But that won't be FIRE, DH and I will be 53 when our youngest turns 18.
Why do you not consider that FIRE?
Sure you won't be a spry 35 year old... but for a GenX'er (I'm assuming), you are probably going to be amongst the youngest you know to retire... and probably more than 10 years before the rest of your generation.... I'd say as long as you aren't HATING life before then, 53 is still a pretty admirable age to retire.... it also depends on when you "discovered" MMM or the notion of early retirement.
If you weren't "enlightened" until you were in your late 30's, I don't think you should be hard on yourself nor compare yourself to 20 year olds who were fortunate enough to realize the path at a much younger age.
And 53? That's hopefully 30 more years without work!
Back to the topic... Our target FIRE year is 2026. My youngest will be 12. I'm personally not finding that my kids are inhibiting my path to FIRE, but they are still pretty young... I'm sure I'll hear comments about must-have summer camps, field trips, equestrian lessons, and away games that I'll have to keep up with when they get older :)
Barring a significant loss in income... and not knowing exactly what health care costs will be like...like many of you, my biggest concern is higher education costs for my kids.
Right now we are funneling more into the paying down our mortgage by 2026 - and I think that's really going to be what allows us to FIRE. If we don't have enough saved up for college by then, then I don't think I'll mind working "pleasurable" side jobs in order to add to their education bucket.
OP, is your residence paid off/or have you minimized your housing costs? Does that 1.6MM include your home equity if any? What in particular makes you uncomfortable with FIRE-ing on about $64K per year?