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Old 08-14-2009, 01:25 PM   #21
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You could say [-]You could say "I'm retired. What do you do all day?"
Perfect. Honest, tilts the burden of self-justification to them, and not a hint of defensiveness on your part. I am gonna use that one.

Some day.

Actually I've never quite understood why so many advise making something up to make it sound like they're still working.
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Old 08-14-2009, 02:10 PM   #22
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Here's the scenario:
I'll meet someone new... and either the first question or second is: "so what do you do?"
"Do you mean while I was serving my 30 year sentence, or since I was paroled about 2 years ago?" (spoken in a fairly serious tone...and maybe with just a tinge of Jack Nicholson's facial expressions from his movie "The Shining"

I've actually used that one once or twice....but only to someone that I perceived to be a bit annoying themselves. And during the brief moment while they are trying to figure out whether I was joking or not, I'd quickly interjected "I consider myself to simply be retired, and now I'm able to freely enjoy everything that life has to offer!!!"

That pretty much ended the inquisition....and they then just happen to see someone else they really need to go see.
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Old 08-14-2009, 02:16 PM   #23
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By the way, I really loved the latest Star Trek movie... (grin)
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I must have been one of the only ones that hated the last Star Trek movie
You mean there was a actually a Star Trek movie??

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Old 08-14-2009, 02:26 PM   #24
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and I'm starting to get sensitive to it and overreact.... not good!
I know personally it's tough to change from being overly sensitive and overracting to being less so, but perhaps you could find some sort of inexpensive program to help you. Group counseling or?

Frankly, I was much more sensitive to people's comments and questions concerning my career and work life than I am to comments and questions about my ER status. While working, it became so tedious answering the "well youbet, what do you do for a living" question with "well, I work in a factory," that I actually got some professional advise. It was time well spent. Afterwards I was usually able to handle condesending expressions of concern or looks of disbelief from members of the white collar, "my poop doesn't stink" crowd without a hitch.

Now ER'd, if I want to avoid any probing into my actual status, I simply say I'm long term unemployed. It's true. I began ER by being RIF'd from MegaCorp three years ago with a decent package and collected unemployment. So far, my extensive () job search hasn't netted a thing. But, I'm lookin' hard!
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Old 08-14-2009, 02:32 PM   #25
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When I respond that I have no interest in overseas travel, then it's questions about either a second home, or, what expensive toys I have .."Oh. so do you have a boat or a plane?"... so I just tell them that I live pretty frugally as I always have.

.... then, they immediately switch to assuming that "retired" means "unemployed" and start thinking of new careers for me.


I'd skip the frugally comment and maybe instead say that you never were much for accumulating stuff as the stuff starts to own you. And then talk about what you do like to do. Or something like that.
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Old 08-14-2009, 02:39 PM   #26
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Frankly, I was much more sensitive to people's comments and questions concerning my career and work life than I am to comments and questions about my ER status. While working, it became so tedious answering the "well youbet, what do you do for a living" question with "well, I work in a factory," that I actually got some professional advise. It was time well spent. Afterwards I was usually able to handle condesending expressions of concern or looks of disbelief from members of the white collar, "my poop doesn't stink" crowd without a hitch.
When I was a new associate at my firm I once asked for more pay. Hey, that is what you do when you work, isn't it? Anyway, one of the shareholders suggested that I should have married someone with a better job. Years later I still remember his comments like they were yesterday. And my spouse would get people "joshing" him about getting rich off of a lawyer wife. His job was just fine, thank you, and when I started working as a lawyer I didn't make as much money as he did working on the boats.
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Old 08-14-2009, 03:03 PM   #27
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My favorite response to the what do you do ? I don't.
Most often the look with mouth agape is truly amusing.

Really kills any follow up queries.
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Old 08-14-2009, 04:36 PM   #28
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Living in Florida no one asks they all assume you are retired . When I lived in Venice,Fl I was the only one in our community still working .
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Old 08-14-2009, 04:54 PM   #29
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Living in Florida no one asks they all assume you are retired . When I lived in Venice,Fl I was the only one in our community still working .
I guess that would work where I live. "I telecommute" or "I work from home" or "I have a flexible schedule". Enough techies here that do that, so it wouldn't seem out of the ordinary.
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Old 08-14-2009, 05:00 PM   #30
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Tell them you are semi-retired and when they ask what you "do" tell them it's classified and if you told them you'd have to kill them.
I've done that a couple of times. At first they laugh and then there is silence.... The subject changes quickly.
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Old 08-14-2009, 05:01 PM   #31
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I am not yet retired but at my age(55) I don't think anyone would raise an eyebrow if I said I was retired. I know a significant number of retired people in their 50's from all walks of life. As far as how I would answer what I did all day, well, I think "maintain the house, manage investments, the gym, travel, cooking, reading, volunteering, and taking advantage of continuing education and cultural offerings" would suffice. I think people sometimes ask not to be accusatory but to get ideas on planning their own retirements.
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Old 08-14-2009, 06:31 PM   #32
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Wow! I guess we did enough traveling the first couple of years of retirement that I never had to get past question 2! Never realized we were that lucky!

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Old 08-14-2009, 07:30 PM   #33
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Ran into a guy I know “from the rooftops” yesterday. I’m 99% certain he already knows thru the grapevine that I retired a year ago. So he’s says, “did you just get off w*rk?” In this case I was the one taken aback! Just said, “no, I’m retired; it’s wonderful,.” He was speechless. We went our separate ways, shopping; but joined up again at the corner and discussed what’s for dinner.

Funny, he always changes the subject when his j*b comes up, I’ve a vague idea it has something to do with vino. Hope so, or maybe, he's RE? Couldn't be RE, he leaves everyday at about 7 a.m., but maybe that's not too early for golf. Yeah, I'll just assume he's RE.
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Old 08-14-2009, 08:13 PM   #34
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...Actually I've never quite understood why so many advise making something up to make it sound like they're still working.
It throws the bloodhounds off the scent. I reserve these type of answers for the nosy-bodies, or those whom I perceive to be angling for some "help".
A smart politican always controls his/her own press releases.
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Old 08-14-2009, 08:33 PM   #35
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I've been FI-REd for 4 years now and couldn't be happier.... .... but the problematic response is: "Oh, so where have you traveled to? Have you been to Paris/ Greece/ Africa yet? When are you going?"
"Oh, I'll get around to it one of these days. What do you recommend?"

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then it's questions about either a second home, or, what expensive toys I have .."Oh. so do you have a boat or a plane?"...
Slightly open mouth, small embarrassed laugh, because frankly, these are highly presumptuous questions. "Oh...why do you ask? Do you have one?"
(Maybe they are simply looking for someone new to go flying or boating with).

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so I just tell them that I live pretty frugally as I always have.
Alas, that response is apt be taken as "holier than thou."

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.... then, they immediately switch to assuming that "retired" means "unemployed" and start thinking of new careers for me.
.... at which point, I get defensive
And I, being me, would start laughing! How funny that anyone would try to think of a career for anyone else! Unless they follow up with, "It's just that you are so gorgeous, I'm surprised you're not in show business." "It's only that you are so brilliant, I'm surprised you're not running for President."

Just remember you're retired, happy, and confident, and the other people are probably jealous!
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:18 PM   #36
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I've only been FIRE'd for a few weeks, but when anyone asks what I do, my answer is "WHATEVER I WANT."
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:32 PM   #37
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My favorite response to the what do you do ? I don't.
Most often the look with mouth agape is truly amusing.

Really kills any follow up queries.


Sometimes these questions get my DH's goat. A time or two he's said, "I sit around the house eating Cheetos all day."

(that's part of a joke, but I'm not tellin' the rest of it here)
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:35 PM   #38
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I've only been FIRE'd for a few weeks, but when anyone asks what I do, my answer is "WHATEVER I WANT."

I usually go with "nothing" Depending on my mood I have fun with it. Otherwise I play the grumpy old man card. Kinda snarl ,grunt and scratch. Its a good move that usually disgusts people into not talking to me.
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:40 PM   #39
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Thank you

THANK YOU to everyone.... many helpful suggestions and inputs.

I've quoted some of my favorites, below.... but the wittiest award has to go to HaHa..... excellent words..... and... I just have to remind myself that what haha says is (sadly) true.

Thanks to all.... this group is the best !

.... Rick

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But what they're probably most interested in is a way for you to steer the conversation in their direction. ...

If they persist in their obliviousness then you could answer "Well, I have a fairly conservative but very workable financial plan that sustains a low-key lifestyle. What are your retirement plans?" That's a sure conversation killer.
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I'd just tell them that you're happy with the way things are. Their goals are not your goals. Your needs are met. Some people can't be happy unless they have all the toys and travel, others can be quite content with a lot less.
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.... start thinking of new careers for me.
Answers: - I'd like to let other folks get the few jobs that are open in this recession.
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... I think these folks might just be scrabbling around for some topic of conversation with you, not actually torturing you on purpose (I hope).

What you might do is try to lead the conversation into some shared place, or common ground you have with the person, assuming you want to keep the conversation going.
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If you appear young and healthy and aren't obviously psychotic and you do not live in a particularly opulent or glamorous way of life or circumnavigate in your ketch or spend 6 months of every year in an ashram in India very many and likely most people will just assume that you are some kind of loser.

No matter what you say, their opinion will be the same even though you may be able to suppress the voicing of this opinion.

Ha
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I'd skip the frugally comment and maybe instead say that you never were much for accumulating stuff as the stuff starts to own you. And then talk about what you do like to do. Or something like that.
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Frugality .... Alas, that response is apt be taken as "holier than thou."

Just remember you're retired, happy, and confident, and the other people are probably jealous!
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:06 PM   #40
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Not retired yet but will be in one or two years. I doubt I'll have a problem answering to such queries as I'll most probably tell whoever that after 50, one enjoys around 20 years (if lucky) of mobile healthy life, so that's only like (for some) a quarter of one's life. That should put thoughts into the person asking the question on his/her retirement plans.
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