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Old 10-24-2010, 05:28 AM   #1
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FIRE Cover Stories

Related to another post about spilling the beans to "Mom" about the personal balance sheet.


We were at a family get together. Ohhh wait, some background. Let me back track.

I have coached DW on divulging information to about the balance sheet, FIRE issues, etc. Unfortunately she does not quite get it.

Anyway we were at a family gathering... lots of friends. DW blurts out... DH is going to Retire next year. Of course most of the people are about our age or older... but still working.

Every head on every shoulder whipped around so fast to look at me that I thought heads would snap off. Uggg! I wanted to pinch DW... unfortunately she was on the other side of BIL (notorious spendthrift) so I couldn't mete out some level of justice immediately for the infraction.

Now I am on the spot... there are about 30 or so 50+ age adults staring at me waiting for further information... you could hear a pin drop it was so quiet. I quickly collected my thoughts and calmly said, I had the option to take an early pension and I was thinking about it.

On the way home (of course) I did not pinch DW ... but she got the speech (which she resented )! Hopefully she doesn't do it again.

Fast forward to another family and friends get together a couple of months later. BIL has a numb-nuts buddy (who is unemployed regularly). NN Buddy corners me and begins talking to me about a couple of business ventures that would be great ideas!!!

Here is the funny part... one of the business ventures was a neighborhood bar that he claims could be picked up cheap because the current owner drinks all the profits. NN buddy hinted that he could manage it. I have never NEVER seen NN Buddy sober in the 20 years I have known him!

True story.

Small early pension... it is true and it is my cover story!
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Old 10-24-2010, 05:42 AM   #2
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cool story. I commend you on successfully attaining your goals. I can understand you wanting to keep a lid on your plans. I've got the DW as cover--she's several years younger than me so she'll be working for a few more years after I do. So on the outside it should look as though nothing has changed.


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Originally Posted by chinaco View Post
Related to another post about spilling the beans to "Mom" about the personal balance sheet.


We were at a family get together. Ohhh wait, some background. Let me back track.

I have coached DW on divulging information to about the balance sheet, FIRE issues, etc. Unfortunately she does not quite get it.

Anyway we were at a family gathering... lots of friends. DW blurts out... DH is going to Retire next year. Of course most of the people are about our age or older... but still working.

Every head on every shoulder whipped around so fast to look at me that I thought heads would snap off. Uggg! I wanted to pinch DW... unfortunately she was on the other side of BIL (who is a notorious spendthrift) so I couldn't mete out some level of justice immediately for the infraction.

Now I am on the spot... there are about 30 or so 50+ age adults staring at me waiting for further information... you could hear a pin drop it was so quiet. I quickly collected my thoughts and calmly said, I had the option to take an early pension from work if I chose to do so and that I was thinking about it.

On the way home (of course) I did not pinch DW ... but she got the speech (which she resented )! Hopefully she doesn't do it again.

Fast forward to another family and friends get together a couple of months later. BIL (the spendthrift) has a numb-nuts buddy (who is unemployed regularly). NN Buddy corners me and begins talking to me about a couple of business ventures that would be great ideas!!! (that were stupid and makes no sense whatsoever).

Here is the funny part... one of the business ventures was a neighborhood bar that he claims could be picked up cheap because the current owner drinks all the profits. BIL's buddy hinted that he could manage it. I have never NEVER seen NN Buddy sober in the 20 years I have known him!

True story.

Small early pension... it is true and it is my cover story!
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Old 10-25-2010, 12:25 AM   #3
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We've gone through all of the usual "Yeah, but..." responses to our plans, and we've listened to a lot of "propositions" from the usual suspects.

I've made a lot of jokes, uttered all the bromides, and earnestly explained a lot of detailed financial/lifestyle plans. The only rebuttal that's consistently worked is to say that we have enough assets to cover our modest beach-bum lifestyle, we're taking a few months off to enjoy ourselves, and that we might seek some form of employment at some future date.

These comfortably vague blandishments allow all listeners to feel their desired degrees of congratulations, admiration, acceptance, concern, pity, envy, or despair. (We never get "apathy".) Most of their responses are not directed at our situation but rather reflect their sentiments about... them.

Once or twice (in over a hundred occasions) I've had a real "no kidding" private conversation with someone who wants to discuss esoterica like SWR, FIRECalc, and "Whaddya do all day." These all-too-rare interactions provide enough emotional-tank refillings to keep me going until the next gathering of doubters.

We're now in the 100th consecutive month of this plan. So far so good.
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Old 10-25-2010, 01:46 AM   #4
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My father was an early retiree and has had plenty of hobbies and personal projects to keep him busy the last 20 years. He gently asks from time to time if I am okay financially and let's me know that he could help out if I needed money. I've always told him I'm fine, but last year I went a bit further and mentioned that I'm considering the possibility of retiring in a few years. At the time we had that talk I was then older than he was when he retired. He was shocked and concerned and tried suggesting all kinds of businesses I could start if I was forced into retirement. Maybe he didn't go as voluntarily into his own retirement as I was always lead to believe. Makes me glad I've been LBYM so I could be FIRE on short notice if it ever comes to that.
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Old 10-25-2010, 07:20 AM   #5
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Although I FIREd about 9 years ago, I still make a (very) little money via some freelance consulting and writing. So I have always referred to myself as "semi-retired." Everyone seems to accept that immediately, and I very rarely get even a quizzical look from that statement.
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Old 10-25-2010, 07:37 AM   #6
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Joke time

of course as an academic if you say you are a retired professor the question is always

"how could they tell?"
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Old 10-25-2010, 09:09 AM   #7
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I retired two weeks after my 59th birthday. That's not "early" on this board where the average is around 55. But it is "early" to a lot of people. I've never had anyone comment directly to me about it. Most people who know me realize I had a better-than-average salary while I was working, but our lifestyle didn't match the salary. So they probably figured out how we did it.
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Old 10-25-2010, 09:43 AM   #8
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Chinaco, great sharing. I am in my 2nd month of ER and I am 50. I am still getting endless queries on what I do all day - the wierd thing is that those who ask me that question include people who have not worked for a long time. One of my sisters asked me what will I be doing all day since I don't have a child. Have most people forgotten there is life after work? Sleeping more, exercising more and reading the newspaper longer already fill up a few good hours daily and I've not included time spent on hobbies. The beautiful thing is that all these activities are not expensive. It only gets expensive when I travel.
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Old 10-25-2010, 10:17 AM   #9
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It only gets expensive when I travel.
Spouse and I have noted that travel gets cheaper per day when it's done for longer periods.

We lose a little money on each trip but we make it up on volume...
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Old 10-25-2010, 11:46 AM   #10
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DBF tells practically anyone that I/we are retiring in 10 9.5 years. Our friends are pretty fiscally conservative, and know I am in the military and state gov't, and no one has expressed any negativity. (usually just compliments in awe) I just pipe up pretty quickly to let them know we are working that plan to pull the plug early enough to really enjoy our retirement. Those individuals also know we are working hard to pay off the house, stay out of debt, and have things more important to do than just w*rk.
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Old 10-25-2010, 12:38 PM   #11
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If I say I'm retired, people either believe that I inherited a fortune, that I am selling crack out of my garage, or that I am a lazy bum living off welfare. If I say we are living on DW's income, I get scolded for being a kept man and I receive plenty of unsolicited advice about what I should do with my life to remedy this intolerable situation. Even those who understand that we are financially independent wonder why people who managed to accumulate enough to retire in their 30's would not want to continue making as much money as possible for the next 30 years for a chance to accumulate untold riches.

Now I just say I am a scientific consultant. Vague, honorable, satisfying enough for the inquisitive and the judgmental alike.
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Old 10-25-2010, 03:33 PM   #12
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Proper response: Wha? Oh, Honey, ha ha, I was just joking about that. Retire next year? Ha ha, no, I'll be working until I croak. I'm getting another beer, anyone want one?
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Old 10-25-2010, 09:07 PM   #13
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Spouse and I have noted that travel gets cheaper per day when it's done for longer periods.

We lose a little money on each trip but we make it up on volume...
Unfortunately DH is still working and longest he can take off is even less than 2 weeks. To save up on travel, we try to fly off season (since we have no kids) and redeem against our airmiles. Our last trip to Japan 2 in September this year was really inexpensive as we paid our air ticket by airmiles.
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Old 10-25-2010, 11:45 PM   #14
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The first time I saw this thread I thought it would be about the lead article in a financial magazine.
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Old 10-25-2010, 11:59 PM   #15
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When I retire, I plan on saying I am semi-retired and doing part-time contracting or consulting work. Since these don't have stable hours, it's perfectly OK to say things are going slow & you're not working much (or at all).
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Old 10-26-2010, 02:04 AM   #16
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I have always referred to myself as "semi-retired." Everyone seems to accept that immediately, and I very rarely get even a quizzical look from that statement.
Same here, although I do get some odd looks when asked about my semi-ER job. Never bothered me
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Old 10-26-2010, 02:40 AM   #17
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In my own profession (law) early retirement is often viewed as a sign that you were forced out - that you had failed to deliver an appropriate contribution to the partnership - unless you could show that you had made a conscious decision to move on to other positive things (such as a very senior in-house role, a senior role with a regulator, a business role or something similar or to do charity work). But just retireing to [insert lifestyle of choice]? That is something that will make people wonder/assume that you were forced out. I know I shouldn't care, but sadly I do care enough to want to avoid the issue.

Since I am not planning anything significant (unless you count volunteering at the local SPCA), I'll need to work on my cover story (or lie about my age...a lot).
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Old 10-26-2010, 05:10 AM   #18
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In my own profession (law) early retirement is often viewed as a sign that you were forced out - ..... But just retireing to [insert lifestyle of choice]? That is something that will make people wonder/assume that you were forced out. I know I shouldn't care, but sadly I do care enough to want to avoid the issue..
We discussed this in an earlier thread. I've been a lawyer for 35 years. Law (and some other professions) becomes what you are rather than what you do. Lawyers tend to be very competitive people, and aggressively keep score. What surprises some non lawyers is that the scoring is generally not about money. Anyone can make money. We want everyone to know that we are in a situation where our opinions and ideas are valued. That is why we can pay judges half what they would get anywhere else and still get good people, and why lawyers jump at the chance of a Supreme Court pro bono assignment. Hard to let that go. I certainly can't, which is why I am Professor Emeritus
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Old 10-26-2010, 05:15 AM   #19
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Thank you for sharing Chinaco.

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NN Buddy corners me and begins talking to me about a couple of business ventures that would be great ideas!!!
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Old 10-26-2010, 05:20 AM   #20
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What are you going to do Nords when your family members and friends will google the title of your book (title in your footnote), find your true identity, and read your postings here about them ?



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We've gone through all of the usual "Yeah, but..." responses to our plans, and we've listened to a lot of "propositions" from the usual suspects.
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