The penny dropped – when I realised I needed to retire early!

Hello and welcome to my first post on 5 steps to retiring early. This website is going to track my progress as I aim to retire early in just 10 years time.  That is 16-17 years earlier than my statutory retirement age. On this website I will share everything I have learnt to hopefully help others embarking on a similar journey.

My first post here is just my story on why I wanted to retire early so if you want to know a little bit about what makes me tick this will be a good place to start.

When I knew I had to retire early

In the back of mind I always thought retiring at the age of 67 to 68 seemed a long way off, but I had never really done anything about it. I contributed to the pension schemes where I worked, but that was the limit of my savings and thought on the matter.

That all changed though this summer when at the age of 41 on a summer holiday with my wife and thee kids the penny dropped. I categorically did not want to work until I was 68.

What happened?

We found the perfect beach!

  • It had perfect sand
  • The water was shallow – perfect for swimming
  • It had warm-ish water (positively boiling for the UK!)
  • There was shade for me to hide (I don’t like too much sun)
  • And it was never busy, my son I could happily play cricket without getting in anyone’s way
Retire early and I could enjoy this beach
The beach…let the cricket begin!

On top of that the local village was great for relaxing and chilling out. It was certainly the opposite of London life.

So my wife and I both agreed, we need to get a holiday home here!

Only one problem

I’m an accountant (that’s not the problem!) and so quickly got down to working out how much we could afford and the impact it would have on our lives. It quickly became apparent that it just didn’t stack up. In a couple of years we would be able to extend our mortgage to afford a small property so the equity wasn’t the problem. The problem was even letting the place out over the summer just didn’t make sense financially – it would be a huge drain on our resources. And for what? A place we can’t really go to that much because I work full time.

But now my mind had been turned. Maybe it didn’t make financial sense now… but what if I could make it work at some point in the future? What if I could make it so we could afford to buy a place? And what if we could retire early and get proper use out of it?

And so the spreadsheet bashing began!

Now I got serious pulling together loads of different scenarios and options. This was really helpful for me as it helped me understand the different options and choices. In many ways this left us less sure of what we wanted from retirement

  • Did we want to just have a holiday home?
  • Did we want to move there full time and sell our London house?
  • Would we use our London home as a let property to keep it as an inheritance but provide us with an income?
  • Would we be willing to work part time after retiring?

The options seemed endless,

What age could I retire at?

But as I worked through all of the options I realised that in some ways it didn’t matter. What I needed to do was make sure I had a big enough pension pot and saving pot so that when I retired I was free to choose then. So that when I retired I was financially free.

I started with a target of retiring at 60 year old. That seemed achievable in my head at just less than eight years before my statutory retirement age. But at the age of 41 now, it still seemed a very long way off. 19 years was basically saying I was was half way through my working life. Not a disaster, but not what I wanted.

After I worked out what I could afford to put away each month to boost my pensions and savings I was confident that I could target 57 as my age of retirement. Not a bad age as that is also the earliest I would be able to start drawing down on my pension. Down to 16 years left to work!

What age could I change my lifestyle?

But I still wasn’t happy. What if a pushed it a little further? What would allow me to be really crazy and retire in just ten years time? For me retirement wasn’t so much about completely stopping work, but being financially flexible to chose what I wanted to do. For instance my wife loves her freelance work, and isn’t at all considering stopping that any time soon. So why was I assuming that she would stop as soon as I “retire”?

Furthermore what if I could find something I really enjoy, something that enhances my life, but also brings in some money? That would be a classic win-win! More than that though I realised it was achievable. With a pension pot and savings in place it would.not take much much at all to allow me to retire at 51!


Any information provided is not personal advice. You are responsible for your investment decisions and all tools provided are for illustrative purposes only. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you, contact a financial adviser. All investments can fall as well as rise in value, so you could get back less than you put in. Please remember, past performance is not a guide to future returns and that income is variable, not guaranteed.

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