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Early Retirement Costs - March 2018

Good news, it's been an average month. When it comes to the monthly costs post, average is good, excitement is the last thing I want to see!

That said, we did have a couple of fun events in March. Sally travelled to Switzerland to visit our daughter, and my sister came to visit us for a week.


There was not too much out of the ordinary. Groceries were higher in March compared to January and February because Sally bought groceries in Switzerland and, boy, is that an expensive place! Without that, the spend would have been closer to normal, so no big deal.

Coffee shop/casual dining was also high. I just counted, we made 51 transactions at coffee shops or cafes during March - I'm not even sure how that's possible! I was going to blame Sally for her daily coffee purchase on her way to work, but then I saw that I spent slightly more than she did, so I've decided to keep quiet. Probably it will reduce from this month's exorbitant spend to our normal high coffee shop spend next month. Well, we do enjoy it, so why not?

Below are the numbers. I have left the January and February figures on in case anyone is interested in the recent history, and the monthly average for last year is shown on the far right. Hopefully including these figures hasn't made the numbers too small to read. I've also included comments to explain where the cost in March is different from usual.

March 2018 Early Retirement Costs

The monthly average costs for our day to day living is £2,413 ($3,416) over the January to March period. I'm happy with that, it's less than last year's average for a start. There are a few things that will get added to it over time, one off costs like insurance which we haven't yet had this year, and clothes and home maintenance where we've not yet spent anything so far this year.

The more extraordinary costs are a different story. Vacations are high because in the first 3 months of the year we've had our ski trip plus Sally's trip to Switzerland. We also have my flight and hotel for Boston marathon in April, as well as the flights for the first leg of our Round the World Trip (Australasia and Asia), although we don't head off until July. I'm not worried about these though, they are discretionary and, other than normal vacations, they're not things we are likely to repeat, at least not often.


Net Worth Breakdown

I don't usually include details of income, but thought I would provide a snippet today. To start with, the pie chart shows how our net worth is split to give an idea of where the income can be generated.

The biggest slice of the pie is our rental properties, and these gave us income (after costs and tax) of £17,604 ($24,997) in the January to March period. This is good for two reasons:

  • It is a more than normal because we had only very minor maintenance costs in the period. Over the full year, I think the average quarterly income (after costs and tax) from rental property may be closer to £14,200 ($20,164)

  • It virtually covered our total costs for the period including the overseas running costs and the big trip flights, both of which don't take place until after March.

The France apartment doesn't yet give us any income because it is still being built. And in any event, we may decide to keep it only for ourselves, so I think it is right not to count on any income from it for the foreseeable future.

That leaves the other investments, which are mostly Vanguard funds and some other funds which I am slowly exiting and transferring to Vanguard funds. For now, we don't take any income from these investments, because we haven't needed to. In fact, they don't provide an income per se, they go up and down depending on the market. However, we could withdraw somewhere between 3% and 4% of the investment per year to take as income if we needed or wanted to. For now, I treat this as my "insurance" fund, and it lets me sleep well at night.

Enough about money

There are much more important things than money, that's for sure. In April, I visit Switzerland to see my daughter, then to the UK to see my son, and also to New York, because I've never been, and then to Boston to run the marathon. That's quite an exciting month.

Oh, the marathon! It's about two months since I talked of ambitious goals for Boston marathon, but since then it's been a struggle with injury. I'm recovered now but, having missed a big chunk of training, those aspirational targets are quite unlikely. I'll of course do my best, but now my focus is to enjoy the atmosphere and finish "well enough". Dreams of a new personal best will have to wait for another day. But that won't stop me enjoying my trip to the Big Apple and Bean Town - judging by the nicknames, it sounds like it will be quite a foodie trip.


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