Money doesn't simply appear. If you want to build enough wealth to retire early, you have to have a clear goal and a specific plan.
Start by thinking about your future lifestyle and what it might cost, say the McCurrys. Do you plan on traveling a lot, or buying a vacation home? Do you want to give money to family members?
Next, project how your spending will change in retirement. "You will spend less in some categories, like commuting, and will probably spend more in other categories, like entertainment, recreation and travel," the couple says.
Finally, set your retirement budget, which will help you determine exactly how big your portfolio needs to be to last through your golden years. Once you have your "magic number," you can calculate how much you need to set aside each month to reach your goal.