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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?
Old 02-11-2007, 04:10 PM   #41
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FatBoy71
A surprising thing has started to happen. I am beginning to feel the envy of people, and in some cases from people who are near and dear to me. Two of my closest friends go out of their way to tell me that I "don't have a life" because I work so hard, even though I think it's clear to anyone who knows me that I'm very happy with my life and am doing what I want. I've always been very driven, but never heard this from them until I began to make money.
Has anyone here had similar experiences?
Yep.

As others have mentioned, it sounds like it's time for a different set of friends.

You may indeed have no life, but if you're happy with that then they should be happy for you.

If they feel that you're unhappy with the situation then they may think that they're trying to help you fix it... and they may not realize that you're unhappy with them.
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?
Old 02-11-2007, 04:26 PM   #42
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?

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Originally Posted by firewhen
I had a similar thing happen to me when a friend of 20 years asked a personal financial question, I answered honestly, and now the friend is gone. My wife said I should have ducked the question or lied. This was my first experience with this, and last, since in the future I will be more evasive.
What was the question, and what did you say?
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?
Old 02-11-2007, 05:31 PM   #43
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?

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Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum
who is to say what entitlement comes with life: a lottery, an inheritance, a job promotion. so whether i draw from what i worked for, or what i inherited, i am equally thankful for what i have.
There are always winds of chance, but character (in this case, dedication, hard work, and LBYM) will mean more to most people than luck. And people who plan their lives around luck are likely to be disappointed.

Personally, I am not equally thankful for what I have. Better said, things that I've earned mean more to me than things that came by chance. You may have a different set of values, but for me, earning my way into a top school via academic achievment means a lot more than getting in because daddy paid money to the admissions director. One will be the source of pride, the other may be a source of embarrassment. Embarrassment not because "daddy's rich," but because that was the only way I could get in. Will I take both, perhaps. But my reaction towards those who are jealous of one will be different than my reaction towards those who are jealous of the other. One insults my luck, which I can't control and does not define me as a person. The other insults my identity and character.

I made no comment suggesting one should give up their friends. In fact, I suggested the opposite. Friendships are often formed based on a variety of criteria. No friend is perfect.
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?
Old 02-11-2007, 05:37 PM   #44
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?

I am under no illusions about how much luck had to do with our situation. A LOT. Sure, we took full advantage of the opportunities that came our way, but we definitely lucked out with a couple of those opportunities coming our way in the first place!

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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?
Old 02-11-2007, 06:19 PM   #45
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?

FatBoy71, congratulations on your financial success. You really deserve it. Kudos to your hardworking parents too. Their ambition and drive set you a great example.

When we are successful it is natural to feel pride in our accomplishments and it is salutary to remember that they may be a reall demotivator for our friends. Like most of the posters, I have learned not to "flaunt it". A recent experience: a friend who has also been LBYM has taken out a second mortgage on his house to support his business (which I suspect does not have a high likelihood of success). He has been quite open about his finances and I have realized that, not only is he in debt, but his investments are ill advised. I know from experience that he is an idealist and will not listen to me. But comparing and contrasting our financial situations will only make him more despondent. So I will continue to keep mum........and drive my 11 year old car!
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?
Old 02-11-2007, 06:21 PM   #46
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?

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Originally Posted by FatBoy71
I am seriously thinking that maybe it's better I don't tell anyone, other than my parents and sister, that I'm buying a second property this spring.
You won't find much jealousy on this forum. You're one of us. Now, tell us about this crazy real estate "investment" idea of yours so we can tear you a new one....
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?
Old 02-11-2007, 06:33 PM   #47
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?

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Originally Posted by JustCurious
What was the question, and what did you say?
It was fairly innocuous at that. We would speak on various topics over time, and about Vanguard, which we both use. He said to me that he was a Voyager client, what about me? I said something like "actually I am a Flagship client". He then went in to a little speech about only 2% of the country fall in to that category, and they could not possibly save that much money with their expenses, etc.

I tried to explain some of the things we do that help us to save money--no cable, old car, etc.--to make him feel better. I still thought the conversation ended ok, but I never heard from him again. I called a few times since, and even got his wife a few times, who made excuses that he was not home, etc.

Meanwhile, you still need at least $250k to be with Voyager, and that is assets only with Vanguard, so they are better off than most folks and should feel like they have done well.

That's all it took, so help me. Our first, and last, detailed financial revelation. I certainly know to be more careful in the future, and yes, if that is all it took, how great a friendship could it have been?
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?
Old 02-11-2007, 06:54 PM   #48
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?

Fatboy, I also hear where you are coming from and have had some experiences too. I have learned to only talk financially with friends that have the same mindset as me or same assets. I used to talk to my parents from time to time about my ER goals but I found they never have anything good to say and when seeing our house or new things they never say anything even though as a normal human being I always complement people's things. I have learned not to expect my parent's to be proud but jealous and usually don't mention how well I am doing. They currently have no idea how much I have invested and would be shocked. Friends seem to be proud and usually want the same for themselves. But I dont talk finances with family anymore. I guess when I do ER I will just say I am living on my pension.
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?
Old 02-11-2007, 07:17 PM   #49
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawn
There are always winds of chance, but character (in this case, dedication, hard work, and LBYM) will mean more to most people than luck. And people who plan their lives around luck are likely to be disappointed.
feel as free as you want to question my values. but i know that there is a young person who is just as smart as you, maybe even smarter. who lives below his means, maybe even farther below than you ever dared dream. who works harder to just feed himself than you might imagine. who is dedicated beyond breath. only this child was not born in the land of opportunity and often dies at his mother's breast.

how many people put their hand up for the job you got? none of them were better or equally qualified? while it is comforting for some to think we determine our own fate and while character certainly has great value, without luck it might not get you far.

how does another person's jealousy insult you at all--either your luck or your character--when a person's jealousy has nothing to do with either. for you to be insulted you would have to conclude that your success is the cause of their jealousy. so not only are you in complete control of your own destiny, owing nothing to luck (which i know you concede but i'm on a roll here), but apparently you also control their lives, causing within them jealousy. at best they might be projecting their envy on you which you then interpret as jealousy. but just so you shouldn't be insulted, the thing about penis envy is that it really has nothing to do with the other guy's penis. nothing to get insulted about even if the insult was intended.

as to the part on friendship, sorry if that comment bled into my remarks on luck & character. i was commenting rather on the sentiment of removing friendships which no longer seem to fit as if friendships were fashions. i appreciate your comment based on that and find what you had to say completely appropriate.
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?
Old 02-12-2007, 12:14 AM   #50
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?

Add me to the list telling you that you are doing the right thing, even though you are a lawyer. I also agree that I wouldn't mention your investments. Play up the vacations. I do. For example, my wife and I just took the train up to the South Rim. I am not going to tell anyone that we invested another $2400 above the amounts that we normally invest.
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?
Old 02-12-2007, 08:44 AM   #51
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?

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Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum
i don't buy that it is human nature for people to be jealous of each other. i think more often than not what you perceive as jealousy is nothing more than a person's frustration they have with their own life, not that they are unhappy for you that you have your life. that you perceive it as jealousy, even if it is jealousy, might speak less to where they are coming from and more as tribute to your own insecure ego.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lazygood4nothinbum
feel as free as you want to question my values. but i know that there is a young person who is just as smart as you, maybe even smarter. who lives below his means, maybe even farther below than you ever dared dream. who works harder to just feed himself than you might imagine. who is dedicated beyond breath. only this child was not born in the land of opportunity and often dies at his mother's breast.

how many people put their hand up for the job you got? none of them were better or equally qualified? while it is comforting for some to think we determine our own fate and while character certainly has great value, without luck it might not get you far.

how does another person's jealousy insult you at all--either your luck or your character--when a person's jealousy has nothing to do with either. for you to be insulted you would have to conclude that your success is the cause of their jealousy. so not only are you in complete control of your own destiny, owing nothing to luck (which i know you concede but i'm on a roll here), but apparently you also control their lives, causing within them jealousy. at best they might be projecting their envy on you which you then interpret as jealousy. but just so you shouldn't be insulted, the thing about penis envy is that it really has nothing to do with the other guy's penis. nothing to get insulted about even if the insult was intended.

Once in a while someone on the board talks about how all everyone in this country can be successful and FI and even FIRE if they just had the gumption or got down to business. I try to respond with posts that say success isn't all just buckling down but may be due to a variety of factors, including where you grew up, what your family was like, how smart you are, how much common sense you have, how good is your mental and physical health, how pretty or handsome you are and what kind of genetic makeup you have. How much were you blessed. Lack of gumption, determination, and willpower are complicated things, not a switch to turn on or off.

You write good stuff Lazy. I can see why you were a writer in your previous life.
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?
Old 02-12-2007, 08:59 AM   #52
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?

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i don't buy that it is human nature for people to be jealous of each other. i think more often than not what you perceive as jealousy is nothing more than a person's frustration they have with their own life, not that they are unhappy for you that you have your life. that you perceive it as jealousy, even if it is jealousy, might speak less to where they are coming from and more as tribute to your own insecure ego.

i don't buy that you will help them by hiding the difference. pushing problems under the table rarely solves them. better to flush it out. to be constructively confrontational if need be. but of course, before you can help well others to be comfortable in their lives, you first need be comfortable with your own.
LG4NB.. you seem a bit embattled here, so I just wanted to say how much I liked what you said here. While I don't think perceptions of "jealousy" are a product of my own insecure ego, I agree that jealousy stems from a lot of vague frustrations that don't all have to do with money. I know that I am not "jealous" of someone who has 2x as much as me.. because I don't equate net worth with human worth, but that doesn't hold for a lot of people in the US (the vast number of 'friends not worth having' noted here).

You're fortunate that you know a number of people of means that are as comfortable as you are talking about all this! That's the OP's dilemma, and that of many others who've responded here. Outside of my mom and sis (originator and co-beneficiary of both the LBYM maxim and the bit of cash cushion that results therefrom, respectively)... there's no one outside of here that I can talk to freely about these matters. I've just put a toe into the waters with some basically-LBYM but not-as-well-off friends, trying to make sure they maximize their financial chances, but aside from that..

I know I must have said it elsewhere here, probably in response to the Ayn Rand contingent, but it bears reinforcing.. I agree with you totally that there is a huge "luck" component in our lives of which even the hardest-working middle- or upper-middle-class person is oblivious. There but for the grace of God go I... Amen. -Oops, I see Martha has joined in on this.. Right on.

But how to solve the social problem of TOO MUCH DOUGH? (or rather, being happy with the dough you have)
?? I think people do relate better to "people like themselves", for better or worse.. It's not just jealousy, it's communality. What am I supposed to say when we go to a friend's house for dinner, and an (obviously communist) lady there starts complaining about her job at the Post Office and how we should all sign her petition such that the Post Office won't have to be open or make deliveries on Saturday, because, at 36 hours/week, she already "works too hard" and starts citing Charles Bukowski as evidence of how she is 'de-humanized'? Am I supposed to be "open" and suggest to her a Vanguard Total Stock Market fund?

Conversely, (my, don't we travel in wide circles) at a cocktail party held by our old landlady (some kind of Italian nobility) we were regaled with all the "problems" inherent with the numerous antiques and silver in one guest's multiple houses. Being "the American".. I just said (nicely, jokingly) "sell it!.. Sell it all on E-bay!" You'd think I'd slapped her in the face! THAT conversation ended quickly! NOCD.

Misery loves company. It's not really a factor of rich or poor.. people want to share their problems (real or perceived) with like-minded individuals. LBYM and FIRE individuals being a tiny percent of society as we know it, I think most of us will naturally suffer some social drawbacks.
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?
Old 02-12-2007, 10:28 AM   #53
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?

The basic abilities are important. Luck plays a very crucial role as well. Where you happened to be born and in what circumstances is also paramount.

That having been said, I made a lot of my own luck and in many cases, made it better.

Two pivotal instances of luck in my life:

- Running into a woman I went to high school with in a mall parking lot, about 5 years after graduation. She was a little dorky in school, and lived across the street from my best friends girlfriend. I always thought she was nice and looked past the dorky stuff and was always nice to her and invited her along with us to do stuff. At the time I ran into her, she was a lingerie model having nicely shed the 'dorky' phase. I dated her off and on for about 10 years until she convinced me to move to california with her, where of course I got the job that secured my ER. Had I treated her like all the other guys did, I doubt any of that happens.

- Shortly after moving to SF, while working at a transition job and looking for something better, I literally walk into a guy on the street that used to work for me. I had helped him get a transfer/promotion some years before even though losing him was a big blow and I had to give his new boss (my peer) a really hard time about it when he tried to renege on the promo. I should have flipped him the paperwork and wished him luck. As it turned out, he knew a company that would love to hire me, and felt he owed me one, so he made it happen. That was the job that helped provide the funds for my ER.

So the morale of the story is that luck and abilities and being born in the US of A are obviously critical factors. However, for every sad luck story of someone who could have been another einstein not making it because they were born in the wrong place, there are 5 stories of someone who had the same abilities and opportunities and blew it because they were lazy, treated people badly, or made bad decisions and then did nothing about the results.

I wonder if a bit of the jealousy is because people look at your life, see that they could have accomplished the same things but they flubbed it? Or look at your life and think it was all just dumb luck?

Besides the above two examples, I can think of a string of at least 20 inflection points where I could have gone one way or the other. When i did the right thing, treated people well, didnt take the easy way out, and worked as hard as I could...things went well.
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?
Old 02-12-2007, 10:43 AM   #54
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?

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Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
The basic abilities are important. Luck plays a very crucial role as well. Where you happened to be born and in what circumstances is also paramount.

That having been said, I made a lot of my own luck and in many cases, made it better.

<snip>
I wonder if a bit of the jealousy is because people look at your life, see that they could have accomplished the same things but they flubbed it? Or look at your life and think it was all just dumb luck?
Nicholas Taleb and Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets

This book, which has been discussed on this board before, talks about what you discussed quite a bit. Or, somewhat on the flipside... People look at themselves and think it was all "luck" that they didn't do very well. People blame "doing well" on skill, and "doing poorly" on luck. In whatever you consider well and poor. The market, life, etc.

(no, I'm not a book salesman)

-CC

{Edit: added previous book discussion link}
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?
Old 02-12-2007, 02:59 PM   #55
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?

Interesting thread. I lean a little to the luck side -- maybe "luck of the draw." Good family, good genes (except maybe the ADD - or maybe that helped), great DW. But, while I worked hard, stuff often seemed to just "fall into my bag" so to speak. Same with DW. She is a lawyer in a lucrative field- but got into it by happenstance, not planning. Again, she works very hard but was born smart in a reasonably prosperous family, in the greatest country in the world.

I volunteer teaching basic computing skills to immigrants twice a week. Some of these people are amazing - smart, hard working, etc. But very few of them will have the opportunities that seemed to fall into my bag. It isn't all due to what we choose.

On the other hand I see a fair number of whiners who blame anything except their own bad choices for their circumstances. So, yeah, it ain't all luck.

Like Audrey, I don't sense much jealous from my friends and acquaintances. I see some remorse for not saving more sooner. But most seem genuinely pleased that I am retired and enjoying myself. And so far no one has reacted negatively. But I don't bandy my net worth about either.
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?
Old 02-12-2007, 08:43 PM   #56
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?

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Originally Posted by Martha
You write good stuff Lazy. I can see why you were a writer in your previous life.
flatterer. that's all i need, a red face to go along with all this grey hair. i don't already look odd enough? thanx though. as to the previous life, it was more a life wannabe. i had the crappiest career luck. i lost a reporter job with a weekly because the managing editor's niece moved to town and wanted my job. later i'd fall off the corporate ladder to deal with family life. i never did much creative writing--which i love--for a living, mostly only editing & technical writing. if there was ever any talent there it remains untapped.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ladelfina
LG4NB.. you seem a bit embattled here...
thanx ladelfina but didn't think i was battling. i actually like quite a bit of what i've read from shawn. strikes me as some clear thinking there, just thought i might tweak it a little (i'm such a budinski). hope i caused no offense. my comments were not meant personally. his struck me as a frequent reaction to jealousy and related well to the op's comments so i thought i might address how i viewed it.

you are so right on the jealousy issue though. perhaps i did not explain myself well enough. my point is not so much whether or not someone is exhibiting jealousy, but whether or not or how you let their jealousy effect you. it is one thing to take ownership of your own good & admirable efforts. but is it another to take ownership of how someone else feels (especially when you did nothing directly to them to make them feel that way.) if i hit someone and he hurts, i need to take ownership for his pain. but if i am doing a good job with my life and simply by example someone feels badly because they think they have not done such a good job with their life in comparison, then in taking ownership of their pain by reacting to them with insult, i not only push them farther away (by adding insult to injury) but also, as my borders now become less distinct, i lose a sense of myself. so in that neither friend gains.

i was raised and continue to live a middle class melting pot life. i have had good friends of fame & fortune, of poverty & getting by, of the upwardly mobile & those who crashed into drug abuse and death. i have made friends with athiests & monks. i simply don't see the difference. people are just that, people.

i get what you are saying about communality but i think it is just another word for a division of classes and if you keep this up we are going to be hauling you out of europe and back to the melting pot for a refresher. i would relish having that discussion with the postal worker, especially because, depending on my mood, i could take either side of that argument. as to the ebay remark, had i been there with you i would have been rolling on the floor in hysterics. with all due respect, nobility be damned. all you really needed was a come back line for the stone face she gave you in retort. you don't need communality, what you need is a tag team. so invite me to the next stuffy party. we'll have a blast. think caddyshack. "you scratched my anchor!" absolutely one of the funniest lines ever.

i understand the sentiment but i don't necessarily buy the premise that misery loves company. i think more people in a holed ship just make it sink faster & for sure. certainly there are adjustments to be made as lifestyles alter but i don't believe there needs be social drawback, depending, of course, on how much effort someone is willing to put into their own growth and towards that of their friends. i don't believe that you do a favor to either yourself nor to your friends by cutting them out of your lives just because your situation has changed. just because you found cooler or richer kids to play with. when we were kids we used to call such a person a "flat leaver." for me, at least, i've found that it is better to remain a friend.
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?
Old 02-13-2007, 09:41 AM   #57
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?

Hi Fatboy,

No one has asked the most important question: are you single?

I don't get those kinds of things from family. My parents LBTM and retired early (at 57) 12 years ago. They owned the house I grew up in for about 25 years, always paid cash for cars (I remember them having a Gremlin, a Ford Taurus, and a few station wagons). They kept the cars for 10-12 years, we never had expensive toys and didn't know what "going out to dinner or a movie" was.

My dad's sister retired at 55. She LBHM as well, and although a divorce settlement years ago helped her along, she was always a hard worker and smart with her money.

So now, my sister (and BIL) and myself also LBOM, save a lot, but definitely enjoy life. I pass up a lot of "instant gratification" things so I can travel as well - it is my one relatively expensive hobby.

I don't generally share my financial situation with friends. I own my townhouse and they know it's worth a decent amount now (outside of DC), but I bought it 7 years ago when it was a lot cheaper. They know I travel, and my better friends know I save quite a bit. Some know I plan to retire early.

My problem is that when people find out I work for the government, the question after "which agency?" is "what GS are you?". GS scale wages are posted on the internet, so it's not hard for people to have an idea what I make if I tell them.
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?
Old 02-13-2007, 01:40 PM   #58
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?

Quote:
Originally Posted by kaudrey
Hi Fatboy,

No one has asked the most important question: are you single?
There are several 20/30-somethings on the board who are single and lookin'. ::ahem ahem::
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?
Old 02-13-2007, 07:04 PM   #59
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?

Here's my California perspective from a recently retired 30something doing lots of personal growth work now that I have the time...

Something I'm realizing only now is that it's important to be supportable. I think in my quest for FIRE, I often took the approach that it was more important to be able to do everything myself than to learn how to count on others to help. In that process I learned to project the image that I was in some ways "untouchable", that nobody could give me advice because I already know exactly how to live my life better than anyone else could ever know.

Now that I have lots of free time and little responsibility, I am realizing that supporting others and letting them support me is actually quite fulfilling when there's no agenda behind it.

So when I get misguided financial advice from friends and family like "loosen up the purse strings little", I try to frame it in my mind as support rather than jealousy. To be open to their intention to help me live a fuller life, even if their actual ideas may be misguided.

I read of a recent scientific study on advice-giving. What the authors concluded was that the benefits of advice accrue mostly to the advice-giver rather than the advice-receiver. The advice-giver gets a feeling of satisfaction in knowing that they have valuable wisdom to share and that they are helping someone out. The advice-receiver is often seeking or getting advice from many sources and most likely won't take or use any actual piece of advice given. What often causes conflict is that the advice-giver takes it as an affront when the advice-receiver fails to implement their advice.

When I get misguided advice, I now try to be respectful and acknowledge that the intention actually was to support me, not to belittle my lifestyle.

Of course if it feels like the intention actually is to belittle me then screw 'em!

As a FIRE'd person in my 30's, not telling anyone about my finances doesn't work very well. If I don't say anything about my finances to people I meet, they assume I'm really bad with money... they either assume I'm wastefully burning through my emergency fund, or that I'm a trust fund baby who has no clue about the value of money.

So what I've been saying recently when I meet new people that I want to know better is "I saved a bunch of money working as an engineer for 13 years, and now I'm living off my investments on a bare bones budget so I can stay free as long as I want".

The "so I can stay free" part seems to resonate with people... at least among the creative types I'm trying to associate with now.
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?
Old 02-13-2007, 07:17 PM   #60
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Re: Does anyone feel jealousy from friends/family/others?

Quote:
Originally Posted by free4now
When I get misguided advice, I now try to be respectful and acknowledge that the intention actually was to support me, not to belittle my lifestyle.
I try to think this way too - it is hard sometimes, but I do believe it is true.
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