Living a Financially Free Retirement: One Woman’s Journey from San Diego to a Simpler Life in Oregon

We all have dreams for what our retirement will look like — regardless of whether we remain in our ‘forever home,’ close to friends and family, or purchase a beach house on a remote island, financial freedom is a core component in any stress-free and fulfilling retirement journey. Not only does financial freedom allow us to explore our own personal growth without barriers, but it provides a sense of security should any unexpected changes arise. At Reason Financial, we work tirelessly to help people achieve financial freedom and adjust to life’s obstacles in retirement, and there is no better success story of this than Suzanne Tanous.

When she retired at age 62 in 2014, Suzanne was perfectly content to live out retirement in her San Diego home of over 40 years. A beautiful beach city, filled with friends, family, and community seemed like the ideal destination for a relaxing retirement. What’s more, Suzanne and her family’s to-date financial planning had set them up for success in the long run, giving her and her husband options for travel, leisure, and exploration. Throughout their working years, Suzanne’s family took the ‘plan for the worst, hope for the best approach, paying off their San Diego home, making smart investments, and putting money towards IRAs.

Unfortunately, life had other plans; when Suzanne’s now late husband grew very ill, she had to make the difficult decision to uproot her San Diego retirement and move to Forest Grove, Oregon to be closer to her children and grandchildren. This was a highly stressful time in Suzanne’s life, but due to proactive financial planning, and the help of her Reason Financial Certified Financial Planner, Sean, she was able to mitigate the financial pressures of moving during retirement. Under Sean’s expert advice, Suzanne rented out her San Diego home for more than the cost of her Oregon house, leaving her time to focus on herself, and her family, rather than on trying to make ends meet. 

While Suzanne could have never imagined leaving behind her beloved San Diego home, she has now found a new sense of community and family in Forest Grove, getting to know her neighbors, attending a local church, and spending quality time with her grandchildren. She has also found a new appreciation for the little things, like taking in her natural surroundings and developing new and existing skills. “The flowers in Forest Grove are unlike anything I have ever seen,” Suzanne said. “I have also taken up new hobbies like crafting, and have been trying to stay active and read a lot.”

Despite the hardship and uncertainty, Suzanne has faced over the last several years, her family’s dedication to financial freedom has helped her take this new chapter in stride. Prioritizing gratitude at every turn, Suzanne has found appreciation for her environment and community, sought security in her family unit and maintained comfort in knowing that her beloved San Diego is only a quick plane ride away. The best part? Should Suzanne decide she is ready to return to sunny San Diego for good, she has put herself in the financial position to make that dream come true. 

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