Informal Survey of How People ER
I've lurked these boards for about a month or so, and it seems that there are several ways people ER. This is a very informal survey, please add any observations you may have.
Definitions: Ultra Early Retirement - retire before 30
Extremely Early Retirement - retire before 40
Very Early Retirement - retire before 50
Early Retirement - retire before 55
It seems that almost no one UER's, unless they inherited money or perhaps a few people got internet options and sold them and live very modestly afterwards. Almost impossible to plan for as a goal.
The people who EER (under 40), seem to go about it in a few ways. One, people retire abroad to Thailand or Panama, and live lifestyles very different from what most people in the US are accustomed to (for better or worse). My guess is that maybe 1/3rd of people who EER, chose this method (based on my quick impression of the posts here.) Rarely is this done with a family and children, although there are a few exceptions. My guess, maybe one third of EER's do it this way. Two, some people start their working lives always intending to EER, and always LBYM and then usually sell an appreciated house to live in a low-cost of living part of the US (Texas, NM, Montana, etc.). Again, this is frequently done without the cost of children. It seems that people who have middle-class incomes and start at 22 with this intention, frequenly succeed. Again, only a guess, but maybe 30-50% of EERs seem to do it this way. There may also be some investment bankers, stock option millionaires etc. who do this, but I have not seen many posts from them, so can't put numbers on this. Many such peope also spend a lot, and don't have EER as a personal goal.
VERs seem like EER's, but with higher income needs to make them happy in retirement. There are more couples with children here, retiring in the US. One of the easiest ways to VER, seems to be to have a 20 year police or teaching pension (with health care) and then learn to budget carefully. It seems very difficult to VER with a normal middle class job, and a family, and to retire in the US. The most common ways seem to include selling a highly appreciated house and moving somewhere cheaper, or getting a government pension with healthcare.
ER seems easiest with a government pension and health insurance. I suspect that over half of the ER's and younger do it this way.
These are my impressions. I wonder if anyone else has put down the percentages of people who retire sub-40, sub-50 and sub-55, and the method (retire abroad, government pension with healthcare, LBYM and save with a regular job, get a big chunk of stock option money or sell a business, sell a city house and move somewhere cheaper in the US). I'd be interested in seeing the percentages and people's impressions.