Our alumni, your stories: Bryan Elkins

Published by Sarah Ediss on 10 May 2024

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After working for over 30 years for Kreston Reeves (& formerly Spofforths) most of which were as a Tax Partner, my wife, Anne-Marie, and I decided to retire in May 2022.

It was a scary prospect (emotionally and financially) at age 58. None of us really know what funds we need to retire, let alone 7 years before what would have been regarded as my “normal retirement age”!

We moved house from Horsham to Worthing, about 2 years before retiring, to be near the sea. We both grew up near the sea on Hayling Island and felt strongly that we wanted to return…. also, part of the “plan” was to have a house that we could rent for holiday lettings to help fund our planned “extended” travelling abroad. Would the plan work? Would people really want to come and have their summer holidays in Worthing?

We were fortunate enough to find a house (all be it in need of substantial renovation) right on the seafront and after 2 years of disruption, having significant works done, and a lot of expense… we love it! The feeling of waking up and going onto the balcony on a sunny morning (or even a moody cloudy one) is amazing, and 4 years on, we still don’t take for granted being able to walk out of the front door onto the beach.

So, with retirement looming in May 2022, and the major works on the house just finally completed by “the skin of our teeth” in April 2022, we had committed to letting the property from June… and we had bookings coming in, so there was no going back!

We planned to go off in our motorhome to travel around France for 3 months – we have had a motorhome for some years, but previously just used it for weekends away. It’s quite a big vehicle and we had never been abroad in it, so that was a bit scary. We spent a frantic first month of our retirement doing all the final decorating, and prepping the house to let, as well as researching travelling in France (what to do, what not to do, where to go etc etc…) It was crazy, but great fun, but didn’t feel much like retirement, more like a full-time job… and then some!

Anyway, we packed up the house, loaded up the motorhome, left early June, and headed for the Euro Tunnel. It was a huge success! We spent nearly three months exploring France in fabulous weather, living in a “tin box” and with huge relief, we were still talking at the end of it.

The house was fully let on weekly holiday lets for the whole period and was still standing on our return. The plan had worked! It went so well that we immediately booked up to go on a Caribbean cruise in November, which was also amazing.

In 2023, we repeated the whole thing and went off travelling around Northern Italy for 3 months – it was stunning and VERY hot!

This year, we have just got back (in April) from 3 weeks in the Canary Islands, which after such a cold wet January and February was bliss and we’re now getting ready to head off to Spain in mid-May for this summer. Basically, we plan to work our way around Europe until we are too old or too infirm to do it for any longer.

We now have 4 grandchildren which have all come along in the last 3+ years, so we get to spend great time with them (when we’re not travelling…)  and of course, our 6 children/stepchildren who are spread out all over the UK.

I had thought that I might start to get “bored” after a year or so, but life’s just as busy, but it’s busy doing the fun things that we love to do.

I still plan to do some volunteering/charity work, but so far, I just haven’t had time! I’m still looking after a small number of clients with Kreston Reeves and that’s been a great success and means I still keep in touch with old friends. I’m delighted that the firm continues to thrive, and I have always felt very proud to be a part of it!

In summary – we are living the dream!


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