Retired early

I last posted here on 16th April 2015. That is a long time ago and posting so infrequently is not the best way to run a blog. However I’ve been going through a lot of changes in the intervening time, and a lot of those changes are still to fully play out. Therefore this post is really nothing more than a place holder, until I’m in a position to be comfortable spending more time here.

In my last post I had achieved my magic number that represented my financial freedom, but had a sense of “what next”. So for the sake of completeness here are the milestones of what happened next since I last posted:

  • July 2015: This is when I finally I decided to leave work, with a planned exit date of 31st March 2016. I opted for this date for a number of reasons. It was a good clean date for tax purposes. I could fully exploit my SIPP and ISA contributions in tax year 15/16, then move to super simple tax affairs from the start of the 16/17 tax year. Also it worked out well for the family and me, as it allowed me to work through the dark and damp winter days that are of less value to free souls, but we were still free in time to enjoy the bright and long days of a typical British spring and summer. Above all I liked the idea of updating my Linked-in profile on April first (all fools day) to say I’d left work.
  • November 2015: This is when I handed in my notice to leave work (I had a three month notice period, but gave them extra notice just because I could).
  • 31st March 2016: Left work!

My plan is to allow one year to decompress and to catch up with my neglected life. Also in this time I should make a plan for what comes next.

Catching up with my own life includes looking up friends I’ve not seen in a while, sorting out domestic stuff (filing or shredding years of paperwork, moving utility, phone and financial suppliers to better deals, de-cluttering, household maintenance and garden jobs, etc).

Also I’ve been spending time with my father who is seriously ill, and being able to do this is so far perhaps the most valuable benefit of financial independence. When my time with my farther sadly ends, I expect I’ll be back here with posts and thoughts on a slightly more frequent basis. Thanks for reading.

FIRS

I’ve now reached financial independence (at least on paper) although I will not be retiring just yet. So not so much a case of FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) as FIRS (Financial Independence, Retiring Sometime).

It was a strange moment when I realised I’d made the magic number that represented my financial freedom, a little sooner than I’d predicted. The weird thing about it was the sense of “what next” that came over me. No matter how much you’ve thought about the big day when you can explain to your boss in language of your own choosing what exactly he can do with his WENUS report, it still feels like something you’ve totally failed to prepare for. In truth I have prepared for it, at least on paper. The problem is it’s arrived a bit sooner than planned, and I’ve been caught off guard.

So what next …

  1. I’ve still got some work to do to make myself tax efficient. So I’m going to invest a little effort into organising some more SIPP and ISA contributions.
  2. I still have some ongoing family financial obligations which I wish to fulfil before retirement.
  3. My calculations are a little “back of a postcard” so my confidence level that I’ve enough is a little low. Frankly I’ve not bothered to collect the data to be totally sure. So I’ll do a dry-run for a few months by living only on the monthly budget I’ve set aside for my  financial independence. The wages I earn in this period will build a margin of safety.
  4. I need to expand on my vague “what next” plans. I need a sense of direction for my post retirement phase of life.  I need to prioritise all the things I want to do into some order and structure, otherwise I’ll wake up each day and waste my time in aimless indecision.
  5. My investing hobby will continue to take a fair amount of time, but this is how I relax so I’m happy with that!
  6. Who knows, I might start posting more updates here.
  7. Finally I feel I owe it to my loyal and dedicated team at work (back at The Firm) to complete an going major project that I’m running. So I’ll see this through before I retire, and of course it’ll good good on the CV when I’m done, although that hardly matters any more!

So that is all for this post. Thanks for reading. I’d like to hear in the comments below if you’ve experienced something like this sense of “what next” after gaining financial independence, or if you have any other comments to contribute.

Ric.