What’s Your FIRE Splurge?

About 10 years ago, a product scientist that worked on my team at MegaCorp was getting ready to retire and bought himself a bright red Pontiac Firebird with the big hood scoop and body flares. He was a fun guy to work with and said he wanted to treat himself to something fun for retirement and figured that if he only drove it in the summer, it would probably last him the rest of his life!

I was reminded of him recently when a thread on EarlyRetirement.org popped up titled “Early Retirement Treat for Yourself?” The thread had dozens of people sharing what they bought (or planned to buy) themselves for their early retirement. I thought the responses were interesting so I tabulated all 64 of the ‘treats’ people shared:

MOST COMMON:

  • Vacation (14) – Trips all over the country, all over the world
  • Vehicles (10) – Sports cars, Jeeps, luxury cars, and project cars
  • Bicycles (8) – Many of these were expensive carbon-fiber racing bikes
  • Boats (7) – A big discussion of sailboats in particular was funny to read
  • RV/Campers (5) – A lot of people hitting the open road with their new time

A FEW PEOPLE:

  • House Upgrade (3) – Home theater, bigger garage, kitchen make over
  • Camera Equipment (3) – Probably to take on all those trips!
  • Sound System (2) – Big stereo systems for true audiophiles
  • Golf Clubs (2) – Nothing says retired like golfing
  • Motorcycles (2) – One person even bought a Harley Trike

SINGLE DEVOTEES:

  • Kayak, Musical Instrument, Computer, Season Ticket Package, Tractor, Telescope

Perhaps this list seems pretty predictable, but I thought the variety was interesting. I was surprised that no one said they built their dream house or bought a lake cabin/cottage. I know a few people who did that. Likewise, only a few people said they didn’t get anything or that retiring early was enough of a treat.

We hit on a couple of the big categories when we retired – we upgraded our sports car and went on a fantastic trip to Japan. Officially, the trip to Japan was to celebrate our son’s high school graduation that summer, but it all sort of happened at the same time.

What would you do / have you done to celebrate FIRE? Anything to add to the list?

Image Credit: FirebirdGallery.com

12 thoughts on “What’s Your FIRE Splurge?

  1. By far, the most expensive splurge we’ve done since I FIREd is international travel. We took a VIking River Cruise right after I FIREd and we’re going to the UK in May. We also have a Viking Ocean Cruise of the Med planned for 2019.

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    • Ooh, I would really like to do one of those river cruises! We’ve been on quite a few ocean cruises, but haven’t gotten ‘inland’ yet. Sounds like you really liked one to sign up for another!

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  2. We packed up our panniers and cycled for 1400 miles from Bath in England to Barcelona in Spain, staying in small hotels and eating great food. For us, it perfectly captured the feeling of freedom that comes with early retirement. Nothing like the freedom of the open road!

    ps Really enjoying your posts.

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    • WOW 1400 miles!! I can’t imagine that long of a ‘ride’, but I can see the appeal for a real cyclist. Certainly something that you couldn’t find time for when your were working! Thanks for the comment 🙂

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  3. Well the plan was an African Safari with the family but our youngest daughter got engaged in December and all of our attention has been diverted, joyfully so, to mom, her and her sister planning a wedding. About 3 years ago when I started to get serious about working my exit we started to update the house. We still have more projects planned but I don’t consider that a splurge just stuff that has to get done.

    I do think a little splurge/fun is in order when hitting this milestone though. I received bonuses from work for many years and when I first started getting them I would save most of the money and spend the remainder on the house and family. My wife, wise as she is, demanded (yes it was almost that forceful) that I at least do a little something for myself. It was sage advice and while I did still save most of the money and spend on the house and family the things I did for myself were very nice.

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    • An African Safari is definitely on our ‘to do’ list for travel, but a wedding should be much more exciting!

      Done right, retiring is certainly a once-in-a-lifetime event that deserves a little ceremony. In addition to upgrading our sports car and taking a trip, my wife hosted a big 50th birthday party for me a few weeks after I was done. I think celebrating big events is an important part of moving from one chapter to another.

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      • Wife and I have already been on a safari and if you have the chance (and the money) you should definitely do it. My favorite trip of all time – and I have been lucky enough to have some very special trips. We wanted to have the kids experience it as well. Well maybe in 2020 now.

        I like the idea of a party. Always good to get friends and family together.

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      • I’ve been on the Board of our metro Zoo for almost 15 years, so an African Safari has particularly appeal!

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  4. I bought a scooter to ride with a group around the beach towns…as part of the deal my wife bought a 69 mach 1 mustang for herself. The cool part, I get to use BOTH. The interesting part, her mustang has increased in estimated value (paper profit) way more than enough to cover my scooter’s small purchace price.
    Sometimes a little pleasure is worth a little (planned) spending.

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    • Wow – I’m a car guy, so the classic Mustang sounds cool! I have a friend that has a bunch of classic cars that he owns under an LLC he set up. He says he considers the cars “an asset class” – not just an expense.

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  5. I fit the most common “big trip” with our 18-day African Safari. It took a few years to get to (because of other family needs), but it was the post-retirement splurge. I also think our right-sized house was part of the plan. While not a splurge money-wise, we spent a lot of time defining the right things we wanted and then taking the time to find it (and buy the new family room furniture and outdoor furniture I wanted). And now with the down-size money, I am buying a new car…. but nothing flashy. It’s not me these days – I did the red convertible years ago!

    A friend of mine bought herself a pair of diamond earrings… she always wanted a pair and figured it was time. Two different friends built their dream houses (lots of splurges in them). And another couple I know bought a house on the water… something they always dreamed of. I adore the diversity of retirement visions!

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