Monday, December 22, 2008

Mandatory block leave: My Retirement Preview

I am put on mandatory block leave to clear my outstanding leave from last week till early next year. I do not quite like the idea as holidays at the end of the year are packed with people and much more expensive. My working friends would prefer to travel during the off peak season, which unfortunately does not coincide with my working schedule. Hence, instead of going to Japan or Hong Kong this year, I have decided to skip my overseas holidays and stimulate the economy by spending and holidaying here!

My leave period was quite a retirement preview. A typical day will be as follows:

8am: Wake up, shower, papers (headlines)

8.30am: Watch Channel 8 Morning Express for local and international news, including overnight US markets closing data and analysis.

10am: Light breakfast together with reading newspapers.

12pm: Swim or hitting the gym (just sign up) for weights and treadmill.

1.30pm: A bit of TV, DVD (rental), reading of The Edge, car magazines, surfing net, afternoon shopping (where crowd is tolerable) and hitting the library to pass my afternoon. I usually do not do lunch but instead will have a more filling tea break, consisting of waffles, tea, cakes or donuts. Napping is a wonderful occasional affair.

Sometimes I meet up with ex-colleagues or friends for lunch and the day will fly by amidst our chatter and laughter at a heartland café and a movie thereafter.

6.00pm: Dinner and watching 6.30pm News (OR Meeting friends for dinner, shopping and I will catch up the Channel 55 drama serials on the following day afternoon).

8pm: Watching Channel 55 drama serials.

10pm: News

10.30pm: Bedtime music and reading OR Supper with the usual kakis

12am: Lights Off!

Now, that’s retirement!

When I am at home for the past 2 weeks, I realized that many of my variable spending during a typical day is actually quite affordable. I can happily pass a day by spending about $20 (on average, mainly on food and transport). However, the unseen costs are things like rent (or mortgage), utilities, club memberships, phone bills, internet, cable TV, personal effects, insurance, property and road tax together with other fixed costs all add up to a hefty amount. Moreover, we also need to set aside cash for less common things like gifts, repairs, overseas travel and even parking summons too!

I would think that to lead a modest retirement lifestyle, a $2,000 monthly retirement budget (in 2008 dollars) is likely to be sufficient if one’s mortgage is fully paid up.

I guess I will need to work harder to accumulate more savings and increase my passive income to retire comfortably!


PanzerGrenadier said...

Dear Sgbluechip

I had my own sabbatical not too long ago and actually computed how much it would cost me to maintain a lifestyle without working. The experiment came out with some interesting numbers as I tracked almost all daily expenses as well as overheads.

It gives you an idea of how much you would need to live on if you want to be financially free.

My experiment showed me that to be financially free, my passive income had to be sizable enough to generate about $3k a mth and that is even with my home fully paid up. :-)

I also need to invest in a healthy lifestyle to minimise the risk of health issues that could affect my financial freedom plans.

Hope you enjoyed your break locally and be well and prosper.

Sgbluechip said...

Hi PG, $3,000 a month is a lot of money. Are you referring to a single person expenditure or together with your spouse and child?

Take note that during one's retirement, it is likely that child and aging parents would no longer need funding.

If $3,000/mth it is for a single person, then your expenses is likely to be on the high side.

PanzerGrenadier said...

Hi SGbluechip

It is for family of 3 :-) (including myself).

I pay for all the common utilities and stuff so all these are computed.

I agree. I could possibly live on $1000 or less a mth spending just on myself....hahahah :-)