We have been asked that question numerous times because although hubby is retirement age, I am a couple of decades away from traditional retirement age. So when people see me and hubby always together they often wonder why I don't work and, more importantly, how we can both be retired.
I came across this video today from a guy who, with is wife, spends nearly all of his time hiking long trails. Since they are both young, everyone wants to know how they can afford such a lifestyle when "normal" people work full time jobs for several decades before they can retire.
It comes down to lifestyle choices. If we wanted to keep our previous lifestyle of a big house in a high cost of living area with two brand new cars in the driveway, a dozen maxed out credit cards, shopping at the mall daily, weekly mani/pedis, and buying everything we see just to keep up with our friends and co-workers, well, we would both be working until we die.
Nearly a decade ago, however, we found Dave Ramsey and decided to totally change our lifestyle and everything that went along with it. We got out of debt, moved to a low cost of living area, bought a practically new house at nearly the bottom of the housing market at a cost of around one third of what we were pre-approved for through our mortgage company, shared one paid off car, stopped shopping anywhere but at the Goodwill, and basically gave up "keeping up with the Joneses".
We also had several things working in our favor, namely hubby's pension which saw us through the early years of our lifestyle change then later hubby's social security. We are both covered by free (hubby) and super low cost (me) military health insurance. We don't pay retail for anything. We have been debt free except for the house and recently my one credit card which I am working diligently to pay off. I decided to buy a new car because our old car was nearing twenty years old (and I figured it made more sense to buy one while I was still able to work if need be to pay it off) for which we got at a great price for a highly rated car that should last (hopefully) for a couple more decades.
I have been fortunate to have had several sources of extra income throughout the last decade which has helped to buy nice extras (and is currently paying off the car) but much of our lifestyle has come down to making significant lifestyle changes and buying as little as possible. When we do buy things we wait until the price of said item is highly discounted and then we pay cash for it.
So that's our story and living within (or well below) your means is a common thread for a lot of people who have embraced a frugal lifestyle from Amy Daczyczn to the Cash Cow Couple to several other people.