I was just referred to this forum by Cody-Girl (Thanks Cody-Girl!!). I'm married with no kids, one dog. I'm 50 and still working, but have been interested in ER for about 10 years now. Unfortunately I did absolutely nothing about saving for retirement until I was 40, so will most likely be working another 5 years (max). Prior to age 40 I spent every nickel I earned and had a good time doing it. Had a little debt but not much other than my house. At 40 I "woke up" due to a divorce and a reading of the book "Your Money or Your Life" by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin.
As a teenager, I never really wanted to join the vast numbers of Americans with "traditional" jobs, but didn't see any other options (not that they weren't there, I just didn't see them). So I worked at various jobs, some paying pretty well, but they were pure drudgery. At 30 I decided I needed more than a high school diploma, so returned to college and got a degree. Since then I've been working in the computer field, and although I like computers, I have never come to grips with the traditional 40-hour work week. Freedom from schedules, meetings, recurring yard maintenance, etc., has always been in my dreams.
At 40 I drastically reduced my expenses by moving to my houseboat and selling my house, and many other belongings. I lived there 6 years, saving frantically (but never feeling deprived - quite the contrary, it was fantastic!). I got married again and the new wife wanted to live on the land (although she endured the boat for 2 years, to her credit). So the expenses now are more than they were, but we always live way below our means and still save and invest quite a bit.
In the midst of the bull market, I was certain I'd leave the rat race at age 50. Well that didn't happen, but considering I started from scratch a mere 10 years ago, I guess going at 55 isn't too bad. I say 55 is the max because at that time we'll have a decent pension from my job, income from two rental properties that should be paid off by then, most of our medical insurance covered and deferred comp money still untouched. We won't have anything near a million dollars, but we won't need that either. We can live very inexpensively, and I am not the type to feel deprived by that. As long as I've got my time to myself, I'm rich.
Anyway, I'm very glad to have found this forum, as there don't seem to be too many out there that are dedicated to ER. Glad to be here....