Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

Thankful to my younger self.

Shot of my backyard beach.

“I was thankful to my younger self for planning and anticipating our future needs.”

This was a quote I saw a few days ago on the Simple Savings forum, written by a woman in (I think) her 50’s, who was detailing the day she’d planned. She was able to retire in her early 40’s, she and her husband had a big veggie and fruit garden with chickens and they lived in a rural town that was close enough to the capital city to get there if they needed anything, but far enough away that their housing costs were small.

Her sentence really jumped out at me.

I’m hoping that I’ll be saying the same thing in a decade or so.

Poppy modelling the paving.

Here’s one way I’ve hopefully ‘future-proofed’ my retirement lifestyle. I’ve paved my entire backyard and the sides of the house with reclaimed bricks, so that Old Lady Frogdancer won’t have to bend down and pull weeds or mow grass. The paving runs around my wicking veggie beds, so that she’ll be able to grow organic veggies for as long as she pleases, saving on grocery bills and providing a way to spend some untroubled hours in the sunshine.

The paving on the lower level of the yard will be the floor for my outdoor room, which will be in place by the end of the year, unless something really unexpected comes up. Just have to hire someone to put up the roof.

These projects are not at all what you’d call cheap, but once the sting of paying the bill has faded, I know I’ll have decades of enjoyment out of them.

Doorway to The Best House in Melbourne.
Welcome to The Best House in Melbourne!

It’s no secret that I love love love my house – everyone who steps through the door for the first time gets a walk-through, as recent visitors can attest. But I’ve never been happy with the look or strength of the screen door.

A couple of weeks ago a caravan parked in the driveway of a house a street away was torched. It went up like a … well, like a great big fire and all the neighbours gathered to watch the firemen put it out. I’m away from home a lot, with the full-time job and all, and I met a few neighbours I’ve never met before and heard a few bits of gossip that I was blissfuly unaware of.

It seems we have an arsonist in our midst.

Around a year ago Evan21 came back after a run and said that he’d passed a burning bush. Nothing biblical about this one, it was alight. We’d forgotten about it until I heard from the neighbours that an empty house on Station St was burned to the ground a couple of months ago. A little while after the fire in the caravan, which was deliberately lit, I was talking to the young couple next to me who said that the local scout hall a couple of streets over had burned to the ground a couple of nights ago.

As he was telling me this, a couple of teenagers rode past. Now, I work with teenagers and I like them a lot, but these ones looked dodgy. In fact, I’ve seen them around a lot and I know they’re dodgy. My neighbour said to me as they rode past, “The next generation of (suburb name) Crime.”

He didn’t see the second kid, in a red beanie, swivel his head and look at him as they rode past, then keep looking back at us as he rode off down the street. Great, I thought. I had the dogs with me and everyone in the street knows my dogs. I’d be easy to identify, even though I hadn’t said it.

I was planning to upgrade security around the house once the boys left home, but even though I still have 2 adult men around the place, they’re away more often now and I’ve decided I should probably move that project forward. I have security screens on the windows at the front of the house, but anyone going around the back would be free from prying eyes.

I’m having some people from ‘Crimsafe’ come in and give quotes next week on window screens and security doors. Again, this will definitely not be a cheap exercise, but I’m putting it in the category of a younger self putting things in place for my older self. I’ve written before about how much being financially secure means to me, but I definitely want Old Lady Frogdancer to feel physically secure in her own home as she totters into her twilight years.

Jeff sleeping on the couch on the verandah.
One of my guard dogs on the front verandah.

There’s so much to consider as you make the moves towards setting up a secure retirement. It’s not just the financials, though that’s stressful enough! It’s the other things that, while we have a secure income rolling in, we can set aside some funds to smooth the way for our older selves and pay for things now that they don’t have to shell out for.

I’m putting things in place to ensure that Old Lady Frogdancer will be able to travel the world for as long as she wants to. But I also know that I’m a real homebody, so making The Best House in Melbourne comfortable, safe and cheap to run is VERY high on my list of priorities as I get nearer to retirement.

I hope that in a couple of decades, I, too, can look back and say, “I was thankful to my younger self for planning and anticipating our future needs.” It sounds like such a nice position to be in.

Sunset on my backyard beach.
I’m very thankful my younger self bought the house that made this view a brief five minute walk away!


  1. Tom

    I’ve been going through this with my mother lately (now in her 70’s but moving well and lives on her own) about securing her home. She has the money. I’ve repeatedly said “Just Do it” for yourself. The problem is some people get so complacent in their lives. My mother often leaves her side door open where people normally come when visiting. I’m constantly saying I could be anyone walking into your home. Just recently her neighbour was broken into which has finally allowed the penny to drop.

    • FrogdancerJones

      It’s hard.
      I said to the boys a couple of days ago that I’ll probably say in a few years that this was all a waste of money… but if it stops people breaking in I’ll probably never know, because my house will be secure.
      I figure it’s best to get it done.

  2. Mr. Hobo Millionaire

    I can’t remember the exact quote… something like “average people react, smart people plan”…

    I’m always surprised at the people who are not planning ahead. They don’t consider their age, what their options will be in 20 years, what their lives will look like as seniors, etc.

    I have a friend who is in his late 50’s, who just bought a new custom home. Two stories. His wife is late 40’s starting to have a weird hip problem. I asked between him getting close to 60’s (I didn’t mention wife)… did you consider getting a single story? His answer “No. We always wanted a new two story, and we finally got a chance to buy one.” I asked did you think about the stairs after 10 years or so. His answer “Yes, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”

    Really? I was thinking… That’s your level of planning? You’re at the bridge now. Haha.

    • FrogdancerJones

      My grandparents bought a flat on the second storey of a block. All was fine for about 15 years, then she started having trouble walking up the stairs to reach her own front door…

  3. Wendy

    Good idea to make sure things are safe and secure for future you, and I am looking forward to seeing how your outdoor room turns out.
    I was concerned when I noticed no new posts for a couple of weeks. I hope that wasn’t due to illness? I really missed your updates …

    • FrogdancerJones

      And here’s me thinking no one would notice or care!!!
      I had my year 12’s putting on their production of ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’, so it was a week of 15 and 16 hour days.
      Then for a week after I just wasn’t feeling the love for writing. But I think I’m getting over that.
      Thanks for the lovely comment.

  4. Cath

    I think about this all the time, both in terms of my wonderful parents — who didn’t do this — and my own life. Love how you’re thinking both about what you love to do and what you don’t want to be doing as you get older – so important to know yourself!

  5. Chris

    I miss the bay… thanks for the regular pics that bring all my childhood memories of that beautiful part of the world flooding back!

    • FrogdancerJones

      It’s hard to take a bad picture of this beach!

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