Their ideal home: a 2,200-square-foot, two-bedroom custom cottage in Myrtle Beach, S.C., outfitted with a guesthouse where their grown children can stay when visiting.
They'd like to be inland, maybe on a marsh or river.
The Collinses estimate it will cost $300,000 and hope to use proceeds from the sale of their current house, which they believe to be worth $400,000. They don't plan to retire to the beach full time until they're both eligible for Social Security.
But they'd like to settle on a location and start building in the next year.
The actual cost of building a home that size in Myrtle Beach is closer to $650,000, well beyond what the Collinses expected. Adding to the challenge, the company Jim works for is downsizing, and his position as a research scientist could be eliminated this spring. (Elaine, who works at the same company, is likely to keep her job.)
Though they have savings of about $1 million, they hadn't expected to put any of it toward the house. They had planned to slowly draw it down after retirement to maintain an annual after-tax income of $100,000.
Says Jim: "I don't want this home to result in a significant change in our lifestyle."