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Retirement Guilt
Old 07-24-2006, 09:32 AM   #1
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Retirement Guilt

I had planned to not tell people that I was retiring, so that I wouldn't "showing off."* However, when they ask "How's work?" I have to mention it. Now the word is out.

We have some good friends who never made much money.* She cleans houses and he works in a lumber mill.* I think that with their income, even if they were good at LBYM, they wouldn't be able to retire for a long time.* The guy works at a mill that is about four hours away, comes home only on weekends, and gets up at 1:30 AM to drive to work on Monday mornings.

So, I don't know if I'd call it guilt, but I really didn't like telling them that starting next week I don't have to work at all.*

Anybody else experience that?
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Re: Retirement Guilt
Old 07-24-2006, 09:44 AM   #2
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Re: Retirement Guilt

Being a woman, it's easier to get around this. I think what is more telling is my simple lifestyle. I didn't really change anything about it other than I don't work 9-5. Perhaps after the shock wears off with your friends and they don't really see a difference in who you are it will just becomes a non-issue.
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Re: Retirement Guilt
Old 07-24-2006, 09:54 AM   #3
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Re: Retirement Guilt

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
I had planned to not tell people that I was retiring, so that I wouldn't "showing off." However, when they ask "How's work?" I have to mention it. Now the word is out.So, I don't know if I'd call it guilt, but I really didn't like telling them that starting next week I don't have to work at all.
Hmm - I can see what you mean.

In the end, a good friend will be happy for you, accept your situation with grace and it may be less of an issue than you anticipate.

Let us know how it goes.
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Re: Retirement Guilt
Old 07-24-2006, 09:59 AM   #4
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Re: Retirement Guilt

Yeah.. for me it's been attenuated because of our move overseas and the fact that my husband is working a bit (still waiting to see the big bucks coming in, but it's a nice cover, this 'consulting'...). Also easier, as LL says, for women not to be working..

My two best friends aren't in debt but are just holding their heads above water.. one has kids, and a husband that works in a wood shop. I can tell she resents it a little though she tries not to show it. The other has big time health issues. What I try to do is spring for something nice for them when I can.. I should do more. It's only money. But then again, I don't want to make them feel uncomfortable and call the situation into relief.

They see I haven't changed and that I spend way less than when I was working, but is hard to lose some of the old conversational stand-bys, "bitchin' about work"..

Al, maybe with your music you can round off the sharp edges by implying you are getting something from gigs or lessons.. vagueness helps.
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Re: Retirement Guilt
Old 07-24-2006, 10:01 AM   #5
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Re: Retirement Guilt

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
So, I don't know if I'd call it guilt, but I really didn't like telling them that starting next week I don't have to work at all.

Anybody else experience that?
At a sporting event last Friday I ran across an acquaintance who I haven't seen since before I retired. He had recently talked with my wife and so he knew I wasn't working. The inevitable questions all came up, and of course the statement "You're too young to retire!"

Now, this is a man who went from being a cop many years ago to being a very wealthy entrepreuner who should be able to retire whenever he wants. But his lifestyle has him by the financial throat (my home could fit inside his house's garage) and I think there is some element of keeping score by how much money he makes.

Not having seen him for two years I was a little shocked at his appearance - he was looking really old for a guy in his early fifties.

I almost felt a little guilty when I responded to his statement, but I told him the truth.

Yeah, I'm pretty young. But I realized that at some point you have to stop and enjoy what your money can buy. If you've been good enough, and lucky enough to make it early in life - then you retire early.

I like this man - he's not a close friend but he is a good guy - and it pained me to see the look on his face.

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Re: Retirement Guilt
Old 07-24-2006, 10:06 AM   #6
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Re: Retirement Guilt

Leonidas.. what was the look? Pain? Contempt? Shock; AHA!? Depression? Pity?
Good for you for offering the ER perspective. He may come 'round.
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Re: Retirement Guilt
Old 07-24-2006, 10:25 AM   #7
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Re: Retirement Guilt

Quote:
Originally Posted by ladelfina
Leonidas.. what was the look? Pain? Contempt? Shock; AHA!? Depression? Pity?
It was pain with maybe a dash of resentment thrown in. My intent was not to cause pain, but I wasn't going to lie to him either. It wasn't my first answer, but he kept pressing me with questions like "You're going to do something, right?"
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Re: Retirement Guilt
Old 07-24-2006, 10:58 AM   #8
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Re: Retirement Guilt

T-Al -- Yup, I have experienced something similar. I know a few people who don't earn a lot and are saving deligently but will be able to retire at 65, at best. I recognize that my happy situation owes a fair amount to luck, so I do feel a bit guilty. Fortunately, none of them have expressed any resentment.

It doesn't bother me at all when dealing with people who choose to live large now and have to keep working as a consequence.
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Re: Retirement Guilt
Old 07-24-2006, 11:28 AM   #9
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Re: Retirement Guilt

Al, I have run into exactly the same thing.

Retired earlier this year. I have a number of friends still working and it is known that I have retired.

One of my friends is very supportive and happy for me (he makes a lot but spends it too).

At first I used terms like 'self employed' or 'consulting'.

Later I decided I wasn't comfortable with that as I really don't do, and don't plan to, do any consulting.

I also really want to share. However, I don't want anyone to feel I am rubbing it in their face.

hehe, I once used 'unemployed'. Which technically I am.

I think the only time I will be comfortable with telling someone I am retired is when I go to my 25th high school reunion and see all the people that used to kick me around
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Re: Retirement Guilt
Old 07-24-2006, 01:24 PM   #10
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Re: Retirement Guilt

I always just smile when people make comments about hubby and I being retired early. I know that we both put in the time and effort to be able to accomplish it and we have no guilt over it. If someone is really interested in how we did it I'll answer any questions otherwise I'll just smile.
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Re: Retirement Guilt
Old 07-24-2006, 01:27 PM   #11
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Re: Retirement Guilt

Yeah - I still feel a little sheepish when I tell someone that we are retired because some people are really shocked, and most are surprised. *And it's been 7 years! *It's not something I volunteer. *But people often ask the "what do you do?" question, or more commonly ask us about how we make a living doing our wildlife photography.

We are very low key about our financial independence, but somehow it is very common in our society to inquire about someone's means of livelihood and there is really no way get around it. *Being evasive just makes it worse.

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Re: Retirement Guilt
Old 07-24-2006, 01:40 PM   #12
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Re: Retirement Guilt

I was at a party yesterday, maybe about 25 guests. Ages ranged from maybe late 20s to mid-60s. Nope, at least one guy is 71. Anyway, they are all working, except one or 2 older women who had been stay-at-home mothers.

The young ones I am sure had to work, but the older ones either had very lavish lifestyles that they didn't want to curtail, or had jobs that they still were passionately involved in, or both.

I don't think there is any reason to feel guilty about not working. Most successful working people not only do not envy us, they think we are bizarre, inadequate in some way, or just plain nuts.

Ha
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Re: Retirement Guilt
Old 07-24-2006, 01:50 PM   #13
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Re: Retirement Guilt

And they probably have a point... :P
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Re: Retirement Guilt
Old 07-24-2006, 01:50 PM   #14
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Re: Retirement Guilt

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
I had planned to not tell people that I was retiring, so that I wouldn't "showing off."* However, when they ask "How's work?" I have to mention it.* Now the word is out.
We have some good friends who never made much money.* She cleans houses and he works in a lumber mill.* I think that with their income, even if they were good at LBYM, they wouldn't be able to retire for a long time.* The guy works at a mill that is about four hours away, comes home only on weekends, and gets up at 1:30 AM to drive to work on Monday mornings.
So, I don't know if I'd call it guilt, but I really didn't like telling them that starting next week I don't have to work at all.*
Anybody else experience that?
Ruh-roh, another incipient case of "ER Survivor's Guilt". *We're here for you!

Apparently ER doesn't have anything to do with hard work, LBYM, savings, or prudent investing. *According to a few who can't (or won't) ER, you're too dumb to be anything other than a lucky SOB-- lottery or inheritance-- because you certainly can't have taken advantage of any opportunities that might even conceivably have been available to them. *Somehow their poisonous attitude makes us feel guilty.

Your neighbors might not be members of that club. *But maybe for them (and everyone else) a good answer is : *"Yeah, I'm retired. *I had a great chance to sell the business, the daughter's left the nest and is doing fine with her college scholarships, and my wife and I have a rare opportunity. *We'd like to enjoy life for a few years instead of going right back to work-- I hope it 'works' out!"

ERSG evaporates quickly after the third or fourth time you hear "Hey, you're the retired guy, you can't be doing anything important, you must have plenty of time to help us [clean out our septic tank][do our taxes][paint our house][support our charity][watch our kids][drive our carpool][insert yucky unreciprocated request here]..."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonidas
"You're too young to retire!"
I used to be considered too young to drink alcohol or to have sex, either, and I'm sure glad that I didn't defer those activities for someone else's permission!

What happens if you're too old to retire-- do you have to keep working until you die?
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Re: Retirement Guilt
Old 07-24-2006, 02:09 PM   #15
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Re: Retirement Guilt

i haven't experienced any personal guilt (i've done nothing wrong: that's my story & i'm sticking with it) but some minor & hopefully temporary annoyances have come out to play.

before quitting, everyone i know expressed only happiness for me and it seemed there would be no ill effect. however, over this past first year, some envy has surfaced. from where it wells appears obvious. again, nothing for me to feel guilty about.

my older brother, 52--who has already inherited the family engineering business (no one gave me my own company) and so he has made way more money than i--thinks he is forced to continue working because he wants to pay for cars and college for three kids (aged 10-16). also he loves a wife who loves him but also who loves cash.

i thought she was coming around, and she has evolved much since they first married. but then just yesterday, again, she said to me: "how can he give up the business if it is still making money." for now, his reprieve retirement is scheduled for age 55 but from my conversation with the warden wife, seems that's only when the parole board has agreed to review his case.

until then, he'll continue pricking me with little digs. one, regarding this forum, i likely deserved. when i told him i was involved online with a support group for early retired people, i thought his eyes were going to roll right out the back of his head. but mostly he just offers little jabs. i have too much time to think about my mother dieing, he says. i'm spending too much time thinking about finance, he complains. just stupid stuff i do my best to simply shrug off.

i have two local cousins who are very good friends. one hadn't worked in the last 20 years, living like donna reed off her husband who was a wiz with money. unfortunately, he was also a wiz with his penis and so now that her alimony about to expire cousin has rejoined the work force at aged 49. she takes it mostly in stride and jokes that she already had her retirement so now it's my turn. but i have noticed her pulling away from me. she's so busy with work that she doesn't have much time for me, but she does have time, apparently, for her working friends.

my other cousin hasn't withdrawn from me, but was always a bit more stand-offish anyway. i've noticed now almost every time we are together she mentions how she won't be able to retire until medicare kicks in. i don't think this type of conversation is so much invoked by my presence as by her husband who has terrible knee problems and so can't get insurance they could afford without her corporate job. but perhaps being around me makes her more aware of her own trap.

of my two best friends, one earns a third more than i ever did and the other makes about twice that. the latter, aged 51, is completely happy in his own overspending life. he makes a lot, he spends a lot, he drinks a lot. he has no intention of ever changing his lifestyle or living beyond 65. he's leaving me $10k so i can throw a little party when he's dead. he never says anything bad about my retirement. is only happy for me. and has not changed one iota towards me

the former, age 50, badly wants to retire, hates work, but refuses to take all the steps required to retire early. while she's saving better than most baby boomers, she intends to quit by age 60 whether or not she can afford it. she figures she'll just kill herself when she runs out of money. she feels trapped by her own life. everyone she knows including all her 7 siblings make more money than she does. but she'd rather have the bigger car, the new kitchen, the vacations than do without what they have. she also mentions retirement almost every time we are together, which is fairly often. as she never takes my financial advice, i've become quick to steer us to other topics.

to paraphrase one of the greatest minds that ever walked the pages of a comic book, what me guilt?

it's not my fault mom's leaving me a million bucks. it's not my wrongdoing that i lived below my means for all these years. it was not my misadventure to risk improving a shabby neighborhood, to invest in my own property, to become board member on government committees, to do my very small part to help this become one of the hottest areas of the country.

so i have nothing to feel guilty about.

"this house is clean."~~again, that cute yet scarey little poltergeist lady
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Re: Retirement Guilt
Old 07-24-2006, 02:48 PM   #16
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Re: Retirement Guilt

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum

...her husband who was a wiz with money. unfortunately, he was also a wiz with his penis...
That was a great line. Like one of my other favorites in the same arena: It was an accident. That always had me wondering how one accidentally has sex with another.
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Re: Retirement Guilt
Old 07-24-2006, 03:11 PM   #17
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Re: Retirement Guilt

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonidas
That always had me wondering how one accidentally has sex with another.*
"Free love" is another........shredder
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Re: Retirement Guilt
Old 07-24-2006, 03:46 PM   #18
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Re: Retirement Guilt

Nobody has made me feel guilty. Most of my friends live at or below their means. Some are hoping to make money on their stock options, like we did. Some of them have a non-earning or low-earning spouse (even the gay couples), and that takes longer. They know we did it just the way they're doing it.

Of my friends who can afford to retire early, one couple did so before we did: the DH consults occasionally--he used to be a GM and VP of Engineering and likes to stick a hand in once in a while. One couple loves their work--the DH is starting another company after making brazillions from his last one (!) and DW is still a tech writer. One couple has kids in college and wants to support the kids and stuff the coffers a bit more--they have serious hobbies and will have no trouble at all retiring (artist & musician). One couple used much of their retirement savings to pay for in-vitro fertilization and to support themselves through multiple layoffs in Silicon Valley, which set them back a decade they think.

BUT...I think my mother is ashamed of me! She worked to age 66, is highly energetic (way more than I ever was) and is very proud of it. She has apparently told her friends that I have more serious health problems than I actually do and that's why I retired. Whenever I see any of them, they get a concerned look on thier face and ask how I'm feeling :
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Re: Retirement Guilt
Old 07-24-2006, 04:09 PM   #19
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Re: Retirement Guilt

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Originally Posted by astromeria
BUT...I think my mother is ashamed of me! She worked to age 66, is highly energetic (way more than I ever was) and is very proud of it. She has apparently told her friends that I have more serious health problems than I actually do and that's why I retired. Whenever I see any of them, they get a concerned look on thier face and ask how I'm feeling* ** :
You should tell them that the female viagra you are taking makes you feel a LOT better, especially now that your DH is semi/early retired, too.
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Re: Retirement Guilt
Old 07-26-2006, 12:19 PM   #20
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Re: Retirement Guilt

Quote:
Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum


i told him i was involved online with a support group for early retired people
LOL! I must have missed this tid bit
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