What would make my early retirement better?
Updated: Apr 1
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
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!