I have to admit that I'm somewhat surprised to be here. For 32.5 years, since graduating from college, I've worked for the same MegaCorp (although the name has changed). In the back of my mind, I had aimed to RE after 35 years, maybe later if I was enjoying the work. DW and I have always LBOM, using the unspent $ to save for retirement primarily through regular contributions to my 401(k), diversified mostly in equity MF, with some additional contributions to a spousal IRA. In recent years, we have accumulated quite a bit of cash as well. Retirement portfolio would be supplemented by DB pension (which went away a few years ago for new hires, but thankfully was not terminated or frozen for existing employees as long as they stayed with the company). We have no debt other than mortgage which will be paid off in 2.5 years.
Earlier this year, due to changes in my work situation and family life, I begin to evaluate the option of an earlier exit. Like anyone in these times who is contemplating imminent retirement, I turned to the Web as a resource for research on the feasibility of RE. Initially, I was looking for good retirement calculators. The search led me to FIRECalc which eventually led me to this forum. I've been lurking about for a few months and have picked up a lot of good information on retirement planning and recommended resources.
As a result of my research, I prepared a detail estimate of expected expenses during retirement extrapolating from annual expenses for last 5 years. [I've use Quicken for 20+ years to track all my income, spending, investments, etc. So it was easy to generate a report with detail data to work from.] I then estimated retirement income using a <4% SWR from retirement portfolio + DB pension + eventual SS for spouse and myself. Then I used FIRECalc, other calculators, and my spreadsheets to run various scenarios to ensure that we would not outlive the money. All this calculating showed that as soon as I turned 55 this past Halloween and became eligible for early pension, I have been WORKING FOR FREE! [My post-retirement income would currently exceed my pre-retirement expenses.] This revelation was a tipping point for me. Knowing that I can retire -right now- has colored my world. I don't hate my job, but over the last few weeks I've begun to resent it. I have taken this as a sign that it is time to go.
My current plan is to RE in mid-2011 after youngest child completes graduate degree, and hopefully, this time, is able to find a job. [Actually, I hope the MegaCorp will let me volunteer for layoff during the next year, so I can collect on a hefty severance. MegaCorp has laid off more the 10K employees in last 2 years, so it could happen. Part of the change in work situation referenced earlier.] Meanwhile, I look forward to conversing with other members of the class of 2011 as well as the upperclassmen, underclassmen, and alumni.