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What would make my early retirement better?

Updated: Apr 1, 2023

If you've read any of my posts, you'll know that I'm a fan of early retirement. Life is good, and it would be very easy to sit back and not change anything - as the saying goes, if it isn't broken, why fix it? Alternatively, even though life is good, maybe I should be asking:

Early retirement life is good, but what would make it even better?

Below are some ideas that I, as well as some of my retired friends, have come up with to make our early retirement even better. On my list are:

I could have more activities / interests in common with Sally

Having led busy lives with our jobs and raising our children, I've been surprised to find that, in retirement, Sally and I don't have many shared activities or interests. If I could turn the clock back, this is something that I'd have tried to address in my pre-retirement planning. It's good that we have our own interests, but my early retirement would be even better if we could find some more things that we enjoy doing together.

A big project to accomplish

How to make early retirement life even better
I think Sally would love building this!

I'm not sure why this appeals to me - perhaps because a big project feels particularly meaningful, maybe because I've enjoyed getting my teeth into a more sizeable project in the past, or it might be because some of my friends are getting stuck into big projects that look fun and I have FOMO. Ideally, it would be something that Sally and I would both want to do. The difficult part is figuring out what this big project could be. In the past, our longer travels have fallen into this category, but we aren't thinking along those lines just now. Quite probably in the too difficult box, but building a tiny house is something that comes to mind. There are a whole heap of difficulties with this idea but, if it ever came to pass, it would certainly count as a big project!

Find my home

I've spent the last 30 years living in Jamaica, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates, South Africa and France which has been a fantastic experience that I wouldn't want to trade. But so much moving means that I haven't put down deep roots in any of these places. Our current home in France has lots of positives such as a beautiful mountain location and tons of outdoor activities, but it's yet to tick the "feels like home" box. Most of our friends are part time residents and none of them are French, although my friendship circle has widened since I got involved in a running group. Improving my French language skills (by a lot!) is absolutely needed to allow me to feel more connected to the community.

So, these are three things that could make my early retirement even better than it already is. While I might not yet have the answers to convert these ideas into reality, having them identified does mean that I can think about how to make progress towards them.

I also asked some other early retirees if they felt there were things that could make their retirement even better, and this is what they said:

Setting up an Etsy shop

Sally said that she'd like to set up an online shop, like Etsy for example, so that she can sell some of the craft items that she enjoys making.

Get his partner to join him in early retirement

Adventurous early retirement said that he'd i) like to be able to turn the clock back so that he could retire even earlier, ii) stop being such a chicken and buy a small property in Morzine, and iii) find a way for his partner to join him on the early retirement bandwagon.

Backpacking and spending money

Once Keith has finished building his own house, he'd like to i) do more travel, backpacking style ii) have a bit more discipline with his time (less lazing and phone gazing) iii) be more prepared to spend money, and iv) have less accidents (his latest included leaving the ski slopes in a helicopter🤦‍♂️).

A golf course and a pottery course

What could possibly make Mr and Mrs G's low cost early retirement on a tropical island any better? For Mr G, it would be to have an affordable golf course on the island. Mrs G likes crafting, so access to things like pottery classes would add to her already awesome lifestyle.

Early retirement life is good, there is no doubt about that, but I like the idea of reflecting and trying to find ways to make it even better. I've already had a French lesson today, so my next task is to mention my tiny house idea to Sally over dinner - if you hear a scream and see a picture of me wearing my soup, you'll know I've started the conversation!


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The real motive behind early retirement can vary from person to person. It could be Financial Independence, Pursuing Passion, Work-Related Issues, Health Issues, Family Responsibilities, or Lifestyle Change. Read more about early retirement

Replying to

Absolutely, and it may be more than one thing that's the motive.


Joe Udo
Joe Udo
Apr 20, 2023

I'd like to travel more for 5-6 years. Mrs. RB40 likes gardening and various other activities. She also enjoys travel. Other than travel, I'm not sure what else we can do together. We'll have to explore it before she retires.

Replying to

I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one trying to figure this out! Sally does travel, but I wouldn't say it's her favourite thing, especially not longer trips, which I think is what you also found with all the travelling you've done over the past year or so.


What did Sally say about the tiny house idea? I'm interested that you've lived in so many places and yet none are feeling like home to . You mentioned that your taxes are about to go up in France. Maybe you and Sally could start exploring that- which would involve lots of trips, of course...

Replying to

Exploring France is an excellent idea - although we bought an apartment here, I'd only visited the country for one week (when I was still a teenager, so a long long time ago) before we started property hunting! The challenge is that our pet cats limit how much time we can spend away, but we do have a plan to visit the western Mediterranean coast later this month and then the North West in September.

As to the tiny house idea, Sally read my post so she saw the idea, but there has been radio silence since🤣. I'm not sure it's the best idea, at least there are plenty of difficulties with it, but it is a start to get…


I don't *quite* see how you could have addressed the lack of shared interests prior to retirement? What would that look like?

Replying to

Haha, I know, it's quite an omission. I think there are a couple of contributing factors...One being that we were busy with our careers and bringing up our kids, meaning there wasn't a whole heap of time to fill with our own interests, so it wasn't obvious that there weren't a lot of shared interests for when we had more time. The second factor may be that I've changed quite a bit since retiring, and my mindset and ambitions are different, I believe expanded. This latter point would have been harder to plan for because it's been an unexpected change - I think for the better, although it has made it harder to find more common interests.

I get your…


Very interesting post. I have gradually been adding various planned retirement activities to a list I keep on my phone- I am now up to 93 items!

The biggies for me though are probably world travel, serious reading, writing, learning a language and doing a second degree or PhD.

I often go down the mental rabbit hole of deciding that I need to find some grand purpose when I give up my current role but then convince myself that I will be too old to do it (50ish aim for retirement age). I then get depressed about FIRE and somehow convince myself that it is a bad idea.

For example, I might decide that I want to do a lecturing…

Replying to

Thanks for your reply. Your point that the early retiree has the freedom to try things out ‘without obligation’ is a good one. Once money does not matter, you are truly free. Definitely something worth striving for!

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