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Early retirement costs & targets - November 2023



Setting early retirement targets
Nailed it!?

In last week's post, I pondered adopting a more relaxed attitude to my routines and targets. Today, I'll put that to the test because, with just three of the year left, it's not long before I make my final check of how I did against the goals I set. Should I attempt a mad scramble to convert the not yet done targets into "yay, I nailed it" or is it time to be more chilled about such things?


As of today, this is where I am - not all green/done, but not doing too badly:

setting goals and targets for early retirement life
My early retirement targets - November 2023 update

So, is a mad scramble to try to change the ambers to greens the thing to do? As with much in life, the answer isn't always black or white, but somewhere in between - what's right for one target might not be right for another. Here's what I'm thinking:


Exercise at least 4 days a week: I'm on target, so this is simply about continuing what I'm already doing. In any event, this is one I'd focus on. Losing the weight originally and then getting fit was hard work, and I don't want to give up that win.

Stretching: I should be doing better with this because I can really feel the benefit when I stretch regularly. It's too late to convert this goal to green, but the best time to make an improvement is today.


Publish at least 3 blog posts a month: I'll aim to do this for December, mostly because I said I would, and then consider a new regime for next year. It's perhaps one where I'm not yet allowing myself to adopt that more relaxed attitude.


Improve my French & 30-60 minutes of French TV/radio a day: Realistically, the next three weeks aren't going to make much difference in my language skills (or more accurately, lack of language skills), but intention is the key point here. I'll push on over the next three weeks.


30 nights in the campervan: I've done 26 nights, so 30 is within touching distance. I could get in the camper, do 4 more days and say my "yay, nailed it". But it's cold and it's raining, and it wouldn't be much fun. So, I should relax and not be wedded to my goal just because I wrote it down eleven months ago. This is one to let slide.


Imagine a new adventure for Sally and me: I have the rough idea in mind, with the aim to make it come true next year. Perhaps, over the next three weeks, it would be good to check that Sally is still on board so that having the adventure can be a firm item on next year's goal list.


Things to make the world a better place: This is a nice ambition and attitude to work towards - we can certainly improve our world. Thank you to my sister for helping me be more conscious of this idea, it's definitely one to continue during the final three weeks of the year.


Realistically, I'll probably never move too far away from my routines and targets - they are somehow built into my personality, and the benefits for me far outweigh the drawbacks. What I think I should do is take care to set the right targets and be more accepting that it's OK to abandon them if that feels right. As I start to think about next year, perhaps the target/goal categories should change a little - some first thoughts for categories might be (noting that some goals can tick multiple categories):

  • Fun

  • Adventure

  • Challenge

  • Health & fitness

  • Doing good

  • Chores


Early retirement costs

Our costs this year have mostly jogged along with nothing too exceptional happening, and November was much the same. Grocery costs were beyond my comprehension (as usual), and we had a surprise at the cost of airplane tickets for our son and his partner to visit over Christmas - they cost 4 times what we normally pay for that route! Other than that, everything was quite normal.

How much does early retirement cost?
Our early retirement costs - November 2023

I have a bad idea for next week - I thought I'd work out how much tax we pay in France compared to how much tax we'd pay if we lived in our "home" country, the United Kingdom. We have a tax bill to pay in the next few weeks which triggered this idea. I recently posted about the benefits and challenges of retiring abroad, and cost of living was one of the points. Our location in France is quite expensive in terms of the cost of housing, groceries etc, and it will be interesting to see how taxation affects this equation - perhaps it will turn out to be a calculation I wish I hadn't done!

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Badgering you as requested re volunteering. If you choose IVHQ as an organisation to use for this, I can get you a discount (and get one myself) for introducing you. I have volunteered on a conservation programme in February in Thailand that includes going into schools as well a practical planting etc. There are plenty of world wide options where teaching and other projects are run in the same area. I know Sally was worried her teaching might not be up to the minute, but my experience in the Tanzania school showed that the only development was a white board.

Let me know what you decide.

PS training for Brighton marathon but not registered yet:)

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Hi Pam, I'm also sure that Sally's teaching skills would not be an issue, and I'm also confident that we can both do something in the same place - Sally can provide expertise and I can provide enthusiasm for something less skilled. Timing wise, I'm thinking of the last quarter of next year, so it's something that we haven't yet planned enough to make a call on exactly what, where and when, which means we're not in a position to do something with IVHQ yet.

Are you training for Brighton marathon while living in Singapore? That must be tough training conditions if you are.

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