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Early retirement costs & targets - June 2023

After 77 months of early retirement costs and targets posts, I wonder if it's time to stop - surely I've written most of what I've got to say on these subjects. But then I remember how fundamental these topics are. Tracking my costs helped get me to early retirement and now helps ensure that my money will last. And setting and tracking targets help me make the best of my fortunate position of being able to retire at forty seven. Does tracking costs and target setting sound boring? Probably. But has tracking costs and target setting been a game changer in getting to and then helping me enjoy early retirement? Absolutely. These two topics really are silver bullets for early retirement.


Early retirement costs

Sometimes things go wrong that cost money to put right. It might be a washing machine that stops working or perhaps a car or roof that needs repairing or replacing. Our unwelcome event was having our bikes stolen a few months back while on holiday, especially when we found the insurance didn't cover them. We've now replaced them at a cost of £3,120 / €3,526 / $3,838 - we bought 2 cheap(ish) bikes plus new locks and helmets in May and this month Sally got a new e-bike to replace her stolen one. That's a substantial extra cost over the last few months - I'm thankful that our retirement funds can deal with such unexpected events.

How much early retirement costs
Early retirement costs - June 2023

Stolen bike costs aside, it wouldn't be a normal month if our grocery costs weren't crazily high, and this time they're even higher than normal. Part of the reason is that we've bought some things in bulk some things such as nuts, dates, peanut butter, Marmite, and various plant based foods. For the dates, I bought 10kgs / 22lbs, clearly having no idea how many dates that is and, I can tell you, it's a lot more than I expected, like, really a lot! Without these bulk items, our grocery bill would still be higher than most people's, but not quite as crazy as it looks for June.


One other cost this month is a trail race entry. My friend sent me a link to an event scheduled for the end of August. There are 3 races: 15km / 430m elevation gain on the Friday; 27km / 1,000m elevation gain on the Saturday; and 42km / 1,980m elevation gain on the Sunday. When I asked which he was interested in, I wasn't expecting my friend to say "all of them". So, guess what, now I'm entered in all three events!🤦‍♂️ In my early retirement, I'm trying to be a bit more adventurous and say yes to things, but maybe there are also times when it is best to say no!🤣


Early retirement targets

My instinct is that while others might set themselves targets, not many go as far as writing them down and then scoring their progress against them each month. I know Joe at Retire by 40 does it and finds it really useful, just as I do.


Half way through the year, my target tracker is looking quite healthy. I'm tracking 12 targets, of which 2 are done and, barring accident, the Tour du Mont Blanc hike target should be completed this time next week. A number of other targets are on track, so I just need to keep up my momentum on those.

As Joe says, a good thing about checking in on the targets each month is that it shows which goals need some extra attention. In my case, these include:

  1. Stretching - I'm having trouble getting back into this habit. Maybe I should repeat the 30 days yoga with Adrienne as I enjoyed doing that during our Covid lockdown.

  2. Learning French - in fairness, I'm now putting more effort into this than ever before. I need to keep at it, and hopefully some improvement will come.

  3. Imagine a new adventure for Sally & me - my most difficult target, because Sally probably doesn't want a new adventure.

  4. Understand French capital gains & inheritance tax - I must set some time aside and get this done. I'll aim to report some progress by the end of July.


It's difficult to believe that half the year has flown past already, time goes too quickly. On the plus side, it makes me glad that I made my early retirement decision meaning I now get to spend my time doing the things I choose to do. As I often say, I'm glad I had my career, but I'm also glad that I now get to enjoy living my early retired life. It's the best of both worlds.

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In terms of adventures. Could you go on a travel adventure with mates, ie a group of guys go off to Everest base camp for example for a month of trekking. Or is that too long to leave Sally by herself?

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Hi Ian, it could be that I could go on some adventures with my friends (as I just did for the Tour du Mont Blanc hike) and I'm sure I'll do some of that (although if they are still working then it would have to be for shorter durations). However, I'd still like to find things that Sally and I can enjoy together, so I'd like to think that things with friends would be in addition to rather than instead of doing things with Sally.

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Guest
Jul 18, 2023

Interesting to see how much your costs have risen since 2017, looks like you are spending about USD 1000 per month more from around $4500 to $5500. Lifestyle inflation, or just inflation :) ? Either way, still well within your level of income and as the years go by I guess you get more comfortable with the money side of early retirement.

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Good question. I'm just sending a quick reply now because I'd like to look into it and then give a proper answer (although it probably won't be straightforward as our living location changed and the amount of travel we do in a particular year can make quite a difference. Maybe I'll see if I can provide an answer in a post.

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Guest
Jul 13, 2023

I’ve just found your blog. Thanks for sharing so much information about retirement

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It's a pleasure

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Johnston Orr
Johnston Orr
Jul 08, 2023

Please don’t stop writing these, David. We’re all waiting on to find out why the groceries costs are so high - it’s the best cliffhanger on the Net! 😉

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I think I did this a few years back. I'm tempted to look at it again, but I'm not brave enough to ask Sally to analyse her grocery spend...it might lead to a short lived early retirement!

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Guest
Jul 07, 2023

Your posts on expenditure are some of the best on the internet. Keep it up as it helps me and others understand that hard ask of retirement - “how much will I spend and will I have enough to maintain this?”


your posts really help to show what it is really like


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Thanks for that feedback. We're all a little different so although there are many FIRE blogs, I always think there's a chance that someone might look at some of what I write and find it kind of speaks to them. And, of course, people can take away the parts that seem relevant and ignore the rest!

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