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I will either retire in December, or on July 4th, 2015. I will be 55 years old in April of 2015.

Is that considered early?

I'd say so. My husband was working 12 hour days until he quit his job last year. He was 65 1/2 years old. He worked in financial services and started getting laid off at the age of 52. "employment at will" means that your employer can terminate you without cause. All they have to say is we are downsizing. That happened to hubby several times later in his career.
You are very fortunate to be able to retire at such an early age.
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