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Using my early retirement SWOT

I have SWOT in my tool kit

A while back, I did an early retirement SWOT analysis. Using this business tool to my early retirement might seem odd, but it can make sense to remember techniques from my old work life and see if they can be used to help me make the most of my retired life.

I also like the idea of trying to do things better, something that frustrates Sally with my running. While she would be congratulating me if I ran a new personal best time, I'd be wondering if I could have gone faster. Applying that same logic to my early retirement: it's definitely been good so far, but why wouldn't I want to see if I could make it even better? Good plus is better than just good!

Maybe SWOT isn't the best tool to use, but it's one I know, so that's what I went with. However, there's not much point in completing my early retirement SWOT if I don't use it. Surely with a little more thought, I can come up with some ideas to:

  • eliminate some of my weaknesses

  • grasp some of the opportunities

  • side-step the threats

and by doing so, make my early early retirement even better than it already is.

My early retirement SWOT

My instinct is to start with either the weaknesses or opportunities boxes - both are areas where, if I take an action, there's potential to add to my enjoyment/satisfaction. For today, I'm going to pick opportunities, and brainstorm some ideas against the headings that I put in this criteria when I did the SWOT six weeks ago.

As they say, Rome wasn't built in a day, so my aim for now is to come up with an idea for three of the opportunity headings.

  1. Potential for new hobbies and interests

  2. New to area, potential to find new friends

  3. Lots of places to see/travel to

New hobbies and interests

My first idea is an extension to an existing hobby rather than something completely new.

I miss that our small town doesn't have a running club, meaning that I do almost all my running alone. There is a Facebook group, but it's basically inactive. My plan is to start posting on it, and try to see if I can get some other runners to respond. Hopefully some will and, over time, we can develop a small community that can run together and enjoy post run coffees too.

Find new friends

We're still relatively new to the small town that we live in, and we didn't know a single person there before arriving. We've relocated a number of times in the past, so it's not our first rodeo having to make new friends, but previous experience has been that the kid's schools and our own workplaces are where connections often start. This time we have neither school nor workplace arrows in our quiver. For people thinking of retiring to a new location, this is something to be aware of.

Don't worry, we do have friends, just not yet lots and lots. If my running community idea works, that would be a good way to make contact with more new people.

One of the friends we have made seems to know everyone, so they're a good route into meeting new people. They say yes to every invitation going (I don't know where they find the energy!), so we should make sure we do the same thing too.

Places to see/travel to

A no brainer now that we've taken delivery of our campervan, although we do still have to figure out how the cats get looked after while we go places. We're making a good start on this as we're away in the campervan for the next two weeks. After that, we'll need to make some more travel plans...that's right up my street, I like making plans!

They're my thoughts for today on how to make my good early retirement life even better. We're all different, and what works for me might not be the way other people want to do it. But I enjoy putting some thought and effort into my early retirement, I'm convinced it's a key ingredient that's helped make my early retirement a success. And if that means being a bit weird with my early retirement SWOT, then I'll wear that badge with pride😀


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Hi David, I really enjoyed this post. I’ve used SWOT a fair bit as something I learnt early on, not that frequently for business related topics but often as a career planning support tool (for myself as well as to help others). I find just the act of writing things down helps me to quickly sort out what is really important to me and what is not, and why. I’ll definitely give this a try for my own potential next steps and whether I am ready yet to give FIRE a go!

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I'm the same in that I find the act of writing things down often helps me get my thoughts in order. It's one of the reasons (not the only one) why I enjoy doing my blog, it sometimes helps me think things through or consider alternative options that I wouldn't otherwise have come up with.


One of my favorite things about running was the solitude. Also I was a terrible runner and when I joined running clubs, I couldn't keep up 😂. One of my favorite things about cats is that they're fine if you leave them alone for a few days. What do you mean by location uncertainty?

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It seems that our cats are a little higher maintenance, leaving them alone for a few days tends to result in some unwelcome surprises when we get back😬.

Location uncertainty - what I mean by this is that we're not completely sure where we should live. It's one of the downsides of having spent a lot of years living abroad, in that I don't know where home is or should be. The risk is that we don't do things or settle properly because we haven't committed 100% to our current location, or that we change location and have to start again.

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