You can withdraw without penalty using 72T, as you say. You are then committed to continue to do it for a period of 5 years. But, did you notice that you have several choices? The one I like is using the single life expectancy table:
At 53, your expected remaining life (so sayeth the IRS) is 31.4 years. Assuming you have exactly $1,000,000 then, you could arrange to have 1/31.4 * $1,000,000 = $31,847 taken out the last day of Dec of the previous year. Vanguard (for example) will do this automatically for you, either as one payment or 1/12 of it every month.
Let's say that the balance grows at 4%. So, ($1,000,000 - $31,847) = $968, 953 becomes $1,006,879 by the end of the next Dec.
The next year you will be 54 and your factor is 30.5. Your next withdrawall would be 1/30.5 * $1,006,879 = $33,012. And so forth.
At 4%, you should be starting with more like $1,081,600 in two years, so it gets a little better. With better growth, your annual withdrawal will be even better--most of the time.
Now, if you started today at 51, your factor would be 1/33.3, so your first annual withdrawal would be 1/33.3 * $1MM = $30,030. See, you could start TODAY!
And, as Al said, if you experience an embarassment of riches (eventually, at age age 61, when it becomes 1/24.4 = 4.1% by the above table, you will be taking out larger chunks of the pot than 4% as the years go by), you could save some instead of spending it.
If I were in this situation (sadly, not), I would go for it and find a part-time job to my liking to keep me busy until I want to take SS. After 62.5, you can access any amount you want without penalty (gotta pay taxes as income, though!), whereupon you could bring a chunk or several chunks, out putting it into something that produces more capital gains (taxed at a lower rate) than income. After this exercise, then start taking SS so that you avoid very high marginal taxes that hit you when you have income at the same time you are taking SS. Scott Burns wrote about this.
How does this sound to the crowd?