Golden Goals

Entrepreneurs strive for millionaire status, early retirement

After successfully turning $100,000 of debt into a distant memory, Jacquelyn Cato-Mitchell and Reginald Mitchell started flourishing business ventures that provide adequate financial freedom. Now, the California couple hopes to finalize the purchase of a new home by year-end, and start a family shortly after that. Finally, they’d like to retire as multimillionaires in five years, so that they can live a debt-free, carefree lifestyle in their prime.

With their determination and sound advice from C. Wayne Mauldin, a senior investment consultant at Banc of America Investment Services Inc. in San Francisco, the couple has gotten a great start. Reginald, 35, is a deputy sheriff in Contra Costa County, and Jacquelyn, 37, is an entrepreneur in the senior-care business. Jacquelyn owns Golden Connection Registry Services, an 8-year-old placement and referral service for seniors who want to relocate to assisted living, retirement, or residential-care facilities. She also owns two residential senior-care facilities–Vintage Estates I and Vintage Estates II, both in California.

Earlier this year, Jacqueline also started a consulting service, similarly named the Golden Connection, which assists individuals and corporations that want to launch their own residential care and assisted-living facilities in California, Arizona, and Nevada.

Since marrying three years ago, the Mitchells increased their income to a combined $250,000 a year, and they’d like to boost it even more. The goal is to double the revenues Jacquelyn’s businesses made last year from $250,000 to a projected $500,000 over the next 12 months, and then to $1 million over the next 24 months. They expect greater demand for senior housing because the baby boomer generation is retiring.

The couple is building its nest egg with Reginald’s 401(k) plan (to which he contributes the $10,500 annual maximum) and Jacquelyn’s SEP-IRA, each valued at about $50,000 in September. They’ve created a portfolio incorporating aggressive investments with a heavy cash position that provides liquidity for personal or business emergencies. “They need to be aggressive now with the short time horizon for retirement, and then switch gears and be more conservative after that,” Mauldin says.

Currently, mutual funds account for 20% of their assets. They employ a dollar-cost averaging strategy within their portfolios, contributing $500 a month to both the Nations Blue Chip Investor Fund B (NBCBX) and the Alliance Bernstein Value Fund B (ABVBX). They also have 25% invested in individual equities such as Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW), Nortel Networks Corp. (NYSE: NT), and Palm Inc. (Nasdaq: PALM), while the remaining 55% is parked in two Nations Institutional Reserves Cash Reserves Funds, one of which is PCMXX.

Within the next five years, Mauldin says, fixed-income products, like government agency and tax-free municipal bonds, will generate safety to offset some of the couple’s growth-oriented investments.

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