NEW YORK (MainStreet) — You've been talking about it for years, but when do you plan to finally retire? According to a recent Gallup poll, 60 is the average retirement age in the U.S., but that doesn't mean you can't dream of kicking off your retirement sooner.
TheStreet recently spoke with six people who managed to retire before entering their 60s. We asked them to share their journeys with us, including why they decided to retire early, how they became financially ready to retire and what they're up to these days. Here are their stories.
Name: Carol Roullard
Age at retirement: 57
Residence: Los Angeles area
"My husband and I had discussed retirement for many years and spent time planning how and what we would do in our retirement years. We both wanted to write books, travel, take pictures and basically have fun. I also had a special creative interest in becoming an artist. We planned to merge as many of our dreams into one and retire. We saved as much as possible, and fortunately we worked for companies which still had pensions.
"My husband retired a year before me. That last year was torturous. Each weekday morning I would get up early, shower, get dressed for work, pack my lunch and leave for my corporate IT job with my briefcase in my hand. Meanwhile, he sat in an overstuffed chair in his pajamas reading the newspaper with a cup of coffee in his hand. Life just did not seem fair that last year.
"But after one year, on the day I qualified at my company for retirement, I gave notice. I retired on a Friday and on the next Monday, my husband and I started on our first book together. It will be five years in July since I retired and we are working on our eighth and ninth books together. I also have a thriving fine art photography studio. We sometimes joke that we should get a regular job so we would have more free time."