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Recipe for early retirement


My ingredients for a successful early retirement

While writing my last post is retirement making me slow, and does it matter?, I recalled a similar previous post, retirement = brain mush. Maybe I was repeating myself because my brain really is turning to mush, or perhaps getting a little older is making me forget what I've written previously?


Alternatively, the reason I return to certain topics could be because they're the ingredients required for a great early retirement. I like this idea better, and that's the logic I'm going to run with.


What are the subjects that I keep coming back to? It might not be the most scientific approach, but I looked through the titles of the 258 posts that I've written, and these were the subjects that seemed to come up most often:


1. Money

2. Making Plans/Setting targets

3. Consider your partner

4. Routines

5. What I do/Adventures

6. Learning from others

7. Looking after ourselves


Now to dive into each of these topics in a little more detail. I've included links to some of those older posts in case you want to dip into some of them, but don't worry, I'm not expecting anyone to try to look at them all!

1. Money

Not exactly a surprise - having enough money and ensuring we don't spend more that we can afford are prerequisites for early retirement. Every month I track and post our actual spend and, less frequently, I post about our income, investment portfolio or the dangers of trying to keep up with the Joneses. There are too many posts to list individually, but they are all included within the money section.


2. Making plans/setting targets

I set targets at the start of each year and track my progress against them each month. Targets give me something to aim for, a purpose, help me get some chores done and out of the way, and encourage me to accomplish the things I want to achieve. Some of my posts show how I try to work out what my plans could be which isn't always easy, others identify some of the things that haven't quite worked out.

Everyone's different, but I doubt whether my early retirement would work so well without my planning and target setting process. In addition to my monthly target tracker which appears within the money section, below are some other posts that touch on planning and target setting.


By the way, plans can change, and it's been interesting for me to look through some of these posts, see some of the ideas that I had, find that while some have come to fruition, others are still on the to do list, and realise that some have simply dropped away.


3. Consider your partner

Retiring early has highlighted that Sally and I often have different interests and different priorities, something that hadn't been evident when we were busy working and bringing up our kids. I hadn't thought enough about this ahead of time - it's the one thing that I would have done differently in my original early retirement thought process/decision making.


4. Routines

I know, routines sound super boring, but they're my secret early retirement weapon. I've lived most of my life with routine, so to carry these over into early retirement made sense to me. They help me get my chores done, help me stay fit and healthy, and also keep me on track so that I get to do the fun stuff.


5. What I do / Adventures (includes Travel for me)

What do I do? This is probably the question I get asked most often when I tell people that I'm retired. I also want my early retirement to be memorable, and perhaps a little adventurous, at least in terms of my defininition of adventure. In my mind, this often means making a choice so that I'm not going to look back later and say "I wish..." and trying to say yes rather than no to things. There are more posts, particularly about travel, than the ones I've listed below, but theses are the biggies.


6. Learning from others

As an ex-accountant, I'm unlikely to be the most imaginative of people! So while I do try to come up with some ideas of my own, seeing what and how other people are doing things is a good strategy, and super interesting too. And thinking back to my original retire early decision, reading about people who had already made the leap was exactly the type of information I was searching for.


7. Looking after ourselves/exercise

Four years before I retired, I weighed 104kg and while not totally inactive, I guess I was on a downward slope in terms of the activity that I did. One day, a member of my team at work asked me why I'd got fat? While that was a bit harsh, it was also the kick that I needed, because he was right. I decided two things. One, it would be easier (less difficult) to shift the weight then rather than five or ten years down the line when it might have been more and I would have been older. And two, I knew that I could enjoy life more, be able to do more things, if I was fit and healthy. I haven't changed my mind since - staying fit and healthy is absolutely one of my top early retirement priorities. I now weigh 77kg, that's 26% less than when I started to look after myself better.


So, based on the subjects that I seem to return to time and again, I have my recipe for a successful early retirement:


Ingredients:

  1. Money

  2. Making Plans/Setting targets

  3. Consider your partner

  4. Routines

  5. What I do/Adventures

  6. Learning from others

  7. Looking after ourselves

Method:

  1. Decide on the quanties that suit you, then mix well

Pair with:

  1. Whatever you want. For me today, that's a coffee, a smile, and a weekend ski trip with my daughter.

Note:

Feel free to add your own ingredients...I'd be interested to know what changes you'd make.

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I'm glad you wrote this post- I feel like I'm writing posts about the same subjects over and over, but yours are more varied. Now that I read your post, maybe it's just me! Did you go cross country skiing with your daughter or downhill?

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I can tell you that you're posts are different, and interesting too - I look forward to receiving the email telling me there's a new one to read. As to the ski trip with my daughter, we did downhill (or Alpine as we'd call it) skiing. I've never tried cross country skiing. I also do ski de randonnée (aka ski touring or maybe it's called backcountry in the USA) where we hike uphill on our skis and then ski normal downhill to come down. This is challenging for me as I'm still developing my skiing and off-piste/backcountry is something I'm still learning.

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Hi David, this sounds like a 5 star recipe! I struggled to think of other ingredients. My #8 would be, "improving our environment". Eg, doing my life laundry (decluttering & knowing/appreciating what I have so that I don't buy more stuff & the house is easier to clean), striving to leave places in a better state than how I find them, etc.

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I like your number 8. I also have an interest in sustainability, but know that I could do better. On the plus side, we live in a small apartment, try hard to avoid plastics and waste in general, I'm not a minimalist but do lean in that direction and get good use out of what I do buy. On the minus side, my campervan is diesel which upsets me (but it is our only vehicle and I also helped our son to get an electric car to act as something of an offset), and sometimes we travel too much. Oh, and I guess being vegan is another environmental plus, maybe quite a big one. I think the key is to…

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