Early retirement costs & targets - January 2020
I suspect that after Christmas, most people hope for a less expensive January to get the finances back on track, an idea we seem to have completely ignored.
Ski lessons for me, exercise classes for Sally, lunches on the mountain, new phone (old one died), two new pairs of running shoes, dentist, physio appointments, and not to forget the flights and hotel for a trip to Dubai in March. On the plus side, we can't be accused of sitting at home doing nothing.
The only cost that I don't like is the credit card annual fees. I keep reading about travel hacking, people receiving thousands of travel reward points for signing up for a credit card. We don't get rewards and instead have to pay for our credit card, some things just aren't fair! I suspect there must be some fee free options, so I need to look for them. But really, if that's my biggest moan, then I really don't have much to complain about😀
To use a running analogy, my targets are more a marathon than a sprint, which is just fine given that I have the whole year to get them done. For sure it's best to get started early, but it's not realistic to expect everything to be green and done by the end of month one.
So the end of January's mixed bag of some green, some amber and some red is OK and no cause for stress.
Here's a quick run down on how I'm doing against each of my targets (if you missed my target setting post, you can see it here):
Running: I've entered London Marathon on 26 April so I'm running three times a week for my training. So far, so good, although I'm not close to the shape I was in two years ago. I'd like to add two more sessions a week but not running as it's too high impact - perhaps one core and one low impact endurance activity. I'll see if I can do this in February.
Eat Healthily: I've made a reasonable but not perfect start on this target. I mostly eat healthy stuff but still find it tempting to snack and also to put too much on my plate. For February, I'll concentrate on avoiding too many unhealthy snacks and keeping to sensible portion sizes.
Blog: This one's green, I'm hitting my target on publishing a new post each week.
Learn French: I ignored this for most of January which isn't good enough. I need to figure out an effective way to learn that I also enjoy. I'm a bit lost on this one at the moment but I'm sure I'll make a plan. As a start, I must allocate a little time to it four days of the week.
Try new restaurants: The target was to try three new restaurants every two months and we've already been to three new restaurants in January. That makes this target green but also expensive! I'm thinking of changing it to be a mix of trying new restaurants and inviting friends over for dinner at our home, which is something we enjoy but don't do enough of.
Visit 4 new places: I've not yet started on this one, but as we're only at the beginning of the year there is plenty of time.
Figure out where we'll live: We must have made four or five different decisions on this over the past year, only to subsequently change our minds. If we could make progress with learning French then it may make this decision easier. I also need to check out some tax matters, although I'd rather not let finances dictate our decisions.
Volunteer: Although I had some useful feedback saying that the role of accountant or treasurer is one that smaller charities have difficulty filling, I feel that finance was my old life and not what I want to do now. However, I feel a bit mean saying that as it doesn't seem to match the idea of volunteering/charity. I'm also not sure if these roles could be done remotely. A cursory look at the immediate local area hasn't revealed volunteering opportunities. I need to keep thinking about this.
Keep contact with distant friends: My friend visited from Berlin last week and we had a lot of fun skiing - annoyingly he was much better than me (probably not difficult🤣). Even though it was he who came to see me, I'm still counting it as keeping in touch. Looking at my target tracker also encouraged me to send a quick message to my old school friend in California, the one I'd not seen for 24 years before visiting him last month, which shows the target tracker really does work on keeping me on track.
I read that around a third of new year resolutions don't make it past the end of January so it feels good to know that I'm still in the game on all nine of my targets. Tracking how I'm doing encourages me to keep at it and also gives me some pointers on where to focus - learning French and my thoughts about volunteering stand out as areas that need some work. But as they say, Rome wasn't built in a day.