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Early retirement costs & targets - September 2023

I'm so excited...our grocery costs aren't as high as normal, although it might only be because I'm eating from the cupboard of previous bulk purchases. Unfortunately, those stocks are dwindling - it's surprising how quickly I can eat 10kgs (22lbs) of dates, 12.5kgs (28lbs) of nuts and 5kgs (11lbs) of peanut butter. It may be a clue as to why I'm currently 3kgs heavier than I want to be!


Two other spend categories catching my eye this month are sports and medical. This month's spend in sports is a race entry for next May, but when I look at that line I can't help but see the earlier cost of replacing the bicycles we had stolen back in May. If you have a bike, but don't have a good bike lock, learn from my bad experience and upgrade your bike lock. You might be shocked at how much locks cost, but they are a heck of a lot cheaper than buying new bikes!


As to medical, if you're a reader from the USA, you'll think our medical costs are tiny. If you're from the UK, you're perhaps wondering why they're not zero. In France, we're somewhere in between (although much closer to the UK model in reality) - there is State funded healthcare, but the patient still must contribute a portion of the cost. Both Sally and I visited the doctor this month, and it's possible I'll need a hernia operation. We've not bought health insurance but perhaps that is something to re-think.

How much does early retirement cost
Our early retirement costs - September 2023

Early retirement targets

I don't know how often I've said that I'm a fan of setting goals - they really do help me enjoy my early retirement and stop me being lazy.


This year's target tracker is looking quite good - a nice amount of green, no red, and still three months of the year to go.

Setting early retirement goals
My early retirement target tracker - September 2023

Now in the last quarter of the year, in addition to trying to turn some of the amber to green, it's time to start thinking of my goals for 2024. I haven't got to the detail yet, but some of the things I'll keep in mind are:

  • How will I keep myself fit and healthy?

  • Do I want to grow my friendship group a little more?

  • Do I want to change some of my 9-5 routine? If so, how?

  • Is there an adventure target that will create memories to treasure?

  • How can I challenge and develop myself to ensure my mind remains active and sharp?

  • How can I improve myself to be a better person?

I'm wondering if I should try to shake things up a bit. I'm coming to the end of my seventh year of full-time early retirement, and it's been great, so it's easy to say "if it's not broken, don't fix it." On the other hand, if I think back to my business career, successful companies didn't stay successful by resting on their laurels and always keeping things the same. They reassess - are things changing, are there new opportunities or challenges to be grasped? I think it's a good idea to do the same thing for my retirement life. Maybe there won't be any radical changes, but I do want to keep the "should I shake things up" question in mind as I think about my next set of goals.


Let me know if you have any suggestions!


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I volunteered in Tanzania for September with IVHQ. They really look out for you. I helped at a school for severely disabled children with cerebral palsy and autism. It was definitely a challenge and an insight into the reality of life in some parts of Africa. I felt that I made an impact on my placement and will be continuing to support them remotely. There are a wide range of projects to suit everyone. Although it seems expensive, when compared to a vacation for the same length of time it is well worth it, and you experience far more of the local culture than a tourist. Once you arrive there are hardly any ongoing expenses if you embrace the c…

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Hi Pam, if we were do do it, it would be more towards the end of next year, probably October/November time.

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Hi David, another fab thought provoking post, thank you.

My questions today are more about forward projecting and the cost of living crisis. Do you forward project expenses and do you think you'll have to amend your budgets based on costs going up, and how will that look in your expenses for 2024 and beyond? Have you noticed your costs going up over the past year or 2 with inflation higher? And what about rents, they seem to be going up in the uk too, so maybe that's a good hedge to counteract my previous questions?

Cheers 😀

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Hi Ian, I think you did indeed answer part of your question in your final sentence. Although I'm not as keen as Sally is to have such a high proportion of our investment in residential property lets, it does tend to provide decent protection against inflation.

I'd say that I don't particularly forward project our costs, but because I do check on them monthly I naturally have a feel for whether they are increasing, at least overall. This year, I think our total costs will be around the same level as before (a bit higher than our lowest year and a bit lower than our highest year, so somewhere in the middle). Part of the reason is that we haven't…

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andrewpetergrimes
andrewpetergrimes
Oct 06, 2023

Hi David, thought provoking set of life-questions there. I'm just coming to the end of a big retirement project and I used your questions for an interesting discussion with my wife about our next steps. Your date consumption reminded me of a fun fact. I visited a museum in Bahrain and they had a little display showing how the point in time when dates started to be included into the ancient people's diet coincided with the skulls being found with no teeth. Hopefully you've got a better toothbrush than they had !!

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Good point about the teeth! We often assume that if something grows on a tree, then it must be healthy without any downsides...not always true.

I must confess that I'm not necessarily good at answering those life-type questions or, if I do answer them, I'm not always successful at actioning them, but I think it's good to at least consider what the options are. On the other hand, I think Sally dreads it when I start asking such questions!

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