Ready for Hibernation

I spend most winters doing almost nothing. Last winter was incredibly long and brutal, and rather than making any social plans, we generally just looked outside and returned to our couch to watch Netflix. The upside of this kind of empty social calendar is that I was able to accumulate quite a bit of spare cash that was a huge help when we made our final payment on our mortgage. In addition, I made it through a pretty good chunk of books I wanted to read (at a pace of about 2 per week) with all the free time I had.

After an extended break, my wife and I made up for our lack of visiting and social interaction over the summer. I golfed around 25 rounds over the summer, we went to cottages, and re-did our backyard patio. All of this stuff was budgeted (as best as it could be with some unplanned stuff that came up). We still have some savings left right now, but I’m almost ready for a break from “society” again.

One of the benefits of having only one main hobby that I’m really into is that it’s easy to budget for. I know the start and stop date, as well as how much money I have available to take part in it for the summer. Now though, as my golf savings have waned, I’m ready to start building up for next year again (it also didn’t help that I just lost in my “final” tournament of the year).

I’m not sure how long my interest in golf will remain. I’ve been playing for almost 25 years now, and can’t see my interest in being constantly annoyed and confused while playing decreasing too much in the next decade or so. I realize that the ~$1000 I spend on this hobby could be used to invest into my retirement. Additionally, I realize that $1,000 at a 4% withdrawal rate in retirement will cost me about $25,000 in additional savings at retirement to fund the hobby, all so that I can bang a ball around some chemically assisted manicured lawn.

So, after a really busy summer, my wife and I are both looking forward to recharging our batteries over the cooler weather months. I’m hoping to be able to get some minor home renovations done, which will finally make our basement a usable portion of our house. Financially, I can re-fill my “fun money” savings account to play again next year, which will hopefully be before the middle of June, like this year.

It’s these times of years that I realize that by choosing an Early Retirement Stream, I can’t do everything – I can do most activities I want to do, but there are definitely limits if I want to make my Financial goal a reality.

3 thoughts on “Ready for Hibernation”

  1. Living in Fargo, ND, our hibernation period is coming as well. I do not look forward to it.

    I have pretty much given up golf as a hobby. It is too expensive. Our season is short and we often have high wind which does not mix with golf. 18 holes takes 5-6 hours. I keep a minimalist set of clubs in a Sunday carry bag for the small chance that I get asked to play 1 or 2 times a summer.

    Maybe I’ll pick it back up after fully entering early retirement.

  2. I am now in my fourth day of ER. Looking back, I can’t say quitting my golf habit was a HUGE factor allowing me to get here in 10 years… but I did spend a fair amount to be able to get to a single digit handicap. That money I spent chasing the small white ball was instead saved and invested – considering capital gains and compounding, reinvested dividends, this is probably at tidy sum. I might actually sit down and calculate this. I certainly have the time now. 😉

    Frankly, considering how great it has been to be able to retire (even 4 days in, it has been wonderful!) in my early 40’s, and if giving up golf 10 years ago was even a SMALL factor in getting here, it has been more than worth it.

    Of course, I reserve the right to start golfing again. 🙂

  3. In Northern WI we have a short golf season which hubby takes advantage of and I fully support it. He loves it & I have no doubt the benefits of fresh air and exercise. He score a deal on a membership by working on the club owners personal vehicle- probably the best deal in trade he’s gotten so far being a skilled and honest mechanic. This year I went as well and enjoyed it although not enough to warrant two season memberships. I think for what he gets out of it ( fresh air, physical and mental challenge, exercise, comraderie with his golf buddies) is worth the price. When compared to other activities with similar benefits but more dangerous ( a friend just broke his collarbone on ATVs) I’m glad he has taken to it. Aside from a beer or two on the course, the health benefits of physical activity just may counter the risk of degenerative age- related illnesses in the future. ER won’t be near as much fun without a healthy body.

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