For me, the trigger was the untimely death of a co-worker. He was much younger than me, in great physical shape, and one of the best people you could ever meet. He was diagnosed with melanoma just before Christmas 2008 and passed away Jan 2010. His passing, and the firestorm of unpleasant duties at work in late 2008 through 2009 caused me to start researching retirement finances. I'd been saving and investing all my life but had loved my job and had no intention of retiring so hadn't really looked at the finances. I was surprised to find that I could retire in late 2009 after I was fully vested in my pension. I waited 6 months after I decided for financial reasons. This was frustrating. The waiting period finally ended & one of the best day of my life was the one when my boss came to me and told me to start working on next year's budget & I told him: "No, I'm going to retire."