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FIRE - family and friends just can't relate!
Old 11-01-2015, 07:59 PM   #1
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FIRE - family and friends just can't relate!

It's funny how much easier it is to share personal financial information with complete strangers on this board than my friends and family. I realize that makes sense. However, what we didn't expect was how our family, friends and co-workers react with the news of us retiring early and traveling the world. They want to be supportive, but I feel like we almost have to down play something that we've been planning for for years rather than celebrating for finally achieving it.
I wonder if there's a common theme for how people react.....here's what we've experienced so far....

- close family : what would you do all day? You can get another job or do consulting so you don't get bored
- older sibling: you can't do that...who will take care of mom...
- close friends: traveling? When will you be back?
- co workers: you are so fortunate...go! You can find another job when you get back
- boss: you can't quit...we'll keep you on part time while you are away for 6 months so you can make more money.

We truly are lucky....it just seems easier though to let people believe we'll need to work when we return from traveling, or to let people know we are just taking a sabbatical or to complete strangers, just to let them know we are professional dog sitters....you?


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Old 11-01-2015, 08:50 PM   #2
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My experience
- Close family: questions to make sure I was "sure".
- Coworkers: Most not surprised since I'd been open about "working my plan" towards ER and 3 coworkers had retired early in the previous few months. A few less close coworkers had comments that showed their ignorance (eg: you are so lucky, you must have inherited a fortune, you'll be back...)
- Friends: some surprise, but mostly congratulations.
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Old 11-01-2015, 10:27 PM   #3
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Have heard all the above. Unfortunately, most people can't comprehend LBYM. Trying to be careful not to make people feel bad that had the same opportunity but spent it all. Conspicuous consumption and bad decisions have reduced the options available to most people. Their lavish spending, divorces and poor investments have removed any hope of ER.
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Old 11-02-2015, 12:32 AM   #4
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I find it's best to explain your vision for retirement and what you are retiring *to*, and do it in a way that exudes confidence and enthusiasm.
When people tell me we'll be bored, I tell them about the non-profit work we'll be doing, the specific places we'll be traveling to, hobbies we'll be pursuing, etc.
This typically diffuses the argument of naysayers who don't have a plan for retirement, or haven't opened their eyes to the possibilities, or unfortunately there are those who are just plain jealous.
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Old 11-02-2015, 06:58 AM   #5
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I quickly realized that it wasn't my problem. If they want to stay in the harness until they drop, so be it.
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Old 11-02-2015, 09:02 AM   #6
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I imagine the reason why it is easier sharing on this forum isn't so much with the being strangers aspect as it is sharing with people who have similar desires and goals that understood the process to achieve it.
I would imagine the people you are sharing this to do not either grasp it or haven't embraced the idea.
I do love the constant common concept they revert back to with getting a job again.


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Old 11-02-2015, 09:14 AM   #7
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Yep, pretty common. Sad to say but that's been my experience, and many I'd read about here.

Let them think what they want, except your former boss.
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Old 11-02-2015, 09:32 AM   #8
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My experience might be a little different because I was 61 when I retired. But here goes:

- close family and siblings: It's about time! We wondered if you would ever "get with the program" and retire and enjoy life. Did you think you didn't deserve to enjoy life, or what? (My siblings both retired at around age 50 and have always been better off financially than me).

- close friends: Woo-hoo! So happy for you!

- co workers: But what will you do all day? Just get old and die? We can't visualize you doing anything but this particular job all day, and also we can't visualize anybody else doing that job. You should at least do some consulting. We wish we could retire too but it will be a long time because of this, that, and the other. Oh, and by the way, congratulations!

- boss: Congratulations! What would persuade you to stay? Raise and promotion? Consulting? New job title and responsibilities? This isn't an EEO thing, is it?

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Old 11-02-2015, 09:45 AM   #9
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My experience:

Boss: You're gonna die from boredom.
Bosses' boss: Tell me why you're "really" leaving and how we can fix it.
One coworker: You are my hero.
All the other coworkers: What are you going to do all day?
MIL: Are you gonna be OK? Did you get fired? I hear they're hiring at ____.
Older siblings: You can't be retired, you're my little brother.
Friends: You are so "lucky."
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Old 11-02-2015, 10:07 AM   #10
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My husband's boss asked if we will both retire or just him retiring. My brother thought I was too young to retire. I'm not surprised by all these comments, they all mean well. I looked at my spreadsheet, I've been seriously planning since 2011 and finally decided to pull the trigger in 2015.


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Old 11-02-2015, 10:21 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bearkeley View Post

- close family : what would you do all day? You can get another job or do consulting so you don't get bored
- older sibling: you can't do that...who will take care of mom...
- close friends: traveling? When will you be back?
- co workers: you are so fortunate...go! You can find another job when you get back
- boss: you can't quit...we'll keep you on part time while you are away for 6 months so you can make more money.
We've had about all of these, except the sibling one. Mostly b/c DF and DM are deceased on my side and my inlaws are very healthy and have plenty of $$ to never need help from DW or BIL.

We more or less developed an 'elevator speech' for civilians talking about how we had been planning retirement for some time and sale of my mega corp employer just accelerated things a few years. That usually works ...
when it doesn't or someone seems more than casually interested, we give a little more color (but not numbers).

I usually start with (1) how much do you spend v how much you make (or need to replace); (2) if you have 25-30x the answer in (1), you need to realize you're only working now b/c you want to ... you can do that, of course, but be volitional about it; and (3) time >> money.

Most people don't get past (1), and almost none get past (2). For those that get to (3) before I lose them, the light usually goes on and they start asking lots of Qs about how to learn more, and I start with this website and a few others!

Just a different sort of proslyetizing I guess/
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Old 11-02-2015, 10:43 AM   #12
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I can certainly relate, especially since I retired so young (relatively speaking). The questions/comments I got:

Close Family: Generally supportive. I have a uncle that to this day tells me I will be bored beyond comprehension. When he found out I signed up for law school, he was beside himself...as though all his premonitions had come true.

Co-Workers: Most said, "What? You can't retire on military retirement pay! It can't be done!" Well, if they stopped buying the latest and greatest Apple phones and 45K cars, perhaps they could figure it out too. Not only to mention that my mil pension is but a small part of my overall money scheme.

Friends: This has been the hardest. All of them w*rk hard and spend their money even harder. They will solicit me for advice and then run out and spend money like mad. A very good friend of mine just went and got a HELOC so he could have his driveway replaced. Then, he went out and spent 40K on a 2014 model year sports car. When I told him that was enough money for me to LIVE ON for over 2 years, he looked at me like I was crazy. Even crazier is that he bought that car and doesn't even have a garage!!! Wow...sorry about that tirade. Yes, the friends aspect has been very difficult because our ideas of money and w*rking are vastly different.

To make things worse, my DW continues to work (of her own accord) so many of the folks in my life think I am just a lazy slug sitting at home all day while she "supports me". It's annoying, but I think some of them just use that excuse as a "coping mechanism" to convince themselves that I am not REALLY retired, but just lazy.

I the way I have dealt with this is by just keeping to myself. When I am in a social situation, I try to talk about anything but myself. I am looking forward to having drinks later this week with another young member from ER.org...I think we will have more in common than just about EVERYONE in my life!
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Old 11-02-2015, 11:43 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by FlyBoy5 View Post
To make things worse, my DW continues to work (of her own accord) so many of the folks in my life think I am just a lazy slug sitting at home all day while she "supports me". It's annoying, but I think some of them just use that excuse as a "coping mechanism" to convince themselves that I am not REALLY retired, but just lazy.
I too am in a similar situation. While they don't often come out and say I am lazy, it is easy to pick up on by people's responses. I work part -time, and DW works full time. DW makes more than twice what I do on an hourly basis, and doesn't dislike her job as nearly as much as I do. I suppose I do have some inner guilt with the role reversal, but not enough to make me want to go up to full time.

While we are both looking forward to FIRE, I am sure my families response would be it is lazy to not work if you are able to keep making money.
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Old 11-02-2015, 11:51 AM   #14
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When DH told his family his brother asked if we were going to downsize to an apartment or maybe get a reverse mortgage! He lives in a high cost of living area in New Jersey and just couldn't get a grip on how inexpensive it is to live in a lower cost of living area.

The whole LBYM thing just doesn't exist for some people.
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Old 11-02-2015, 12:00 PM   #15
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I've been getting really strange reactions.

I'm a recent widow ( alittle over 2 years) and my husbands relatives all think he left me a mountain of money. lol. While we both made sure we had our ducks in a row, I do want to say some times "hey,you know I worked and contributed to this life too?"

some of my coworkers reactions have been downright bizarre, a few mean but unfortunately the company isn't doing well at all and layoffs are imminent so I chalk it up to the atmosphere around here is really toxic.

I think what I find very sad is that it seems no one even thinks there is a life beyond working. everyone ask me what am I going to do? some folks have been sending me job information.
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Old 11-02-2015, 12:05 PM   #16
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I told people that I would go back to work after taking a sabbatical just to keep the door open and to answer the concern that I would get bored. The reality is that I never intended to EVER go back to work. I have been retired almost three years and I am now 56. I can honestly say, I have not been bored for one single second. I think the key to success is to have developed a life outside of work BEFORE you retire.
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Old 11-02-2015, 03:36 PM   #17
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I've been getting really strange reactions.

I think what I find very sad is that it seems no one even thinks there is a life beyond working. everyone ask me what am I going to do? some folks have been sending me job information.
This +1000. I don't understand the whole person-->is-->a job. I see it all the time in obits though, "So and so was a widget maker at mega corp for 45 years." I am sorry, but that's not something to be proud of IMHO. I hope that my obit reads something along the lines of, "Flyboy 5 spent his years lounging in his hammock and doing damn well whatever he wanted to do."
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FIRE - family and friends just can't relate!
Old 11-02-2015, 03:39 PM   #18
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FIRE - family and friends just can't relate!

I have gotten a wide range of responses in the 4 years since I retired at age 47. Maybe once has someone said "congratulations".

Finally, last month, for the first time, someone finally engaged me in a serious conversation about the details on how I did it.

Instead I have heard:

"Oh yeah right, you're not retired! You'll go back to work!"

"You were only able to retire because you didn't have children!"

"You know, if you stay out of the workforce too long no one will want to hire you!"

"Retired? How is that possible? Anyway, I could never retire. I'd get bored!"

"It's impossible to retire with dividends and interest rates like we have now!"

"You're so smart, don't you want to contribute something to society?"

"You're too young to be retired!"

"You're going on another trip? Boy you sure are taking this retirement thing seriously!"

Loudly in front of a crowd of people: "Well, we don't get much time off and we can't all be 'retired' like truenorth418!"

"What exactly do you DO all day?"

"My brother, the 'day trader'."

"You're going on another trip? But you already went away for a week last month!"














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Old 11-02-2015, 03:53 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by truenorth418 View Post
I have gotten a wide range of responses in the 4 years since I retired at age 47. Rarely if ever has someone said "congratulations". Only once that I remember.

Finally, last month, for the first time, someone engaged me in a serious conversation about the details on how I did it.

Instead I have heard:

"Oh yeah right, you're not retired! You'll go back to work!"

"You were only able to retire because you didn't have children!"

"You know, if you stay out of the workforce too long no one will want to hire you!"

"Retired? How is that possible? Anyway, I could never retire. I'd get bored!"

"It's impossible to retire with dividends and interest rates like we have now!"

"You're so smart, don't you want to contribute something to society?"

"You're too young to be retired!"

"You're going on another trip? Boy you sure are taking this retirement thing seriously!"

Loudly in front of a crowd of people: "Well, we don't get much time off and we can't all be 'retired' like truenorth418!"

"What exactly do you DO all day?"

"My brother, the 'day trader'."














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Sounds pretty familiar. Especially the "OH YOU DON'T HAVE KIDS" mantra. If I had a $1 for every time I heard that, I would have retired at 35!

Oh, by the way, CONGRATULATIONS!
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Old 11-02-2015, 04:01 PM   #20
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I retired at age 52 from a job in law enforcement where retirement from mid-40's on is fairly common, but most in early to late 50's. Reactions from coworkers were "Great, you made it with all appendages intact and most of your mind!" (Seriously, not everyone did.)

Family was relieved and happy for me.

A few friends outside of work: "Great, you made it! Now what are you going to do?"

"Whaddaya mean, nothing?"
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