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Old 07-20-2010, 03:58 PM   #41
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(FD, I promise not to post any more songs or pics of my feet)
It's all good!
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Old 07-20-2010, 03:59 PM   #42
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But doesn't "sabbatical" just postpone the problem? After six months your friends will be asking the same questions again, no? Mine would be.
Maybe after a year or three, you could just say "this sabbatical is working out pretty well, I think I'll do this full time now". How much/little you reveal about your methods that allowed you to get to that point is up to you. If I knew the person well enough to know that they could comprehend and appreciate the effort it took to get to where you are today, I'd probably be forthright with how I achieved FIRE.

I have shared my secret FIRE plan with approximately 4-5 friends. So far, all are engineers, know how to use excel in depth, have taken engineering economics, understand compound growth rates and time value of money, etc. All are very financially responsible individuals. They see the big picture: work is not the be all end all in life; it is intrinsically valuable. It provides a paycheck that lets you buy nice things, pay the mortgage, save a little or a lot, and some day not have to work. Most are family or leisure oriented and appreciate having free time. These folks can understand what I am talking about, accept that it is a doable plan and an achievable goal, and recognize that it may be too extreme for their tastes but that it isn't unrealistic.

The vast majority of the remainder of friends/acquaintances/colleagues that I have would be unable to comprehend the relatively simple nature of FIRE (or I just don't know them well enough to know how they would feel). Hence no time is wasted being forthright with my big plans for the future. Explaining FIRE to most would be as cogent as explaining my rationale for joining a known cult or something similar. Life is too short! Most of my social contacts are 30-ish so that shades my "proper conversation topics" as well. A lot of my friends and acquaintances are still in college finishing up a dissertation, doing a post doc, finishing up residency, or just getting started in a career. The rest have recently settled down, gotten married, bought a house, maybe popped out a kid or two. Retirement isn't on their radar and so my plans to FIRE would be a foreign concept.
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Old 07-20-2010, 04:01 PM   #43
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Maybe after a year or three, you could just say "this sabbatical is working out pretty well, I think I'll do this full time now". How much/little you reveal about your methods that allowed you to get to that point is up to you. If I knew the person well enough to know that they could comprehend and appreciate the effort it took to get to where you are today, I'd probably be forthright with how I achieved FIRE.
Yes, I think Sabbatical is going to be a transitional label. After a few years, I will probably feel more comfortable calling myself semi-retired or even retired.
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Old 07-20-2010, 04:02 PM   #44
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When I explain it to others, I've resigned to say that I FIRE'd because I enjoy so much that every day feels like a Saturday. Then either others do not understand and think I'm nuts because that is such a simple reason or they do understand and say they wish they were in my shoes
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Old 07-20-2010, 04:05 PM   #45
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Just for you...don't show it to anyone else....

(FD, I promise not to post any more songs or pics of my feet)
Lovely feet!
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Old 07-20-2010, 04:08 PM   #46
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I had no problem with my coworkers - as I was one of many over several years to retire quite early.

But my neighbors? That was a little more awkward, especially with the folks across the street husband finally retiring at the more typical age of 65. Our neighbor hoped to retire in his 50s.

Still - it was Austin during the high tech boom. We didn't have to do much explaining...

Fortunately, within a year of retiring we were moving in new circles with new friends from new interests, and somehow it was much easier to explain, and somehow much less of an issue with new acquaintances. With travel and outdoor hobbies you are more likely to run into other retired folks anyway.

Audrey
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Old 07-20-2010, 04:21 PM   #47
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I just don't want to hurt the guys I care about the most. We grew up together and have faced all of our lives' challenges together. How can I tell them, "I'm going to spend the next 20 yrs watching you writhe in agony and quiet desperation, while I'm sipping lemonade in the shade"?

Reading what I just wrote I think I must have some guilt issues to work on.
I agree.

If you have grown up together and faced similar challenges, then presumably you have had essentially the same options. The fact that friends have made different choices should not be cause for celebration or condemnation ... certainly it is not cause for guilt.
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Old 07-20-2010, 04:29 PM   #48
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Not embarrassed. But ... [having trouble putting this in words] I think the fabric that holds many middle-class, middle-aged friendships together is the comraderie that comes from knowing you're both stuggling against a common enemy: the drudgery, confusion, anxiety, and thanklessness of modern workaday life. When you retire early you give up your membership in that struggle, and your friendships (with those still in it) can't be the same.

I don't think I'm imagining all this?
All very true. And well put. We ESRed at 40. Been over 2 years. Slowly, slowly lot of our friends (or ex-colleagues) are drifting away. We no longer have as much in common (they talk about work, career, kids and we about travel, reading, leisure) and there is a subtle but definite resentment/envy that we have an easy life. Somehow everyone believes we were lucky although it is really life choices we made years ago (no kids, live frugally). One reason some of the "friends" may be staying away from us is that we remind them of the life they wish to have but don't - which increases their dis-satisfaction with their job & life.

Another observation, some other friends start thinking of you as their therapist and others think that since you are not working, you have lots of time where they can dictate how you should spend. Oh well.... the problems of ER .

Are there groups / meetups for FIRE where you meet others (not virtually) who are also ERed?
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Old 07-20-2010, 05:29 PM   #49
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and there is a subtle but definite resentment/envy that we have an easy life
That's exactly what I'm most afraid of. Thanks for articulating what I couldn't quite.

And the situation is made worse by the fact that, among all my close friends, I have worked the least hard over the years. I know that and they know that. I'm just the only one who read Terhorst, Dominquez, and Bogle.

O gawd, what have I gotten myself into?
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Old 07-20-2010, 05:30 PM   #50
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The fact that friends have made different choices should not be cause for celebration or condemnation ... certainly it is not cause for guilt.
I like that outlook. Each of us has our own life to live and someone who chooses another path than ourselves is not necessarily wrong simply because it would not have been our choice.

I've had very few issues with friends and relatives since I FIRE'd. Of those still working, I suppose some envy my position, some think they'd be bored and others truly thrive earning a living. Each to his own. Some have fallen away as our common interests are fewer. Some are closer. We're all ourselves and evolving as we pass though life.

If your outlook is that you have not chosen a superior path in life but simply your own path while others have chosen their own paths, then you won't have issues relating to those around you post FIRE.
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Old 07-20-2010, 05:33 PM   #51
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Are there groups / meetups for FIRE where you meet others (not virtually) who are also ERed?
Several of my younger neighbors are FIREd. One is an ex-investment banker, another sold her business. I just guess that my immediate sphere of people just don't care whether you work or not. My relatives don't care either. My good college friends from 30-odd years ago don't care either.

I'm actually mildly appalled that friends, relatives, former colleagues, and acquaintances have any influence on whether you tell it like it is or you have to invoke subterfuge and lie. If they ask, I give it to them straight.
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Old 07-20-2010, 05:36 PM   #52
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That's exactly what I'm most afraid of. Thanks for articulating what I couldn't quite.

And the situation is made worse by the fact that, among all my close friends, I have worked the least hard over the years. I know that and they know that. I'm just the only one who read Terhorst, Dominquez, and Bogle.

O gawd, what have I gotten myself into?
Don't diminish your situation, Embrace it. You have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of and much to be very proud of.

- Your thinking is flawed here. Be who you want to be.

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Old 07-20-2010, 06:53 PM   #53
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Or you could do it the way I did. Spend your last days, weeks, months, whatever telling everybody you work with you are FI and never have to work again. Go around with a big s**t eating grin on your face. Interject into every work related conversation about how they shouldn't assign any long term projects to you, since you are retiring soon! Mention how you'll be glad to help them after you are gone, for either an obscenely high consulting fee, or a pitcher of Old Dominion Ale, depending on what mood you're in at the time.

After a few weeks of these activities you won't need to worry about telling your friends anything!
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Old 07-20-2010, 07:11 PM   #54
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Someone who pops up out of nowhere isn't likely to get nosey about your finances, and if he does, I assume you know how to head off unmannerly curiosity.

(Unless there's been a generational shift, and it's now acceptable behavior).

It may "throw" him that you are following a totally different path than he expected, but look at it this way: If he's a mensch, he can take people as they are. I found a boy on Facebook (now a middle-aged man of course) with whom I"d been childhood friends. I figured he'd be successful and married to a beautiful spouse. He is. The spouse is a man. Didn't faze me a second and we are having fun getting re-acquainted (we both went for blonds!)

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I don't think he would have a problem if I told him the truth. But he might have questions. Like how could I possibly afford it. Talking about money with him would be much more uncomfortable than talking about politics or religion, which for me are not at all uncomfortable topics of conversation...

The thing is, FIRE is clearly off the beaten path. Up until now, in almost every single aspect of my life, I have been the guy who has followed the beaten path faithfully. By stepping off the path, I feel like I am breaking every rule in the book!
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Old 07-20-2010, 08:41 PM   #55
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Don't diminish your situation, Embrace it. You have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of and much to be very proud of.

- Your thinking is flawed here. Be who you want to be.

Love it...check out my avatar!
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Old 07-20-2010, 09:00 PM   #56
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Come on folks.
Don't pay any attention to dreamer.
He's just trying to figure out a way to save face.
We all know he's now a kept man.


Now how do I break this all to the chemist/personal brewer ?
Do I just tell him (my son), that if he studies hard and plays his cards right, he could probably retire early too?
Steve
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Old 07-20-2010, 09:23 PM   #57
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Now how do I break this all to the chemist/personal brewer ?

Steve
Tell him that's one more position he can apply to when the economy picks up again...
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Old 07-20-2010, 09:53 PM   #58
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Dreamer,
I hope you guys are OK with the new situation.
It will probably take a while to adjust.
I find my self feeling a little guilty with the wife working and me at home.
Even though she seems OK with it.
She knows she can retire any time but just isn't ready yet.
Which is fine with me, it helps to spread the bills around a little more.
She wants to get the chemist closer to his degree before pulling out.
Steve
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Old 07-21-2010, 07:44 AM   #59
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See these threads:

Another answer to that age old question ... (?)

Answer the perennial question
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Old 07-21-2010, 10:42 AM   #60
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Mention how you'll be glad to help them after you are gone, for either an obscenely high consulting fee, or a pitcher of Old Dominion Ale, depending on what mood you're in at the time.
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