Retirement Age: 53
Residence: Los Gatos, Calif.
Career: Tech company CEO"I don't like the word 'retired.' Saying 'retired' is like looking in the rearview mirror. The reality is, I do a little bit of everything. I had an unconventional career path. I started as a journalist, did corporate public relations, investor relations, became head of marketing for a chip company, ran two divisions and finally was CEO of a startup chip company called Siliquent. I left in 2004, and the company was sold a year later to Broadcom.
"I always thought I would retire at 59, when my last child was out of college. But I started filling my calendar with nonwork things, and the job opportunities that did come up were not exciting. I gravitated into thinking, 'What else can I do?'
"I wanted to give back to my community. I am now a board member of the Santa Clara Valley Red Cross and the San Jose Jewish Film Festival, and I am a member of a county advisory bicycle and pedestrian commission. I also had the opportunity to manage a shelter in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
"I'm not someone who hit the Silicon Valley jackpot, so I can't say I don't think about money. I wake up and there are bills to pay, a daughter to support in college, and unforeseen expenses as well. But we have squared it away with an income stream from savings and investments; I also do some management consulting on a part-time basis.
"I am not on a gravy train. But my stress level is lower. These are trade-offs. My wife would have liked me to stop working even sooner. She encourages me to march to my own drum. And my kids were like, 'Hey, Dad, go for it.'
"No matter how much money you have, you can't buy time. I have a year-old granddaughter, Leora. I didn't think I would be one of those doting grandparents, but I was smitten the first moment I saw her. I can't get enough of her. People ask me, 'What did you do all day?' I've met people, may have done some consulting, gone biking, seen my kids, had coffee with my wife. The day seems to go by. And I ask myself, 'What didn't I do today?'"