I'm not really sure if I am just so brilliant that I made this up, or if I actually read it somewhere and am now plagiarizing? Save like you'll live for 50 years in retirement but live like you only have six months to live. And I don't mean by spending 50 years of savings in six months!
If you only had six months to live, what would you do? Would you still go to work every day or would you spend more time with friends and family? Would you go buy stuff or would you spend your money on shared experiences instead? Would you enjoy the simple things in life or do you think you would still obsess because your Starbuck's latte isn't hot enough.
I'm thinking about this episode of "House" (or was it "Gray's Anatomy," now I can't remember), but the doctor told his patient that he had six months to live. Turns out the team misdiagnosed him and he was actually fine. When he found out about the error, the patient was really mad--he came back to the hospital ready to sue. They all thought he would be happy that he gets to live after all, but he was angry because he quit his job, sold his house, planned for travel, and basically started to enjoy his life. He was mad because, since now he had his whole life in front of him, he had to go back to being miserable. Well that's one approach, huh?
Now, I'm not suggesting that you run from your responsibilities or act impulsively. The point I'm trying to make is that if there are things you want to be doing, the time is now. I am quite aware that not everyone can afford to retire right now, of course. But that doesn't mean that you have to work yourself to death for the hope that sometime, in the future you can enjoy yourself. And if you do really have enough money to retire (yes, more is always better, but I'm talking about enough), wouldn't you just kick yourself if you kept on working and then kicked the bucket before you got a chance to do the things you wanted to do in life?
I'm not trying to be morbid, just float the idea that the time to live the life you want is now. And in terms of figuring out the right time to retire, I think Ernie Zelinski hit it on the head:
Retiring too early doesn't pose too serious a problem; you can always go back to full time work and give retirement another go sometime later. On the other hand, retiring too late means you don't get another chance to do it right. Put another way, if you put it off too long, upon your retirement you may find out that the best time to pursue your dreams and enjoy life to the fullest was twenty years ago."