Performance vs. Retirement Budget for 2020

I’ve posted in the past how we went to a financial analyst near the end of 2019 to review our financial status and determine if/when we could retire early. Mrs. 39 Months didn’t completely trust my numbers and assumptions, and wanted a second opinion. While I didn’t agree with many of the assumptions of the analysis (investment returns, etc.) I still think the analysis was valuable overall, and it helped me adjust my plans. Part of the analysis was detailed income and expense information for each year, from 2020 – 2028.

Fast forward a year later, and I’ve taken the opportunity to compare our planned spend vs. our actual spending of the retirement budget. I’d encourage everyone to try their retirement budget out 1-2 years before actual retirement. So what did I find out:

Major overspending vs. budget

  • Home Maintenance was 176% higher. Some of this was due to purchases (lawnmower, pressure washer) and some of it was services that I could conceivable do if retired (vs. hiring a landscaper). Still. Something to consider
  • Electricity/Gas: 93% higher. Could have been us staying home for Covid, but we dramatcically underpriced this.
  • Groceries: 23% higher – probably because of eating more at home (see my allowance below)
  • Floor Insurance: 509% higher. Though only $430, it still is a large % change.
  • Charity: Our retirement budget is only $240, and if we have extra at end, we’d give. We gave away $6,000 last year. Felt good, especially when folks needed help for Covid

Major underspending vs budget

  • Auto Fuel: 56% lower. No commuting during Covid, but we also won’t be doing this when we retire
  • Mr. 39 Months allowance: 41% lower. A lot of this is used for food at work, so we’ll see
  • Dining Out: 54% lower – due to Covid
  • Hobbies: 49% lower – may be able to save some money here

Final result was that we spent about $11K less in 2020 than expected. In the end, I think the Covid close-down was an excellent chance for us to look at our retirement budget and do some deep analysis on it. We’ll be making changes on it going forward.

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Mr. 39 Months

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