Ditch a day job for a dream you never quit
Mr Bell meant the couple were able to abandon careers around London for projects of choice in the Sussex seaside town of Bognor Regis.
Mr Bell said: “I’ve got about £500,000 in money purchase [defined contribution] pensions and a small £2,000-a-year final salary scheme. Rebecca’s pension pot is probably worth around £40,000 in total.
“Between us we have around £800,000 in three properties, mortgage debt of £140,000, which will go when two surplus properties are sold now that we live together, and £460,000 in Isas and cash we can invest for income.”
Ms Olds said she “can’t claim much credit” for their sound financial position. “Adam planned for the future much better. But then he was able to contribute to pensions and other investments most of his working life, rather than living pay cheque to pay cheque as I did.”
Mr Bell, a keen cyclist, took early retirement from the financial advice firm where he was a partner and retrained as a cycle mechanic and teacher for the Bikeability scheme, which rewards youngsters for taking part in cycle training.
He said: “I enjoyed my job but I wanted to help people in a better way.”
He is in the process of creating a community interest company to recycle donated bikes and offer them at a low cost, as well as setting up training programmes to teach people bike maintenance skills.
Mr Bell said: “Bognor Regis is very flat, so ideal for cycling. I’d like my business to be a social hub with a café.”
The couple are in the fortunate position of not relying on their dream projects making a return, which they don’t really expect.
“It would be nice to run a profit instead of a loss,” Ms Olds said. “My goal is for it to break even by the 202021 tax year. But I’m not counting on it.”
Embarking on an exciting second career in later life is more comfortably done after sound financial planning during the first. So how do you finance decades of a hobby retirement from the earnings of a typical 30-year career?
According to Mr Bell and Ms Olds, you live frugally, invest well, pay off debts and be lucky enough to benefit from rising house prices.
Mr Olds said: “To some extent we are able to do this due to inheriting, while the boom in property prices over the past 20 years has definitely helped in our long-term plans for downsizing. I also worked in a wellpaid industry, which enabled me to save for the future a as well as ensure my children owned properties.
“But we’ve also m made sure our dayto-day expenses onc once the mortgages are paid off will be v very low at less than £15,000 a year year, which should be covered by incom income from our investments.” Lisa Davies, an independent fifinancial financial advise adviser at Suttons, said the couple wer were benefiting now from earlier pr prudence, although this was becom becoming harder to replicate.
She said: “It is much more expensive now to acquire property, even m more so as a landlord thanks to increased stamp duty for b buy-to-let or second proper properties. So property investing now t to fund your future is perhap perhaps less attractive.
“If you do de decide to pursue this route, try to place any investment pro property on a repayment mor mortgage rather than interest-only, as many people do, in order to l lower the debt and grow your e equity in the property, which will leave you better off when you come to sell. Remember to p plan to pay capital gains tax out of any profits above your annual £11 £11,700 allowance at either the bas basic rate of 18pc or 28pc for higher-rate higher taxpayers.”
Coming at a 3 30-year retirement without a plan w would be a mistake, warned Martin Stewart of advice firm Lo London Money. He said: “Your pla plan will go wrong anyway but it’s bet better to have it and adapt as you go alon along. Money is really good for buying goods goo and acting as a security blanket. It i is a great position to be in to be able to accommodate doing both.”
This couple are embarking on second careers and hope never to retire. It’s easier with careful planning, says Laura Miller
Rebecca Olds, left, who left her job to design and make period clothing; Olds with her husband Adam Bell, below and right