Early Retirement

A big step... | 22/4/2019

No, a big step. But I had my reasons. Obviously...

In one sense it's a no-brainer: most people would - I reckon - be ready for something new after forty-odd years of earning a living with the same - increasingly bad - employer (that's the Department for Work and Pensions - DWP: fuck me, I'm glad to be quit of those fuckers), and I certainly fall into that category.

But my mind was starkly focused on what was important in life when my best friend (more like a brother really) Chris, was diagnosed with gastrointestinal cancer - a Neuroendocrine Tumour (NET), to be precise.

The bugger would get the rare, hard-to-diagnose one...

Thankfully, his NET seems to have been a low grade, non-invasive type. Following some pretty radical surgery (1m+ of bowel removed - partly because of other problems Chris was having with his innards - he also had a rare and otherwise untreatable form of colitis) he's doing well, and I'm confident that I'll have him around for a long, long time - but this is the kind of thing which makes you re-evaluate everything, and realise what's really important in life. 

Working for a living ain't it...

About a year ago, I was about to go through the interminable bullshit that is a Civil Service promotion exercise, when I realised (coincidentally at about the same time that Chris was diagnosed) that I just wasn't interested in the job any more. 

I am (was) good at what I do (did) - as a very experienced (and more importantly a creative, imaginative, and risk-tolerant) Data Protection practitioner/Subject Matter Expert, I was responsible - to a very significant degree - for the lack of DPA screw-ups by my department. 

I was proud of my achievements.

It was important stuff.

And I'd had enough.

So - partly bent out of shape by having to justify my existence (I was being driven by stupid Civil Service promotion policies to apply for the job I was already doing really well); partly side-swiped by Chris' circumstances; and more in hope than in expectation - I plugged my numbers into something called the Civil Service Retirement Modeller, an online estimator of what a Civil Service pension will pay out.

And - fuck me - the figures that came out were very doable.

Well, that was that...

I withdrew from the promotion exercise, which as I suggest I resented having to do - my track-record to that point counting for precisely sweet FA (although the panic my decision caused throughout the department - right to the top of the food chain - was very satisfying) - and as of 8 April (some other stuff has apparently happened on this date, but obviously it all pales into insignificance in comparison to my Independence Day! wink) 2019, I have become, as I've taken to styling myself, a financially independent man of leisure...

I should add that this wouldn't have been nearly such an easy decision but for some success in reclaiming mis-sold PPI, (to the tune - I kid you not - of almost £98k), which makes for a very comforting rainy day fund, as you might imagine.

I'd already paid my mortgage off in 2017 (the smartest thing I've ever done financially was to take out a 20 year mortgage). So my PPI, along with a pension lump sum of near £55k, mean that money worries should be a thing of the past; further helped by the fact that after all essential outgoings and living expenses, I should have something like £600 a month left from my monthly pension.

Once I've finally stopped throwing money at fishing tackle, camera equipment  and guitars, anyway...

I'm not boasting - it's all relative, and this isn't a lot of money to some people. even though it gives me a warm glow - but it underlines why the opportunity to make my time entirely my own had so much appeal.

And this is early retirement, remember: I'm only 58, and for the most part as fit as a butcher's dog; so I want to make the most of my health while I've got it, because you just don't know...

The best thing of all is that Chris' recovery continues, and he's as keen to get back on the bank as I am.

Odd, really - his idea of a good day's fishing was always to cast out a couple of deadbaits for pike, switch on his electronic bite indicators, and then curl up on his comfy fishing chair and go to sleep; the sleeping always seemed to be the most important bit, as far as I can tell. 

To be fair, he was very good at it...!

He has also retired early, so it'll be nice to have my playmate back!  

And miraculously, given MyCSP's reputation for screwing up (as attested to by their monumental fuck-up of Chris' Civil Service pension over the best part of a year - I had to get all Data Protection data accuracy principle on them - which worked within a couple of weeks, I should point out), mine was not only paid exactly on time; but I got a bit more than I'd expected in both my lump sum and my monthly amount.

I love MyCSP, me...

Categories: Personal

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