No. of Recommendations: 17
I am 53 so I am approaching that age where early retirement begins to look good.
. . . and it looks even better after you do it!

Some personal observations from someone just a little ahead of you:

you can start another, more desired second career; or dive into a hobby. . .

In spite of all the planning [it helped], the first several years were a transition. After working continuously for probably 40+ years, it's hard to actually believe you don't have to any more:

I considered:
1. I might be able to market my experience and skills into a 6-figure income in the private sector, but it would mean . . . work - a commitment to a company and its goals, an expectation that I'd actually be at work once in a while and produce, adapting to someone else's culture and dress code, and the like. No, that's what I left. I guess more $$ isn't the carrot.

2.) My own business. That would mean. . . work. Know many small entrepreneurs that aren't working 60-80 hrs/week to stay afloat? 25 yrs ago went thru the experience of “being my own boss” and found out first hand it can be over-rated. Actually, I have decided I can do a limited am't of consulting w/o trying to compete with the big guys and w/o the same commitment of time and funds for advertising, marketing and such. If you can build own what you've done in your last career, it makes things simpler - do what you know.

3.) I have more hobbies and interests than I have enough time for, even in retirement. A 6-figure income would buy me a $4K guitar, but not help me play any better; it'd buy me a $3K carbon fibre road bike, but no time to ride; it'd buy more tools, but they don't build things by themselves; it'd give me more travel money and options, but less time to do it.

4.) Most jobs/activities cut into the time you have for family, friends and loved ones. If this is to be an important part of your life, retirement allows you to schedule more time with others who don't live the same flexible lifestyle.

I realized that I may be around for as many years as I spent in my career - almost 30 yrs, so the next 30 will be devoted to a variety of pursuits, interests and activities that keep me productive, happy and mentally stimulated - all of my own choosing. I'm sure that the specifics may change over the years, but the basis will remain what retirement has come to mean to me - life choices from a very large menu.
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