I am 58 years old. I entered government service (military) at the age of 18 and retired at the age of 43. I started retirement planning soon as I started my career.

Along the way I contributed the maximum to an IRA (there was no 401k/457 offered). I saved money, living frugally in housing that did not exceed my housing allowance - yet enjoyed life. Those years of overseas isolated tours of duty (called bankroll tours by some) boosted the savings potential even more. I have only owned 4 cars in my entire life, and didn't even own a car for first five years on active duty.

I drove an old vehicle and was teased a lot about it. I did not care. I told everyone that instead of making car payments, I was putting that money into my retirement fund so when I did decide to retire I would never have to work again. I was also single with no children during most of my career - so retirement planning was done under my own steam - no fighting about anything with a spouse.

I just built a brand new custom home for myself, my spouse and my sister and her son (who reside with us) and paid for the land and structure in cash. I have always lived, literally, debt free. No credit card debt, few car payments along the way and used dollar cost averaging for the long haul financial retirement plan.

I realize that I am fortunate to have chosen a line of work that had a pension and healthcare benefits. I am also very healthy. I paid fully into social security throughout my career so that will be available when I meet the age requirements.

It takes discipline and skill to craft a retirement plan. It is not easy but in fact actually pretty boring - but if you start early, get into the habit of saving every month you can reap the rewards of those efforts when you get older.

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