After years of constant saving, practicing our own version of frugality, checking how the stash of money is growing, reviewing this against the amount we need to take early retirement and counting the days until we can give up the day jobs, how does it now feel to be spenders rather than savers? Apart from my [very] ad hoc income from travel writing and the low return on our savings, our household now has no income. We are relying completely on the money we have saved until our pensions start to roll in [the first is still three years away and it isn’t until 2024 that we will have sufficient pension income to cover our living costs]. Spending this money is what we were working towards after all and last November I wrote about looking forward to spending all the money. How does that reality feel? Having spent years living well within our income, what is it like having little income and watching our capital dwindle? Have we become spendophobics or even spendoholics?
Some people are wary of spending beyond their income in their retirement. They have become so used to living within their means, that is their income, it can be hard to adjust to spending those savings. These people do not dip in to the savings they have accumulated for that retirement and become spendophobics and don’t necessarily have the retirement they would have wanted.
Well folks that isn’t us! It seems that having that money in the bank doesn’t define us and we are not scared of spending it; retirement in our 50s is exactly what we were saving the money for. Our years of frugality have made this a habit and we still practice caution in our spending, regularly checking that we are within our budget of £27,000 for this year [although it has been a funny sort of year up to now we are well within target]. Each month we transfer our ‘spending’ money in to our bank account as if it were income and this helps us budget. Those frugal years have helped us to be careful spenders in our retirement but our outlook and plans mean that we are now spending the money on enjoying that retirement and we don’t suffer from ‘spendophobia’ [of course, we have no choice, with no pension income we have to spend our savings]. We have a plan [a spreadsheet of course] for how those savings will gradually disappear to almost zero by 2024 [the contingency money might remain if we have no emergencies and if I am honest I do sort of hope there might be a bit left as I think our budget is generous]. I am finding that watching that plan work through is as satisfying as I found seeing those savings build up. We were conscientious savers and now we have become conscientious spenders.
We have been clear about what makes us happy and what we want to do with our retirement. Much of that happiness involves travelling in our campervan. This is so much fun and gives us so much pleasure [the recent incident has really highlighted this] and we don’t intend to miss out on our dreams just to keep more money in the bank and leave our son with a big inheritance. We know that life is short and are only too aware that in twenty years time [if we are lucky enough to live that long] we might not want to travel in the same sort of way [but we might] and so we are spending the money now while we are fit and able, not hanging on to it like a comfort blanket.
Apologies for the over-use of parentheses in this post! My normal writing style will / might resume next time.