Ooooh, good question! Looking at my own 'reality'. I'm working the 'job-to-die-for', highly creative, fun, envelope-pushing, VERY well paid creative job that I CAN'T BELIEVE THEIR PAYING ME TO DO!!!!!. BUT.....1) I commute between two major cities by air, 2) only see my DH every OTHER weekend, 3) the lifestyle that I love is NOT where I work (we own an historic plantation complete with livestock and a very large historic house and I live in a small anticeptic basement apartment during the week in my jobs' city.) After a year and a half of this my 'magic number' now is a 'retirement' job -- retiring redefined into working a job that is stimulatng making much less money but allows me to live with my DH in the lifestyle--old house owners--that we enjoy TOGETHER a LOT earlier than 'retirement-retirement' where we don't have to work at all. In reality neither of us consider 'not working' a primary component of our retirement. Being creative in our jobs (which includes taking risk which can't be done if one HAS to work!) is KEY.Even at a lower salary, we are such LBYM folks that the lower salary won't cramp our style (our plantation is almost paid for and the value has quadupled). It will just allow us to be MORE creative in our ability to support our lifestyle. Life BEGINS after 50! But if you want life to begin after X, I say GO FOR IT!
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