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Early retirement, not all sunshine & rainbows


No rainbows, but sunshine & snow is also good!

Early retirement can be a chance to do some new and exciting things. For me, that includes some longer travels (like 4 months in Asia & Australia or 3 months in California, Costa Rica & Colombia), moving to a new country, learning to ski, changing to a vegetarian and then a vegan diet, starting a blog, buying a campervan, and just generally have a change in mindset.


Another person might think these things aren't exciting at all and will have a different list of things new and exciting to them. As my mother used to say, it would be boring if we were all the same, it's our differences that make us interesting.


But there are also the more mundane parts of life, the stuff that is less sunshine and rainbows. In fact, and admittedly it's a little sad, I've twice kept a timesheet of my daily early retirement life, once in November 2017 and again in April 2019.


After a month in the UK, I've arrived back in France this week and made a list of things to do yesterday and today. On my list was:


  1. Arrange ski insurance ✔️Done

  2. Get my ski touring boots widened ✔️Done

  3. Send Airbnb check-in instructions to our arriving guest ✔️Done

  4. Collect package from Post Office ✔️Done

  5. Contact plumber about broken shower door ✔️Done

  6. Write a blog post ✔️Done

  7. Appeal against a Swiss traffic fine ✔️Done fingers crossed🤞

  8. Figure out Carte Vitale for access to French healthcare ❌Still to do

  9. Try to understand French tax and social security payments ❌Still to do

  10. Clear snow from the terrace ✔️Done


So, what do I make of the more mundane parts of early retirement life? My answer is that I still feel fortunate because...


If I was working, having to sort out ski insurance and getting my boots fitted wouldn't be required because I wouldn't be skiing at all. I'd be working instead. It's therefore a good chore to have. And now these are done, I can hit the slopes and enjoy the winter wonderland.


The package to be collected contained some replacement parts for a broken drawer runner, and contacting the plumber is because the shower door needs fixing and I can't find the part online. It's nice to be able to deal with these things during the day without having to rush around during a work lunch hour trying to get them done. Clearing the snow and sending the Airbnb check-in information can be done at a leisurely pace, instead of squeezing them in during a busy work week.


Retired or not, a traffic fine is never a good thing. The quick and easy way would be to pay the €330 / £280 /US$375, but I genuinely feel the fine is unfair. Completing the appeal has taken some time, but I'm glad I've done it, even if they don't find in my favour. If it appears in my monthly costs, you'll know I didn't win the appeal.


My blog is a hobby, something I enjoy doing. Of course, I could have blogged when I worked, but I know that I wouldn't have (something proved by the fact that I didn't!).


I haven't got around to figuring out how to get a Carte Vitale so that I can access the French Healthcare system, finding out whether the amount they say I have to pay is correct, as well as trying to understand the other French tax and social security payments that we are having to make. It's actually important that I do this, but I keep putting it off as they're not my favourite subjects. At least I have enough time to do it and aren't having to try to squeeze it in amongst a working week - I must get to it next week, no excuses!


The reality is that early retirement can't be non-stop excitement - I'd be worn out if it were. But when day to day tasks or chores need to be done, they feel a bit easier when they're not being crammed into a busy working life.


To me, early retirement continues to make sense, the sunshine and rainbow parts or course, but also that when there are chores to be done, I have the time to do them without having them compete with the pressures of work.

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Vince
Vince
22 de dez. de 2021

On the Swiss traffic fines, I just got my head around needing to display the blue parking badge everywhere you go, and struggle to understand the signs in the German speaking areas, but was it something that not at all obvious? We are planning a trip over that way next week so any tips appreciated.

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David @iRetiredYoung
David @iRetiredYoung
22 de dez. de 2021
Respondendo a

My tip is not to get in the wrong lane at traffic lights! I'm OK with the blue clock thing for parking as we have some of these near where we are in France.

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Vince
Vince
19 de dez. de 2021

Hi David, As someone who is allergic to all forms of government administration and puts off as long as possible, I'm really disappointed to read that not all chores become a pleasure once you reach retirement!


I should be going through the process of exchanging my rapidly expiring UK driver's license to a new shiny French one, but have delayed for at least the last couple of months. Its not even that bad a process and I'm not even too busy to do it, just can't get motivated. As for Carte Vitale and tax / social security returns, don't get me started, though once in the system it does get easier if that helps you get to grips with it😱

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David @iRetiredYoung
David @iRetiredYoung
21 de dez. de 2021
Respondendo a

I'm certainly in favour of preventative health checks. With my last job, I was able to have a very comprehensive medical at the company cost, and I ensured I took advantage of that. I said to Sally that it was something we should continue to do, but haven't actually done so. I'm going to try to remember to put it on my targets for 2022.

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Ryan Gibson
Ryan Gibson
19 de dez. de 2021

Another great article as usual David. I am really enjoying your writing at the moment. I recently sold my business and although not fully retired I have enough to take it easy and choose the projects I want to work on. Anyhow this resonated greatly with me as the free time I have now enables me to get all the small chores done and stay efficient. We are now organised with all the small things and like you I do put certain things off which are less enticing. I meant to ask in a previous comment. Have you heard from your friends on the Isle of Coll? I started to follow their blog after your visit but there hasn't been an update in…

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David @iRetiredYoung
David @iRetiredYoung
19 de dez. de 2021
Respondendo a

Hi Ryan Yes, I'm in contact with our friends who are building on Coll. They've had a struggle because although they got the external walls and I believe the main roof truss up, the wind was too strong to lift the roof elements. They've therefore hit a hiatus with the build without much idea when the roof will be able to go on and they can start again. In reality, they were going to pause over winter, but the intention was that was with a weather tight structure. So I think the hiatus in their blog posts is down to a delay in the build. It sounds like things are going well for you since the sale of your business. It wil…

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This is actually one of my favorite things about retirement- having all those little chores done and not exhausting myself trying to do them before, between or after work!

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David @iRetiredYoung
David @iRetiredYoung
18 de dez. de 2021
Respondendo a

I agree. I was chatting to someone in a similar position a few days ago, and she was saying that she actually enjoys doing the grocery shopping now. Maybe part of it is that we generally have less stress, so these little chores aren't the big deal that we used to find.

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David,

This post and your previous one have both been interesting. They also reminded me of the posts dated 11/11 and 9/12, at: The Retirement Manifesto Blog


In particular, Fritz's post of 9/12 makes the general point that:


"It’s impossible to really know what retirement is going to be like until you experience it. We dream about it in those final few years of work. We think about what we want our lives to be like in retirement.

But the truth is, try as we might, there’s simply no way to know. Kind of like…

  • Getting married

  • Having kids

  • Starting a new job"


Which IMO is a pretty useful observation.


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David @iRetiredYoung
David @iRetiredYoung
18 de dez. de 2021
Respondendo a

Based on the two that I just read, I can't argue with that assessment👍

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