Interesting topic. I was in the same boat, I was never sure if I was managing well between having good life and saving enough to achieve financial independence.
My definition for good life is travel very often and go to restaurants. Of course this is not what one should do very often when focusing in achieve financial independence as fast as possible.
To satisfy my will of travelling and save money I decided to move to another country. I think it was good decision once I'm now in the center of Europe, 80 miles away from French, German, Austrian and Italian border, every two weekends I do a roadtrip and during the Winter it's even better because I have a good ski resort 20 miles away from home. Salaries in Switzerland are much higher than in the rest of Europe, this gives me a huge purchasing power advantage. A two days roadtrip in France including hotel and fuel would never cost me more than 5% of my monthly salary (of course I share expenses with my mate). The funny part is that I have a crappy job and my salary is low comparing to Swiss average. So, all I do is taking advantage of divergences in Europe.
I'm 23 and I have been saving 25k CHF (close to 25K USD) annually since 21. I don't want to retire, I'm sure I would feel useful, but I'm totally focused in achieving financial independence. What's for? I would like to have a degree in my area of interest, a pleasant job and the freedom to quit when it starts boring me. Also, during my professional life I would like to do short-term retirements and use my precious time in things I would never do if I had to work hard every day. One year retirement during my 30's to live in South Korea and learn Taekwondo sounds great to me. If I have purchasing power advantage for living in Switzerland comparable to rest of Europe, I would be an extremely wealthy guy in South Korea. Switzerland and US are comparable in terms of average purchasing power.
For now my plan is to keep saving the most I can, then in one or two years start my degree while working in part-time, roughly I plan to withdraw nothing before 200k portfolio. Planning thereafter is like forecasting, life is a roller caster.
I think nobody should wait until 65 to start having fun. Never! In my view, people should live in the most dynamic and enjoyable way while keeping the costs low. Anyone can take advantage of globalization.
For redefining lifestyle I recommend "the" book: The 4-Hour Workweek
Doesn't matter how old you are, it's a life changing read. It was much more important for my happiness than any Bogle's book.
What wikipedia have to say:
In the book Ferriss uses the acronym DEAL for the four main chapters. It stands for: Definition, Elimination, Automation, and Liberation.
Definition means to figure out what a person wants, get over fears, see past society's "expectations," and figure out what it will really cost to get where a person wants to go.
Elimination is about time management, or rather about not managing time. This is achieved by applying the 'Pareto principle' or '80-20 Rule' (80% of your benefits come from 20% of your efforts) to focus only on those tasks that contribute the majority of benefit, and using Parkinson's Law (work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion) to limit the amount of actual time spent working. There's a difference, Ferriss says, between efficiency and effectiveness. The book's emphasis is on effectiveness.
Automation is about building a sustainable, automatic source of income. This includes techniques such as drop-shipping, automation, Google Adwords and Adsense, and outsourcing.
Liberation is dedicated to the successful automation of one's lifestyle and the liberation from a geographical location and job. Incidentally, Ferriss notes that if somebody has a regular job, the order of steps will be DELA, not DEAL.