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Early retirement SWOT

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.

My early retirement SWOT - first draft

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?🤣


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Enjoy reading your blog and found the information you share very helpful.

Your SWOT analysis is great and inspired me to think along these lines and pencil down my analysis for FIRE. Sharing here to get thoughts/input from you and others on this blog

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I enjoyed reading your SWOT analysis, and my first thought is that you seem to have thought a lot about your planned early retirement and that ought to give you a high chance of making it a success and you living the life that you dream of.

You indicated that you would like some thoughts/input, which I'm a bit nervous of doing as I obviously don't you. However, I'll make a few comments based on an "if it were me" perspective. First, I like your aspiration point 7, where you visualise what you want daily life to look like, I thought that was really powerful. As to some of the other points, I would perhaps pick a few (probably not…


I do this sort of thing all the time, but probably a little less formally. I think you're adventurous. I found your blog when you were in south America with your daughter and I was impressed with that trip! Or maybe I'm the same level of adventurous as you. There will be no jumping out of perfectly good airplanes in MY retirement...

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Totally agree, the only way I'm jumping out of an aeroplane is if it's about to crash! Travelling with my daughter was really cool - not many parents get to spend that much quality time in one go with their kids once they've flown the nest.


David, I'm new to your blog, but deep into FIRE progress. I LOVE this. I am a strategic planner by personality and trade. Have you heard of the SOAR (Strengths, Opportunites, Aspirations, Results)? I think it would fit ER nicely. SOAR takes an appreciative inquiry approach. Sometimes the 5 D cycle is involved: Define, Discover, Dream, Design, and Deliver.

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Thanks for stopping by my blog. I haven't come across SOAR, it sounds interesting, along with the 5D cycle, they seem to concentrate on the positives and then push these towards a desired outcome. My SWOT is a rough first draft which I'd like to explore further and develop some of the themes that came up - it might be that the additional tools you've mentioned could fit in there. Thanks for the tips/feedback.


David, not weird at all in my humble opinion, given I used a coach, albeit someone looking for a guinea pig to support their training and the wheel of life as part of my retirement planning, this seems an eminently sensible way of moving forward. When you think of all the processes and techniques we apply in our working lives, why would you not continue this in retirement, but applied to yourself when potentially there is far more to gain from a personal perspective, I will give this a go myself. I keep thinking I ought to review my plan as now over 2 years into retirement and have deviated significantly from the original plan and learnt a lot along…

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Hi Peter

You raise an interesting point in that we have so many skills and techniques that we apply to external circumstances without thinking that they could equally be applied to ourselves. It reminds me of a post I wrote a short time ago about taking care of ourselves, which is another thing that we often don't do as well as we could. I'm guilty as charged often enough - it's strange that we don't naturally think of ourselves more (I'm of course not talking about it in a selfish way here).

Like you, I also found it interesting that the same item could appear in two boxes that appear to be diametrically opposed. You also seem to have substantiated…

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