This post should have been finished more than a week ago, but early retired life got in the way. It snowed, so I headed out with friends in search of powder - if only it was as easy to ski as it looks on YouTube, I made a complete mess of it! Then we visited our daughter for a weekend in Zurich, before jumping on a plane to attend our son's graduation ceremony in the UK. Checking in on early retired life: the number of vacation days that I needed to take from work...precisely zero; how much it matters that I missed my blog posting deadline...not a jot; that we can head off to visit our kids when we want...priceless. No wonder I like this early retirement life!
So that's how April started, but how about early retired life in March?
Early retirement targets
Sometimes I look at my targets table and think I should be doing better. Why isn't it already a sea of green to indicate that I've done everything? One reason is because we're only three months into the year, and the key is that I see some progress from month to month - Rome wasn't built in a day, or even in three months. Another reason is that if every item can easily be ticked off, then I've made my targets too easy. And I have to admit to a third reason, that sometimes I should simply be doing better...of course, my learning French target falls squarely into this category😬.
On the positive side, I'm still doing well with my exercise targets, hitting my four days a week, plus a bit more. I've now got to quickly add quality to this though, as I have a trail race in 10 weeks which I'm a long way from being ready for.
Another plus is progress on my medical check target. I want to have a fairly comprehensive check up, hopefully to find that all is well, but to give an early warning and the best chance for treatment if something is found. The original idea was to get the health check done locally, but it transitioned into travelling to South East Asia where medical costs are much cheaper and we can buy both the check ups and the flights for the same price as just the check ups in our home country. Kind of like having a health check and a free (or at least significantly discounted) holiday thrown in! We haven't yet booked the medical, but we have booked flights to the Philippines. We'll be there for a little over six weeks in October and November.
I also managed to invest a little more cash in March. I still find this incredibly difficult, perpetually worried that the markets are too high and my timing is wrong. The amount of returns we've missed out on over the years because of my dithering doesn't bear thinking about! I haven't solved this issue, having only managed to invest 33% of our investable cash, but at least it's a step in the right direction.
Over the next month, I should give more focus to those targets that haven't even got a colour. My ideas to visit Barcelona and Auschwitz, to climb a mountain, hike to Tour du Mont Blanc and imagine a new adventure for Sally and me. I haven't mentioned campervan trips because we'll be in it heading to the South of France tomorrow. And as to that red mark against improve my hopeless French...je dois vraiment commencer (I actually wrote that without Google Translate)!
Early retirement costs
The costs mounted up in March. Going out costs, sports equipment costs, my ski pass for next winter and running event entry fees, medical costs, hot tub repairs and flights for our trip to the Philippines later in the year.
Our average monthly spend for the first quarter feels higher than I'd like. It's less than we used to spend when I worked, but a fair amount more than the amount I guestimated our early retirement spend would be when I was making my early retirement decision back in 2016. I guess I have to remember that it's still affordable for us and I'm sure we could trim our costs without impacting our quality of life if we needed too. What I do like is that I know what our costs are, have the chance to judge whether I'm happy with what we spend our money on and, if we needed to reign in our spend, I can see where we could do so.
Of course, I can always live in hope that next month's costs will be less🤞