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How many people you know retired early?
Old 03-25-2011, 08:43 PM   #1
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How many people you know retired early?

How many people you know retired early?

The concurrent threads about the cost of living compared to what most people can save makes me wonder if early retirement, indeed just plain retirement, is within reach of only a small percentage of population.

Though I am still working part-time, I can do without the income if I need to. Besides, I often enjoy my work. So, I can count myself among the lucky ones to be able to quit work in my 50s. Yes, we have been frugal, but have had decent income, plus the tail wind of the 1980-2000 bull market behind our back. Still, I do not know of anyone else who retired early.

My parents retired in their mid 60s. Not early. They had a small state pension, which would not be enough without SS. So, they waited for SS eligibility. Plus, there was no way they could do without Medicare.

The husband of my sister retired in his mid 50s. But even though he has a 401k of nearly $2M (due to "going for broke" when his megacorp was near bankruptcy, which then recovered), my sister is still working in order to have health insurance, though they would not need the income. They have not shopped for insurance, but I suspect if they could get it at all, it would be very expensive due to existing conditions.

One of my sisters-in-law quit her megacorp in disgust, similarly to what my wife did. Her husband is in his 70s, drawing SS. They are frugal, and own their home. However, she is under 65, and still working part-time in order to make money to pay her health insurance.

Last month, I met a cousin of my father-in-law when they came into town to visit him. A nice couple, they were in their late 70s, approaching 80. They both worked until they were 70. They frankly admitted that they needed the income, as SS would not be enough. Good grief! It made me feel bad, when they asked what we did ("Er, we were just goofing around!").

Are we a fortunate anomaly or what?
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Old 03-25-2011, 08:57 PM   #2
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For the purpose of answering your question, i'll assume early retirement is anytime before age 62. I only know 3 people who retired early and they all had state pensions. None of my co-workers seem to think it's even possible to retire before being eligible for SS.
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Old 03-25-2011, 08:58 PM   #3
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In Michigan there are many early retirees from the auto industry, but beyond that it seems uncommon for anyone without a pension.
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Old 03-25-2011, 09:08 PM   #4
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No one personally except for an uncle (who was a doctor), he "retired" in his late 40s, but his wife (my aunt), had and still has a major illness. From what I have heard, they are barely getting by in their early 60s, so they basically have almost failed ER. Besides the illness they have had a long habit of spending beyond their means.
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Old 03-25-2011, 09:10 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travelover View Post
In Michigan there are many early retirees from the auto industry, but beyond that it seems uncommon for anyone without a pension.
And the automotive early retirees in Michigan include both union and salaried employees.

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Old 03-25-2011, 09:53 PM   #6
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BIL - retired union carpenter at age 52
Friend - retired Caterpillar (union) worker at 53
Friend - retired union electrician at 55
Former coworker - retired municipal worker (union) at 55
SIL - retired from AT&T at 52, but has since gone back to work

All of these people received incentives to retire early (locked in pensions, health care, etc)
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Old 03-25-2011, 10:11 PM   #7
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I don't know anyone who retired early, nor myself, either. It never even occurred to me to try to retire early, since I didn't know it was feasible, and anyhow, I enjoyed my work.
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Old 03-25-2011, 10:46 PM   #8
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I don't know anyone that retired early except folks with pensons and health ins..
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:06 PM   #9
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I know of a few people but not too many. I am still working but only part time. I know of others that have gone the part time route or sold their business and then worked for others for a short period. I know of a few people that became disabled and had to stop working.
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:34 PM   #10
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I retired early, but none of my friends have including my GF. I work part time,though because I enjoy working since now I don't have too. Have worked since I was 14 so I will continue because it gives me some needed structure. Without a pension it would not be possible. Taking a gamble on health insurance, 17 years from Medicare and have to pay for mine.
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:53 PM   #11
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Aside from those on this board, I am only aware of a friend of my sister whose husband cashed out of the dot-com business.

I do know several people who managed to retire before they died. I doubt if I will be one of them.
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Old 03-26-2011, 12:01 AM   #12
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One of my uncles retired at 55 (government pension). And that is it.
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Old 03-26-2011, 01:19 AM   #13
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One friend moved to Seattle about 20 years ago to work for MSFT and was able to retire in his late 40's a few years ago by cashing out his options.
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Old 03-26-2011, 01:27 AM   #14
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I know at least a few dozen, from both the private and public sectors. At least 3 of them ER'd from Caterpillar, another 4 or 5 from local industries, a few from the Dept. of Corrections, one from the railroad (and another one who will be pulling the plug soon), 3 or 4 firefighters, at least a half dozen cops, and about 18 other assorted municipal employees (including myself of course!). Most all of them were between 50 and 57 when they jumped ship...one was in his early 40's, and 2 or 3 were close to 60.

Most have pensions, though a few don't.

A very small minority of them...probably less than 10....took on part-time jobs after their ER. And only a couple took on full-time jobs.
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Old 03-26-2011, 01:57 AM   #15
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I know a male county worker, two female city workers, and an old friend who retired from P&G. My brother retired early, but he and his wife were not FI, he just let his wife take over money making, and for reasons I never could fathom she didn't dump him. He was and is a good, careful investor. I know a doctor who retired early, but mainly because he had important health issues that affected his ability to work.

No one else.

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Old 03-26-2011, 04:24 AM   #16
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I have a couple work colleagues who have retired early. All due to software startup money.
Most of them RE-ed recently at my age late forties / early fifties.
One person was an early microsoft employee who retired at 35-ish more than 10 years back.

I'm getting pretty close to pulling the plug myself. I'm somewhere between the
'just one more year' and 'just one more month' stages at this point ..
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Old 03-26-2011, 04:40 AM   #17
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I know 7 relatives of my parents' generation who retired between 55 and 60. DW's BIL RE'ed at 55 and her sister will RE next year at 60 (she works 3 days a week and is still hoping for a 'package', they don't need her income).

I personally know at least a dozen from my old company that retired 55 - 60, and a couple of others at age 54.

I know a few folks from the YMCA where we hang out that RE'ed before 62.

I believe all of the above have pension(s), like myself. I don't personally know of anyone who RE'd without some sort of a pension.
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Old 03-26-2011, 05:02 AM   #18
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only family, all with municipal pensions/healthcare. for some reason all the folks I know in hi-tech, who have plenty of $$$, keep on w*rking.
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Old 03-26-2011, 06:51 AM   #19
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I only know two people who retired before age 62 (my definition of early). One a co-worker at age 61, not hard to bridge a year to Soc Sec which he took at 62. The other my father at age 60, forced out of the military though with max COLA'd pension and govt retiree healthcare (IOW, about as SIRE as possible).

One look at the Class of 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 threads here demonstrates how apart from the mainstream this forum is (a plus IMO).

I am going at barely 57 with no pension or healthcare, all FIRE. I am told that the people I work with will be shocked, we'll see, but I really don't much care what they think...amusing at best.
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Old 03-26-2011, 06:56 AM   #20
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Three out of 100 of my former company's local I.T. department retired before age 62, and without a pension (e.g. retired on their investments). I was lucky enough to be one of the three.

BTW, two years after I left, the local operation was merged into another (in another state). Many of those who were older either were not asked to transfer, or asked but refused rather than pick up their "roots" and transfer at a later age. I'm sure many of those consider themselves retired at this point...
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