'How I retired early'

Meet more than a dozen retirees who got a head start on their golden years -- and learn the secrets of how they did it.

Moved to a cheaper area

early retirement bill sheri pyle
  • Name: Sheri and Bill Pyle
  • Hometown: Henry, Tenn.
  • Retired at: 61 and 62

Weary of Chicago winters and 60-hour workweeks, Sheri and Bill Pyle dreamed of spending their days in warmer climes. She managed the accounting department for a food manufacturer; he worked at a family-owned heating and plumbing firm.

"We wanted to quit while we're still young enough to enjoy our lives and give back," says Sheri.

So they sold their three-bedroom Cape Cod outside Chicago for $185,000, paid cash for a $128,000 four-bedroom ranch in Tennessee, retired a home equity line and car loan, and added $30,000 to their savings.

Related: When can I retire?

And though their income is less than 40% of the $126,000 they used to earn, their cost of living is so low that they can get by on their Social Security. Their property taxes plummeted from $7,000 to $500 a year. Milder winters mean their heating bills are a third of what they used to pay.

"We could never have done it if we stayed in Chicago," says Sheri.

  @Money - Last updated November 04 2013 11:19 AM ET
Retirement Guide 2014
retirement guide sheri bill pyle

The fear of losing health insurance coverage has stopped many Americans from retiring early. With health-care reform, you can buy a comprehensive insurance policy regardless of your health status.

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