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How are you "Really" doing??
Old 08-06-2013, 04:22 PM   #1
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How are you "Really" doing??

OK, this has happened to me now three times since I have ER'd so I thought I'd post this. Here's the scenario and is basically the same each time.
I'll meet with a friend for lunch or dinner and we chat about things, including my ER. I'm pretty open and honest so when folks ask me how I like retirement, I don't gloat and have kind of a standard answer like "it has it's pros and cons but overall has been a great decision". Then there is this moment when they stare me in the eye and maybe say something like "you seem to be adjusting to retirement well" but then comes "Tell me, how is retirement, REALLY"??
Not sure how to take this. In a way it seems like they think I am lying to them or hiding something. Or they think that if they get me alone, they can find out the skinny. Not sure. Each time, I was very close to giving some sort of smart-ass answer, but am glad I did not.
Has anyone encountered this? What would be an appropriate answer? I could have some fun with this and say "Really, I'm broke so can you pick up this tab and loan me a few hundred?"
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Old 08-06-2013, 04:26 PM   #2
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Nobody really asks us. I think they may be afraid we will ask them for money. Only one family member actually gets what is really going on, and she is surprised no one else has twigged.
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Old 08-06-2013, 04:29 PM   #3
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I think that's smart (and nice) to not gloat. I get a little of that too, but most people think I still work. Which I guess I do, I just work at retiring. Mainly I just smile and say it's good.
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Old 08-06-2013, 04:43 PM   #4
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I think I have told some of them the truth.

That is, "Man, living on 3.5% WR really crimps my style!". That is not entirely untrue, as my part-time income was higher than that.

But, the above would cause them to think about what 3.5% meant using their own portfolio, which I am sure is much less than mine. So, they would really feel sorry for me.

Additionally, that would scare them into working till death. Heh heh heh...
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Old 08-06-2013, 05:32 PM   #5
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I just tell them, wife has twice the husband and half the pay and that usually gets a chuckle and change of topic. If questions persist I just say, we are debt free and doing what we like and could not be happier.
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Old 08-06-2013, 05:39 PM   #6
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I tear up and sniffle, "I miss my cubicle!"
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Old 08-06-2013, 06:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travelover
I tear up and sniffle, "I miss my cubicle!"
Poor guy....I feel for you!
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Old 08-06-2013, 07:50 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by travelover View Post
I tear up and sniffle, "I miss my cubicle!"
I love it! Thanks for the laugh. I'll have to use that one.

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Originally Posted by David1961 View Post
OK, this has happened to me now three times since I have ER'd so I thought I'd post this. Here's the scenario and is basically the same each time.
I'll meet with a friend for lunch or dinner and we chat about things, including my ER. I'm pretty open and honest so when folks ask me how I like retirement, I don't gloat and have kind of a standard answer like "it has it's pros and cons but overall has been a great decision".
I think they might be reacting to your comment about pros and cons, as that could be taken in a lot of different ways. While nothing is perfect, if overall you're loving ER, why not say that so that they get just how much you are enjoying it? I never hesitate to tell everyone how great it is, and how relieved I am to not have the headaches of running a company anymore. Everyone seems to be happy when they hear that. I think people just want to know you're doing well and happy with your decisions.
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Old 08-06-2013, 07:59 PM   #9
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I had a friend ask me that after I retired. I wondered if there was some secret code or something. So far I haven't found anything that I don't like about retirement.

You could always respond that retirement is REALLY REALLY good.
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Old 08-06-2013, 08:08 PM   #10
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I would guess that they just don't know what retirement is like; they have a hard time imagining it, and are really asking you -- as probably one of the only people they know who is retired -- what it is really like. You said you had a sort of standard answer to the question, so maybe the standardness of the answer is making them feel it isn't quite genuine. Sounds like they just want an honest description of what it truly is like for you. They sound curious to me.
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Old 08-06-2013, 08:30 PM   #11
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Since they are friends, I imagine they are genuinely curious and expecting an honest detailed answer. You, probably not wanting to gloat or cause jealousy if the possibility exists, probably tend to answer in such a modest way they miss your deflective answer. My friends are all still working, and I let them have it, because they are jealous and don't want to work. At least once or twice a month I will email them at work and ask them what they are doing. Then conveniently answer the question myself by saying "oh I'm sorry, I forgot, you still have to work. Sucks to be you!"
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Old 08-06-2013, 08:40 PM   #12
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I tear up and sniffle, "I miss my cubicle!"
LOL!
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Old 08-06-2013, 10:57 PM   #13
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I rarely if ever get asked this any more, now that I have been retired for 4+ years. Because I simply hated, HATED, the commute, I often answered that simply being rid of that damned commute (from Long Island to New Jersey) even 2 days a week was a HUGE improvement to my life. Eliminating a big negative from my life is just as good if not better than adding a positive. And if it seems like I am gloating, then so be it. I would think to myself, "If you don't want to hear me gloat, then don't ask me the question you just asked me!"

That being said, I like the other replies here.
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Old 08-07-2013, 01:56 AM   #14
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I gave similar answers to David when I was asked. Some good points and bad but on balance I am really happy. Havn't had anyone dig more deeply for a while.
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Old 08-07-2013, 06:25 AM   #15
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I get the "how is retirement?" question fairly often, since I see the people I worked with/for every Sunday. I always answer "Great!". Then comes the "Well, what do you do??" question. I simply say, "Everything I did before, but not dead tired and in a hurry." I also mention enjoying not having to get up and rush out the door for the commute.
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Old 08-07-2013, 07:30 AM   #16
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I really appreciate all the replies. Sometimes I struggle with the "nice guy" syndrome. Don't want to appear to be gloating so I kind of downplay the advantages sometimes with some people. It's interesting that with my closest friends, I'm more forthcoming and they can tell I'm happy. But one lady (not a real close friend) that asked me the "how are you doing, really" is 10 years older than me and still working and I can tell there is some jealousy anyway, so I want to answer in a way that does not make her feel worse.
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Old 08-07-2013, 08:43 AM   #17
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I sometimes get that question. They might even give me that 'concerned' look like I couldn't possibly enjoy ER. I usually ask if they need a Tums or something.
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Old 08-07-2013, 08:45 AM   #18
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What am I really doing?

Spending too much time on early-retirement.org!
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Old 08-07-2013, 08:52 AM   #19
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What am I really doing?

Spending too much time on early-retirement.org!
+1
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Old 08-07-2013, 09:19 AM   #20
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I haven't gotten that question yet since I still have one more week of w*rk, but I can think of two things that would motivate a person to ask such a question: First, they have trouble picturing how someone would keep his/herself occupied all day. Second, they're curious about how you can afford to not be working. I would have no trouble discussing the first, but the second is really nobody else's business.
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