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Why did you retire early (or not)?

Not everyone wants to retire.  I am sure Warren Buffet does not have to work but still does,  Others decide to retire early.
Why did you decide to retire early? Or, why did you decide to keep working? I would be interested in what community members have to say.
In my case, I retired at 58, which is a little early.  The main reasons I decided to retire early mainly revolved around health:
  1. Health reason Number 1. - My wife and i are in reasonably good - although not perfect - health.  We wanted to retire while we were still healthy so we could better enjoy our retirement years.

  2. Health reason Number 2 - We both benefit from regular exercise and have about 45 minutes to an hour of moderate exercise every day (not counting the time to get to the gym, shower, etc.).  Could we do that while working? Maybe on some days, but not really every day, considering working hours, business dinners, business travel, etc.

  3. Finances - We both saved as much as we could while working.  Now our spending on necessities amounts to less than 1% of our financial assets.  Our regular spending including necessities amounts to less than 2% of our financial assets.  We could have worked longer, but how much money do you need?

  4. Interests. We both have outside interests (vacation travel, exercise, volunteer work, Homeowner's Association Board, etc.) to keep us busy and help maintain an established routine..
I could imagine wanting to continue to work or to return to work - not because I necessarily had to - but because it would be interesting and provides a sense of fulfillment.  But, I probably will not do it.
How about you?
I retired much younger. I lifted my head up and saw there might actually be other things in life of interest. That school then work is a sequence of which there are additional steps. Like you we saved and then realized we were rich, defined as having expenses below tappable assets. And like you, knew when to push away and get up from the table.

I have discovered to be weary of Homeowner's Associations. When much younger I joined a Board to help out and discovered others put less value on my time then I did. Once retired and wiser I joined another Board. I discovered individuals personal financial lives are extremely messy. That the mess carries over to other activities. That those who point out issues become the problem. I wish you better luck.
For 27 years, I jumped out of bed eager to get to work early. The 28th year I dragged my feet, getting in at the last minute. It was time.
I set my targets for retirement...no latter than age 59.5 or once I reach financial security $ xxx....what ever comes first. Just so happens that 2011, both targets were reached within 3 months of one-another. I finished in my industry with 37 years under the belt. I did not want to retire until my children graduated from high school. It was my belief that working, and active parenting sets the best role model for our children; hence I worked past the initial financial benchmark (attained in 2003) and reset it to include and extra level of financial security (aka Bucket-2) for age 80 and older. Now, I just need to stay healthy and enjoy the fruits of my labor.
Early on plan was to retire at the same time husband (three years older) did. However, I had about 7-8 years mid-career when I was underemployed with respect to income (Fortunately, the work itself was both challenging and fun.). So I worked until I was fully eligible for Social Security and until the most interesting problems on which I was working had been solved. Retired at just the right time - except for one thing - husband had then been retired five years and had his very own schedule - married me for better or for worse but not for lunch. . .solved that problem - we eat dinner together but not breakfast and lunch.
I retired a year ago in my early 30s. From a financial perspective, I'm pretty low maintenance, and I had stashed away plenty to live on indefinitely. (Worst case, I figured I could always just go back to work at some point to renew my stash). From a life perspective, I figured there were higher purposes in life and other ways to define myself than just working in an office 5 days a week (and sometimes more). I liked the people I worked with -- enough that I had stuck around for a few years out of loyalty even after work was no longer fulfilling -- but eventually I decided that it was time to turn in my notice and start the new chapter of my life.

So far, so good. I get much more sleep than I used to (which has been great for my health and mood, I think), and I can spend time a lot more time with family and friends, travelling, exercising, reading, etc. I volunteer a lot more, which has allowed me to get a greater appreciation for what else is going on in my community, meet new people, and learn new skills. I'm not able to give away as much cash I as I used to, but I figure I'd already given more than most will ever give in their lifetimes.

I think the biggest challenge for me is keeping myself doing things that are meaningful and helpful to the masses, which is important to me. (It was much easier back in the day to just let the company or client define at least some of my goals and to utilize corporate resources to get things done.) Another guy who I know who retired early (in his 40s) eventually went back to work because he missed the social aspect of it (although his wife, who also retired with him, has not missed that at all). So I guess retirement's not without its own set of challenges, but for anyone who has the option to do it and who asks, I always recommend at least giving it a shot, especially while they're young and healthy enough to enjoy it.
I will be 58 at the end of the year. I initially planned on retiring at the end of the year as soon as I received my final company 401k match. I have been setting up for this for 2-years including transferring my management position to one of my former employees and discussing it with my organizational peers for the last 6-months or so. My wife is a bit older than I and I do want to have some good retirement times before our health trends downward Now my co-workers want me to go part-time, which might be good as long as I get chunks of time off when we want to travel and spend more than a couple of weeks away. This seems like a good transition to retirement solution; it will work for as long as I am still interested in what I am doing. At any time I could just pack it in. Like you, we would be able to draw no more than 1.5% to 2% of our assets for any given year until our RMDs kick in since we will have most of our debt paid off by the end of this year. You have to have a good financial plan with realistic rate of return assumptions to go this route. And, you have to stick to the plan. Set up your re-balance and re-investment philosophy and stick to it with only minor modifications along the way (for instance, currently I am allowing the international portion of our portfolios drift up relative to my U.S. and bond exposures since I know Europe will be coming back strongly...eventually ).
I retired last year at age 56. I had a target of 59.5 (wanted to get out early to enjoy life while still healthy and driven) and a $ number. My company was going through leadership changes and I took a package that helped make my $ target. I hang out a lot with my wife watching TV (we're addicted), play golf 3-4 times a week, see family and started to volunteer in an underserved school. And started active trading. Our total expense is less than 4% of our liquid asset. I moved a sizable number of stocks with big capital gain to Fidelity Charitable Giving Fund last year when I was still at top tax bracket.
I retired at the age of 57. They offered a package, one years salary as encouragement to leave. I really liked my job, but we were running out of interesting things to work on so I took the offer. My children were independent at the time and I had recently downsized my house so I was in reasonable financial shape.
I knew that I still wanted to work, but not full time. I have had a few part time jobs since I retired. The jobs have been mainly to get me out of the house for a couple of days a week. I've aimed at a favorable schedule with these jobs, rather than fulfilling work. I.E., no late night hours and no weekend work. I am currently working, but a bit more than I prefer. I don't know when I want to totally retire.
I exercise most days and keep myself busy with small projects around my house. I follow the financial markets, but probably a bit closer than I should. I enjoy reading and have plenty of time for it, but a couple hours a day is sufficient. I tried some volunteer work but it was not a good fit.  I live in the northeast and I'm better at retirement in the summer than I am in the winter.  I use the television too much as my wintertime companion. Hopefully, in the future I can transition into a good fit with some type of meaningful volunteer work and leave the part time job behind
As a physician I saw far too many people who looked forward to, and talked about, retirement only to die or deteriorate too soon. Another reason, i was getting sick and tired of how much tax I was paying only to see the federal government waste money and give it away- much of the time to lazy people. So, I decided that the most valuable thing I had was the time I had left and that I was going to enjoy it. 17 years later, here I am with a net worth more than when I retired (good real estate investment), traveling and enjoying retired life immensely. If is surprising how little money one needs if one doesn't have to shell out so much to the big, bloated, wasteful federal government. I don't think folks realize how giving money to people who don't work (those who truly need it aside) discourages work on the part of those from whom it is taken AND on the part of those who get just as much NOT working. Obviously I am not a Democrat!

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