That comforted me. Fast forward, and--though no raises in all that time--we are still working and our equity portions have, as they say, recovered. Also we now have a combined age of 124, rather than a combined age of 110. Our life expectancy has--perforce--gone down. So a fairly humble retirement probably looms, but not as humble as it looked in 2008-09.
The people who post on Firecalc are either eager to retire ASAP or ecstatic to have done so. Many seem to be or have been highly paid folks in IT, engineering, and so on. Some even had a stock option windfall. WORK is a dirty word on the site and is humorously typed as w*rk.
Then, while goofing around recently, I read some blogs that I don't usually visit. A common theme was the lack of structure and meaning in retirement. And that is precisely why I keep working: not just because of the structure and meaning (teaching is meaningful work however you slice it), but because of the goofing around.
I should mention that because of serious budget issues (Great Recession again), there are no classes on Friday--to save on energy. Hence our schedule. We teach two VERY LONG DAYS a week, and can then do the rest of our work at home. And, since we don't teach in the summer (we are FRUGAL), we have a lot of flexibility there too. I think if we were working 50 weeks a year, 5 days a week, I would be longing to retire.
Another thing: teaching is like a mortgage. When I began, I was always in a panic. I would read twenty articles to figure out how to teach a little sonnet. Now I know how to teach many, many things. And teaching new things is not an occasion for so much anxiety. The time I spent in preparation a long time ago has "paid off" after all these years.
So why keep working? If I retired, I would have to find meaningful pastimes. Every day. I would goof around too much. I would feel guilty.
As it is, the meaning and purpose are taken care of by my job. In between tasks, I can goof around without (too much) guilt. I can even write a blog post.