To some people, their idea of retirement is traveling the world, playing golf, etc. For me, it is the option of getting out of the rat race with my family being provided for still. It means being able to serve with Habitat for Humanity for 3 months if I choose to do so, teaching my children at home, growing a beautiful garden, reading, talking with people.
Here's a short list of the time line I'm looking at:
Age 28 - Where I'm at right now.
Age 29 - Pay off Credit Card and Misc Debts, only student loans and mortgage remaining
Age 30 - $10K Emergency Fund & $10K IRA
Age 33 - Student loans paid off, leaving mortgage remaining
Age 37 - Mortgage Paid Off, Tons of Cash going to IRA & other Investments
Age 42 - $500K in various investments earning 10%.
The amounts and dates may change as we look into business opportunities along the way. If I just stay with programming and work at increasing salary by changing positions and increasing skills, these are where the estimates are landing. I know some may say to use the money that would go to paying off the student loans/mortgages to invest, but my home is a business of it's own generating gross income of $1300/month and I psychologically don't want to have those debts living in my life. Your mileage may vary.
My expense calculations looking at our existing numbers, excluding debt, would run us around $2500/month to retire today (health expenses included). With 3% inflation, those costs would be $3800 when we're 42. If rent continues with the 3% inflation, we'd be looking at $1500/month approximately on the conservative, meaning our investments would need to bring in $2300/month or $28K/yr. A $500K investment nest egg returning 6% would give us $30K/yr. I may still choose to work for brief periods of time doing consulting work, but it won't be required.
All of these calculations point to I would much rather have a lower standard of living and spend time with people not working than have a higher standard of living but keep working for 20+ more years.