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Feeling guilty about early Retirement?
Old 05-02-2017, 09:15 PM   #1
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Feeling guilty about early Retirement?

I was talking with an acquaintance tonight who is 10 years my senior. He was pretty excited that he would be retiring in the next 3 years, which is the same time frame for me. However, I felt a tinge of guilt. I'm 49 and he is 59.

I've felt this same tinge when talking with many acquaintances who are a little or a lot senior to me, but still need or "want to" work with apparently no end in sight.

Have you had similar guilty feelings and how have you handled them....

I know for over 30 years I've been engaged in a battle that pales in comparison to WWIII over the cost of furniture and to buy or not to buy a $20 item to get here, but still I feel the guilt, or maybe embarrassment of being young.

Thoughts of should I lie or hide my future retirement, let my wife retire but pretend to work? Dance through my head. I know I need to figure it out soon.

I keep hearing the stress reduction and weight loss, both items I have on my bucket list, are worth way more than any amount of additional dollars once you achieve FI. So I know as soon as I can walk through the threshold of my next phase of life I won't hesitate.

But how do you explain to your still working 74 year old MIL & FIL (or friends) we are off to XYZ exotic location 3 months, are your sure you can't grab even 7 days to join us?
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Old 05-02-2017, 09:27 PM   #2
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Would you feel so guilty if you knew you were going to die at 52?

Nothing is guaranteed us.

Enjoy life now.
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Old 05-02-2017, 09:35 PM   #3
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Simply paraphrase the old Johnny Weissmuller Tarzan/Jane dialogue......"Me smart, You dumb".
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Old 05-02-2017, 09:39 PM   #4
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I do feel guilt now and then, but then DH reminds me that life is about choices. We chose to save and retire early while others chose not to....
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Old 05-02-2017, 09:52 PM   #5
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Personally, I often feel guilty (and stupid) that I waited so long to retire and how I cheated myself and my DW out of the extra (and younger) years we could have had in retirement.

Those years were lost due to greed. However, I'm doing the best I can now to make up for the lost time.
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Old 05-02-2017, 09:58 PM   #6
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No.

To elaborate slightly:

Never.
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Old 05-02-2017, 11:08 PM   #7
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I don't feel guilty because I've done nothing wrong, isn't that why people feel guilty?
But in my bridge club, after I mentioned the year I was born, people said I was a baby and I'm 57.
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Old 05-02-2017, 11:13 PM   #8
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Personally, I often feel guilty (and stupid) that I waited so long to retire and how I cheated myself and my DW out of the extra (and younger) years we could have had in retirement.

Those years were lost due to greed. However, I'm doing the best I can now to make up for the lost time.
im with you, i did it too
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Old 05-03-2017, 12:09 AM   #9
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I don't feel guilt but some people I know feel jealous or miffed that I retired at 39, after telling one of my moms friends that I was retired he said that I shouldn't tell people I'm retired, I didn't question why, I just agreed. Other people, when I tell them I'm retired, tell me "your not retired, you own rental property". why is the word retired in association with a 39 year old so taboo?
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Old 05-03-2017, 12:47 AM   #10
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I don't feel guilt but some people I know feel jealous or miffed that I retired at 39, after telling one of my moms friends that I was retired he said that I shouldn't tell people I'm retired, I didn't question why, I just agreed. Other people, when I tell them I'm retired, tell me "your not retired, you own rental property". why is the word retired in association with a 39 year old so taboo?
good for you, my son claims he is going to pack it in at 35 or 36 we will see, i told him "awesome" he is 33
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Old 05-03-2017, 01:59 AM   #11
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Luck Club,

One way to think about it is to recognize that by retiring early you gave someone else a chance to move up in the j*b queue early. Or, perhaps by leaving w*rk early you created a chain of events which created a new j*b for someone at the bottom. Imagine that person's joy at achieving success in the j*b hunt. In other words, your good fortune might be shared by others due to your action.

My wife says that my retiring early was the biggest gift to her. I don't regret giving it!

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Old 05-03-2017, 02:55 AM   #12
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No. Especially with my PHB. Turns out he laid off everyone with the same title a few months later.
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Old 05-03-2017, 02:57 AM   #13
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No guilt here...

I planned to retire early, prepared by contributing to defined contribution plan from early in career, lived within means and payed off mortgage early. I do feel blessed that I was able to take advantage of the opportunity to retire earlier than expected with a small pension & affordable medical coverage--No regrets.

Life is short...older sister died unexpectedly a few months prior to her 53rd birthday, 6 months prior to my retirement. I can empathize with those who can't retire due to reasons beyond their control, but most people make a choice that in effect trades off working X more years for X more $$ to maximize their monthly income.
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Old 05-03-2017, 04:49 AM   #14
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I don't feel guilty because I've done nothing wrong; isn't that why people feel guilty?
+1. A few people said how young I was to RE at 57, but no one handed it to me. I had to work to be qualified for the career that gave me a good income. I then had to work at that career for ~36 years more. I had to have the discipline to LBYM while DW and I raised the kids and paid the mortgage. I had to wisely invest the savings and build NW. I had good fortune in avoiding some possible pitfalls that would have made it harder, but I feel that I earned my FIRE.
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Feeling guilty about early Retirement?
Old 05-03-2017, 04:54 AM   #15
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Feeling guilty about early Retirement?

I will be 63 in July when I retire; I feel if a younger colleague has the means to retire god bless them. Guilt don't be silly. In my case I chose to work longer...call it fear of the unknown.

I think I posed the question in this forum Is the American dream alive? More specifically if you work smart and hard can someone with nothing build a pile, retire early if they choose and most importantly be FI? I'm not talking about a high salary family... the answer i believe is absolutely but just as easily you could and so many do spend every dime, live for today and LAYM (live above your means). Choices we all make them - go home turn on the TV or go get a couple of Masters at night. Buy the big house car and a host of toys run up the credit card bill. Or LBYM, simply and build that pile. Good and bad financial life decisions are made one at a time. Of course there are the unlucky that get sick or suffer some tragedy or another ... but for most of us our lot in life is our own doing... Guilt? no you didn't make those choices for them....

Some where over the years I've leaned you can't live someone else's life. I have a number of relatives that appear to be bad decision machines..no amount of help will ever get them out of the ditch they so desperately seem to desire...

Do I feel for people who've backed themselves into the corner financially? Sure but that isn't guilt.

Great question...
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Old 05-03-2017, 05:25 AM   #16
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No.

To elaborate slightly:

Never.
My feelings exactly.
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Old 05-03-2017, 05:48 AM   #17
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I don't feel guilty because I've done nothing wrong, isn't that why people feel guilty?
^^^ This.

Early retirement is no reason to feel smug, but neither should it cause guilt or shame.

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Originally Posted by Luck_Club View Post
Thoughts of should I lie or hide my future retirement
With three years to go, I wouldn't 'share' with your employer or co-workers; there would be no upside, and some possible adverse consequences. Plus, a lot can change over such a period, and you might as well keep your options open.

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But how do you explain to your still working 74 year old MIL & FIL (or friends) we are off to XYZ exotic location 3 months, are your sure you can't grab even 7 days to join us?
I see no need to explain anything; just tell them, without 'rubbing it in' in an obnoxious manner.

Rejections to invitations you may extend should be accepted gracefully, without any pressure or comment. Respect the fact that other people will have their own priorities.
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Old 05-03-2017, 06:36 AM   #18
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I also feel that we earned our ER. I heard from a friend that an acquaintance was speculating that we must have gotten a huge inheritance to be able to ER at 56/57. We didn't. I chose my career partly based on income potential, and we saved, LBYM'd, relocated a few times, and made other sacrifices to be in our position. Plus we had some good luck with career opportunities.

I think people who don't save much just can't fathom how someone could "earn" their ER. I do feel sorry for some of our friends who are about our age and aren't even close to being in the position to retire, but as others have said, the situation is largely based on their choices so I don't feel guilty.
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Old 05-03-2017, 06:36 AM   #19
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Did I feel guilty about retiring early? No friggin way! I retired in late 2008 at age 45 and I'm damn proud of it. It is by far my life's biggest achievement.
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Old 05-03-2017, 06:38 AM   #20
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But how do you explain to [whomever]?
One approach is to say that you are now self-employed managing your investments. The fact that this doesn't occupy all of your time is a minor detail that need not be elaborated upon.
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