Bucket list BEFORE retiring

I’m not sure this category “life hacking” is the right one. We actually don’t have a category dedicated to retirement or preparation for retirement. @_MP should we create one? :smiley:

Anyway I’m maybe 5 years away of quitting my job and starting some kind of retired life mixed with some occasional job I think. Before giving up a fix salary, what would be the thing to check/to do in order to eventually adjust your fire date?
Classic example wuld be retiring, quitting your job and discovering that you need a 10k teeth job. That would have been nice to catch before retiring :smiley:

So I will try to compile a list based on ideas that come up. Difficult to find truly expensive things that may warrant a delay of 3+ months, some things may be easily handled by fat FIRE. I’m going for lean FIRE so any idea is welcome: of course is not FIRE; I wil not be FI.

  • health check-up (entire family!), try to see if there is any cancer somewhere or whatever
  • teeth check-up, radiography, fixing up everything before quitting (entire family!)
  • check any furniture that needs replacement? usually not that expensive
  • car? getting your car through a technical vehicle inspection, so that you are ok for a couple of years hopefully (including tyres etc)?

small stuff:

  • computer/IT stuff if very old etc? just work one month more and build up that uber PC for gaming during FIRE :wink:
  • Clothes/shoes/biking/hiking/sport equipment (we are retired now, gotta enjoy it :wink: ) could amount to peanuts but maybe worth to work a month more to substitute stuff for a couple of thousands francs.
  • passport and ID card for entire family, worth checking if you they are expiring soon, almost 1000 chf for 4-5 people

Homeowners:

  • well I guess there are tons of things to check and that may breaks. No idea what would make sense to check before giving up a regular salary (since I’m renting and will be renting)
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While your thoughts - trying to eliminate financial risk before retirement - are very reasonable, I think there will always unforeseen expenses. At least there can be.

Furniture and and computer are hopefully small change, in comparison.
Health issues can always crop up unexpectedly.

I’d focus mainly on where you want to live and retire:

  • Did you structure your investments accordingly? (think about different treatment of capital gains vs. investment income, remittance taxation, deductions etc.)
  • Did you account for changes in currency rates and possible devaluation of one currency against others?
  • Immigration: How (likely) is a country to let you in as an employee vs. being a retiree?
  • Passport and citizenship does it make sense to apply for naturalisation? While is shouldn’t be a strict barrier in Switzerland, they will routinely ask you about and let you prove participation in the labour force or education.
  • What about affordable access to healthcare and health insurance? Health insurance is mainly financed by a per capita system. In other countries, it’s more tied to being employed and/or employment income. If you don’t have that, you may be eligible for some sort of basic insurance - but is that what you want and can live with?
  • Same for childcare (think: subsidies could be restricted to working parents).

Sure, it’s more or less a no-brainer if you’ll like to stay in Switzerland. However, I believe a sizeable number of members of this forum may want to (or have to) return to their countries of origin - or even move to third countries with more affordable cost of living.

Laws - and financial subsidies and incentives - are often made for “normal” people:
The working or employment-seeking. Or retirees of “normal” age. Not early retirees.
Sometimes (probably often) it will work out in your favour, other times it won’t.

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Dude you’re paying too much for your teeth jobs.

Anyway if any of the things on your list screws your budget you should save a lot more.
And I’m saying this as somebody who thinks that most people in the FIRE community overaccumulate.

I think the country you’re going to FIRE will make a big difference on how much wiggle room you need (health issues for example).

Yeah while you all make good points, I forgot I seem to be in the minority. I am Swiss (my wife as well) plans to stay in Switzerland where everybody I know is and my kids are growing up. I’m not going to move my family away from relatives and friends just to retire early. Not worth it. I don’t even plan to change Canton and possibly not even town (school friends of my daughters)

With that constraints in mind, I was simply thinking what would be low hanging fruit one should have fixed before retiring

And as I said I’m most probably going to fire with like 500-600k, counting on the fact that my wife will continue to work. We are talking 20-24k per year. It’s totally worth to work a couple of months more to “fix everything should be fixed” and avoid surprises
That’s why I thought to put together this list.

Yes we are the minority (I’m 99% sure to stay here).
You might be overthinking for most of the stuff. You could surely renovate your house before retiring, but there isn’t much once you have your budget set. If you get a super rare health issue, then you are screwed anyway. Everything else should be covered by your insurance. Teeth job? Fly to Asia.

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Honestly unless it’s something you can only do while employed (which I think wasn’t the case for most things), it might make more sense as thinking about what your exact FIRE number (and lean budget ) should be.
The things listed looked like regular expenses that should probably be budgeted (e.g. you’ll probably need to renew your computer if it breaks, unexpected health issues, etc.)

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fly to asia is a no go for an environmental poin of view. What’s the point of FIRE if you are screwing our planet. Additionally I have all the interest to keep the money within Switzerland (since I FIRE here) and not outside.

while I agree that most of them are expense you are budgeting for anyway, there is a difference between paying them 5 years into FIRE or one month into FIRE when you could work one month more to pay for it.

I guess when the moment comes it would be nice to have a quicklist of all kind of “once in 5 years expense” and crossing them all off.

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kudos for that

But I guess one does not need to fly to Asia to fix their teeth while spending a lot less than in CH, maybe some place worth visiting anyway in east Europe would be more environmentally friendly to reach.

This I am not sure I understand.

well the swiss dentist is going to pay a rent to a swiss immobilienverwalter, and both of them are going to be paying income taxes for stuff (roads, schools) that I will be using. And I will be paying VAT on my bill, which goes to the bundeskasse.

I know I’m in the minority but I am strictly against going outside switzerland for day-2-day expenses that you can obtain relatively easy here. So dental, doctor, food etc. Does not matter how much money I’m “losing” - is question of principle.

I love Switzerland - I do think they do a good job with my tax money. Could be better? Yes, but I’m not complaining after knowing how the situation is elsewhere (eg Italy). But I am a Swiss citizen compared to many other in this forum, so I have more privilege (voting rights) in how to spend this money than most of them, so I understand they care less about it.

And I grew up 100 meter from the italian border - there used to be a small Coop near the school where we could buy candies after school but it was closed because not profitable, and most of the people were going to italy for day-2-day expenses. And so we had nowhere to go to buy candy and gipfeli.

I understand why people do it - it does no mean I condone them for doing it. Everytime I spend money in a Migros or a swiss dentist, is more expensive but most of this money is going to be circulated back within our local economy. Which generate tax revenue and allow me to enjoy a lot of positive side.

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Question: are you splitting expenses 50-50 with your wife? 20-24k means you probably have an house/apartment already paid. Am I right?

I have an arrangement with my living partner (we are not married and using “wife” then may give the wrong impression from a financial point of view). but basically each one of us has a personal and a family account. We pay expenses out of the each own family account, we don’t track who is paying how much.
I’m probably paying more than she, but is just a gut feeling. She works 50% now. The plan is that she goes to 80% in 4 or 5 years and I will be a stay at home dad. I will then contirbute to the family account with 20-24k passive income from investment. Which is more than many “stay at home parents” can bring to the table :wink: and that is only taxable income. I will have as well more stocks stashed in 2nd and 3rd saule.

It’s not a plan set in stone. We are renting btw. I’m quite flexible when I can quit (I mean in 4 or 5 years), so that was the whole idea of this thread, what are things I should do as long as for me it is easy to stay a couple of months more to cover/check these things.

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Do this in Eastern Europe, it’s 10 times cheaper and with better quality.

Thanks, and I believe you, but you probably missed my post three post above you :smiley: I don’t support at all going outside switzerland for health stuff, groeries or others things you can easily do in Switzerland.
I will gladly pay more even for less quality if I can walk to that office instead of bus/plane/train/car and keep the money circulating within Switzerland. It’s all about environment and local economy. You may pay less money but if you internalize all costs from traveling emission + time spent (depend if you combine it with an holiday or not) + decreasing Switzerland GDP (and thus decreasing tax revenue,and thus decreasing level of governemnt spending) you will be more expensive by going away to do that stuff.

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Well I understand your sentiment but I don’t think you’re right. If buying abroad is decreasing GDP then North Korea must be the richest country in the world because it’s producing everything internally. Autarky is an economic fallacy. In fact it’s completely opposite - by buying abroad you’re forcing your local producers to be more competitive or to invest into other areas that are more productive. Both of these economic incentives are increasing GDP. That’s why the countries that have biggest international trade turnover (like Switzerland) are the richest countries - to much larger extent they direct most of their resources into the most productive usage. Protectionism (or economic patriotism) has reverse economic effect - it rewards mediocrity for the virtue of being part of the same geographic area.

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ok I shouldn’t have used the word GDP, I knew it would cause confusion. But you are comparing apple to orange (north korea: almost Godwin’s law in action). And you cannot say " right" or “wrong” without fixing a frame of reference.

If my goal is to accomplish most of my economic activities by walking, of course I’m right into going to a swiss dentist in my town.

In any case if you internalize all the external cost, going to Poland or Hungary for the dentist IS not going to be cheaper.
Since government are doing a bad job in internalizing external cost, people still do it thinking they are paying less. In truth, what they are not paying they are offsetting somewhere (environment, working conditions, etc). This invisible cost is going to come back and bite your grandchildren in the ass.

I’m simply skipping this step and staying local because it is the cheapest option, if you mentally internalize all the cost. But to do that, you must care for something more than your wallet.

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I do internalize the cost. Since I’m visiting my parents twice a year in Poland anyway, I size the opportunity to buy cheaper (and often better) products and services there. To protect the environment and compensate my climate change contribution, I vote pro-nuclear parties and I try to popularize nuclear energy and ecologically sustainable free-market solutions.

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that’s great and it makes sense for your case, absolutely.
regarding the other stuff, well those are good intentions but nuclear is the LEAST transparent form of energy. I don’t think we can yet truly calculate all the external cost of nuclear. People are still debating how much CO2 does it generates to mine the uranium, converting it to uranium hexafluoride, enriching that and fabricating fuel rods and transporting it. Some say is more than CO2/kWh than gas turbine, some other say is too much, nobody agrees. How can we even talk about externalities if we don’t know the numbers.

I hope you don’t drive a petrol/diesel car…

@Grog

Interesting topic. Some considerations

  • will you be in retirement age in 4-5y because if not you may want to consider social security cost contribution until retirement age
  • will your daughters go to uni? If so are you planning to financially support in part or in full?
  • since you don’t own your house you can avoid potential large costs/liabilities, however you are subject to your landlord. Not sure arrangement / contract duration but if one day you need to leave the house / flat you may incur relocation costs and potentially higher rent
  • car. I think this is the item that could cost money. Maybe an option before firing is to maintain or change brand to Japanese like brands that have reliable engines and are simpler cars. so you avoid potential costs from German cars, which are great but with growing and growing electronic functions / parts that can break down easier
  • any other big event that you want to save for? 50 or 60th birthday? 18th of your daughters? Any special anniversary / date with your partner you want to treat yourself
  • are your parents (if still alive) financially OK? I had friends that they had to pay for their parents’ funeral
  • are back taxes all paid and in order?

Unrelated to your question. Just free advice :slight_smile: I don’t know what you do for work but I strongly recommend to keep yourself marketable. 500-600k is not a big amount if we enter 4-5 years recession. Even if montercarlo tells you that you have 99% chances of maintaining withdrawal rate before running out of money, psychologically it’s going to be hard.

Also situations may change for good or bad, if you effectively rely on your partners, something happen, you want to make sure you can step in.

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Nice advice - should be a must for every couple with one stay-at-home parent. We see where I’ll end up, as I said I’m flexible. I don’t own a car (never have), my partner has a reliable Toyota hybrid. We could live without car thought so the financial risk is minimal.

For the rest…my parents are responsible and going to be ok. I know their finance well and we discuss it openly and they are going to be fine. Big celebrations are really not a thing in our families. We get together and eat something we prepare.

University is a good point - my parents didn’t give me anything, and I went through it by winning scholarships and working part-time. This is something that maybe different for my daughters. They have their own bank account where we put the money they receive at birthday/Christmas etc. Is growing nicely by contributions but I really need to sit down and invest it. That could contribute to university.

Anyway this topic was supposed to be a generic one: if You could move your fire age a couple of months up or downy what are the things to check to “have your house in order” before quitting.

I would be interested from homeowners which work would they absolutely want to do before retiring. Heating systems, if they are old enough to make sense to change them? Let’s you have a blank check before retiring: which things would you fix in your home?

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