Perhaps out just frustration or madness I played a little game with myself today. Could I pull the plug and retire today?
The short answer is not really. You see even if I liquidated my assets and moved to a small town in Saskatchewan where I could buy a house for under $50,000 I would still only have about $150,000 left over as a nest egg, which would spin off about $500/month (using the 4% rule). So even to live a very basic lifestyle, both my wife and I would have to have some part time work to cover the significant short fall.
Yet it does bring up an issue I think most people miss in retirement planning. You can really leave any time you like, you just have to face the lifestyle that you could afford at that time (which when your really young is living on the street).
For example, if you think you need $30,000 a year to live in retirement and you just get so frustrated at your job that you quit and can’t find another. Could you live with $25,000 a year? If so, could you do it with some part time work to cover the extras? Basically what is your true minimum you need to live your basic lifestyle and what was your assumed minimum number to live when you did your calculations for retirement.
Retirement to many is a game of numbers, I think perhaps we get too focused on the numbers that we forget that with some creative planning we can tell the numbers to shove it and move on to a different lifestyle which might suit us better.