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FI/RE a nice problem to have but still a problem
Old 06-25-2007, 11:33 PM   #1
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FI/RE a nice problem to have but still a problem

Hello, I'm 38 yrs old and have had uncommon fortune for the last 8 years. From a ROI standpoint, my randomly timed business and real estate transactions have seen an economic boom occur both in my industry as well as in my real estate that I simply couldn't have imagined. A major competitor has now offered to purchase my business, and the numbers look great.

According to all of the retirement calculators, and the FIRECALC, it would seem that a financially comfortable retirement is mine for the taking.

It looks like a great majority of people here in the forums get to FI/RE through greater emphasis on diligent planning and hard work over many years. This whole FI/RE snuck up on me very quickly and I can't help but think that these folks typically are probably better prepped for this stage mentally than I am.

I'd like to get advice from anyone who is or has been roughly my age preferably with a wife, young kids, and in a similar situation.

1. what do you tell people when they ask "what do you do for a living?" somehow saying that you are retired when you aren't even 40 doesn't seem like the best answer.

2. There is only so much yard work and keeping in good physical shape to do, and hanging out with the 65+ crowd of retirees, and volunteering to a great extent isn't likely going to be for me. Having kids in school makes a nomadic existence impossible. I'd like to think that I have enough imagination to keep myself occupied with various projects, but I'm not sure. Ideas?

3. I could go to work for the company that is purchasing mine and give that an honest shot for a while, but how motivated can one be to work extra hours and give it your all when you know that yoú really don't need the extra $$?

4. Has anyone ever sold their business and then gone to work for the purchaser, or know of anyone who has? I've heard that those that are accustomed to being in charge usually don't fare well.

5. How do people, friends, relatives react when they find out that you aren't working at such an early age. Is resentment and jealousy typical? Are conversations strained when you talk with others about what you've been doing lately after they tell you about their job, or do you try to avoid that topic?

6.Do people try to get money from you since they likely assume that you are fabulously wealthy, even though you only have enough to live a middle-upper middle class lifestyle?

Thanks
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Old 06-26-2007, 12:27 AM   #2
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2. There is only so much yard work and keeping in good physical shape to do, and hanging out with the 65+ crowd of retirees, and volunteering to a great extent isn't likely going to be for me. Having kids in school makes a nomadic existence impossible. I'd like to think that I have enough imagination to keep myself occupied with various projects, but I'm not sure. Ideas?
Well, seeing as how I'm not retired and I don't have kids, I can't really help with any of the other questions, but maybe I can offer some suggestions for this one. First, what are your hobbies? Or, are there any hobbies that you've been interested in but haven't had the time to pursue (hiking, fishing, knitting, welding, ballroom dancing, cooking, yoga, electronics, etc)? Books you've wanted to read? Places you've wanted to visit or want to visit with your children? I would imagine just thinking up and planning interesting activities for the kids could probably be a full time job.

And, although I haven't been retired, I have taken a leave of absence. I found that when you're no longer working towards a deadline, things tend to spread out a little more and take longer than they would've before. You can actually relax and enjoy what you're doing.
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Old 06-26-2007, 03:52 AM   #3
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Working in companies that have acquired their branch offices or parts of their business from former individual owners I have seen more bad than good when the former owner worked for the buyer company other than on a "limited consultancy during transition" basis.

Often there is a clash of cultures. The buyer wants to integrate the acquisition into his rules and schemes, the people in the acquired company see this as criticism of their old ways and get tired: "If it was so bad what we did till now - why did they purchase us?"
So would you like to see all that you established to get turned over?
Most walk out sooner than later - or are pursuaded to walk out.
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Old 06-26-2007, 06:46 AM   #4
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3. I could go to work for the company that is purchasing mine and give that an honest shot for a while, but how motivated can one be to work extra hours and give it your all when you know that yoú really don't need the extra $$?

Thanks
I think that quote says it all about whether you should stick with the company you are selling -- no! You are in a great position to try RE and see if you like it. At 38 you can always go back to work -- heck you can go back to school and pursue a whole new career. Or, more likely, you will find that your days are fully occupied by RE activities. Read "Work less, live more" and some of the other books posters will list to help you get your head around the options.
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Old 06-26-2007, 06:58 AM   #5
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I don't know all the answers, and I was wondering about #1 myself, and to a lesser extent 4 and 5.

For #2, start a list of anything that interests you. You might be surprised at how much there is to do. Maybe you'll want to parlay a hobby into a small-scale business. Or for example, if you like books, you'll take a part time job at a bookstore or volunteer at a library.

For #3 and #4, in the computer industry often the purchase includes a contract for 6 months or a year for the seller to work for the buyer, to transfer knowledge. From what I see, not too many people stay beyond that time.

My only other advice is that you can always take some time off now to regroup and figure out what to do next. Maybe you aren't cut out for ER yet, but maybe you really are and don't know it.
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Old 06-26-2007, 10:16 AM   #6
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1) I always answer retired (I am 48). If they ask how (few do) I tell them,
in about 3 sentences.
5) Some envy, mostly amazement. I am always happy to talk about my latest
trip or project.
6) No. They know how I got here, and it was not by giving away money.
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Old 06-26-2007, 10:24 AM   #7
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Thanks all...everything that you've posted makes sense, and almost all of it has rolled through my head at one point or another but seeing others mention it validates my concerns. Please bear in mind that I've only been in early retirement preparation mode for about 6 weeks and to be completely honest, at this point I feel that I am out of my element, and very much like a scatterbrain. What I find heartening though is that there seem to be many of you out there that are at peace with the situation, and enjoying and striving for early retirement.

One of the pieces of advice that I hadn't thought of was to just take a break and figure it out. While I always attempt to pre-plan things, there are plenty of times at work that I need to trust my instincts and "fly by the seat of my pants". Maybe I just have to accept that I need time to get the company sale out of the way, shut off the alarm clock for a couple of weeks and mentally slow down a bit before making any choices at all.

Anyone with any thoughts or experiences with #1, #5, and #6?
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Old 06-26-2007, 10:28 AM   #8
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Thanks Cycling, you should get a spare time job as a psychic. You managed to beat my question to post on 1,5, and 6 by a few minutes. Would like to hear all the other opinions out there too though.
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Old 06-26-2007, 11:49 AM   #9
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1. KCowan uses what I think is the best reply. He says he is a "Private Client Portfolio Manager (PCPM)" when asked for his occupation. I love it! Depending on who's asking, I either say I'm retired or I go the PCPM route. 5. I keep up on what's happening in my former field -- and do a lot of business reading anyway -- so I haven't had any problem keeping up a good conversation. Not a single awkward moment yet...
6. I never discuss specific $$ with anyone except those I have financial dealings with and if the subject comes up -- as it does occasionally around family members, for example -- I always brush it aside with a light hand and a comment like "well, now that I'm a retiree on a fixed income....."

As for the rest of your post, only you will know what's right for your situation. Remember that retirement is just another part of your life journey and one size doesn't fit all. With your entrepreneurial bent, you might very well decide to move on to the next big thing...but won't it be wonderful to know that you'll be doing it on your own terms?! Enjoy the ride.
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Old 06-26-2007, 11:58 AM   #10
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This subject comes up from time to time, especially from the extra early retirees. I have been waiting for the last several years for someone to suggest the response: "I am ****ing rich and don't have to work."

Sorry.
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Old 06-26-2007, 12:02 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grizz View Post
Hello, I'm 38 yrs old and have had uncommon fortune for the last 8 years. From a ROI standpoint, my randomly timed business and real estate transactions have seen an economic boom occur both in my industry as well as in my real estate that I simply couldn't have imagined. A major competitor has now offered to purchase my business, and the numbers look great.

According to all of the retirement calculators, and the FIRECALC, it would seem that a financially comfortable retirement is mine for the taking.

It looks like a great majority of people here in the forums get to FI/RE through greater emphasis on diligent planning and hard work over many years. This whole FI/RE snuck up on me very quickly and I can't help but think that these folks typically are probably better prepped for this stage mentally than I am.

I'd like to get advice from anyone who is or has been roughly my age preferably with a wife, young kids, and in a similar situation.

1. what do you tell people when they ask "what do you do for a living?" somehow saying that you are retired when you aren't even 40 doesn't seem like the best answer.

2. There is only so much yard work and keeping in good physical shape to do, and hanging out with the 65+ crowd of retirees, and volunteering to a great extent isn't likely going to be for me. Having kids in school makes a nomadic existence impossible. I'd like to think that I have enough imagination to keep myself occupied with various projects, but I'm not sure. Ideas?

3. I could go to work for the company that is purchasing mine and give that an honest shot for a while, but how motivated can one be to work extra hours and give it your all when you know that yoú really don't need the extra $$?

4. Has anyone ever sold their business and then gone to work for the purchaser, or know of anyone who has? I've heard that those that are accustomed to being in charge usually don't fare well.

5. How do people, friends, relatives react when they find out that you aren't working at such an early age. Is resentment and jealousy typical? Are conversations strained when you talk with others about what you've been doing lately after they tell you about their job, or do you try to avoid that topic?

6.Do people try to get money from you since they likely assume that you are fabulously wealthy, even though you only have enough to live a middle-upper middle class lifestyle?

Thanks
who cares what others think of you? Retire and let their jealousy make them rot.

Find a part time gig as a teachers aid... you would be doing something during the school year, and could spend summers with the kids.
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Old 06-26-2007, 01:14 PM   #12
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I have a friend who agreed to a 5-year work out with the buyers of his company. Bad idea! He hates it.

I also know lots of independently wealthy people who still work. You might consider getting into something new that does not require hands-on in the office time.
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Old 06-26-2007, 10:21 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grizz View Post
Hello, I'm 38 yrs old and have had uncommon fortune for the last 8 years. From a ROI standpoint, my randomly timed business and real estate transactions have seen an economic boom occur both in my industry as well as in my real estate that I simply couldn't have imagined. A major competitor has now offered to purchase my business, and the numbers look great.

According to all of the retirement calculators, and the FIRECALC, it would seem that a financially comfortable retirement is mine for the taking.

It looks like a great majority of people here in the forums get to FI/RE through greater emphasis on diligent planning and hard work over many years. This whole FI/RE snuck up on me very quickly and I can't help but think that these folks typically are probably better prepped for this stage mentally than I am.

I'd like to get advice from anyone who is or has been roughly my age preferably with a wife, young kids, and in a similar situation.

1. what do you tell people when they ask "what do you do for a living?" somehow saying that you are retired when you aren't even 40 doesn't seem like the best answer.

2. There is only so much yard work and keeping in good physical shape to do, and hanging out with the 65+ crowd of retirees, and volunteering to a great extent isn't likely going to be for me. Having kids in school makes a nomadic existence impossible. I'd like to think that I have enough imagination to keep myself occupied with various projects, but I'm not sure. Ideas?

3. I could go to work for the company that is purchasing mine and give that an honest shot for a while, but how motivated can one be to work extra hours and give it your all when you know that yoú really don't need the extra $$?

4. Has anyone ever sold their business and then gone to work for the purchaser, or know of anyone who has? I've heard that those that are accustomed to being in charge usually don't fare well.

5. How do people, friends, relatives react when they find out that you aren't working at such an early age. Is resentment and jealousy typical? Are conversations strained when you talk with others about what you've been doing lately after they tell you about their job, or do you try to avoid that topic?

6.Do people try to get money from you since they likely assume that you are fabulously wealthy, even though you only have enough to live a middle-upper middle class lifestyle?

Thanks

I can't really write too much about this seeing as how I'm not retired just yet, but like you, I am in my late 30's, married with a young child, and have been extremely lucky this decade - enough so that I could FIRE now. Why am I waiting? When I got to my FIRE goal, I realized that I was more risk adverse than I thought (I think it makes sense to be a little more conservative when you're looking at 60+years of retirement), so I figure I'd work a couple more years and go from 25x expenses to 30x expenses before pulling the trigger.

Anyways:

1 - I'm planning on telling most folks (other than close friends/family) that I'm taking a work-at-home position to spend more time with my family. In most industries there's some job that can be done reasonably from home with minimal corporate interaction and flexible schedules. I work in IT so my excuse will be something like software tester.

2 - not worried about this - between kids and my hobbies, I plan to stay very busy during retirement

5 - I'm not worried so much about what people think of me, but don't want to have to explain myself to everyone I meet. A thirty-something retiree is an odd beast, and I think it's just easier to tell people a shorter story like 'working from home'.

6 - I think people's perceptions are shaped more by how you live (how flashy is your lifestyle?) than anything else. If you say you're poor but LAYM, they'll think you've got money to burn. If you say you're rich but LBYM, they'll think you're bragging and won't really believe you have the money to back it up. I plan on taking the latter approach, so I anticipate no problems there.
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Old 06-27-2007, 12:39 AM   #14
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Who cares what other people think...RETIRE!
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Old 06-27-2007, 12:40 AM   #15
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I can't really write too much about this seeing as how I'm not retired just yet, but like you, I am in my late 30's, married with a young child, and have been extremely lucky this decade - enough so that I could FIRE now. Why am I waiting? When I got to my FIRE goal, I realized that I was more risk adverse than I thought (I think it makes sense to be a little more conservative when you're looking at 60+years of retirement), so I figure I'd work a couple more years and go from 25x expenses to 30x expenses before pulling the trigger.

Anyways:

1 - I'm planning on telling most folks (other than close friends/family) that I'm taking a work-at-home position to spend more time with my family. In most industries there's some job that can be done reasonably from home with minimal corporate interaction and flexible schedules. I work in IT so my excuse will be something like software tester.

2 - not worried about this - between kids and my hobbies, I plan to stay very busy during retirement

5 - I'm not worried so much about what people think of me, but don't want to have to explain myself to everyone I meet. A thirty-something retiree is an odd beast, and I think it's just easier to tell people a shorter story like 'working from home'.

6 - I think people's perceptions are shaped more by how you live (how flashy is your lifestyle?) than anything else. If you say you're poor but LAYM, they'll think you've got money to burn. If you say you're rich but LBYM, they'll think you're bragging and won't really believe you have the money to back it up. I plan on taking the latter approach, so I anticipate no problems there.


Funny, I hadn't thought of just giving vague answers to the inevitable questions. I expect that most people will glaze over and the conversation will move on to another topic rather easily. Thanks

Also, I haven't heard of anyone figuring out their retirement date based on a multiple of current expenses before, and I know that there will be lots of variables to consider but I really like the concept. Does current age, expected lifespan, and the current expenses all fit into a formula or is there a chart that one could refer to? I've got plenty of friends who are also benefiting greatly from the boom who I know would be interested in a fairly cut and dried approach.

I wouldn't call my lifestyle rock n roll star flashy, and I live below my means, but I do have 2 jet skis, 2 quads, a snowmobile, a restored (but never completed) muscle car, a yearly Caribbean holiday, and some fairly high end remote control toys. I would never ever brag about them, and I hate that people might see my toys as a status symbol, but I also don't attempt to hide them either. Of course I realize that lots of folks don't have these things, but these are my hobbies, and they are of great interest to me and I can afford them, and they are things that I enjoy. Sure, I like to read, and watch sports too, but it sucks that I should feel shame in owning these things or would need to avoid talking about those things that interest me most just because my hobbies tend to cost more than most people hobbies. Basically I'd very much like to be able to blend in with the woodwork, but as you said, a 30 something retiree is indeed an odd beast.
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Old 06-27-2007, 12:50 AM   #16
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Griz,

I am 29 and about to retire myself when I sell my business in August. Thankfully I am a disabled veteran too, so I just plan on telling people I am disabled.

I do not really care what the average idiot thinks about me anyway, whether they think me wealthy or poor, although I prefer people to think of me as poor.

If people start bugging you for cash, tell them you are on a fixed income, and ask them for a $100 dollar donation, they will leave you alone real fast. I do this all the time with solicitors to my business, as soon as they come in and start with me, I start telling them a sob story, and ask them for money.
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Old 06-27-2007, 01:17 AM   #17
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Welcome to the board, Grizz!

Before I get into the details, better answers to your questions might be found by searching the old threads for keywords. Many of your questions have been asked months or years before by others who are now ER-hardened veterans. You could also go to the "Best of the Boards" section to read the threads on "How did you prepare for ER?" and "Handling the 'just one more year' syndrome".

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1. what do you tell people when they ask "what do you do for a living?" somehow saying that you are retired when you aren't even 40 doesn't seem like the best answer.
The first thing to consider is why you feel that way. If you're concerned for your safety ("Ooooh, a rich American hostage!") or about being pestered for loans & charitable donations then it's probably wise to dissemble. But if you're concerned about how your relatives will gossip or what your neighbors will think then it's worth figuring out why you're not proud to be ER'd. You certainly worked hard enough for it and you shouldn't have to carry around a backpack full of survivor's guilt.

Some try a smart-aleck approach: "Now I do whatever I want, and I have a lot of catching up to do" or "I'm waiting on the biopsy results" or "I'm a salesman. I sold my company and now I'm looking for something else to sell." Others go for a diversion: "I'm between jobs right now. Say, how 'bout those Steelers!" or "Why, do you know anyone who's hiring?" Another approach is avocation: "I'm a programmer" or "I'm a property manager" or "I'm an engineer. My last project was the Space Station's computer power supply." Since you've harvested the fruits of your labors, you could say "I sold my company and now I'm trying to decide what I want to do next."

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2. There is only so much yard work and keeping in good physical shape to do, and hanging out with the 65+ crowd of retirees, and volunteering to a great extent isn't likely going to be for me. Having kids in school makes a nomadic existence impossible. I'd like to think that I have enough imagination to keep myself occupied with various projects, but I'm not sure. Ideas?
I'm 46 years old and I've been ER'd for just over five years. When you're all caught up on your yardwork, I'll send you a plane ticket and you can help me catch up on my mine. We'll both be winners!

There are more people in their 30s & 40s hanging around than you might expect. Not everyone works 9-5 weekdays, some are unemployed, and others are at-home parents. Once you have your own time to hang out, they'll find you... especially if you're at the beach.

Seriously, your concern is one of the top three worries before ER, and afterward every ER wonders what the heck they were worried about. Remember when we were eight years old during summer vacation? Was there any trouble filling the day with activities? After a couple months of recuperating from your workplace fatigue, your interests & hobbies will resurface with a vengeance and you'll find yourself involved in new activities. You sound like you have plenty waiting for you in your garage. Take it easy and see what develops-- you have the rest of your life to decide if you want to grow up, let alone what you want to be. This is a unique chance to forget about who you "were" and to become someone new.

While you're taking it easy and now that you're responsible for your own entertainment, you could read Ernie Zelinski's "How to Retire Happy, Wild, & Free"-- especially the brainstorming exercise of his Get-A-Life tree. I've had a copy on my desk for the last three years but I've been too busy to get around to it.

As for the kids' nomadic existence, right now thousands of military parents are laughing too hard to continue reading. (We know a military couple who backpacked toddlers all over Europe from their duty station in Italy.) You could spend entire summers in a nomadic existence by renting a condo near Disneyland or in San Diego or by taking the Great American Camping Vacation. Your kids will find plenty of things for you to do at home, starting with driving them everywhere and spending all your money on them-- zoos, parks, sporting events, museums, and all the stuff you never had time to visit before. Actually they'll be thrilled to have you spending time with them and it won't really matter what the activity is-- playgrounds, camping, running errands, helping with homework-- whatever.

One of our more senior ERs spent the first couple years of his ER keeping up pretenses for his teenage daughter. Each morning he'd dress in business attire, leave the house, drive away, and sneak back after she'd left for school. Years later when she was an adult, he mentioned the subterfuge. She pointed out that she was way too busy with being a teenager to notice, and if she had noticed then she wouldn't have cared. So don't expect your kids to take you too seriously, although they'll be thrilled to have you around. Our kid was nine years old when I retired, and she bragged to everyone that her Dad was retired and could chaperone every school field trip. (The teacher called my bluff, too.) Principals, pediatricians, & orthodontists will actually come out of their offices to meet you, saying "I've heard so much about you!"

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3. I could go to work for the company that is purchasing mine and give that an honest shot for a while, but how motivated can one be to work extra hours and give it your all when you know that yoú really don't need the extra $$?
Good luck with that. I couldn't muster the motivation for a new career either, let alone deal with the hassles of commuting, workplace attire, meetings, overtime, working weekends... you get the point.

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4. Has anyone ever sold their business and then gone to work for the purchaser, or know of anyone who has? I've heard that those that are accustomed to being in charge usually don't fare well.
Not me, but how'd you like to buy out GE and have Jack Welch working for you? Unless you've sold out to Warren Buffett, you're going to feel like you have people looking over both your shoulders. Nobody's going to be happy with the buyout-and-stay deal. Far better to be on call for an occasional consulting fee, where they can listen raptly to your wisdom and then ignore it.

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5. How do people, friends, relatives react when they find out that you aren't working at such an early age. Is resentment and jealousy typical? Are conversations strained when you talk with others about what you've been doing lately after they tell you about their job, or do you try to avoid that topic?
Badly. Sometimes with insane jealousy & envy. How would you expect them to act if you're leaving their shared misery rat race? You're a traitor!!

You have to give them the chance to ignore it-- don't rub it in. I love surfing but I've learned not to drive by the school bus stop, longboard on the roof rack, smiling & waving while classic rock blares from the speakers, when my daughter is waiting to go to school. I've also learned not to greet my working friends on Thursday afternoon with "Hey, how many times have you been surfing this week? Is it gnarly or what!!"

If asked, make it their problem. Tell them that you've sold the company and you're taking a little time off with family to decide what to do next. Then let them drive the conversation for a while. If they keep bringing "you" up again, keep changing the subject ("How 'bout them Steelers!"). If the relatives are from your spouse's family, then tell them that she's decided to start her own career while you raise the kids.

If you get "But you're too young to retire!!" then you can respond with "I used to be too young to have alcohol or sex, and I'm glad that I didn't wait then either." Or if it's "You're too young to be put out to pasture!" you can say "Yeah, but I get to pick the pasture because we own the ranch." As for "But what will you DO all day?!?" there's "I'm still a parent", "I'm working on the house & yard", "You don't surf, do you?!?" and "I'm making it up as I go along."

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6.Do people try to get money from you since they likely assume that you are fabulously wealthy, even though you only have enough to live a middle-upper middle class lifestyle?
Not necessarily, but you will certainly learn who your real friends are.

One day my kid looked over my shoulder at the Quicken screen and said "Holy sh cow, Dad, that's a lot of money-- we're rich!!" I gave her the Cosby answer ("No, your mother and I have money but you are broke.") and said "That looks like a lot of money now, but this has to last for the rest of our lives or we'll have to move in with you so that you can take care of us until we die." That ended the lifestyle discussion.

Another response is "I have to make this money last for the next 50 years, and I'm not going back to work to give some of it to ______" or "Well, actually I was wondering if you know any place to get cheap health insurance" or "Thanks, but we're handling our giving anonymously through our donor-advised fund. What's your tax ID number?"

It's hard to figure out what you're going to do with your ER until you actually have the time to do it. So take it easy, read some of the books recommended here, and you'll [-]make it up[-/] figure it out as you go. After all, now you have the time to devote to doing it properly!
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Old 06-27-2007, 08:14 AM   #18
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I wouldn't call my lifestyle rock n roll star flashy, and I live below my means, but I do have 2 jet skis, 2 quads, a snowmobile, a restored (but never completed) muscle car, a yearly Caribbean holiday, and some fairly high end remote control toys.
Thats not flashy, that just sounds like fun. Overly flashy might be a Hummer parked in front of a McMansion. By the way, what is a "quad?"
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Old 06-27-2007, 10:56 AM   #19
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By the way, what is a "quad?"[/quote]

A quad is an ATV/4 wheeler dirt bike.
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Old 06-27-2007, 12:24 PM   #20
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Thats not flashy, that just sounds like fun. Overly flashy might be a Hummer parked in front of a McMansion. By the way, what is a "quad?"
I'm glad that you see it as just fun, and when I see these things at others homes, I don't see them as status symbols either. Perhaps I spend too much time trying to figure out what others are thinking, but I still suspect that some people (relatives too) whose minivans are held together by duct tape likely see the toys as flaunting wealth. I also have a hunch that they may see a 38 yr old retiree as a rich guy who could easily afford to buy lunch or drinks or pay for parking at an event or whatever, and that it should always be "my treat". Rock on one side...hard place on other
BTW, A quad is an ATV, an offroad 4 wheeler.
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