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Old 05-26-2013, 11:50 AM   #61
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Actually, this thread has gotten me thinking seriously about the question. I'm really not inclined to discuss my former occupation with people I've just met. I had planned to start a travel blog, just to provide information for interested family and friends. I'm not a bad writer, and I'm competent with a camera, so I might just bill myself as a travel writer/photographer. Or a poet (have some literary works published). The latter ought to kill any further conversation lol.
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Old 05-26-2013, 11:52 AM   #62
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I also like 'art critic'. Or maybe just 'critic'.

What do you criticize?

Practically everything....
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Old 05-26-2013, 12:16 PM   #63
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I likely won't tell friends and/or family. I run my own small practice now and so I will just continue to tell people I am an Architect and leave it at that. I know too many people who haven't set aside enough money for retirement and I just don't need/want to discuss the issue with them. For that reason this board has been nice as there are like minded people here I can at least discuss the issues with.

So saying I am an Architect with my own practice will keep it simple and clean and they don't need to know I have no clients Or very few and select clients that I actually want to do projects for. For me the FI is nice in that I can do design work if I want to or not. I like that control.
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Old 05-29-2013, 08:10 AM   #64
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Oh, one more thing I have mentioned to others and in this forum about my ER: "I want my money working for me instead of me working for my money!"
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Old 05-29-2013, 09:20 AM   #65
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I'm not retired yet, and this thread has been interesting to me. First of all, when someone asks you "what do you do?", saying "you are retired" is not a correct response to the question. (I'm sure it implies you did something before and then stopped working permanently). But, a better answer may be along the lines of (examples):

I keep track of my investments and spend time traveling, etc,

My career in (____________) is over and now I volunteer, etc,

I no longer (teach, sell insurance, etc) and just live off my investments and savings,

I do whatever my wife tells me to do...

Because I am "late to the retirement party" and one of the older folks cruising this venue, I am typically asked if I am already retired. This is kind of a switch from what you ER folks go through. I usually say "not yet, but as soon as my business partners feel they can do without me, then I'll leave".

I think it's going to be later this year when I pull the plug and probably just work an occasional client project when really needed. Then I can join the daily morning R.O.M.E.O. group at Burger King with some of my retired friends.
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Old 05-29-2013, 09:39 AM   #66
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First, I don't feel I must justify my decisions to most people. Nor do they have to justify things to me.

I do, however, explain that there are things I want to do in life, that I could not and will not be able to do while working. Among them: live a healthier life style - I eat better, exercise more and have lost 15 pounds since retiring, see more of my children - I see them much more often than when I was working and am even able to help them out at times, travel - I have already been to places this Spring I would never have gone had I been working.

The good fairy did not bonk me on the head with her wand and grant me the wish of retirement. I worked for 40 years towards this goal.

pb4uski put it very well:

Quote:
I worked hard and longer hours than most people, went back to school for an advanced degree while working, made good money, lived below my means regularly saved and invested and that some of my investments did very well - and I feel blessed by my good fortune to never have had a job loss or major illness
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Old 05-29-2013, 09:49 AM   #67
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I just tell others I'm semi-retired.

If probed further, I tell them my organization was down-sizing and I was offered an early retirement package that was too good to pass up. Make ends meet with seasonal work.

And it's mostly true, except for the part of seasonal work (which is true) but I don't need it to make ends meet as my withdrawal rate from portfolio has never exceeded 2%.
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Old 05-29-2013, 10:13 AM   #68
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I just say I am retired. Sometimes I add that I used to be a mechanical engineer. The only sensitive situation I think I could encounter is someone who obviously needs to work and is struggling or unemployed in which case I would just say I am not working right now. But I've not met anyone in that situation.

When someone asks for more info then I point out that I worked hard for 30 years and it is time I do something else. I take care of the house, take classes, volunteer, etc. I'm not bored at all.

I'm 57. If I'm talking to young people (20's or 30's) they just accept it. Retirement is not in their field of view right now. Other retired people accept it (obviously). My friends my age are happy for me. I live in the liberal Bay Area so doing something that is for self fulfillment is pretty normal.
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Old 05-29-2013, 11:01 AM   #69
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We seem to be surrounded with people who are in dire straits. At an event, a woman whom I have known for 30 years approached me. She was in the same profession as me, but I had managed to really focus on finances since the 90's. She told me that in one year, if she didn't find a job, they would be destitute. She and her spouse had lost two houses and gone through all their retirement savings after some unwise financial decisions during the housing boom. Her spouse had become disabled. My reaction is to reach out and "save her" from financial ruin. But, of course, I can't.

My DH just gave an old friend $20 yesterday for gas. The economy seems to be picking up for those who invested wisely and stayed out of debt. But, I don't think we see the true reality of the desperation out there.

On the one hand, I know that I have worked very hard for over 40 years, saving and going to work even when I felt like sleeping in...and remember all those stay-cations. Plus, I am thankful every day that I can wake up in a paid-for house in a beautiful place. On the other hand, because of the "delicate financial reality" of these times, I don't share that with others.

I tell people that I am self-employed (which I joyfully am). I am just too much of a people-pleaser, because I don't want anyone to feel badly about my good fortune.
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Old 05-29-2013, 11:12 AM   #70
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Originally Posted by seraphim View Post
Or how about: I was forced into early retirement.

Don't have to say you forced yourself.
I have used that one, because in a way it was true or at least it led me to decide to go for it... since I knew I could.

I just get tired of the people that automatically figure you are rich or you won the lottery or something - never considering you worked, saved and developed a plan a long time ago to make it a possibility in your future... just because they didn't...
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Old 05-29-2013, 12:14 PM   #71
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Isn't this an age related thing?

I didn't RE until 58 yo. Not really very early........ I've never offered an explanation to anyone and, in fact, am very seldom asked. Throwing in the towel on gainful employment at 58, what's the big deal?

If I had been so fortunate as to have RE'd at 40 or 45, then I suppose curiosity would overwhelm many folks and needing to have some sort of vanilla answer would be more necessary.
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Old 05-29-2013, 01:31 PM   #72
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Isn't this an age related thing?

I didn't RE until 58 yo. Not really very early........ I've never offered an explanation to anyone and, in fact, am very seldom asked. Throwing in the towel on gainful employment at 58, what's the big deal?

If I had been so fortunate as to have RE'd at 40 or 45, then I suppose curiosity would overwhelm many folks and needing to have some sort of vanilla answer would be more necessary.
I tend to agree. For those ER'd before 50 I sort of look at them as those who have won the lottery either literally or figuratively. Or . . . they are not really retired. They are out of work.

For those over 50 who have put in 30 yrs of work then I can easily conceive that they have saved over time and/or have a frugal lifestyle.

I suppose anyone retired before 60 probably has a story that reasonably justifies their decision and situation.
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Old 05-29-2013, 03:44 PM   #73
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I can't help but chime in here that "retirement" means different things to different people.

I retired from w*rking at 55, and I was delighted because that had been my goal since I was a teenager. When I understood (way back then) that the "normal" retirement age was 65, I just decided to set a goal of beating that by ten years. I was able to do so, and it has been a wonderful life since that point.

On the other hand, DW never had any intention of retiring early, because she truly enjoyed the social part of w*rking. About five or six years ago, she changed jobs to one that paid half of what she previously made, but also had only a fraction of the stress level associated with that higher-paid job. She was completely happy with that. At long last, she is finally going to actually retire this summer, coinciding with her 65th birthday, and I'm looking forward to being able to do a lot more traveling with her.

Truth be told, she probably would have stayed there and w*rked for a few more years (she really enjoys her coworkers), but a new pointy-haired boss came on board a few months ago and that was the impetus for her decision.

For me, retirement has just been a very long, totally enjoyable vacation (something I never got to do during my w*rking career), but DW is still a little apprehensive ("Will I have enough to keep me busy?") at this point. She'll be fine, of course, but everyone has to create their own definition of what the "post-employment" phase is supposed to be.
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Old 05-29-2013, 05:33 PM   #74
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I'm not retired, but people often question me about my 'situation'. I tell them that I have a one year contract to work 960 hours, and that I generally work remotely. Few people are blunt enough to ask how I do it without a pension and I tell them that I mooch off of DW
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Old 05-29-2013, 07:34 PM   #75
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I tend to agree. For those ER'd before 50 I sort of look at them as those who have won the lottery either literally or figuratively. Or . . . they are not really retired. They are out of work.

For those over 50 who have put in 30 yrs of work then I can easily conceive that they have saved over time and/or have a frugal lifestyle.

I suppose anyone retired before 60 probably has a story that reasonably justifies their decision and situation.
I agree that age has something to do with it. I ERed at 41 and the lottery/unemployed/inheritance assumption is an example of one of the responses I encounter. None of which are true BTW. DW and I used the work very hard and save a lot approach. No kids is also a factor. Finally, I never forget and remain grateful that we are just very blessed indeed.

While I am more concerned with making a struggling person feel worse, a "small pride issue" that I someday hope to fix also makes me hope that people do not assume that we blindly stumbled into ER or that it somehow came easily.
As you can see, my response can get complicated unless I come up with a quick way of diffusing the situation.

Thanks again to all who have responded.
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