interest. “I ruined my credit early on because I didn’t realize how bad it was and how it could ruin your financial future,” said King, who now has a credit score close to 800.

At 23, she moved from her family home to an apartment, worked billing at a dental office, and juggled college. She considers herself a two-time dropout, but graduated at age 38. She was the lecturer at her school.

Prior to launching his company, King worked in the senior living industry, rising from Director of Life Enrichment to Director of Corporate Communications. “I’ve seen a lot in assisted living,” King said. “Everyone should be able to live with dignity, and unfortunately that’s not always the reality.”

While King said she learned a lot in the retirement home industry, she realized her next “step” would be to open her own business. She gave herself a year to keep her business running or she would go back to working a day job. However, her husband made sure she didn’t look back.

“He kept telling me, ‘What you’re doing works, be patient,’” King said.

In two and a half years, King hit his stride. She worked LinkedIn “like a job” to connect with her ideal clients.

She is ready for her next goal. “I’ve had retirement dreams since I was 20,” she said.

To prepare for semi-retirement, King wants to pay double his mortgage of less than $1,000 a month. She has $100,000 left to pay for her 1890 home. She also wants to pay off her $13,000 car loan.

She has a 401(k). His family spends about $500 a month on groceries and likes to eat at steakhouses.

King’s husband has a savings account for the kids’ college. The family will be looking for scholarships. She doesn’t want her sons to have student debt. She has $30,000.

Traveling is one of the family’s favorite pastimes. Last year, they took a 10-day family trip up the West Coast, starting in Southern California and heading out to Oregon. King spends $300 a month on a personal trainer and the family has a $75 a month YMCA membership.

His business expenses include a media client database of $5,000 per year and a premium LinkedIn account of $60 per month.

Nicole Brown Griffinfounder of End of flowering tips, says that with rising costs in America and longer lifespans, people can estimate living on about 65% to 85% of their working income before retirement. However, a lot depends on the couples’ lifestyle and the types of insurance (liability, health, disability, long-term care) they have in place, she said. There are online calculators that make planning easier.

Brown-Griffin says people should have as little debt as possible before retiring early. “Think about spending habits, if any, that can be eliminated,” Brown-Griffin said.

RELATED: Watch your money: Expert advice for this travel influencer on how to retire at 45

Brown-Griffin cautions parents against spending all of their potential retirement income on raising their children.

“It may be hard to hear or accept, but couples and parents need to prepare for financial success before their children do so they don’t depend on their children in the future,” Brown-Griffin said.

Before retiring, Brown-Griffin says couples should:

  • Make sure both spouses know where all their accounts are
  • Know who their financial advisor is
  • How to log in to each billing account and how to pay them
  • Promise to maintain an open dialogue about their current financial situation and future plans.

Will Hattonthe founder of The broke backpacker, says Costa Rica is a great place to retire. However, he said retirees should factor into their budget a home with a generator that is also built to withstand heavy rains and storms. Also, retirees will need a car strong enough to handle potholes on the road. Moreover, being financially prepared in case of volcanic eruption is essential.

“There are quite a few expenses you have to consider that you might not consider if you were retiring elsewhere,” said Hatton, who has been a professional traveler for more than 10 years.