One of the things I learned during my recent vacation in Florida is that I will have no problem retiring. This year we saw the high profile deaths of people like Andy Rooney and Joe Paterno--who worked into their eighties--mostly out of fear that if they didn't work, they would die. That certainly won't be a problem for me.
Everything my wife and I are doing with our Dave Ramsey Financial Peace plan is geared toward bringing that retirement date as soon as possible. It's nice to get to experience the "retired life" in a small segment right now just re-inforces the confidence we have in making the decisions to put 15% of our pre-tax income toward our 401ks and Roth IRAs, to pay off our house early so that we increase our retirement savings even more after that and to avoid all of the other forms of debt so that we can truly "live like no one else" later on. Believe me, sometimes you see the performance car ads on TV and you think "Hey, I can afford that monthly payment"--but just looking out the window at the cold and snow (until this week) makes those thoughts go away.
We stayed with my parents on our trip. They are in one of those gated communities with all of the amenities: a golf course, two pools, a restaurant, an activity hall and clubs for pretty much any interest you might have. My aunt and uncle live in The Villages--you may remember their ads on TV a few years ago. That place is even more over the top. Nobody drives a car--it's all golf carts--some of which have been customized to the tune of 30-thousand dollars. You never have to leave that place for anything--as they have department stores, groceries, restaurants, bars, salons, gyms and about 50-golf courses on site. However, the one thing I did notice about these communities: they tend to be a bit--shall we say--homogenous in their populations. Plus, there are a lot of obnoxious Yankee fans down there.
Nonetheless, I hit 40 this summer--and I think on that day I will start posting the "retirement countdown clock". It might be a big number now--but it's alarm doesn't go off at 2:30 AM like my current "work clock" does.