'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.

Made a mid-course correction

early retirement gunderson
  • Name: Gundy and Karen Gunderson
  • Hometown: Henderson, Nev.
  • Retired at: 60 and 61

When Gundy and Karen Gunderson retired in 2007, the Seattle couple bought a home in a gated country-club community in Las Vegas. But they were surprised at how quickly the costs added up.

Gundy, 66, a former commercial airline pilot, and Karen, 67, a homemaker, estimate they were spending $1,000 a month on dues for the private golf course, tennis and fitness classes, the club's restaurant minimum, and maintenance on their pool and lawn.

"We ran the numbers and knew we had to make an adjustment if we wanted our money to last," says Gundy.

Related: How much will I need for retirement?

So this year they downsized a second time, to a Henderson, Nev., retirement community overlooking two public golf courses. Now all they pay is a $93 monthly association fee.

The only thing they miss? "Our friends across the street," says Karen.

  @Money - Last updated November 04 2013 11:19 AM ET
Retirement Guide 2014
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