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Old 05-07-2014, 09:28 AM   #1
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Guilty

Hi,

I quit work last year when I turned 59. We lived on saving until my 59.5 birthday last month. Yes, I had a birthday party. Now we're living on an IRA, savings and the DW is still working part time. We bought a home in Florida and will be moving there when our youngest finishes college next month. I don't need any financial advise but could use some about the guilt I am feeling about the early retirement. I've always helped out our kids, relatives and friends when they needed some money. I would like to continue to help but realize every dollar spent from the IRA is a dollar not making any money for the next 30 years. Also, none of the people I worked with had positioned themselves to be financially independent and are still working. We are/were well compensated chemical plant technicians/engineers. DW and I always had the smallest home, the oldest cars and vacationed locally. Now I feel some animosity from several of my ex-coworkers. Why do I feel guilty? Is this common?

My family is not long lived. I saved my money to enjoy it while I can still get around. My wife's family is long lived. Her parents just asked me for some money. I would like to help them but again, this would be money their daughter might need later is life. Anyone else suffer the guilt of being FI?
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Old 05-07-2014, 09:42 AM   #2
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Hi,

I quit work last year when I turned 59. We lived on saving until my 59.5 birthday last month. Yes, I had a birthday party. Now we're living on an IRA, savings and the DW is still working part time. We bought a home in Florida and will be moving there when our youngest finishes college next month. I don't need any financial advise but could use some about the guilt I am feeling about the early retirement. I've always helped out our kids, relatives and friends when they needed some money. I would like to continue to help but realize every dollar spent from the IRA is a dollar not making any money for the next 30 years. Also, none of the people I worked with had positioned themselves to be financially independent and are still working. We are/were well compensated chemical plant technicians/engineers. DW and I always had the smallest home, the oldest cars and vacationed locally. Now I feel some animosity from several of my ex-coworkers. Why do I feel guilty? Is this common?

My family is not long lived. I saved my money to enjoy it while I can still get around. My wife's family is long lived. Her parents just asked me for some money. I would like to help them but again, this would be money their daughter might need later is life. Anyone else suffer the guilt of being FI?
Congrats on retiring early and positioning yourself for the move. It's common to feel guilty but the other folks who did not make spending sacrifices during their working life have put themselves in that position on their own. Don't feel sorry for them and focus on yourself.

On giving money to family? That's a personal decision and really not a good habit to get into, unless you feel strongly about helping people. But once it's started, it's may not end easily.
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Old 05-07-2014, 09:43 AM   #3
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Welcome to the board Booo. This subject has been discussed from time to time here. Recently one of our mods confessed that he did feel a bit guilty occasionally about his relative good fortune.

I haven't experienced too much of this, as my material standard of living in this, the very first part of my ESR/ER, is quite low. Some of my ex co-workers think I'm still looking for work, so they may actually feel sorry for me!

I think the important thing to recognize is that we are all responsible for our own situations in life. You have chosen to be careful with your money, and to save and invest. You deserve to enjoy the fruits of that careful planning and work. It is very understandable that you enjoy being able to help others out, but there is no harm at all in putting yourself first for a change. Enjoy your retirement and let the others look after themselves. The animosity you are feeling from your co-workers may actually be a little jealousy on their part, as they didn't plan as well as you - don't let it worry you.
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Old 05-07-2014, 09:43 AM   #4
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The best defense is a good offense. Figure out a way to make those who ask you for money feel the guilt instead of you.
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Old 05-07-2014, 09:53 AM   #5
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I don't feel guilty, we worked, saved, didn't buy a new car every year. I love my sisters, they had the same opportunities I did. I was the one that worked a full time j*b, while going to school full time.

In our family I can't imagine asking others to pay my bills. Don't accept the guilt, it's not yours.
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Old 05-07-2014, 10:07 AM   #6
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Welcome to the board Booo. This subject has been discussed from time to time here. Recently one of our mods confessed that he did feel a bit guilty occasionally about his relative good fortune.

I haven't experienced too much of this, as my material standard of living in this, the very first part of my ESR/ER, is quite low. Some of my ex co-workers think I'm still looking for work, so they may actually feel sorry for me!

I think the important thing to recognize is that we are all responsible for our own situations in life. You have chosen to be careful with your money, and to save and invest. You deserve to enjoy the fruits of that careful planning and work. It is very understandable that you enjoy being able to help others out, but there is no harm at all in putting yourself first for a change. Enjoy your retirement and let the others look after themselves. The animosity you are feeling from your co-workers may actually be a little jealousy on their part, as they didn't plan as well as you - don't let it worry you.
+1 Agree, 100% it is jealously.

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I don't feel guilty, we worked, saved, didn't buy a new car every year. I love my sisters, they had the same opportunities I did. I was the one that worked a full time j*b, while going to school full time.

In our family I can't imagine asking others to pay my bills. Don't accept the guilt, it's not yours.
Best wishes,
MRG
Sure you want to help others, and I don't want to sound cruel, but no reason to be their patsy. Just tell them you are retired now and on a limited budget, maybe they will seem to look down on you a bit, but it is just their embarrassment. If you give once, you WILL be asked to give again over and over. Saying no the first time is the hardest. Eventually they will very likely respect you much more than when you were their patsy. And they may even start trying to emulate your frugal lifestyle.
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Old 05-07-2014, 10:12 AM   #7
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Just tell them you are retired now and on a limited budget, maybe they will seem to look down on you a bit, but it is just their embarrassment.
Bingo! That's the way to do it. They might even feel a little sorry for you
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Old 05-07-2014, 10:14 AM   #8
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Just tell them you are retired now and on a limited budget...
Even better, substitute the word "unemployed" for "retired"...
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Old 05-07-2014, 10:14 AM   #9
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You're practically 60... I'd say you did your time, saved, and now get to reap the benefit of having retired. You're on a limited budget and don't owe anyone anything. That others have not saved like you did or planned like you did is not your fault, thus the guilt is not yours.

In short: don't let others bring you down.
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Old 05-07-2014, 10:36 AM   #10
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I totally understand your guilt. I am not retired (hope to be one day!) but I would have a hard time not giving money to my elderly parents or my in-laws if they truly needed it (i.e., to pay utility bills or for food/shelter), regardless of their past money handling history.

Actually, this would be true of my kids, too. I'm not sure guilt is the right word, but it will be hard (impossible?) not to help them out financially if they need it, especially if they are only just out of college and trying to start out. But I guess it depends on the circumstances and what the money is needed for.

Maybe I'm a patsy...

OTOH, you really are going to be on a more limited budget. You do not know (none of us do) what the future has in store for your investments. I guess, in the end, I have no sage advice here. But I understand the guilt.
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Old 05-07-2014, 11:20 AM   #11
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Empathy, perhaps...guilty, no.

I suppose I would feel guilty if I had screwed someone over to benefit myself, but that didn't happen. I worked, did without and saved.

If I gave away all my money, I would be broke and there would still be people in need. ...I would be one of them.
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Old 05-07-2014, 11:30 AM   #12
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Even better, substitute the word "unemployed" for "retired"...
Love this wording! I think I'm going to steal this one to use when I go.
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Old 05-07-2014, 11:52 AM   #13
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I totally understand your guilt. I am not retired (hope to be one day!) but I would have a hard time not giving money to my elderly parents or my in-laws if they truly needed it (i.e., to pay utility bills or for food/shelter), regardless of their past money handling history.

I have been supporting both of my parents (separated) with monthly allowance to supplement their retirement income. My own retirement plan includes continuing the practice. So, when I RE, I don't have to say I am on a limited retirement budget. I am now leaning toward not telling anyone that I retired (when I actually, finally do). This way, they wouldn't be jealous and I wouldn't feel guilty.
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Old 05-07-2014, 12:59 PM   #14
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I agree there is no reason to feel guilty, since you chose a path and made decisions to allow an early retirement. As far a helping family, that is a personal decision. If it's just to pay bills, I'd lean towards no. If there was an illness or something else beyond their control and they need help, and you can afford it, it might be worth considering. In my family we've never been asked for money and would be surprised if we were. However, we've helped out when we recognize a need or if we wanted a family vacation or other event that others may not be able to afford. We never give a loan, just gifts. Money is not worth breaking up the family over, so we never expect repayment. If we get to the point where it becomes a risk for our future, we will stop giving.
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Old 05-07-2014, 01:08 PM   #15
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Regarding your former co-workers, it is really their problem and not yours. You made certain sacrifices in terms of living in a smaller home, driving older cars, and more modest vacations and are now reaping the benefits of those sacrifices. I suspect that the animosity you are sensing is just jealously plus when they think it through they are probably unhappy with themselves for not saving more to retire early like you have. Unfortunately there is nothing you can do about how they feel other than be modest and not rub it in their faces by frequently mentioning how much you are enjoying retirement.

Regarding your relatives, the problem is you have enabled them in the past and they now expect your generosity. This recent life change is a good "excuse" to cut that out or at least dial it down a lot. While you didn't elaborate on the circumstances, I presume that they are adults and their need for money from you is not life threatening, in which case they need to learn to live within their means like you have. Perhaps a "I can't afford to give you money anymore now that I'm not working" or something similar will work. Give them advice if you think they would be receptive, but avoid giving them money as they will come to rely on you.
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Old 05-07-2014, 01:54 PM   #16
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I notice a lot of posters have said just say no or that you might be an enabler or that your family needs to fend for themselves. However, you do say you have given in the past and that you would like to continue to give, but you are not sure if you can afford to give, so you are feeling a little guilty.

Maybe you could try thinking back to other times when you have given money.Did you feel pleased that you could help someone with a problem? Do you have an ethnic background where it is common that the better off family members will just help out the ones that are struggling? Did you feel pressure to prove that you cared by giving money? Did you feel that if you didn't give the money that negative things would be said about you?

If you come to the conclusion that you are couple who feels good about giving and helping family you might simply pick a dollar figure that will allow you to give without personal sacrifice. So much per year and then you would be able to help someone that had a real problem (that would be your call) if you have a year when no one needs help, the money can just accrue till next year. This would give you some personal satisfaction, but not harm your ER budget. This means once in awhile you will have to tell someone no, we can't help you right now.However you might soon realize which members of your family care about you and which ones might care about your money.

You have just started your ER so deciding this now would probably give you the chance to put behind you any guilt you might feel.
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Old 05-07-2014, 03:04 PM   #17
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Anyone else suffer the guilt of being FI?
No, absolutely not. And I think this is a greatly overplayed issue.

The life style you choose has a large impact on who your friends are and your relationship with them and on the relationship you have with relatives. If you change life styles, it can be expected that relationships will change.

For example, if I wanted to continue friendships with the guys I shot pool with at the tavern after work, I probably should have kept working. After I retired and stopped by for a game a couple of times, I noticed things weren't the same and I stopped going. That's to be expected and is not an issue of right or wrong, jealously or the like. When friends come to forks in the road and go separate ways, it's just the way it is.

Don't be judgmental of yourself or others, live your own life for yourself and let others live theirs and you'll do fine.
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Old 05-07-2014, 05:31 PM   #18
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If you come to the conclusion that you are couple who feels good about giving and helping family you might simply pick a dollar figure that will allow you to give without personal sacrifice. So much per year and then you would be able to help someone that had a real problem (that would be your call) if you have a year when no one needs help, the money can just accrue till next year. This would give you some personal satisfaction, but not harm your ER budget. This means once in awhile you will have to tell someone no, we can't help you right now.However you might soon realize which members of your family care about you and which ones might care about your money.
I think this is an excellent approach. Treat it as a line item in your budget sort of like "emergency home repairs" where you let it ride from year to year if it isn't needed.

Good luck and I also agree there is nothing to feel guilty about, really.
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Old 05-08-2014, 08:24 AM   #19
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DW and I always had the smallest home, the oldest cars and vacationed locally.
This is the reason you can retire and that you're FI.

We can see it coming with some relatives that they will be in dire financial straights when they can no longer work. But neither did we take the luxury vacations they did, buy the new cars they did every few years, we don't have the stainless appliances or granite counter tops and the like.

If we are approached for money from them the first answer will be a simple "no". If they press, I have the above speech ready and will not hesitate to remind them of Aesop's ant and grasshopper fable.
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Old 05-08-2014, 09:15 AM   #20
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Have to agree with the rest, you lived your life using good financial planning and saving. Now enjoy it and let those old co-workers figure it out for themselves. No need for guilt, that is your interpretation of their jealousy.

Your choice to help out relatives, but I would caution about becoming a regular source. They need to learn to live within their means, just like your old co-workers.
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