My first full month of semi retirement went by incredibly quickly, despite only half of it being spent working. It is far too early to tell how this version of semi-retirement will work for me, as right now it just feels like I’ve had a 2 week holiday, with the month being divided with the first 2 weeks working and the second two being ‘non-working’ weeks. The first of those non-working weeks was spent in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales, and it did feel great to get outside of a 30 minute radius of home for the first time in months. We even ventured out to a local pub for dinner for the first time since last October.
The numbers this month show a slight improvement on April, but this is the last month there will be a ‘full’ contribution to my employer’s pension scheme, so there was still an element of accumulation as well as market movement and dividend income.
Freedom Fund Value: £1,102,842
Hypothetical monthly income @4% SWR: £3,676
Actual monthly expenses: £2,154*
At the end of May I received my first ‘half’ salary, which was actually 63% of my previous take home pay thanks to dropping out of the higher tax bracket and a couple of tax code changes to reflect working from home allowance for last year and a small EIS investment.
It is early days, but so far I haven’t been drawn into doing more than replying to a couple of emails that others couldn’t handle in my absence. There have been no calls or texts, which my out of office notification advise is the best way of getting hold of me urgently. I have started tracking time spent working during ‘non-working’ weeks to make sure it doesn’t start creeping up and have been pleased to note that the urge to check my work phone diminished very quickly after the first couple of days. I will find out next week how the delegation of responsibilities has worked for everyone else.
While we were away earlier in the month, in an effort to reduce the amount of cooking required in a holiday let, we tried something new and quite un-frugal and ordered a Gousto box (using a 40% off offer, so not totally spending with abandon :-)). This was our first experience of a recipe box service, and 2 things stood out apart from the cost, which was the reason we had never done it before. Firstly the amount of packaging involved in each meal was ridiculous! I understand the convenience element is important to most customers, but the pile of waste that was left after each meal was enough to put me off.
The other thing that was more surprising, was that I found having to trawl through 50 odd recipes, checking that none of them contained Mr W’s nemesis – the mushroom, very time consuming and annoying. Certainly it was no easier than flicking through a cookbook, looking for inspiration and deciding what to make. It didn’t help that they managed to pack the wrong ingredients for one of the recipes, so quite apart form being convenient, we were left having to improvise without the benefit of the store cupboard and freezer contents we would normally have at home. I did receive a credit to my account for the missing ingredient, but I don’t think I’ll be ordering again any time soon. I can see how this kind of a service might be helpful to those less confident in the kitchen, but quite apart from the added cost, it didn’t actually seem convenient to me, so I think I’ll stick with cookbooks.
My first non-working period was spent unwinding, holidaying and spending a few days with my parents, helping them to get some home maintenance jobs done, so the van conversion project has stalled. That needs to change in June if we are going to have a usable camper in time to get some use out of it this year.
*Includes £600 per month personal allowances (£300 each), which may not be spent, but which is not tracked. Some of it may show up in the freedom fund in the future, if savings build up and are invested.