Young Couple Balances Small Business, Growing Family

By George Erb
The Seattle Times.

SEATTLE

Like other Americans bitten by the entrepreneurial bug, Keri and Stephen Morgret want a small business large enough to support their growing family for years to come.

But turning their startup into a sustainable business they can live on is no simple task, as the Morgrets know all too well.

They own Morgret Enterprises, which does business as Strike Models. It sells kits, parts and plans for remote-controlled model warships capable of doing battle with small cannons that fire BBs.

The models continue to outshine the company’s financial performance, however.

Strike Models breaks even by selling about $40,000 worth of warship kits and related gear online every year. The Morgrets estimate they need to increase the annual revenue five times, to about $200,000, for Strike Models to support the family.

And the family has gotten bigger. In September, Keri Morgret gave birth to daughter Eloise, the couple’s first child.

In recent years, the couple used a division of labor to stay on firm financial footing. Stephen, 43, stopped work as a mechanical engineer when they moved from California to Seattle in 2013 and ran the family business. Keri, 39, earned about $82,000 a year, with benefits, as a community manager in a Seattle tech company’s marketing department.

But the challenges of having a child, getting their business off the ground and saving for the future prompted the Morgrets to ask for help. The Puget Sound Chapter of the Financial Planning Association paired them with Aimee Huff, a certified financial planner and senior vice president at ICON Consulting in Bellevue, Wash.

“The bones of their situation were very solid,” Huff said. The couple has about $100,000 in various retirement accounts and about $21,500 in readily accessible cash reserves. They owe about $248,000 on their home, which is worth about $360,000. Their only remaining debts were about $30,000 in student loans.

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