Nice posts and and a great discussion to keep going.
Jim, only have a quick moment, but watned to answer your questions a bit: 1) I was able to maintain my position, kept income. Kris (my wife) and I can work remotely, with an internet connection and a little luck. 2) Regarding the $$ and returning, let me just explain why I say be financially prepared: It can get really expensive really fast. THings happen and the boat breaks. Just tying up to a slip right now can break the bank. But I also do not think there is a magic number... if there is such a thing. In a best case scenario, you can totally live off the interest and never have to return. That is where we would like to be (who wouldn't), but not there yet. In reality, that is not going to happen for most people. And I also remember some of the happiest days of my life were when we were in school and she and I litterally would search under the sofa cushions to scrape together enough change to buy a soft serve cone from McDonalds (that is no exhaggeration, at all, no lie). That was our night out. A lucky find in the parkinglot (head's up, of course) could be the beginning of an awesome weekend. Believe me, I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth!!
The money is not going to make you happier, it is the people you meet and the places you go that do that (including finding a bit of yourself inside too). However, a nice security net sure does make it a lot more relaxing and fun.
Hope that helps. Always enjoy hearing from you Jim. YOU KNOW that you and your family will get there, and that in itself must be reassuring in itself.
You are a good poster Jim and a nice contributor. Please excuse if this was a bit rushed... I am trying to finish up a book I have been working on for 2.5 years. Maybe with a little luck and the right connections, I can get a publisher to use it as a door stop! I am always the optimist.