Phil Barker, of Renishaw Property Developments, shares how the lockdown break from the hamster wheel of life has a number of people looking at the future differently…

“Being largely confined to my home for the full lockdown period wasn’t nearly as tedious as I had imagined it would be. I feel strangely guilty saying this, but I quite enjoyed it!

“Many of us have heard variants of this statement over the last two weeks.

“Even if we don’t raise the point, when someone else does, the agreement is generally unanimous. The introspective opportunity provided by the lockdown gave many of us a break from the hamster wheel of life, and for those of us on the wrong side of 50, thoughts probably turned to the possibility of early retirement.

‘We cannot afford it’

“The initial reaction might have been to brush away such idle thoughts, repeating the tired refrain of ‘We cannot afford it’. Then the lockdown was extended. People had even more time on their hands, and more time to contemplate time’s fleeting passage. It was an opportunity to seriously consider taking control of one’s life. To actually use what time’s left to do what is desired rather than what is expected.

“The idea of affordability might have started to take a bit more shape as people noticed the significant reduction in household expenses during lockdown. Many might have taken the early retirement dream a little further by working out the finances and realising that, in a well-managed estate, ‘living the holiday’ could be more reality than dream.

“The easing of lockdown measures and re-opening of the economy has seen many people returning to work. And, while jumping back on that hamster wheel might have been the right choice for some – others might still cling to the idea of exploring an early retirement as more than a frivolous notion.

‘Early retirement requires financial planning’

“For those individuals, it would be worth taking it a step further and actually discussing the possibility of early retirement with a financial planner, working out the numbers with lower projected monthly living expenses. When one takes into consideration the option of investing in a reputable, mature lifestyle estate where a large portion of monthly living expenses are combined in the levy contribution, the reality is even closer.

“Reflections on life during a moment of crisis should never be dismissed. The perspective gained in lockdown provides valuable insight into what people truly want out of life. And for many, ‘living the holiday’ in early retirement is a lot more achievable than was previously thought.”