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Old 05-22-2013, 04:42 PM   #21
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I wonder if this so-frequently discussed issue is ever a problem for women?

I don't expect anyone to be interested (other than here, of course, and for a little while at work after I make my announcement) when I retire.

Some people have seemed slightly nonplussed when they learn I'm working, and Mr. A. is retired. But we quickly turn the conversation to other things. Doing that is a skill, I guess.

I agree with Midpack that it would be wrong to "gloat" about how wonderful retirement is, to someone who's still enchained. That is, unless they say something snarky and uncalled-for, in which case let 'em have it with both barrels!

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Old 05-22-2013, 04:43 PM   #22
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I, too, have a hard time answering the question "What do you do all day?". Another comment I get is "You must be really bored". I'm learning that I don't have to explain to others what I'm doing. I see some friends periodically and they always ask if I have found a part-time job or volunteer gig yet.
I've never had anyone be persistent or rude with their questions, though. One of these days, I'm going to answer something like "Well. I'll tell you what I'm not doing. I'm NOT wasting my time answering questions about what I'm doing all day".
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Old 05-22-2013, 06:01 PM   #23
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I'm not retired yet, so take this fwiw, but it sounds like some of you guys (OP and others) are too worried about what other people think or what your image is in their eyes. My advice is don't twist yourself in a pretzel to figure out the "right" thing to say, so that no one's feathers get ruffled and you look like a great guy. Just tell the truth and let them have whatever reaction they are going to have (which as someone else pointed out, may be none at all). Trying to manage other people's reactions to you and impressions of you is a huge waste of energy. Just tell the simple truth: "I'm retired." The end. Whatever their reactions are to that statement, that is their business and their responsibility. You ought to enjoy the fact that you're retired, not feel like you have to hide it.
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Old 05-22-2013, 06:08 PM   #24
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I'm not retired yet, so take this fwiw, but it sounds like some of you guys (OP and others) are too worried about what other people think or what your image is in their eyes. My advice is don't twist yourself in a pretzel to figure out the "right" thing to say, so that no one's feathers get ruffled and you look like a great guy. Just tell the truth and let them have whatever reaction they are going to have (which as someone else pointed out, may be none at all). Trying to manage other people's reactions to you and impressions of you is a huge waste of energy. Just tell the simple truth: "I'm retired." The end. Whatever their reactions are to that statement, that is their business and their responsibility. You ought to enjoy the fact that you're retired, not feel like you have to hide it.
I think your advice is good. ER just doesn't make sense to SO many people, but that's ok. I think we are different here, but in a good way. It is crazy to think I have to hide something I'm actually proud of. Especially when the BS got bad at work, I wasn't "proud" of my MegaCorp job, but that was never an issue.
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Old 05-22-2013, 06:19 PM   #25
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I'm currently taking a break from working - you know how it is.

Make them feel guilty about asking...
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Old 05-22-2013, 06:22 PM   #26
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Or how about: I was forced into early retirement.

Don't have to say you forced yourself.
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Old 05-22-2013, 06:26 PM   #27
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Old 05-22-2013, 09:41 PM   #28
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Well, like others have said, it's just a bid for conversation. "What do you do" is a predictable sort of gambit, followed by "I work in _____", which in turn is followed by equally predictable Q & A where the speaker is pretending his work is more interesting/impressive than it really is, and the listener is pretending that she is more interested/impressed than she really is.

"I'm retired" leads to a much more interesting conversation, imo. "How did you manage that?" "Why retire so early?" "What do you do with all that free time?" "Are you happier now?" "Do you miss work?" (And in the back of most people's mind, "How can I pull that off?")
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Old 05-22-2013, 10:07 PM   #29
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When I first retired, I was asked how I did it a few times. Now that I'm pushing 59 and apparently looking old, I never get the question.
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Old 05-22-2013, 10:15 PM   #30
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I don't [explain]. If asked about my job, I answer that I am retired. End of story.
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Well, I thought I was retired. But it seems that now I'm working as a travel agent instead!
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Old 05-22-2013, 10:16 PM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ER Eddie View Post
I'm not retired yet, so take this fwiw, but it sounds like some of you guys (OP and others) are too worried about what other people think or what your image is in their eyes. My advice is don't twist yourself in a pretzel to figure out the "right" thing to say, so that no one's feathers get ruffled and you look like a great guy. Just tell the truth and let them have whatever reaction they are going to have (which as someone else pointed out, may be none at all). Trying to manage other people's reactions to you and impressions of you is a huge waste of energy. Just tell the simple truth: "I'm retired." The end. Whatever their reactions are to that statement, that is their business and their responsibility. You ought to enjoy the fact that you're retired, not feel like you have to hide it.
Oh - looks like I took your advice before I even read it!

[But I still keep a low profile about it - just like I do about most personal facts - especially the financial ones.]
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Well, I thought I was retired. But it seems that now I'm working as a travel agent instead!
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Old 05-22-2013, 11:30 PM   #32
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Thanks to all who have responded. I appreciate your time and your thoughts.

I started ER at 41 and this delicate interaction has been the biggest surprise for me so far. It isn't so much that I care a lot about what people think of me personally (although, if I am honest, that may still matter more than I would like to admit.). I have just noticed in several cases that my "I'm retired" response may have caused discomfort or certainly something other than a good feeling for the hearer. I just try to evaluate the situation and be sensitive to it and to figure out a "first do no harm" sort of approach.

There are plenty of good suggestions here that should help.
Thanks to all again.
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Old 05-22-2013, 11:47 PM   #33
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I have met several people in the last couple of years that have retired. When I met them and asked what they did, they would simply say, "I'm retired." I congratulated them and asked what they used to do and what they like doing now that they have more free time. However, I should mention that I live in a town where the largest employer has a good pension program, so it's actually not uncommon to find retirees in their early to mid 50's. I have two years to go to vest, but am always happy for the people that have retired already.
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Old 05-23-2013, 02:19 AM   #34
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Not retired yet but once I do I plan to respond 'I'm on a sabbatical'. What they won't know is that I plan for it to be a REALLY long sabbatical.
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Old 05-23-2013, 05:00 AM   #35
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When asked what I do I simply say that I'm retired and I rarely get asked how I managed it at such a "young" age. If asked I simply say that I was fortunate to have a good pension. (I do, and it covers about 60% of our current expenses but I don't go into that much detail).

Just yesterday we got talking to 2 couples on top of Diamond Hill in Connemara National Park, Ireland. We had just climbed it and actually recognized each other from the day before when our paths had crossed hiking on the island of Inishbofin. They were from Boulder, Colorado and on vacation together. While we talked it was obvious we were in the middle of a very long trip and when we told them we were retired they didn't ask any details, just congratulated us, and asked about some of the other places we had visited.

(the 2 ladies of the couples are in the background of the attached photo, just before we started talking)
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Old 05-23-2013, 06:34 AM   #36
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I have a brother who has FIREd and he tells people he is an "independent consultant". When they ask him in what area, he says "whatever area I choose".
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Old 05-23-2013, 07:57 AM   #37
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I have just noticed in several cases that my "I'm retired" response may have caused discomfort or certainly something other than a good feeling for the hearer. I just try to evaluate the situation and be sensitive to it and to figure out a "first do no harm" sort of approach.
I'll bet that a lot of the discomfort is just the surprise of the unexpected response. "What do you do?" is normally followed by a discussion of work. Very predictable social chatter. When a younger guy/gal gives them a "I'm retired," that probably throws them off. They expected a discussion about work, but instead they find none. They don't quite know what to do with that. They were looking for something to grab hold of, conversationally, but instead they've got thin air.

If you're interested in smoothing out that awkward moment, you could just go on to describe the things you do in your free time. That'll give them something to respond to.

Also, I think the less awkward/worried we are about talking about retirement, the less other people will be. Just talk about it naturally, as if it's no big deal. If you start to think this is a delicate, fragile situation that needs to be handled carefully, you're going to be apprehensive about the discussion, and apprehension is contagious. Then the discomfort you are picking up on is (at least partly) of your own making.

Just handle it matter-of-fact, and give them something to grab hold of, conversationally, by filling in some details about how you spend your time. Chances are, there are some interesting tidbits there.
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Old 05-23-2013, 08:43 AM   #38
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I haven't yet had anybody probe me...
You haven't been to the airport lately...
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Old 05-23-2013, 08:46 AM   #39
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Old 05-23-2013, 09:14 AM   #40
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"I'm a male stripper over at Sunnyland Rest Home..."
You strip males in a rest home?
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