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What do you tell others when you retire early (under 40)?
Old 03-13-2014, 05:16 PM   #1
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What do you tell others when you retire early (under 40)?

For those who have retired in their 30s, what did you tell your colleagues, friends, and family?

Do you tell them straight out that you are retiring? I think it would sound silly coming from someone in his mid thirties. And if you do, surely they will ask you how much money you have. What do you tell them?

Do you get jealousy? Do you get disbelief?

Or do you simply pretend not to retire but to start your own business or what?

I've been flying under the radar and of course live a lifestyle well below my means and it may come as a surprise. On the other hand, some may think I lost my job and that it was not my choice.

Yet others may think that I'm incredibly stupid for giving up the job, a job that many envy.

Not that it matters all that much what others think, but I'm curious about any real life experience with reactions early retirees have gotten. And I'm specifically talking about people who retired before turning 40.
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Old 03-13-2014, 05:20 PM   #2
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Here are a few discussions on that subject - and there are many others:

What do you tell people you do?
What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd
what do you tell ppl when they ask what youre doing after you "early retire"?
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Old 03-13-2014, 05:34 PM   #3
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Thanks! Most of these are fairly old. I'd be curious to hear some new responses.
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Old 03-13-2014, 05:48 PM   #4
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I've taken to telling people I'm on sabbatical and in between careers. For some reason the word retired just doesn't sit well for someone in their late 40's. Sabbatical seems to be easier for people to relate to.
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Old 03-13-2014, 05:48 PM   #5
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I bailed on the day job at the age of 40. Very little gray hair as of yet, especially when I bother to shave. I don't look old enough to be retired.

DW was adamant that I have a cover story and I reluctantly agreed. As a result, people were told that I am a consultant or am taking time off and then will figure out what comes next. This is obviously bullshit to anyone who bothers to look or talk to me for 5 minutes. I presume people believe what they want to believe and I don't give a rat's ass. The only challenge is translating this for our kids. The 7YO does not seem to register anything except that I am around more. The 9YO is very sharp and occasionally asks. I am still open to the right venture or business opportunity and I spend time managing the portfolio, optimizing DW's small business and dealing with nonsense.

We have not changed our lifestyle by and large, so you would have no clue by looking at us that we are anything but middle class Ozzie and Harriett in the burbs.
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Old 03-13-2014, 05:49 PM   #6
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I've taken to telling people I'm on sabbatical and in between careers. For some reason the word retired just doesn't sit well for someone in their late 40's. Sabbatical seems to be easier for people to relate to.

I tend to use the "S word" a lot too. Easy for people to swallow.
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Old 03-13-2014, 05:50 PM   #7
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Thanks! Most of these are fairly old. I'd be curious to hear some new responses.
Do a search and you can find more recent threads. I listed the first three I found.
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Old 03-13-2014, 07:16 PM   #8
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Do a search and you can find more recent threads. I listed the first three I found.
Is this how you got so many posts?
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What do you tell others when you retire early (under 40)?
Old 03-13-2014, 07:30 PM   #9
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What do you tell others when you retire early (under 40)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345 View Post
...
DW was adamant that I have a cover story and I reluctantly agreed. As a result, people were told that I am a consultant or am taking time off and then will figure out what comes next. This is obviously bullshit to anyone who bothers to look or talk to me for 5 minutes. ... I am still open to the right venture or business opportunity and I spend time managing the portfolio, optimizing DW's small business and dealing with nonsense. ...

It sounds like the "cover story" is pretty accurate--you really are still figuring out what comes next, no?

When I first started reading these boards there seemed to be a lot of people posting here who really were early retired, maybe from bailouts pre dot.com bust, when the unemployment rate was pretty low and most people their age and older were still working. The only people I knew back then who were retired had been traders (not many start-up tech firms around Chicago back then), and their lifestyles made it obvious they were quite well off. So we just called them "rich" rather than "retired."

It seems there are now so many people who might or might not be retired that no one really needs a cover story. People who realize you no longer "go to work" every day will assume you are telecommuting, unemployed and looking for work, or retired. Let them wonder if you like.
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Old 03-13-2014, 07:50 PM   #10
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Thanks! Most of these are fairly old. I'd be curious to hear some new responses.
I am puzzled as to why an answer to "What do you tell others when you retire early (under 40)" would somehow become unhelpful simply because it is a little old.

For example, in the third post of the oldest of those threads, CuteFuzzyBunny (a long time member here who retired early) said, in part,
Quote:
I guess theres a range:

- I do <whatever you did> but i'm currently unemployed and living off my savings.

- I do <whatever you did> and put away some money and i'm taking a sabbatical for a while

- I'm a <whatever> consultant, currently taking a break.

- I got lucky in the stock market and made enough to take some time off (or retire early)

- I watched my money and saved as much as I could and invested it well and now I dont have to work if I dont want to

- (if theres a gain in it for me) I'm UNEMPLOYED!
I'd think that any of these answers would apply now as easily as they did then.
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Old 03-13-2014, 07:55 PM   #11
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I personally don't give a flying reproductive act what people think. This is dw's hairball. I live modestly and have hobbies that tend to save me money instead of costing, so I look like a middle class telecomuter.
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Old 03-13-2014, 08:07 PM   #12
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I stopped worrying about what other people think a long time ago. Trust me, their thoughts are over rated.
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Old 03-13-2014, 08:09 PM   #13
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I just tell people what are my current plans. If they are curious and ask what's next then they might realize that I have no intention to go back to work.

Nobody has asked how much money we have but they have asked how we did it.

I've generally found that people are envious in a good way - e.g. they also wish they could pull the plug on corporate life or had the balls to give up their job. The only person who has been negative is the father in law but he is a downer about everything (I attribute this to him being a depression era child)



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Old 03-13-2014, 08:14 PM   #14
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I stopped working about 4 years ago, at age 36. During the first couple of years, I remember being uncomfortable when people asked me what I did for a living. I usually introduced myself as a "consultant". Nowadays, I'm more likely to just reply "I don't work". It does not seem to shock a lot of people and I get very few follow-up questions.

It is a little more tricky to fool family and close friends. They obviously know that I don't work. But they assume that I want and need to work, so I am constantly getting flooded with job offers. My parents in particular have been on my case for the past 4 years, urging me to get a job. Last Christmas, I finally told them that I was financially independent. Jaws hit the table and that was the end of it.

I rarely call myself retired however. Because in my mind, I am not really. I am too young to write off work forever. I rather think about it as a sabbatical that may become permanent.
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Old 03-13-2014, 08:48 PM   #15
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Is this how you got so many posts?
Yeah. It's what I tell people I do when they ask...
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Old 03-13-2014, 08:50 PM   #16
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I personally don't give a flying reproductive act what people think. This is dw's hairball. I live modestly and have hobbies that tend to save me money instead of costing, so I look like a middle class telecomuter.
Brewer, perhaps this is too personal to share, but I must admit I'm really curious why your DW is concerned about others knowing that you have retired. If you would rather not discuss, I understand.
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Old 03-13-2014, 09:00 PM   #17
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Thanks! Most of these are fairly old. I'd be curious to hear some new responses.
I don't understand. Do you feel that newer posts would be more relevant?

OK, here's a new response (or maybe not):

Just simply tell people that you've contracted a contagious case of hemorrhoids and therefore you have decided to take a few years off until they are under control. That certainly sounds better than simply saying that you retired.

Hope this helps.
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Old 03-13-2014, 09:04 PM   #18
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I don't understand. Do you feel that newer posts would be more relevant?

OK, here's a new response (or maybe not):

Just simply tell people that you've contracted a contagious terminal illness and therefore you decided not to spend the few months you have left not working.

Hope this helps.
This, of course, could never happen in past years, so it's a nice, up-to-date answer.
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Old 03-13-2014, 09:25 PM   #19
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Brewer, perhaps this is too personal to share, but I must admit I'm really curious why your DW is concerned about others knowing that you have retired. If you would rather not discuss, I understand.
In some respects, I have no idea why she cares. Realistically, she is a fairly social extrovert and I am a misanthropic introvert. We each care a lot about stuff the other cannot fathom.

Another excuse for being retired could be having developed severe anal glaucoma: you can't see your ass coming to work.
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Old 03-13-2014, 10:32 PM   #20
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Even though I am technically too "old" for your cutoff, having retired at 45 I got some interesting reactions from others who did not know me from day to day. I usually tell them I cashed out some valuable company stock back in 2008 and live off my investment income.

Most of the crowd I interact with more than just casually is an older crowd who are also retired so they are just glad to have me as one of them!
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