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Guilt Trips & Other Doubts
Old 03-06-2006, 06:15 PM   #1
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Guilt Trips & Other Doubts

As I ever so slowly get closer and closer to being able to retire (somewhat early), I'm starting to notice a depressing trend among relatives, friends, and co-workers. My peer group is aging right along with me, so the subject of retirement and lack of job satisfaction is a common one we get together in groups or even just in pairs.

What I'm noticing is an attempt on the part of a farily high percentage of people to make me (and others in my position) feel guilty about being able to leave the rat race even a bit early and leave the rest of them behind laboring away in a futile attempt to catch up with us. Two of the worst culprits are my own brother and brother-in-law, each of whom have been living from payday-to-payday (and with the help of credit cards) for the last three decades. Now...I'M supposed to feel guilty that they are still struggling and are fearful of their future while my own is looking more and more secure every year.

Frankly, they're starting to get to me, even to the point of making me somewhat depressed and fearful that maybe I'm over-estimating the security of my own situation...and that pisses me off.

Have you folks run into that kind of thing? If so, did it affect you this way, and if it did what did you do about it short of getting new friends and avoiding your family?
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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts
Old 03-06-2006, 06:26 PM   #2
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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts

Quote:
Originally Posted by SamHouston
Frankly, they're starting to get to me, even to the point of making me somewhat depressed and fearful that maybe I'm over-estimating the security of my own situation...and that pisses me off.

Have you folks run into that kind of thing?* If so, did it affect you this way, and if it did what did you do about it short of getting new friends and avoiding your family?* *
Just check your assumptions, and hold to your course. What do they know? They have failed where you have succeeded.

All my sibs are well off; although my sister might be in deep doo-doo if her husband were to leave her. A distinct possibility, as there are more fun-loving women around and he is an attractive guy. I hope this doesn't happen, because it would put me in a tough position. My Dad partially supported his sister when her husband left her. She also was not exactly fun.

Ha

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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts
Old 03-06-2006, 06:31 PM   #3
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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts

I can identify... retiring early does put you in a different plane of existence from the working folks. Realize of course that when people say you are crazy, what they are saying is that retiring would be crazy for them. People project their own situations onto you, and then make judgements based on their situation.


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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts
Old 03-06-2006, 08:21 PM   #4
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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts

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each of whom have been living from payday-to-payday (and with the help of credit cards) for the last three decades. Now...I'M supposed to feel guilty that they are still struggling
Just start talking 401Ks, Roth conversions, portfolio diversification, ad naseum....

They'll probably shut up pretty quick. Works for me.

They have no right to make you feel guilty - you worked to attain what you have, and they had other priorities. We each make our choices, and we live with the results. Sometimes fate intervenes, and we don't even get that. Enjoy yourself, you deserve it.

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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts
Old 03-06-2006, 09:32 PM   #5
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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts

I can't believe you posted this today. I was mulling over a conversation I had with a sib yesterday. They were not very nice when they found out that our last mortgage payment goes this month, then we are debt free at age 51 with a pretty nice nest egg. They are up to their eyeballs in car, mortgage and credit card payments. One actually said sarcastically "must be nice."
These are the same people who in the past have said how cheap we are. Actually we are very generous to our children, parents and charity. It is for instance junk, new cars and eating out we spend little money on.

I am anxious to see how other people handle this situation. I tend to keep my finances private but mortgage rates came up (they are refinancing once again and taking out the home equity.)
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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts
Old 03-06-2006, 09:49 PM   #6
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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts

What I'm sensing from a few of the people that give me this feeling is that they are actually angry with themselves for buying into the "super consumer" lifestyle, and they let their regrets come out as either sarcasm or some other form of resentment. Their own fear that they have really screwed up their futures and don't have much to show for it is what I think causes the behavior...and, of course, misery loves company, so they try to bring you down too.
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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts
Old 03-07-2006, 07:40 AM   #7
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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts

Sam, I think a reasonable response s likely one or both of the following:

- Stay true to yourself: there will always be people who wish to drag you down. You didn't get this far by listening to the FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) before, so why start now? Don't let the chatter worm its way under your skin. Withdraw a bit if necessary and listen to your gut. You know what the right course is.

- Offer some help: No, you can't write a check and make everything better for spendthrifts. But you can offer them help in the way of personal finance advice (if they will take it) and by offering other types of help to your friends and family. After all, you now have a wealth of free time as a FIREee; you can afford to spend some of it helping out those you care for if you wish to do so.

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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts
Old 03-07-2006, 07:43 AM   #8
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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts

I'm in that same situation, I don't talk about finances with my siblings, it just causes hard feelings, they don't understand that I've worked my butt off to get where I am and make remarks that just make my husbands blood boil.

When I made a certain investment 5 years ago my sister actually said " wow, you must be a millionare, now you can buy me a house". Dh's jaw dropped and he later asked me if she was for real. I had to say yes because she actually believes I should buy her a house. I don't know what she will say or expect from me when I retire and I'm hoping dh isn't within earshot because he won't keep his thoughts to himself this time.

But even after all of this I still have that little nagging guilt in my head.
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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts
Old 03-07-2006, 07:46 AM   #9
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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts

Quote:
Originally Posted by SamHouston
What I'm sensing from a few of the people that give me this feeling is that they are actually angry with themselves for buying into the "super consumer" lifestyle, and they let their regrets come out as either sarcasm or some other form of resentment.* Their own fear that they have really screwed up their futures and don't have much to show for it is what I think causes the behavior...and, of course, misery loves company, so they try to bring you down too.
Bingo, and probably more than just a few people.
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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts
Old 03-07-2006, 07:56 AM   #10
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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts

It really is a totally different mindset from most of the people I know. I think that's why I hang around in this forum, so that I can see that I'm not the only person that thinks like I do!! (i.e., I'm not crazy!! :P) When everyone around you seems to be going in the opposite direction, it does make you wonder sometimes.

I am known around my workplace (for only 29 more working days!!) as the financial lunatic. I'm always preaching to the youngsters to save, save, save. One 27-year-old said, she doesn't have a penny extra to save, that her income and outgo are simply too tight. Then, in a later conversation, she mentioned something about her $200 cell phone bill. Seems she and her sister talk non-stop on their phones (they share a plan). I said, doesn't that seem like an area to cut back? And she looked at me like I was from Mars!

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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts
Old 03-07-2006, 08:00 AM   #11
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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts

Quote:
Originally Posted by cj
One 27-year-old said, she doesn't have a penny extra to save, that her income and outgo are simply too tight. Then, in a later conversation, she mentioned something about her $200 cell phone bill. Seems she and her sister talk non-stop on their phones (they share a plan). I said, doesn't that seem like an area to cut back? And she looked at me like I was from Mars!

CJ
Same thing happens here, they whine about having no money, can't afford to put into the 401k but then in the next breath are showing off the $85 shirt they bought last night.
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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts
Old 03-07-2006, 08:14 AM   #12
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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts

Theres a funny dynamic in people...they'll overspend for stuff and lament the situation privately and with some close friends, but crow about their stuff and lifestyle when asked by less than close friends. The segregated purchases are easily rationalized and justified, but then there they are with that aggregate life. The last thing they're going to do is say they've come to the conclusion that they're idiots.

They *have* to make fun of people able to see the aggregate growing from the segregate and resisting those individual moves, because anything else invalidates THEIR life. Which doesnt stop them from wanting to share in the aggregate lifestyle of others.

Competitiveness, jealousy, "I got mine", living in the now, inability to see the long term results of their actions...all the fun stuff that makes people what they are...
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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts
Old 03-07-2006, 08:39 AM   #13
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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts

I tend to see a lot of this same crap in my coworkers. They'll carry on with me about stupid things, like why I rarely go out to lunch, don't go out to group get-toethers, etc.

They just don't get the fact that...

1) By and large I don't like them and don't want to associate with them any more than I have to

and 2) I actually have a shot at retiring in my 40's, whereas they don't.

I just let it go in one ear and out the other, and keep the financial talk to a minimum.
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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts
Old 03-07-2006, 08:46 AM   #14
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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts

I've just quit work at age 52, and husband will go 7/1/06 at his age 52. *We're actually thinking about letting certain family members just think that his job has been downsized and pushed him out prematurely. *They just won't understand about our self-sufficiency and our lack of desire to support their needs rather than our own.

We also intend to call ourselves "On Holiday" rather than "early retirement", preferring to perceive "retirement" as arriving when we reach SS eligibility age. *THEN we will accept the moniker "Retiree". *No offense, I like the "FI" part, but prefer to skip the "R" word. *FIOH - Financially Independent, On Holiday.

Speaking of "Holiday", it is my favorite film. *If you haven't already, run up to Blockbuster and rent this 1930's film with Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn. *He is a self-made man who only wishes to stake himself with enough dough to pull out early -- but he is sidelined by engagement to a rich girl who only wants to pile up more and more. *He fell for the wrong sister. *Anyway, one of the best exchanges is when he describes how he plans to take a Holiday - he "wants to save part of my life for myself. *But there's a catch. *It has to be part of the young part. *You know, retire young, work old. *Come back when I know what I'm working for." *.......

Well, we've positioned ourselves so we won't have to come back into work (unless things REALLY go wrong around here, and GWB is doing the best he can to ruin it for all of us for a long time to come - don't get me started).

But I love the philosophy of this old movie, and it makes me realize that I am as young as I'll ever be again, and I've got to have these decades for my dreams while I can.

"Our life is closed, our life begins.
The long, long anchorage we leave.
The ship is clear, at last...She leaps!
She swiftly courses from the shore...
Joy, Shipmate, Joy!!" * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *Walt Whitman

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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts
Old 03-07-2006, 09:12 AM   #15
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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts

My family has been very supportive of my desire to ER. My brother likes his job and has no intention of stopping until he has to. He is lucky that he does enjoy his work so much. I don't so I am on the road to ER. My mother is very supportive. She retired at 62 and was happy with her decision. My father retired at 65 and died at 81. The men in the family tend to drop dead before 85 and we all know that which is part of my motivation to get out early, live well and keep the party going until my number is up.

My wife's family is a different story. Different backrounds, different mindset, different expecations for the kids etc. etc. They all will work until they drop or hit manditory retirement age. They see me as the "rich" guy and expect me to pick up the tab on everything. I don't do it so I think they think I am being stingy. I have had a couple of serious talks with my SILs but so far it has had no effect. They spend and spend on crap all the time while whinning about not being able to pay their CC debts. We have come very close to some major family friction because of it but I am learning to bite my tongue. My wife feels sorry for them but offers by me to help educate them (Four Pillars, Your Money of Your Life, etc.) fall on deaf ears. You can lead a horse to water..... :

Fellow workers know I retired from my previous company at 50 and that I could bail out anytime from this one. That causes some interesting dynamics especially with my boss. I have not given him a date and don't plan too until a month before I leave. Most of the folks working here are in their 30's and are busy with skiing, snowshoeing(sp?) biking, world travel, etc. and have no time or money for retirement savings. The company has no real retirement plan other than a 4% match 401k. People retire at 65..no medical coverage after retirement, no pension and no carry over of stock options. I keep telling the brigher ones to look elsewhere for better benefits and a better job. I have no idea what they will do when they reach 50+; other than continue to work in jobs they dislike for a company that may not even be around by then.
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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts
Old 03-07-2006, 09:48 AM   #16
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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andre1969
They just don't get the fact that...
1) By and large I don't like them and don't want to associate with them any more than I have to
Hey Andre, don't hold back.
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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts
Old 03-07-2006, 10:14 AM   #17
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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts

Actually, it's really not THAT bad. There's only a few that I really don't like. But unfortunately they're the ones I work the closest with, and are always up in my business and critiqueing everything I do.
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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts
Old 03-07-2006, 03:20 PM   #18
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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts

My experience was a cow-orker who always reminded me that I should live for today. Well, with my health issues he may be right. He had an extremely uppity wife (I think she was a cane field worker in Cuba before marrying him). High maint.

He asked retirement advice and proudly showed me he had $200k IRA, $100k Treasuries, and an annuity of $1,100 per month. He moved to La Jolla and his mother promised a $700k condo (never materialized).

He called a week ago and said he is moving to NJ to take a job and expects to work till 70.

I didn't even sound smug at all.
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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts
Old 03-07-2006, 03:32 PM   #19
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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts

This is a good thread. I can relate to much of what I am reading. Coworkers spend $10 a day on lunch, but live paycheck to paycheck with family incomes above $100K. I mean, how is someone supposed to make it these days with a big house payment, two car loans, cellphone bills for both spouses, a mega-channel cable deal, xm radio, and a new baby on the way? You should see the look on people's faces when dw and I tell people that we don't have cellphones. They look at us like we don't have telephone service. I've got a telephone at the office with voicemail, a phone at home with an answering machine, and two email accounts. How much more access to my arse do people need?
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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts
Old 03-07-2006, 03:54 PM   #20
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Re: Guilt Trips & Other Doubts

Do not feel guilty because you've made choices and decisions that are best for you and your family.

If, OTOH, their comments get to you, ignore them. Then, when sitting in you paid for home, in you paid for easy chair, knowing that you don't have to work, pour yourself a couple of fingers of good ole tennessee sour mash, take a sip, swish it around in your mouth, and then
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