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Keeping ER secret
Old 08-03-2005, 09:59 PM   #1
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Keeping ER secret

I recall that there are a few of you who are retired (or plan to be soon) and are not telling anyone about it. How is that working out?

Everyone knows that I'm not working, but hubby and I are contemplating not telling anyone when he quits. That way we won't get guilted into long family vacations or hit up for more money.

Does it feel like living a lie or does it feel like a delicious secret?
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Re: Keeping ER secret
Old 08-03-2005, 10:41 PM   #2
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Re: Keeping ER secret

It works out fine for me.* The less people know, the better.* If I win $1mil in the lottery, nobody will know that either.

What good will it do to advertise how little you work and/or how rich you are?* Bragging to friends and family about your success is like telling a cancer patient how healthy you are.

I like to stay under the radar because it tends to keep potential problems to a minimum.
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Re: Keeping ER secret
Old 08-04-2005, 01:38 AM   #3
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Re: Keeping ER secret

Like retire@40 I also refer a low profile. On top of reasons mentioned there are safety issues, as well as some of the older family members getting all worried if I am not working (nomatter WHAT the net worth might be).

Cheers!

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Re: Keeping ER secret
Old 08-04-2005, 02:55 AM   #4
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Re: Keeping ER secret

Hi all,

Having led teams of engineers for decades I like to brainstorm with people, challenge their ideas, having mine being challenged as well, learn from others' experiences, etc. I'm not a social animal per se, but I enjoy the brainstorm sessions and being a bit pushy with all (hypo)thesis. But, I could not stand the management part of the job and the company related waste of time, and started planning my ER back in 95. The more I progressed along that path, the more I got de(un)correlated with the organisation and the say - normal - people. They were discussing pay raise (1-2%) and worktime reduction while I was trading making (or losing) months / years of salary on the markets, saving every penny, taking leverage on commercial RE, etc. At one point, not talking much of course (but though too much), my decorrelation to the "company system" must have been somehow too visible, and I got (semi-)sacked and they promoted someone else to lead the global staff of 70 engineers (still having control of my teams and 35 engineers). But that was the end of it... and went for the severance package.

Conclusion: not saying much is already too much. Trying to ER lead you to construct a new world to free yourself of wage slavery and when the system discovers it they try to get rid of you, as your way of thinking is a threat for them (what would happen if more people were trying to do what we've achieved or tried to achieve ?). As far as (real) friends and family, it is difficult to hide to them that you do not need to work. Ah, you're not working and you're not (desperatly) looking for a job ? either you're mad or you must have some good reason.

But at the end of the day, not necessary lying but not saying much of your own affairs is certainly the best to do.

Then, you can try to enjoy discussing with people like you over an ER site and board :-)))

That keeps the braisntorm running.

Patrice.
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Re: Keeping ER secret
Old 08-04-2005, 08:29 AM   #5
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Re: Keeping ER secret

I had an exit plan in my previous job and kept it very quiet. I jumped at the chance to be part of a RIF and they gave me a salary extension for almost a year while I was looking for another job.

At my current job I am very open about ER. Most know I ERd from my previous job and that I can leave here anytime I want. My new boss was discussing my long term development plan. What a joke that was. I told him my plan is to be retired in 2-3 years and all I care to develop is my portfolio. He is a management dweeb and follows all the latest and greatest BS from HR. He is finally seeing the light as he gets less and less support for resources he has asked for over the past year. He is just now understanding why I did not take his job when it was offered to me. Being in charge of a runaway train is not my idea of a good time. The small amount of money they would have given me to take on a huge amount of stress and responsibility was just not worth it. I am very content with my small department of 8 people and doing my job without all the politics and ass kissing necessary in the higher position.

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Re: Keeping ER secret
Old 08-04-2005, 09:16 AM   #6
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Re: Keeping ER secret

Like the old NIKE commercial. . . "Just do it"
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Re: Keeping ER secret
Old 08-04-2005, 10:52 AM   #7
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Re: Keeping ER secret

I will admit I plan on saying, "self employed" when asked. Hey, I'll be a financial planner for three clients, DW, daughter, and myself!

Heck, the fangs come out when some one buys a new car around here, imagine what being wealthy/ER'd would do.
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Re: Keeping ER secret
Old 08-04-2005, 11:56 AM   #8
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Re: Keeping ER secret

Yes, I am the investment manager for us too!

I understand what is being said about the bragging about money (just ER in itself says it) which I would never do, it just seems harder from a "just being" standpoint. Like when we are visiting family and folks ask DH about work, do we just make something up ~ I think I would feel bad about it.

I think it would be easier if he was actually self employed. Well, maybe we'll just say he's "working from home"

You guys really do have it a little harder in this area. Although people were a little surprised that I quit work, no one really seems to think that a woman not working is all that big of a deal.

I'm a bit afraid that if we don't tell and it is found out everyone will think that he was laid off and was too embarrassed to tell anyone and they would then start worrying about us financially.

Eagle 43 says, just do it. Am I making it all too complicated?
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Re: Keeping ER secret
Old 08-04-2005, 12:31 PM   #9
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Re: Keeping ER secret

Quote:
Originally Posted by shiny
. . . Am I making it all too complicated?
I don't think so. This topic has come up in one form or another several times on this and other ER boards. A lot of people say they don't care what other people think. This made sense to me till I actually retired. I found that many people who knew me professionally assume that I lost my job and am just too embarrassed to admit it. They seem embarrassed and awkward around me too. While it's easy to say you don't care and that this is "their problem", it sure would be nice if their embarrassement and awkwardness weren't there. I sensed the same attitude in my neighbors, although over time I think they eventually decided that I might really be retired on purpose. I have been most surprised about my father's attitude. While he would never interfere or judge me for my choices, I do sense that he is not comfortable with our retirement. He worked his career as a coal miner and lives off of a comfortable pension with generous medical benefits. He never was a big investor and what minimal funds he does invest, he invests only in bonds. I think he is concerned that I am dependent on investments for the rest of my life and this is something he doesn't understand.

I'm not sure how to answer your original question, but I don't think you are wrong to think about how to handle it. Good luck.
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Re: Keeping ER secret
Old 08-04-2005, 12:39 PM   #10
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Re: Keeping ER secret

Quote:
Originally Posted by shiny
Yes, I am the investment manager for us too!

I understand what is being said about the bragging about money (just ER in itself says it) which I would never do,* it just seems harder from a "just being" standpoint.* Like when we are visiting family and folks ask DH about work, do we just make something up ~ I think I would feel* bad about it.

I think it would be easier if he was actually self employed.* Well, maybe we'll just say he's "working from home"

You guys really do have it a little harder in this area.* Although people were a little surprised that I quit work, no one really seems to think that a woman not working is all that big of a deal.*

I'm a bit afraid that if we don't tell and it is found out everyone will think that he was laid off and was too embarrassed to tell anyone and they would* then start worrying about us financially.

Eagle 43 says, just do it.* Am I making it all too complicated?
I agree with SG, you are not being too complicated. Any way of handling this has some strong points and some weak points.

I think you are right, no one thinks itís a big deal if a woman isn't working. Some other women might be jealous; some men might think it must be nice for your husband to come home to a rested woman and a nice calm mealtime. But this is not how a non-working man is usually seen, unless the family involved is truly and obviously rich.

I absolutely would never lie to family. It has bad effects. Most people have sensors so at some level they know what is really happening when it concerns people who are important to them.* Also, if you have been fibbing, what do you do if you should need some emotional or other support? Trying to come clean all of a sudden might not go over well.

The other issue is kids. If you have children, do you train them to lie? If not, your stories get crossed in the community.

Of course this is often less critical or not important at all in many communities. Where there are retired young software millionaires, or rich people from show business or whatever, there may be many people ďon your streetĒ who donít appear to do anything, and who donít welcome inquiries either. People adapt quickly to what is ordinary around them. Most of these folks are truly well off- dryer sheet dividers really aren't in that class.

Personally I am old enough now that it is not odd to be retired, and I notice that people do treat me differently. Itís like they now have a satisfactory compartment to put me in. Even those in my own family, who knew the score all along. I think they can relax a little now, figuring that I made it.

Earlier in my retirement, my insurance agent actually brought me sacks of pinto beans. He was a kind man, and he didn't believe me that I was voluntarily unemployed. So he wasn't going to stand by and let my kids go hungry! Talk about embarrassment.

I did and do always have a story to use while traveling. Retired teacher is mine. Actually, I look about as rich as Lil'Abner, but no sense taking chances with kidnappers.

Haha
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Re: Keeping ER secret
Old 08-04-2005, 12:52 PM   #11
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Re: Keeping ER secret

Quote:
Originally Posted by shiny
I understand what is being said about the bragging about money (just ER in itself says it) which I would never do,* it just seems harder from a "just being" standpoint.* Like when we are visiting family and folks ask DH about work, do we just make something up ~ I think I would feel* bad about it.
I say don't brag, but don't lie about it either.* You will give others a goal to shoot for.* You can always say "We made some good investments," which is true.

Quote:
. . . get guilted into long family vacations or hit up for more money.
For these problems I highly recommend the excellent book "When I Say No I Feel Guilty," by Manuel Smith.* It's probably available at your local library for free, or for next to nothing at half.com: http://search.half.ebay.com/when-i-s...ty_W0QQmZbooks
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Re: Keeping ER secret
Old 08-04-2005, 02:19 PM   #12
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Re: Keeping ER secret

As I have just become "permanently" unemployed several months ago, I too have thought about my new status. I don't have a problem telling people that I am retired if it were to come up in conversation. Although I don't receive one, I am considering telling people that I have retired and living on a small company pension.
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Re: Keeping ER secret
Old 08-04-2005, 02:30 PM   #13
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Re: Keeping ER secret

Maybe I have a different perspective on this, but my Dad worked in a job where he had access to sensitive/classified information, and now my DH is in a job with an even higher level of secured information.

The "need to know" concept, therefore, has been a part of my life from the beginning.

No one besides DH and I has a need to know our FIRE plans.

We've shared general information with a couple of our nieces/nephews and younger friends who are in an excellent position to take advantage of FIRE, but no specifics.
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Re: Keeping ER secret
Old 08-04-2005, 02:42 PM   #14
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Re: Keeping ER secret

Quote:
Originally Posted by shiny
I recall that there are a few of you who are retired (or plan to be soon) and are not telling anyone about it.* How is that working out?*

Everyone knows that I'm not working, but hubby and I are contemplating not telling anyone when he quits.* That way we won't get guilted into long family vacations or hit up for more money.*

Does it feel like living a lie or does it feel like a delicious secret?
Judith Martin (Miss Manners) probably has a policy guideline like "don't share any more info than required by polite discussion". *I'd defintely tell immediate family because any lack of disclosure or outright evasion will be interpreted as unemployment and will be met with more undesirable attention disguised as assistance.

I don't mention ER when I'm introduced to someone unless the "What do you do?" discussion comes up. *Then I bite down on all my smart-alecky thoughts and say "I'm retired." *If there's more interest then we get into the details, but most working people asking that "What do you do?" question find retirees boring and don't pursue the discussion.

If someone responds positively to the "I'm retired" comment then I figure that I'm meeting a fellow ER and we pursue their interest until they change the subject. *Usually their impression is that we're enjoying a frugal lifestyle on a reasonable portfolio. *(Gosh, that's the truth.)

When my kid glanced over my shoulder at Quicken one day and commented "Holy $%@, we have that much?!?" my response was "Mom & I do, but you're broke." *We followed up with a discussion on how long a retirement portfolio has to last and how little that number really is when it's stretched out over decades. *Surprisingly the same discussion works well with adults.

"Long family vacations"-- does that mean someone camping out in your house and overstaying their welcome? *In that case the first week will be a non-stop surfing party (interrupted for meals, kids, homework, & perhaps sleep) but the second week will be non-stop yardwork with conscripted labor. *They'll get the hint.

The "hitting up for money" situation is either "I'm sorry, all our money is tied up in our investments" or "We've already made our charitable donations." *(Both of those are the truth too.) *But any kid with the guts to come to our door soliciting for charity usually walks away with $10. *

Every once in a while I run into "Hey, you're a retired guy, you must have infinite free time on your hands to help with this worthy project!!" *It would seem selfish or just plain rude for an ER to claim "I'm sorry, I don't have the time to do that" when the REAL reason appears to be "I don't want to do that." *I usually give the first answer and it's understood that it's the polite response. *When I'm challenged on it I come back with "I want to do a lot of things that are important to me, and my day is already full. *If I made time for your project then I'd have to stop doing things that I need to do or want to do. *How would you feel if I asked you to do that?" *No problem.
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Re: Keeping ER secret
Old 08-04-2005, 02:57 PM   #15
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Re: Keeping ER secret

My parents are obsessed with us coming on an trip with them in their RV. That sounds like a nightmare to me ~ they drive me crazy under normal conditions. In an RV (with 4 TVs probably on Fox News or some such) I might just have a breakdown. I could do it for 2-3 days and when there is a job involved that amount of time is appreciated, but when there is not it seems there has to be an explanation.


For these problems I highly recommend the excellent book "When I Say No I Feel Guilty," by Manuel Smith. It's probably available at your local library for free, or for next to nothing at half.com:Ok, time to go check out that book Patrick recommended!

I do agree that living a lie would take its toll. I'm thinking that saying we are taking a few years off while we are young enough to really enjoy traveling on our own might work (as long as we are out of RV range ~ ha) Then after the "few years" are over we'll just coast into the "we live frugally on our modest investments" stage. Maybe that would work.
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Re: Keeping ER secret
Old 08-05-2005, 02:05 PM   #16
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Re: Keeping ER secret

Nords,

I love your comment:

Quote:
"...Holy $%@, we have that much?!?" my response was "Mom & I do, but you're broke."
I can just see my two sons seeing the stash and saying the same thing. I agree it is not theirs...it is DW and mine. They "may" get some of it if I don't spend it all at my wake.

I have never shared with family much of my financial information. My mother has an idea of what my salary is but that is about all. My new wife had no idea of what I had in the stash until after we got married and did our Trusts. While I am not in the top of the league here based on the polls I have seen here, I do have enough for my desired lifestyle and it will last me longer than either of us will live. That is a satisfying feeling but no one but my lawyer and tax man know the whole story.

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Re: Keeping ER secret
Old 08-05-2005, 02:39 PM   #17
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Re: Keeping ER secret

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveR
Nords,
I love your comment:

I can just see my two sons seeing the stash and saying the same thing.* I agree it is not theirs...it is DW and mine.* They "may" get some of it if I don't spend it all at my wake.*
I wish I could take credit for it, but it's Bill Cosby as Dr. Cliff Huxtable talking to Theo on the Cosby Show. (My kid watches it every night on Nick. She's absolutely horrified by the primitive living conditions we had to endure in the 1980s.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveR
I have never shared with family much of my financial information. My mother has an idea of what my salary is but that is about all. My new wife had no idea of what I had in the stash until after we got married and did our Trusts. While I am not in the top of the league here based on the polls I have seen here, I do have enough for my desired lifestyle and it will last me longer than either of us will live. That is a satisfying feeling but no one but my lawyer and tax man know the whole story.
There are advantages & drawbacks. I'd never get married without both sides having full financial disclosure, and maybe some family members need that too.

My FIL was blissfully ignorant of our financial condition until he moved to Hawaii, and now he tends to sweat every dollar whether he's spending it or not. He's the kind of guy who would populate an entire lawn by starting with one plug of zoysia, splitting its descendants every few months, and letting exponential propagation do its thing. He's saved us thousands of dollars in deferred maintenance, but it does drive his spouse crazy (he doesn't see why she needed those new Formica counters and that new sink anyway). Now we spend an inordinate amount of time figuring out what type of spin to put on each & every purchase.

We also sit around discussing the stock market. He turned me on to Berkshire Hathaway about five years ago but got out at $2200 because it was "overpriced". I've shared with him what I think I've learned about shorting stocks, but it wasn't very smart of me to tell him about losing $8000 shorting KMart stock against Eddie Lampert. (OK, shorting KMart wasn't so smart either in retrospect, but I could've kept my mouth shut.)

I finally realized that he was still ignorant of our financial picture and was trying to set a good example for us by being frugal for the sake of us "crazy kids". He's calmed down a lot now that he understands how we're doing, and I think he's stopped worrying about me making his daughter or grandkid into homeless vagrants. So now I talk with him about dividend stocks and low-priced value stocks and how much our cash flow has improved. He understands that our net worth has been rising since ER and that we're learning to loosen up the purse strings a little. Hopefully he is too...
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Re: Keeping ER secret
Old 08-05-2005, 04:51 PM   #18
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Re: Keeping ER secret

Quote:
Originally Posted by shiny
I recall that there are a few of you who are retired (or plan to be soon) and are not telling anyone about it. How is that working out?

Everyone knows that I'm not working, but hubby and I are contemplating not telling anyone when he quits. That way we won't get guilted into long family vacations or hit up for more money.

Does it feel like living a lie or does it feel like a delicious secret?


Wether you tell others or not, ER is a secret if not a mystery. It MUST be because so few people understand it....and thats the truth.



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