November 9, 2020

Edited 11/09/20

Wake-Up Call with Katie Couric: Silvur Users Share How The App Helped Them Handle Unforeseen Circumstances

Hear from two Silvur users on their retirement dreams, how they’re dealing with life’s curveballs, and the ways Silvur gave them a peace of mind that no financial institution could.

We’ve got some good news and some bad news for all the planners of the world. The bad? Planning for the future doesn’t guarantee a curveball won’t come your way and throw you off course a little. But here’s the good news: With the solid plans you’d set in place, that curveball won’t be able to derail you. 

It’s a lesson that two Silvur users, Val and Renee, learned firsthand. Both women had taken several smart steps to plan for their futures, but were still left with tons of questions after being dealt different curveballs. Do I need a new job right now? How am I going to pay for healthcare without my previous benefits? Do I have to scrimp and save every penny, or can I make a few splurge purchases? 

Thankfully, Silvur was uniquely poised to answer these questions. Take a look at how the app helped them evaluate their financial options, figure out whether they’d be able to meet their retirement goals, and give them both the confidence they needed to live their best next chapters.

“It gives me choices I didn’t think I had.”


Age: 60
Location: California

Financial Situation:

  • Savings: Val has savings from her 30+ years working.
  • Income: She gets payouts from a 401(k), and will receive income from social security and a pension in the future. 
  • Additional Spending: Val is planning to self insure long-term care costs.
  • Assets: She owns a home in California.

Current Retirement Status:

Unexpectedly retired. Her position was suddenly eliminated a handful of years before she’d planned to retire.  Initially, she was able to pick up some consulting work to bring her nest egg closer to what she’d hoped it would be by the time she retired. But the pandemic has made that work tougher to come by.

Goals for the Future:

Like many newly or unexpectedly retired people, Val has a lot of potential avenues she could go down for retirement, and wants help weighing the pros and cons of all of them. Should she sell her house and rent or buy in a more affordable state? Should she move to a favorite country of hers, France, where she’d love the wine and cheese but would be far away from loved ones? Should she get a part-time job that would bring in some cash, but take time away from her civic engagement activity, which has become a (low-paying) passion of hers?

What She Tried Before Silvur:

Val did what many people first do when faced with such questions about the future: she turned to financial advisors. She gave them information about her savings, her pension, and holdings like IRAs, and they promised personalized advice. But she felt like something wasn’t quite adding up right when they came back with simplified, one-size-fits-all advice to drastically cut her spending and make investments she didn’t feel 100% about.

What Silvur Did for Val:

Val wanted to look elsewhere for financial help, but wasn’t sure where to turn until a story about Silvur caught her eye during her daily read of Katie Couric’s Wake-Up Call newsletter. She said she’d normally feel a bit apprehensive about entering so much personal info into an app, but trusted that Couric would only recommend a trustworthy, useful service. Val was right. Silvur offered free advice, she couldn’t even pay a financial advisor to give her:

  • Allowed her to enter a variety of different retirement goals and zip codes to see, within seconds, how a real estate sale or her Medicare expenses would impact her score. 
  • Let her see future “snapshots” of her life under various projections. She entered the age at which her pension will start kicking in, and was able to project how much she’d need for long-term in-home care if she were to fall ill at a particular age. 
  • Gave her the exact cutoff point she’d have to curb her monthly spending in order to maintain her current retirement score. 

What Val Had to Say:

“It’s a huge sense of relief,” she told Silvur. “It takes a load off. It gives me choices that I didn’t think that I had.” 

Rather than the cookie cutter advice of financial planners eager to invest her cash, Val had a personalized Retirement Score at her fingertips. She was relieved to learn that she could keep her monthly spending as is, and even increase it, and still have the funds to carry her past age 99+. That realization is giving her the freedom to continue devoting her time and energy to civic engagement rather than having to take a job she finds less rewarding. You might also find her moving to France in 2021!

“I have my eye on maybe working in the national parks or working spring training out west.”


Age: 64
Location: Florida

Financial Situation:

  • Savings: Renee’s husband died unexpectedly when he was 51, and she still has savings from his life insurance. 
  • Income: She receives her late husband’s Social Security, and has income and full benefits from a part-time job as a crossing guard at a local elementary school. Renee worked in HR for 30 years prior to making the switch to part-time work. She tried out gigs in areas like personal fitness and retail before deciding on taking the crossing guard position. She enjoys the job, and it gives her healthcare and retirement benefits, so it made the most sense to keep as her only part-time employment.   
  • Additional spending: She helps her 87-year-old mother financially. She also travels often (or did pre-pandemic), has a timeshare, and bought a tiny home she hopes to hitch to her truck one day for exciting getaways.
  • By keeping her spending low and taking on as many as four part-time jobs at a time in the 13 years since her husband’s death, Renee has managed to avoid dipping too far into her savings.

Current Retirement Status:

Contemplating retirement when she turns 65. Renee has seen firsthand that life can end abruptly and wants to enjoy it as much as possible. But since she helps her mother financially, it’s also easy for her to envision a future where a bigger savings account could come in handy. 

“I’m just trying to be smart,” she told Silvur. “I probably have done a few things I shouldn’t have, bought some things that I shouldn’t have, but life’s too short. So now, I’m trying to decide if I’m ready or not to retire.”

Goals for the Future:

Even if Renee does end up retiring from her position as a crossing guard, she doesn’t want to slow down her life. In addition to her tiny house and traveling with her timeshare, she’d love to make it out to baseball spring training to work part-time or cheer on her beloved Cleveland Indians. 

“I’m very active. I probably won’t stop working,” she told Silvur. “I have my eye on maybe working in the national parks or spring training out west.”

What Silvur Did for Renee:

  • Showed her that she and her husband had made several great financial decisions during their life together, and that Renee had kept up the wise decision-making and prudent spending over the past 13 years.
  • Renee went into the app and played around with her monthly spending figures to see that she had enough padding to spend even more every month and still have her savings carry her past the age of 99.

What Renee Had to say:

“Wonderful. I feel good. I feel I’m doing the right thing, and I’m not going to go out and spend more money, but now I know that I could.” 

With the added security of knowing her monthly spending was well within healthy limits, Renee was able to make guilt-free plans about a future full of travel and doing the things she loves.

What You Can Do Today

Like Val and Renee, you can calculate your Retirement Score for free today.

But there’s an important thing to remember if yours isn’t as high as Val and Renee’s. Just like life, your Silvur Retirement Score is never set in stone. By playing around with hypothetical scenarios like changing locations, cashing out an IRA, or finding healthcare plans with fewer out-of-pocket costs, you can pinpoint the areas where you may be overspending, figure out the areas you need to prioritize moving forward, and achieve the score that helps you breathe a sigh of relief, no matter what curveball comes your way.

Want Katie Couric to deliver the news you need to know every morning to your inbox? Sign up for her newsletter Wake-Up Call with Katie Couric here.