If you do some early retirement planning, you really can retire early.
In my opinion, there are two considerations:
income and time
Early Retirement Planning for Income
I retired at 55, but I have a pension AND a supplemental income from my websites. I also have my websites to keep busy, keep my mind active and challenged... that really helps me.
Many, today, are saying that the majority of baby boomers will wait and retire later, waiting for that full Social Security check. You might want to consider your early retirement Social security benefit.
However, Retirement is what you choose it to be -- just like any lifestyle choices.
If you want a ritzy retirement, you need money. If you live frugally and consciously before retirement, you can maintain the same lifestyle post-retirement and be perfectly happy on much less.
It's not even being frugal, it's simply watching your spending, taking a moment to think about purchases, checking prices between stores, and even considering purchases overnight instead of buying large purchases based on emotion.
Check out the video on the benefits of starting to save early, rather than later. Retirement Savings is an interesting video... One Million Dollars by Age 65? I doubt many start saving that early, but she does have a good point!
Early Retirement Planning for your Time
To me, this is as important -- if not more important -- than money. Everyone thinks money, money, money -- it's in the media, in the retirement magazines, newspapers, blogs...
But what happens to many -- they are financially fit, but have nothing to do. Downright depressing and often turns into depression too.
I know.. when you are working, the thought of NOT working -- yeah, freeeeeeeedom! is just heavenly.
But - you retire, and you wonder WHO AM I? Suddenly, 8+ hours a day with little to do... WHAT WILL I DO ALL DAY?
If you are laughing, you are not seriously considering what happens.. I see it over and over, daily, on this website and in real life. It's sad... professionals fall to this, they no longer have their work identity and just don't have a clue what to do!
Even if you are an avid golfer, when working --- yes, its wonderful, time is limited and you are lucky to get out there. But retired, you love your golf hobby - but suddenly you realize you can't do this every day.
There is more to life -- possibly working part time, full time in a new career (less stress), volunteering or even finding hobbies that can be turned into income... it happens!