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Early retirement costs & targets - January 2023

January has been a typical early retirement month for me i.e. it's flown past! It's funny to think that when I was deciding whether to retire, I worried whether I'd find enough things to do to keep myself busy. That hasn't been a problem.


Maybe living in a tourist town helps. We had two sets of visitors in January, a wonderful way to start the year. We'll have more visitors in February and March too, so more fun and more skiing lies ahead.

I was on my skis eleven times in January, and had two lessons. I'm trying to get the hang of off-piste skiing, which is proving to be significantly harder than I hoped. From my introduction to off-piste skiing lesson, I think I've understood what I'm doing wrong, but don't have much of a clue how to make it right. We need some fresh snow so that I can practice. Talk about first world problems!


I have London Marathon towards the end of April, so training for that is a regular part of my week. The icy footpaths aren't ideal training conditions though but, so far, I've only fallen over once. I don't have a time target for London, provided I feel I've prepared as well as I can and done my best on the day, I'll be happy with that.


On the subject of targets, setting objectives at the start of the year, and checking in on them at the end of each month, really works for me. It gives my days some structure, helps me get things done, and encourages the occasional sense of adventure/foray out of my comfort zone.

Early retirement targets
Tracking progress against my 2023 early retirement targets

Even with visitors, I've done pretty well to keep up with my exercise target. But the targets I most enjoyed this month were calculating my carbon footprint (even if it didn't give me the answer I hoped for) and ticking off a first action from my 50 things to make the world a better place. My task was to write a thank-you note to someone important in my life who's helped me.


Not so much fun, but valuable in a different way, was completing and sending off the forms to make voluntary UK National Insurance (social security) payments. Doing this means I'll get the full UK State Pension when I reach the UK's normal retirement age of 67.


Early retirement costs

For 6 years, I've published and written about our early retirement costs. I'll keep doing so, but it does get more difficult to think of new things to say.


Normally I say that we spend more on groceries than I think we should, and that's true again this month. I also spent money on two ski lessons, one was an introduction to off-piste skiing and the other an avalanche companion rescue course - this latter one was fascinating, but hopefully something that never needs to be put into practice.


Sally has discovered resin craft, and has been producing coasters, ornaments and jewelry. She has quite a production line going - maybe she'll have to open an Etsy store. Currently in progress is the making of a wood and resin serving platter. In our costs, most items in the sport, exercise and outdoor equipment line are mine, and most things in the crafts and hobbies line are Sally's - currently, that means things related to epoxy crafts.

Early retirement costs
Early retirement costs - January 2023

We had the campervan serviced during the month. I thought it was pricey, but then realised it was the first service since we bought it 19 months ago so, in that context, it probably wasn't too bad. We also paid our credit card fees, something that does grate, especially when I read about people travel hacking with credit cards, getting something for nothing. Until I moved to France, I'd never paid for a bank account or credit card in my life. There are some online, zero fee bank account options which I probably should look into. Perhaps that's another thing to add to my targets list...if only I can find the time!

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Vince
Vince
17 feb 2023

Hi David, sorry it took me a while to get back to you on this. First, I'm wondering what you did to send for your NI record? I tried the HMRC website, tried setting up a Government Gateway ID (it told me the one I have a record of doesn't exist), tried calling and so I think I am left with writing to them. I started filling in the online form which is asking for a lot of historical employment information which I don't readily have to hand. Did you find an easier way?


On the topic of bank accounts, I did like you at first by opening an account at the local branch (LCL in my case). We ha…


Mi piace
Risposta a

24 weeks...I won't hold my breath then!

Mi piace

I haven't run out of hobbies either. I'm envious that you're getting to ski so much- I tried it last winter and enjoyed it very much. I need an active hobby like that. I am interested in pickleball. I'm going to have to get on shape for the Camino soon too...

Mi piace
Risposta a

I'm super lucky to have skiing on my doorstep - I can put my skis on literall 200 steps from my front door! The scenery is stunning in the mountains in the winter, and probably even more so in the summer. I've heard of pickleball, but never seen it - it seems to be very popular, I think particularly in the US. When is you Camino Santiago trek, how far is it and how long do you expect it to take - I Googled it and it seems there are a number of different routes?

Mi piace

Vince
Vince
08 feb 2023

Well done on getting the NI forms off to HMRC, that's more than I have managed this month!


On the topic of banking we are with online-only banks in France and avoid paying any fees with minimal faffing about. It is more of a matter of principle than the actual cost saving but every little does help. If you time it right many are offering sign up bonuses which should pay off your last year's worth of fees as well. Happy to share more info if you want.

Mi piace
Risposta a

The bank info/recommendation would be useful if you are happy to share. We've stuck with the Credit Agricole account that we opened because it's easy for us with our dubious language skills. That will still be a consideration for us, but worth thinking of the alternatives.

Mi piace
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