A fair number of people ask, "How did you know you had enough savings to retire?" Here's our short answer:
During our entire careers, my husband and I both worked in the IT industry and often for the same company. That's a risk. And after he was laid off in 2001, things felt even riskier. That probably caused us to be better savers than we might have been otherwise. The possibility of being laid off felt like a constant threat from that point forward.
In late 2014, business conditions and things I was hearing at work made me feel especially vulnerable. I asked my husband, who manages our investments, if I'd need to get another job if I lost my current one. We were both pretty happy with the jobs we had, and at 52 and 53 we hadn't really been thinking about retirement.
He asked, "How much money do you think we need every month ... for the rest of our lives?" (He manages the investments, and I manage the cash flow.) I threw out a number that pretty much aligned with our current spending rate and then assurred him I was capable of spending more. (I knew I could spend less too, but that wasn't my preference.)
Three months later he gave me an answer: "We could retire right now!" In hindsight, he figures he built the mother of all spreadsheets that pretty much replicated the tools you can find online. If you're asking yourself the same question, your time will probably be better spent finding a tool rather than building one yourself.
The answer to my question changed everything; suddenly we were truly working for fun. I lasted another two years and he lasted another three. We retired at 54 and 55; and so far, so good. We have found that a lot of the things we're enjoying most don't take a whole lot of money, but we think it's possible that may change over time.
But as of right now, no regrets. In fact, we're having the time of of our lives.