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Island of misfits?
Old 12-11-2005, 06:40 PM   #1
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Island of misfits?

Hi everyone.

As my spouse and I continue to save for ER and progress toward that goal, we increasingly feel more misplaced. Tell me if any of you can relate to this...

On one hand, we have family and friends who make good money but spend every penny they make. They seem to have no interest in retiring whatsoever. Like many of you, we don't have a huge house or all the newest toys like they have, although we do spend money on a few select "luxuries" from time to time. We almost feel a bit "pitied" at times because we don't have the huge house, etc.

On the other hand, we have family and friends who simply don't have very much income to save in the first place and don't even attempt to save. They can't relate to ER, either, and seem a bit bitter at times that we have what we do (the aforementioned "luxuries").

As our careers progress and income continues to increase (God willing), we seem to be painting ourselves into a corner where we feel moderately uncomfortable no matter where we turn... partially due to an ongoing urge to either grab them and shake them into reality. Perhaps it's just part of the ER lifestyle (our focus is naturally out of tune with the mainstream), but I wanted to see what y'all thought.

We certainly care about our family and friends and this is a small issue in the grand scheme of things, but has anyone else run into these issues as you progress to ER?

Thank you.
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Re: Island of misfits?
Old 12-11-2005, 06:56 PM   #2
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Re: Island of misfits?

Yes and no. The opinion of others about your collection of "stuff" isn't important. You need to script your responses to the comments of others, then repeat it until YOU are sold on your decision. Walk tall, speak confidently about your lifestyle.

"It isn't my style." is good enough.

It is no one's business how much you make or how much you have in cash or investments.



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Re: Island of misfits?
Old 12-11-2005, 06:57 PM   #3
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Re: Island of misfits?

Oh yeah. We are there too.

I drive a 15 year old car, love my small house with no mortgage and invest what I don't spend. The relatives on my side of the family see me as "cheap" because I don't spend everything I make. I prefer to think of myself as frugal and I do it because 1, it is fun, and 2, financial independence is one of my goals. I can't talk about investments or FI or ER to my side of the family because 1, they wouldn't know what I was talking about (they would assume I hit the lottery) and 2, they would despise me for being cheap and accumulating substantial wealth. However, on the wife's side of the family we are held in high regard for our frugality and planning. Needless to say we spend more time with my wife's family. So remember to dance with who brung you and don't wrestle with pigs in the mud. You'll just get muddy and the pigs like it.
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Re: Island of misfits?
Old 12-11-2005, 07:03 PM   #4
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Re: Island of misfits?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sisyphus
Hi everyone.

As my spouse and I continue to save for ER and progress toward that goal, we increasingly feel more misplaced.* Tell me if any of you can relate to this...

On one hand, we have family and friends who make good money but spend every penny they make. They seem to have no interest in retiring whatsoever.* Like many of you, we don't have a huge house or all the newest toys like they have, although we do spend money on a few select "luxuries" from time to time.* We almost feel a bit "pitied" at times because we don't have the huge house, etc.

On the other hand, we have family and friends who simply don't have very much income to save in the first place and don't even attempt to save.* They can't relate to ER, either, and seem a bit bitter at times that we have what we do (the aforementioned "luxuries").

As our careers progress and income continues to increase (God willing), we seem to be painting ourselves into a corner where we feel moderately uncomfortable no matter where we turn... partially due to an ongoing urge to either grab them and shake them into reality.* ** Perhaps it's just part of the ER lifestyle (our focus is naturally out of tune with the mainstream), but I wanted to see what y'all thought.

We certainly care about our family and friends and this is a small issue in the grand scheme of things, but has anyone else run into these issues as you progress to ER?*

Thank you.
I can relate. Without writing a whole essay on this, I would say that
my decision to ER basically cut off about 50% of my close friends and
associates. *I did not see this coming. *The juxtaposition
of my divorce probably didn't help. *OTOH, I reconnected with a bunch
of people that I had known like forever. *I like to keep in touch with
everyone (impossible) and so , I am disappointed. *I have discovered
that it is impossible (keeping in touch with everyone). *It makes me sad.

JG
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Re: Island of misfits?
Old 12-11-2005, 09:42 PM   #5
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Re: Island of misfits?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sisyphus
As our careers progress and income continues to increase (God willing), we seem to be painting ourselves into a corner where we feel moderately uncomfortable no matter where we turn... partially due to an ongoing urge to either grab them and shake them into reality.
We certainly care about our family and friends and this is a small issue in the grand scheme of things, but has anyone else run into these issues as you progress to ER?
This comes up a lot, and if everyone was onboard with the FIRE concept then this board probably wouldn't exist. Other threads are here and here, and I'm sure that others can point to more.

You can't discuss FIRE with someone who doesn't want to listen to what you have to say. The unbelievers I respect the most are the ones who've found their avocations and who can't imagine not working for the rest of their lives.

The unbelievers I feel the most sympathy for are the ones who've built their own bear traps around debt and an extravagant lifestyle. You may hear a lot of whining & complaining but you won't see much behavior change. It's not painful enough yet and they're just not ready to change.

Personally I think the worst types are the ones who say "Oooooh, FIRE! How do I do it?" You tell them what you're doing, suggest a few books, and they go off with a spring in their step and a fire in their eye. A month later they still haven't read the books, they haven't paid down their debt, they haven't signed up for their 401(k), they're buying an expensive new car with a home equity loan, and they're still eating out every lunch. A year later they come up to you and say "Ooooooh, FIRE! How do I do it?"

You just have to drop the FIRE topics (except for your annual talk to the person in the preceding paragraph) and do your own thing. Make friends on other shared interests. When you're FIRE'd, you'll have a lot of interests to share with others, and you'll have plenty of time to make new friends. I'm afraid you're stuck with your family, but for them you could use answering machines & locksmiths.

You may find one or two other FIRE friends at work, especially if you work at a Megacorp and meet a lot of different people. You probably won't find any FIRE friends in your neighborhood. You'll find plenty here!
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Re: Island of misfits?
Old 12-12-2005, 04:54 AM   #6
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Re: Island of misfits?

oooh, I do indeed know what you're talking about.

I had two groups of friends: the current friends who were all working at non-career-type jobs (some of them have moved up in various positions, but their jobs do not define them.. they were painters or musicians who had to work at something else for a living). They still struggle with money but are used to not having a lot to waste. These are the friends I still have.

The 'old' friends, the ones with 'careers' (big salaries, big houses) fell away long ago. They seem to be the ones who "don't get it", strangely enough. They could easily get off the gerbil wheel, but don't. They are solidly acquainted with the Joneses and seem to like it that way. They are cogs when they could be kings.

Looking back, I see that the only thing I had in common with the 'old' friends was similar education and status. They are so consumed with the money-making lifestyle that all they talk about besides their kids is their new acquisitions.

Some of the current friends have only a high-school diploma, but are perfectly intelligent and we enjoy talking about food, music, politics, etc. They will probably never get to FIRE, but they don't seem to resent us for having been fortunate enough to be able to do so. They have more of a 'life-is-a-lottery' outlook, as opposed to the 'nose-to-the-grindstone'rs...* They give over their 40 hours a week to cog-dom, but they will never be just cogs.
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Re: Island of misfits?
Old 12-12-2005, 04:57 AM   #7
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Re: Island of misfits?

As Nords said, you're really not going to change anyone. *The big spender is going to spend big and wonder why anyone else wouldn't, the paycheck to paycheck person who doesn't LBYM may well have some resentment.

We're moving toward full RE (actually not so early now). *Have friends with significant assets and those who don't.
What we have found works best is to just enjoy the friends and relationships as they are, and not get into others finances/spending, or ours. *That lets us keep the friction down with people that we like, but who are on different pages.
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Re: Island of misfits?
Old 12-12-2005, 06:05 AM   #8
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Re: Island of misfits?

Quote:
Originally Posted by uncledrz
Have friends with significant assets and those who don't.
What we have found works best is to just enjoy the friends and relationships as they are, and not get into others finances/spending, or ours. That lets us keep the friction down with people that we like, but who are on different pages.
Same here uncledrz. We have friends, acquaintances and family members that run the gamut. My wife's best friend is a starving artist and my best friend is fully FI. At work I answer to VC's who have net worths north of everyone here (combined) and I'll never see a tiny fraction of their wealth in my lifetime. Who cares, in the end they are just people and everyone has an interesting story to share. Same thing with my sailing buddies, some are FI and some live hand to mouth, but on the water we're all equal and just havin fun.

I guess I don't get this whole "I feel so socially isolated because no one around me is FI like I am" thing. I keep thinking back to those silly adds "don't hate me because I'm beautiful".
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Re: Island of misfits?
Old 12-12-2005, 06:42 AM   #9
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Re: Island of misfits?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TargaDave
* *I keep thinking back to those silly adds "don't hate me because I'm beautiful".
Kelly LeBrock, once married to Steve Seagal. The ads were silly, but she was
nice to look at.

Re. "the old friends", I had a "double whammy" since retirement and my divorce were more or less simultaneous. The old "couples" from my first marriage are no longer close. Since I was the "dumper" and could
have handled it better, my stock with the wives fell like a rock. Anyway,
most of my close friends are relatives, people that used to work for/with me,
and people that I have known like forever. The "country club" set is mostly out of my life. There
are literally hundreds who have passed through my life with whom I would
like to remain "close". Won't happen though.

JG
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Re: Island of misfits?
Old 12-12-2005, 09:17 AM   #10
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Re: Island of misfits?

Life has taught me that differences between people are a good thing and that there really aren't right and wrong ways to spend life's most precious commodity:* time.* When you look at your way as the only way and say things like "partially due to an ongoing urge to either grab them and shake them into reality," it's no wonder there are feelings of tension between yourself and folks cut from a different mold.* Lighten up.* Do your own thing and accept others for what they are.* Be less judgemental.* It'll help you to enjoy the full diversity of personalities in the world and feel less uptight when folks see things a little differently than you do.* At least that's what works for me as I leave others to walk their own walk while I walk mine.
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Re: Island of misfits?
Old 12-12-2005, 09:35 AM   #11
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Re: Island of misfits?

Quote:
Originally Posted by youbet
Life has taught me that differences between people are a good thing and that there really aren't right and wrong ways to spend life's most precious commodity:* time.* When you look at your way as the only way and say things like "partially due to an ongoing urge to either grab them and shake them into reality," it's no wonder there are feelings of tension between yourself and folks cut from a different mold.* Lighten up.* Do your own thing and accept others for what they are.* Be less judgemental.* It'll help you to enjoy the full diversity of personalities in the world and feel less uptight when folks see things a little differently than you do.* At least that's what works for me as I leave others to walk their own walk while I walk mine.
That's all well and good, but how do you deal with the "pain" of seeing friends and family spend themselves out of a comfortable retirement, college funding for their kids (possibly your nieces and nephews), or worst of all, relying on the "charity" of elderly parents who still feel an obligation to provide economic outpatient care for their adult "children"? People shouldn't get a "free lunch" when it comes to saving and investing, nor should the innocent children of spendthrifts suffer for the financial selfishness mistakes of their parents.

For example, one of my nieces (who is 4 years old) is scary smart -- she reads at a 3rd grade level and is already doing math at the same level. Based on my sister and BIL's finances (I won't go into detail, but suffice it to say, they're not really putting much away for their children's education or their retirement), I don't believe that they'll be able to afford to send her to pedigree school(s) (the value of which is discussed in other threads) where her "genius" will be properly nurtured and developed. My younger brothers have a similar financial mentality, preferring to "enjoy life" than save the maximum allowable in tax-advantaged accounts.
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Re: Island of misfits?
Old 12-12-2005, 09:56 AM   #12
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Re: Island of misfits?

I would be cautious about implying that saving for a child's education is the only right thing, Jay. Many intelligent people are of the opinion that college should be paid for by the child via scholarship, GI Bill, loans, or part-time jobs, for a variety of reasons.

I personally feel some obligaiton to save a bit for my child's education, but i'm not necessarily obligating myself to pay for 100% of it. But I recognize this as a personal opinion, and i'm well aware that others have differing opinions on it which they back with logical argument and thoughtful planning; not a case where they cant pay it simply because they "overspend".

Now if you're talking about pedigree gradeschools as well, I just flat out disagree with you. I support the public school system for a variety of reasons and I think private (grade) schools are evil.
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Re: Island of misfits?
Old 12-12-2005, 10:01 AM   #13
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Re: Island of misfits?

Another comment:* I hear how a lot of you hoarders think you're envied by everyone.* *Get over yourselves.* Truth is, sometimes, you're often pitied, not envied.* *

I have a dad worth 2million+ liquid (not counting hard assets), and that man still watches a 25" regular (non-HDTV) TV everynight for 2.5hrs+.* I make only a fraction what he does, but i watch a beautiful HDTV at night, complete with Dolby digital 5.1 sound on a 2 thousand dollar speaker/sub system.* *

Do you honestly think I envy someone with a 25" TV? ......* * Exactly!* *

On the one hand, we have a national savings rate less than 0%.* On the other, we have a forum for the hoarders.* * Is there a "balanced financial life" website somewhere?* Anyone have a link?

Azanon

* The TV's just one example.* Same situation with everything else in his life.* I love the man to death, but I beg him to spend money on himself all the time. I'm just going to end up with all of it someday, and, frankly, I'd prefer to see him enjoy it instead. I can take care of myself.
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Re: Island of misfits?
Old 12-12-2005, 10:03 AM   #14
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Re: Island of misfits?

Quote:
Originally Posted by azanon

I support the public school system for a variety of reasons and I think private (grade) schools are evil.*
Care to elaborate? I have a decidedly different opinion, but I am curious to hear why you think private schools are evil...
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Re: Island of misfits?
Old 12-12-2005, 10:13 AM   #15
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Re: Island of misfits?

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Care to elaborate?* I have a decidedly different opinion, but I am curious to hear why you think private schools are evil...
I went to school in the deep south where there is quite a bit of racism still in existence.* Up until about 7th grade, there were no (large) private schools in the area where i worked, so pretty much everyone, including the children of wealthy families, all went to the public school.* *So there were plenty of good children to be around, and we had no problems getting good teachers to want to come teach there.

Around 7th grade, one private school came near the area, then soon after another.* *The wealthy and predominately white families left to these schools, and left "everyone else" at the public school.* As you might expect, the quality of this public school system went to the crapper.*

I believe every American should be entitled to the same baseline level of education, and that we, as a collective whole, should pay for it.* Then, if you want to personally pay for higher education (in the form of college), then you can feel free to do so.* I dont think kids should be punished and doomed to a poorer education because their parents cant afford to send them to a private school.* *I would support an active AP system within the public school to challenge the kids that want to work harder.* * But I don't think being a racist is a valid reason to bypass a public school.
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Re: Island of misfits?
Old 12-12-2005, 10:13 AM   #16
 
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Re: Island of misfits?

But isn't it great to find this forum? *Finally, people that think the way you do! *You have discovered the magic, secret land of prodigious savers!

You're different, and you think you're an ugly duckling, and then you come here find that you're one of us beautiful swans!
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Re: Island of misfits?
Old 12-12-2005, 10:15 AM   #17
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Re: Island of misfits?

Quote:
Originally Posted by azanon
Around 7th grade, one private school came near the area, then soon after another. The wealthy and predominately white families left to these schools, and left "everyone else" at the public school. As you might expect, the quality of this public school system went to the crapper.
Which school did you go to?

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Re: Island of misfits?
Old 12-12-2005, 10:21 AM   #18
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Re: Island of misfits?

Quote:
But isn't it great to find this forum? Finally, people that think the way you do! You have discovered the magic, secret land of prodigious savers!

You're different, and you think you're an ugly duckling, and then you come here find that you're one of us beautiful swans!
I honestly don't think i'm radical enough to really fit in here. I save 15% of what i make gross strictly in retirement funds. I used to think that was a lot until I saw some of the polls here. You guys with the 40-60% of gross savings (for retirement only) I think are truly insane. Geez guys, i'm all for savings, but my God.
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Re: Island of misfits?
Old 12-12-2005, 10:23 AM   #19
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Re: Island of misfits?

Quote:
Which school did you go to?
A small AA school in Arkansas. I don't want to be more specific than that, as to maintain my anonymonity (sp).
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Re: Island of misfits?
Old 12-12-2005, 10:24 AM   #20
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Re: Island of misfits?

Good points, Jay. *Yep, I do feel some pain when friends and relatives fail to maximize earning potential and LBYM to acheive FI or other goals. *But life doesn't treat all the same. *The variations are endless. *I understand your feelings concerning your sister and BIL not saving for their daughter's education.

I believe the point of the original post was that leading a lifestyle favorable to FI and ER can bring about feelings of discomfort between yourself and others not choosing to lead that lifestyle. *It's happened to me time and time again. *But the more I'm able to accept people's differences in this regard and focus more on their attributes that I admire or find interesting, the better off things are.

It takes a lot of discipline and will for middle class Americans to achieve FI. *I think sometimes we who have those tendencies tend to obcess over wanting everyone else to do live life the same way. *

* *

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