I have had many numbers in mind... I blew right through the first several markers, each time re-evaluating and deciding to continue striving. Some of the early numbers would seem very embarrassing now. But in my defense, ERE was not on my mind as much as being free to experiment, learn and have adventures again. Being able to do that indefinitely became the ultimate goal.
After several years of savings and smarter living, the crash came and the raises stopped. When my portfolio's fluctuations and performance dwarf potential savings I began to question the quest for "the number" -point of diminishing returns.
So I resolved to focus on increasing returns and income streams because the never have to work or worry again 3% drawdown 'number' was approaching far less rapidly than when I was starting.
My goals for early retirement (as in the early time of retirement) are:
*to earn enough through income streams to not drawdown my portfolio at all.
*find and pursue income streams that are less oppressive than FT employment.
*continue to find ways to increase returns (so far focusing on rental properties and options sales [mostly on core holdings])
*emotional reason: recapture all I feel I missed out on, during the period of "sacrifice."
Too tired/busy to run the numbers right now, but it would be nice to add years where you do not withdraw to the drawdown formula... The way I see it, working PT on exciting new jobs for 5 years (not withdrawing), might be a better idea than working that 9/5 for another 2 years and then not working at all.
These will be my fun drifter years, all the experience yet none of the desperation!
I think finding an ERE spouse that I am compatible with is unlikely. Should I decide to have children, something I think I will do eventually, I think I'll be looking for one of those 'love to work/love my job' people! I can provide everything but health insurance.
EDIT: looks like many here, including myself, are currently evaluating where to locate their homestead... We should get an analysis thread going! ;)