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What is Retirement?

As a kid, my idea of retirement consisted of visiting with family and friends while sitting contentedly on the porch swing watching the seasons change. After all, that was the life that my grandparents had lived. As an adult, the idea of retirement developed into that magical and long awaited period in life when I could travel to far flung corners of the world, read all those classics that I had eventually planned to get to, and one by one, check off all of the items on my bucket list. My wife and I started to wonder if there would be enough time to do all of the things that we wanted to do. Was there a better way? Could it be possible to be productive WHILE doing something that I enjoyed? Was there a way to reduce our expenses without sacrificing too many of the things that were important to us. More importantly, could we generate enough income to support ourselves without having a 9 – 5 job? I began to read everything I could get my hands on related to personal finance and investing, early retirement, and alternative ways of producing income. I was inspired by reading the accounts of others who were already doing what I was hoping to do. Gradually, a plan began to emerge that would allow us to leave our jobs and start a new life. The first step was to figure out our "magic number," the amount of money we needed to have invested to walk away from our jobs.

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