Early retirement costs & targets - June 2019
I've booked some flights, so our trip for later this year is definitely on. Three months away - three weeks in California, four weeks in Costa Rica and five weeks in Colombia. It's going to be fun. Sally's not keen on being away for so long so she'll be with me for 5 weeks, our daughter will join me for another 4 weeks and I'll do 3 weeks solo.
More good news is that I got the all clear from the doctor to start running again after injuring my knee skiing back in February. Less good news is that it's hard work. I'm telling myself that it will get easier with practice and that pain really will lead to gain eventually.
Here's my target table updated for the month. I've added an extra column to show the direction of travel i.e. have I progressed with my target, let something slide, or not changed much over the last month? I like the habit of checking my progress monthly, it's not a magic solution to getting things done, but I think it does help.
Le moin a dit a propo de mon Française, le mieux. That's an example of me trying so, please French speakers, don't laugh and don't check the spelling! I'm trying to say "the less said about my French, the better". Even worse than my speaking is my listening - when someone talks to me I go into panic mode and understand almost nothing of what they say. Not helping is that I've fallen off the wagon of practicing, so must get back on the learning trail.
Even worse than my French is my GoPro video target, which hasn't even got off the ground. I'm not holding my breath that it will be any different by the end of the month, but I like to live in hope.
What grade should I get for my mid year report card against my targets? Perhaps a C+ grade and a "could do better". There are still six months to go, so hopefully I'll push that grade up by year end.
After two and a half years of monthly cost posts it's difficult to think of what to say that hasn't been said before, but here are my takeaways from what's been a high spend month.
I believe in the different shapes and sizes of FIRE. Some people are happy with lean whereas others prefer a more generous FIRE. There isn't a right or a wrong type. I'm somewhere in between - I don't like waste, I do like value, and I don't want to lose sleep worrying that the money won't last or that unforeseen expenses could derail my early retirement.
We didn't have any emergencies this month, but we did have things crop up that did cost extra.
This picture of us is on Fraser Island, Australia - if you find my wedding ring there, let me know, I lost it there last year in the super fine sand. This month Sally bought me a new one...seems like I'm off the market again🤣
There were extra medical costs for an MRI on my knee and the follow up doctor's visit.
Sally spent a month in the UK helping our son move and visiting her family. That resulted in rental car, flight and extra fuel and grocery costs. The high grocery costs were a surprise but, because we can afford it, it's not an issue.
Knowing that we can cover additional costs like these without getting into financial difficulty helps me be relaxed about our early retirement finances.
As well as those extra costs we also booked the flights for our trip to California, Costa Rica and Colombia. They cost quite a bit, but this travel is an important part of my early retirement plan. I still like to be mindful of cost so, more often than not, we'll stay in hostel accommodation during our travels - I find them kind of fun anyway.
Of the FIRE blogs that I read where monthly costs are published, we seem to have higher costs than most. That makes me wonder whether I would still have decided to retire early if we had to live within a lesser budget.
For me, I think my answer would be yes. There are definitely areas where we could cut back on cost, and I would be willing to do that to enjoy the choices, freedoms and change in mindset that early retirement is giving me. For Sally, I'm not so sure that she would agree. As I said at the beginning, there's not a one size fits all answer to FIRE - differences are what makes life interesting.