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Early retirement costs & targets - May 2020

May, another different type of month. The first ten days were still in lockdown, but there's been some relaxation since. We can now leave home whenever we want and more than just the essential shops are open. It's not yet back to normal: social distancing is still required; we wear masks in stores; cafes and restaurants are still closed, as are the borders. But it does feel like we're on the route back to normal, so long as we continue to be cautious to avoid a second wave of Coronavirus.

Although my costs and targets pale into insignificance against the backdrop of Covid-19, I am a fan of sticking to routines, and as the end of the month ticks past that means my early retirement costs and targets post. It might sound boring, but I'm convinced that routines contribute positively to my early retirement and enable some of the more exciting things that I do. In terms of our recent lockdown, routines have made them pretty bearable.

2020's early retirement targets

I'm reckoning the tracker doesn't look too bad. Okay, the red really stands out, but there's only one red, and much more green in comparison - woohoo!

Four of my targets are impacted by Covid-19. I'm not going to run two marathons this year, maybe the rescheduled London marathon will go ahead in October, maybe not. Fun targets such as trying new restaurants and travelling to new places have naturally been on hold during lockdown. But compared to those with health issues or jobs at risk, my minor inconveniences are an irrelevance.

May's early retirement target tracker
My 2020 target tracker

Although my marathon targets have been impacted, simply having it on my tracker has made a big difference to my running and I'm sure to my physical health as well. In May, I ran 307km, my furthest since March 2018 (the month before I ran Boston marathon). I also did 3 cycles and 22 yoga sessions - despite being seriously un-bendy, I'm enjoying the yoga. I started with 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene which seems a good place to start.

Healthy eating is holding up too, which makes me feel quite good about myself. Still no alcohol, but I can easily demolish a huge bar of chocolate if there's one in the house - I just have to make sure we don't buy any!

Learning French is a disaster, I've basically made no effort, which isn't good enough. I suspect the only way that I'll do better is to sign up for some formal lessons. Perhaps that should be a mini target for June.

I was close to removing volunteering from my targets but then a start up company contacted me to ask if I'd do some work with them. I said yes and produced some material for them in May. It may not be solving hunger or finding world peace, but it's still helping someone, and I'm glad I've done something.

As I've said before, I find the target tracker a great tool. I like the idea of starting the year thinking of some things I want to achieve, and checking in with the tracker at least once a month is a big help to make at least some of them come true.


It might be a strange cost for May (at least in the Northern Hemisphere) but our big expense for the month was £929 / €998 / $1,207 buying next season's ski lift passes for Sally and me. That's a bargain, the whole season (around 120 days) for just €499 each! That's access to 650km of pistes, served by 200 lifts from the middle of December to the middle of April. If I bought a daily lift pass at a US resort I'd probably only get 6 days of skiing for this amount!

Other than that, things were pretty normal, at least our current version of normal. That means more spent on groceries than we expect, nothing on coffee shops or restaurants, no fuel for the car - we last filled the tank in early March. Sally bought a few items of clothing, I bought some shoes, Sally got a speeding fine🤦‍♂️ and bought pots and plants to grow vegetables on the terrace - it would be much cheaper to buy from the supermarket, but she's enjoying playing with the mud😜

An analysis of our early retirement costs
May's early retirement costs

So maybe not the most exciting month of spending with the exception of next season's ski lift pass. With more things starting to re-open, I guess going out and coffee shop costs will start to increase, and maybe holiday/travel and visiting kids and other family costs will feature again. It will be spending money, but it will be on the good things which is okay with me.


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I remember the first part for me was like being on holiday, but even more relaxing knowing that I didn't have to soon get my head back into work mode. The target tracker, and routines as a whole, works for me. I have some friends who do it completely differently though - it's interesting how different people use different tactics. Perhaps the attraction to the tracker talks to our finance backgrounds?


Hi David, I like the target tracker as I can see that it gives you something to work towards and how you are progressing, I think I will have to do something similar. I am now into week 3 of retirement and it's going great, we've moved house to the countryside and have been able to get out cycling, running and walking and not missing work at all :-)


Spending money can be a good thing so long it's done on things that bring us value - like the eating in top restaurants that you wrote about. I do think many people will have discovered new interests, abilities, things they can do without, better spending habits etc during the lockdown, and it may be beneficial to carry these forward as life starts to return to normal. I suspect that most of the newly found good habits may quickly be forgotten though.


I'm expecting my costs to increase by around 20%-30% in June. Everything is opening up again. Gyms, restaurants, coffee shops. Oh well, was a good ride saving some money in the last few months. At least something good came out of this horrible situation.

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