Jill Olkoski, 49, Edmonds, Wash.
Works as: Website designer
Aiming to retire in: 2018
Olkoski learned the value of living below one's means from her parents. "My father and mother were Depression-era folks, so saving was always really important," she says.
Thanks to her financial discipline -- saving an average 30% of her salary per year during a two-decade engineering career at Motorola -- she's on track to retire from full-time work in her 50s.
Trimming housing expenses. Two years ago, Olkoski moved from Seattle to Edmonds, which is just 12 miles north. She bought a slightly smaller home for half the price, getting rid of her mortgage in the process.
That also cut her property taxes by 50% and reduced her maintenance, insurance and utility expenses. "You don't have to move far away from where you live to lower your costs," says Olkoski.
As a result of the move, she's also cut her retirement income needs, preserving the longevity of her portfolio.
Planning for health care needs. Olkoski, who started a home-based website-design business in 2006, plans to continue working at it part time in retirement. Besides providing income, this will enable her to claim a tax break on health insurance until she qualifies for Medicare.
Olkoski also plans to buy long-term care insurance. "I'm single and I want to make sure I'm taken care of if I can't care for myself," says Olkoski.
Once you're within 10 years of your quit date, you've already faced down some tough challenges. But you'll still have to navigate tricky waters in the final leg of your career. Here's Money magazine's guide.