Don't know about being able to teach folk a thing or two - you seem to have some pretty 'clued-up' posters on these forums who are dealing to that!
I know that working towards early retirement was one of the better things I've done - requirements differ, but I guess I'm lucky in that my lifestyle doesn't syphon a lot of cash, so I could make the decision to retire with maybe less money than some would have wanted or think
I know one thing though - you really need an interest/goal of some sort after you retire, so in fact you're not really 'retiring' just shifting priority to what occupies your day!
(From your comment Helen, looks like there could be an opening somewhere for starting up a Stalker/Stalkee retirement business - 'Stalkees R us'* We use GPS tracked zimmer frames)***
There'll be many variables between the US and NZ, but I know that one of the major factors enabling me to contemplate early retirement, was the fact that I worked towards owning my own paid off house. (even if it is a small one!)
I know it still requires finding insurance/council rates, but they amount to nowhere near what a typical rent would be, and if any maintenance is needed, I can do most things myself anyhow.