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Big spending in early retirement

Last week, I read Michelle at Fire and Wide's post about the transition from life as a saver to life as a spender that comes with retirement. Spending might sound easy, but the saving habit built up in the years to financial independence can be difficult to break.

I asked Sally about my transition to spender - what's my relationship with money now, am I happy to be a spender or am I in a "protect our money" mode, conscious that our finances might have to last another fifty years? The verdict is that I confuse her by doing some of both, and not always in a consistent way. But overall, she sees some new interests which I happily spend on, while simultaneously being value conscious on smaller day to day items.

Our big spend items

Looking back through our costs showed that we've actually spent big less than I expected. But on some of those things it's been a lot. Travel has been a significantly bigger spend than I imagined pre early-retirement, and having a second home is a spend that wasn't envisaged at all.

This is okay because our financial situation can support it. But our resources aren't never ending.

My concern now isn't that transitioning from saver to spender is a challenge, it's that big spending could become a habit that's hard to break.

On that topic, we recently decided to say: let's ignore that it might not make sense, let's get a campervan. We've been looking, and found that the ones we like cost much more than we thought. Our reaction has been, oh, that's not want we wanted to hear, but we have money so what's the problem. If it costs more to get the extra bells and whistles, let's do it.

We'll have to see how the planned camper purchase turns out, but once that's done, maybe it's time to take a breath and apply the brakes for a while - spending big is perhaps becoming a little too easy. Financially we're fine, but with potentially fifty more years of retirement life ahead of us, maybe we need to moderate the really big spends for a while. We'll see how easy or difficult that proves to be, but an upside for Sally is that it may curtail some of my bright, but more expensive, ideas for a while, the ones that make Sally roll her eyes...well, I already have some ideas, but I'll keep them on the back burner for now!


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