In another sign that I'm probably a bit weird, I thought it could be fun to do a SWOT analysis for my early retirement. Typically, SWOT is something that businesses/organisations do, but I don't see why it can't be applied to a personal life scenario as well.
I was involved in a few SWOT sessions during my old corporate life. Definitely not enough to make me an expert so, as normal, I probably won't get everything 100% right. Definitely expect me to put things in the wrong categories, but it should be close enough - I'm thinking the process matters more than the technicalities.
For those not familiar with SWOT analysis, here's a quick overview. Firstly, SWOT stands for:
If I remember correctly, strengths and weaknesses are internal to us, things that we do well or not so well relative to, in this case, a target of a good early retirement. Opportunities and threats are external, outside factors and things in the environment that we could aim to take advantage of or which could pose a risk to our early retirement.
Below is a first attempt at my early retirement SWOT. I actually found it quite difficult to think of things to go into the different boxes, and then to work out which is the correct box, although maybe that part is less important.
It certainly feels like a work in progress rather than the finished article, something that will benefit from more thought and practice. Bouncing ideas off a friend could also help, in the same way that businesses often use a facilitator during their SWOT sessions.
So has this been a useful exercise and does it tell me anything? I think yes, the SWOT analysis provides a framework and a formality to think about my early retirement which suits the way I think. I like to be intentional, and using this tool helped me consider some aspects of my early retirement in a deliberate manner.
Having to populate the opportunities box forced me to think of some new things/areas that I might be able to incorporate into my early retirement, whether that be for now or a few years down the line.
The weaknesses box is a prompt to see if there are things that might be holding me back and whether I can do something to overcome them. The threats box is similar, but more external looking, is there a change or adjustment I can make to move these out of the threats box?
For me, it's highlighted some interesting questions, possibilities, and areas to think about. I believe there is value in digging into some of the items in more detail, so I'm putting that on my list of things to do.
What do you think? Can a formal tool, SWOT analysis being just one example, be useful either leading up to or during early retirement? Is it something you can imagine doing or is it just me being weird again?🤣