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My DH and I have been doing this for several years. We're both in our mid-thirties, have no children, are basically debt-free, and own our home. We are technical writers who work about five months out of the year, if you added up all the time we work and compressed it into traditional work-weeks. The rest of the time, he plays jazz guitar and I spin/knit/quilt/sew. I am also working on building a side career in voice-overs.

DH quit a series of non-MLS library jobs to stay home and write, but I made a conscious choice to get off the career track. I am nearly done with my PhD, but chose to leave my assistantship and stop searching for academic jobs when we started to write. I am a workaholic in traditional work environments and bring far too much stress home with me, so it was both a health decision and a lifestyle decision.

We were self-supporting for a few years before my father died. Dad left us enough money to purchase our house free and clear, so we don't have a mortgage. Various insurances, routine monthly utilities, groceries, and taxes result in a monthly cost of living that's about $1200. We rarely need to buy clothes, make-up, shoes, or other cost-of-working items. We travel a lot, work on our "handyman's dream" house and garden, entertain, sock away the maximum in retirement accounts, give to charity, and basically enjoy our lives. We're far nicer and calmer people than we were when we worked every day; BostonSpouse commuted 75 miles each way, and I was working evenings and weekends for much of the year.

The best thing I can tell someone wanting to do this is that you CAN do it. Figure out what you're going to do about insurance, make sure you understand self-employment taxes, network your butt off, and learn new hobbies which don't have significant constant ongoing costs. The book Your Money Or Your Life describes the breakeven point when your investment income matches or exceeds your monthly costs of living, and that's really the key. Investing has provided a buffer in certain months when the income from work is slow or non-existent. It doesn't have to be much as long as you don't need much.

Are we retired? No. We're happily self-employed. It just looks like we're retired. ;-)
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