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You're lucky you are able to retire early because....
Old 12-23-2011, 01:24 PM   #1
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You're lucky you are able to retire early because....

Have you heard this one? Now that I am telling people of my plans to retire before 65, I keep hearing how 'lucky' I am to be able to do this. Maybe there is some part of luck involved. But, the last time I checked the Good Fairy had not bopped me on the head with her magic wand and caused money to flow into my bank accounts like flood water flowing into the Gulf.
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Old 12-23-2011, 01:31 PM   #2
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Have you heard this one? Now that I am telling people of my plans to retire before 65, I keep hearing how 'lucky' I am to be able to do this. Maybe there is some part of luck involved. But, the last time I checked the Good Fairy had not bopped me on the head with her magic wand and caused money to flow into my bank accounts like flood water flowing into the Gulf.
You'd think they could at least compliment you for saving and planning and constantly delayed gratification for years in preparing for early retirement.

I guess we are lucky in the sense that an overwhelming, unpredictable, and unexpected drain on our incomes/nesteggs has not happened. This being the holiday season, I thought I'd mention that.
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Old 12-23-2011, 01:47 PM   #3
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I would just take it to mean "you're lucky you were born with the talents, intelligence and tenacity to be able to pull that off."
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Old 12-23-2011, 01:50 PM   #4
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Have you heard this one? Now that I am telling people of my plans to retire before 65, I keep hearing how 'lucky' I am to be able to do this. Maybe there is some part of luck involved. But, the last time I checked the Good Fairy had not bopped me on the head with her magic wand and caused money to flow into my bank accounts like flood water flowing into the Gulf.
The "you're so lucky" has two aspects for me. One is the assumption that it was all luck. I think many of us have had much good fortune, but only some were able to take advantage of the opportunity and enable ER. Now, 10 years into retirement, when I hear "You're so lucky" it is not about the money but instead, time. That is, they say

"You're so lucky to be retired early, that means you have time free to xxx ..."

what that means is

"Oh good. Now you can go do this for me even though it's my turn or responsibility".
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Old 12-23-2011, 02:07 PM   #5
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I would take it as one of those things people say when they want to say something nice, but have never heard of a socially "correct" response. We all know to say "Congratulations" or "Mazeltov" to a new parent or graduate, "Best wishes" [NOT "Congratulations"] to a newly engaged woman, "Bon Voyage" to someone going on a big trip; but there isn't a standard response to "Hey, I'm going to retire early!" In that sense, "How lucky you are" probably = "How nice for you," the all-purpose response to good news.

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Have you heard this one? Now that I am telling people of my plans to retire before 65, I keep hearing how 'lucky' I am to be able to do this.
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Old 12-23-2011, 03:14 PM   #6
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Have you heard this one? Now that I am telling people of my plans to retire before 65, I keep hearing how 'lucky' I am to be able to do this. Maybe there is some part of luck involved. But, the last time I checked the Good Fairy had not bopped me on the head with her magic wand and caused money to flow into my bank accounts like flood water flowing into the Gulf.
Why would you care? No one told me I was lucky, though I don't doubt some thought it. Most were/are surprised, congratulatory, curious and somewhat jealous by their own admission. They can't fathom what you've done, so luck is the only explanation they can accept. I never expected 'compliments' from anyone, I could see in how they were living their lives (beyond their means) that they'd never 'get it.' And sadly, I knew I could never discuss my FI plans as they'd never agree, so I never bothered to go there.
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Old 12-23-2011, 04:02 PM   #7
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I don't really take offense when someone says that - I think part of it is that they just don't know what to say and as MichaelB suggests they are envious of the free time I will have.

Spoken response: "Yes, I am lucky."

What I'm thinking: True, I am "lucky", but I made my own luck by the decisions that I have made the last 35 years.
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Old 12-23-2011, 04:39 PM   #8
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I feel lucky every day. In fact- I'd rather be lucky than good.
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Old 12-23-2011, 04:48 PM   #9
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I wouldn't worry about it. I went part-time about 4 years ago. Every day I get a comment about how I don't work hard any more like the rest of them. Every day, I say, "You could be semi-retired as well. When you want it bad enough, come talk to me and I will show you how to plan for it."
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Old 12-23-2011, 04:49 PM   #10
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I'm not retired, but my BIL tells me I'm so lucky that I earn a good salary which will enable me to retire early if I choose that option. He has an idea that I've worked really hard to overcome personal challenges. Usually I just say "thanks" and ask how's it going to focus on him/his family.

After hearing it numerous times and catching me on a Friday working almost 3 weeks straight without a day off, I gave it to him. Why am I lucky working 70 - 80 hour weeks without an off day? How was I lucky working fulltime while a fulltime student in college or working fulltime and taking 3 classes per term in grad school? How is it lucky traveling 50% of the time for work previously? BTW how is it to work 32 - 36 hours a week with every weekend off? He got the hint, then he says "at least you like your job"....
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Old 12-23-2011, 05:26 PM   #11
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Those who could retire early or at all are lucky or fortunate when there are so many Americans will not be able to do so because of paucity of savings, pension benefits and the imminent increase in retirement age. To add insult to injury, an older worker has to face age discrimination. Staying employed is a continuous struggle.

Those receiving pension benefits equaling more than 80% with cost of living adjustment are definitely lucky. Even those getting enough to supplement their living expenses are also lucky. Their lucks may run out should the institution proving the benefits decided to reduce or completely terminate its obligation because they simply cannot afford it. The recipients of these benefits may argue that it is not luck. It's their wisdom to choose the right institution, their sacrifice earning less money in exchange for great benefits and tenacity to put up with bureaucracy or "crap".

Those who can retire because of financial Independence by saving, investing and living below your means are also lucky - thanks to the fin ancial markets albeit its volatility. Years of poor investment returns could wipe out our savings regardless of how much we save.

In short, those who can retire are considered lucky no matter which path to get there.
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Old 12-23-2011, 05:52 PM   #12
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Have you heard this one? Now that I am telling people of my plans to retire before 65, I keep hearing how 'lucky' I am to be able to do this. Maybe there is some part of luck involved. But, the last time I checked the Good Fairy had not bopped me on the head with her magic wand and caused money to flow into my bank accounts like flood water flowing into the Gulf.
"Oh, but you're too young to retire, you have so much of your life ahead of you and you shouldn't be put out to pasture, you have so much potential, and you can't just rust on the porch!"

The people telling you how lucky you are would prefer to think that you got a winning lottery ticket-- because otherwise they'd have to confront their own financial behavior. They might even be forced to think "Holy cow, if he can figure out how to retire by now then I should've been able to do it years ago. Why, I might even be responsible for my own financial misconduct!"

The harder you work & save, the luckier you get.
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Old 12-23-2011, 06:42 PM   #13
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I believe many who use 'lucky' are really expressing envy that they can't RE too. I don't believe most of them are disparaging your achievement nor suggesting you weren't responsible for making you're ER possible.

I often use 'lucky' (and even lucky-bum') when I learn a friend, relative, or co-worker is about to retire. Would 'fortunate' be more politically correct?
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Old 12-23-2011, 07:11 PM   #14
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I am called lucky by all of my family. I was lucky to work three jobs and babysit during high school. Also during high school I was lucky to take four years of Russian, 4 years of English, 5 years of Science and 5 years of Math, doubled up on the fun ones because it was possible at the time. I could have graduated as a Jr but 4 years of PE were required for graduation at the time.

In college I was lucky to graduate with a degree in Aerospace Engineering in three years while working 20 hrs/week before I turned 21. I was then lucky to marry my partner of 35+ years. Then I got really lucky and had two great kids*, went back to school and got a PhD in Engineering and a faculty position. My husband and I have worked our asses off and saved since the 70's and are now lucky to be able to retire well.

All due to luck.

*both kids have PhD's, are independent and lucky as well.
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Old 12-23-2011, 07:32 PM   #15
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"Oh, but you're too young to retire, you have so much of your life ahead of you and you shouldn't be put out to pasture, you have so much potential, and you can't just rust on the porch!"

The people telling you how lucky you are would prefer to think that you got a winning lottery ticket-- because otherwise they'd have to confront their own financial behavior. They might even be forced to think "Holy cow, if he can figure out how to retire by now then I should've been able to do it years ago. Why, I might even be responsible for my own financial misconduct!"

The harder you work & save, the luckier you get.
Absolutely right.

Alternative response:
"Yeah, if it weren't for those lottery winnings, I'd still be slaving away like you are."

My personal response:
"Yeah, I started planning when I was young, and it worked out pretty much like I planned it."
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Old 12-23-2011, 07:49 PM   #16
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Haven't heard "lucky", but have gotten queries, such as "Did you win the lottery?" and "Did you inherit a bunch of money?" HOW can you retire?


In our case, it is a lot about being willing to retire with less than some of our co-workers. We are ready. We can do this. We will make it work.--and yes, we have very little debt.
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Old 12-23-2011, 10:10 PM   #17
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I had a professor in college that had a good definition of luck.

Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.
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Old 12-24-2011, 03:02 AM   #18
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Luck is the residue of design.
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Old 12-24-2011, 08:55 AM   #19
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I had a professor in college that had a good definition of luck.

Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.

This is great! I had my opportunity and luckily/thankfully I was prepared.
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Old 12-24-2011, 09:14 AM   #20
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I just say yes I am. Thinking I was lucky I didn't get pregnant unexpectedly, only had two kids when we wanted them, stayed married for 36 years, drive cars to the ground and stayed in a normal house always putting money away.

Also, we never had the things happen to us that would have prevented early retirement, such as extended sickness or layoffs.

I also find people don't want to know how you did it. That's life.
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