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How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?
Old 06-29-2004, 01:54 PM   #1
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How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?

Have been kind of blue today as an old friend and his wife, whom I had sensed were sort of pulling away, gave me a piece of their minds this weekend --a cold shower really -- over my being an ER.

Seems they are both struggling in their own careers to make ends meet, save for college, etc etc. , and rather than feeling 'great at least somebody got free' their feelings are more aptly desribed as envy and resentment, with a new feeling mixed in: ER is somehow morally wrong or at least a slap in the face to the rest of us who are working.

We talked about it enough for me to know this is the only issue between us: they went on at great length about how almost nobody could afford to do this, that it was only applicable to a tiny tiny minority and that all my statistics about millionaires were somehow bogus. That advocating ER as a lifestyle choice and something to plan for or strive for was akin to advocating people to become heirs and heiresses: it just wan't within the realm of what an individual could control or aspire to, and was just 'luck' and by extension it was unseemly to discuss one's luck or recommend somebody else to 'get lucky'.

Explaining that 'avocations are different -- you guys love what you are doing so you don't need ER' only buried me conclusively deeper. (One is a journalist and the other a community health activist/analyst in a second career).

Explains why they haven't wanted to see us for the past few years...

Anybody encountered this one? I am used to incredulity, wonder, a bit of healthy envy when people discuss ER, but not the outright resentment and coldness.

Oh well, can't please everybody, but I did always like these two: (we owned a sailboat together years ago and had lots of good times railing against the Establishment and sailing around on weekend afternoons). Anybody got any advice? (Besides just shut up about ER and fake it like you're a slave like everybody else?)

ESRBob



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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?
Old 06-29-2004, 02:06 PM   #2
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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?

I believe thats called the "ted factor"

I've actually encountered this. I usually respond with a hearty "ok then, see ya later!". I can see this sort of response if I was on heavy drugs or was never seen without a bottle of jack daniels in my hand, but ER hardly qualifies for an "intervention"...

There is some truth to ER being out of the realm of most people. Aside from people with large windfalls or very good luck, one would have to break from the mold, open a business, work very hard, and scrimp and save for a really early retirement, and at least work a couple of jobs and keep the money tight to reel it back into their 50's.

Anyone COULD do it. But the processes of "making it" arent very compatible with todays "work and spend" mentality.

If you can derive an explanation for two thing: why people brag about how many hours they work and why they'll spend more on a pair of sunglasses than a 27" color tv, you will be able to explain the force against ER. And the envy/hostility.

The mind works in funny ways. People all build a series of subconscious "beliefs", some based on facts and experiences, some based on softer "sciences" or things people told them. Feelings and ideas run through this backwater of "filters" before they even reach the conscious mind. Most are aware of the presence of only a few of the dozens, hundreds, even thousands of filters present in their brain. It doesnt help that there are contrary and opposed filters and one will be more dominant one day and another the next.

This is why two people, armed with the same facts, will argue vehemently over a topic.

What has happened here is that you've encountered two people with a set of filters that arent compatible with ER. "You have to work hard"..."people that dont work are lazy"..."people with too much money have it easy"..."we all have to be productive members of society"...etc.

Its cool when people with different filters can have a productive conversation. Its uncool when someones discomfort with their set of filters makes them hostile and want to impose them on you.
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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?
Old 06-29-2004, 02:13 PM   #3
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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?

One of lifes crosses to bear. Age 49-55, I got the most hostility from those who didn't want to hear how we did it - they had their minds made up. After 55, at least I had the early pension check to make me an 'official retiree.' Even get flack from my younger (5 yrs) sister who plans to work till they drop. Interestingly - all the kids listened over the years and actually read/got started with Bogle/index funds early. My sister would ask periodically and then ignore. I guess you either get or you don't - at least she's not hostile.
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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?
Old 06-29-2004, 02:25 PM   #4
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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?

Quote:
I believe thats called the "ted factor"

.
TH, as always, thx for your insight and reassurance. Now, ok, I'll bite -- what is the 'ted factor'?

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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?
Old 06-29-2004, 02:42 PM   #5
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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?

I could probably find a thread, but to summarize.

Ted was a long time poster. Pretty smart guy, economics background, good investment advice. Not ER'd though.

Usually pleasant, but every once in a while some nasty bit would fly out of him. I remember one guy who was considering having kids and asked for some advice or other. Teds response was that he should go to planned parenthood because he shouldnt be having kids. I think I just considerably "niced up" his response.

One day he decided that he couldnt participate here anymore because he didnt like the quality of some of the people posting here. He never said who, what or why, but many of us asked him to stay.

He then said we were all leeches for ER'ing and we were a drain on society, and that they only "right" thing to do was for us all to go back to work. As we tried to rationally discuss this with him, he became more and more abusive until finally everyone suggested he follow through on his original threat to leave, and he did.

One bonehead here keeps suggesting that I'm the guy who made ted want to leave. I dont think thats so, nor is there any evidence to that effect, but if it is so, I frankly dont feel that bad about it. Its nice to have a knowledgeable, helpful person to talk to. Its less nice when the person resents you and thinks your way of life is wrong. Sort of leads me to question any advice they give.

Sounds like maybe he had some things in common with your friends.
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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?
Old 06-29-2004, 03:18 PM   #6
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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?

Re: Ted, I guess it is a huge divide - sort of a moral divide-- that if someone thinks ER is basically 'wrong' then it is hard to have a meaningful conversation. I doubt there is much that could do to change anybody's mind on something like that.

My friends are mixing up a smidgen of moral indignation with a bigger dose of 'only a few really lucky rich people could do this so why don't you just go off and not rub our noses in your good fortune' sort of thing.

That is where I get a bit defensive, because my strong sense is that, with some good luck thrown in, of course, everybody here has basically made some combination of continuous sacrifices and carefully thought out decisions, courage and sacrifice if you will, to buck the dominant culture and escape the 'gravitational pull' of the consumer economy, so it isn't really fair to characterize us as 'lucky sperm club' members. If ER were mostly the province of heirs and heiresses, I might think differently, but at least his board doesn't seem to be composed that way.

Its sort of a millionaire next door culture -- its hard to come away from that book feeling like TMND are just lucky.

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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?
Old 06-29-2004, 03:38 PM   #7
 
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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?

I don't think I know that many folks that work anymore, so I don't really run into the problem that you have. Most of the folks that work, that I am introduced to, feel sorry for me because I don't have a job. 8)

Most working folks hang out at different places than I do. At the Fly shop, most everyone is retired, as well as my close friends. All of the working folks; are at work!

Never have experienced any hostillity, although a few do ask the inevitable "what do you do all day" ?
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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?
Old 06-29-2004, 03:42 PM   #8
 
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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?

Quote:
One bonehead here keeps suggesting that I'm the guy who made ted want to leave. *I dont think thats so, nor is there any evidence to that effect, but if it is so, I frankly dont feel that bad about it. *Its nice to have a knowledgeable, helpful person to talk to.
I don't think so TH! *- I think Wab may have done it. Ted Pissed me off a few times, but not near as much as Wab. They're both smart guys, but Wab was the one that got me to say 'Blow Me'
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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?
Old 06-29-2004, 04:00 PM   #9
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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?

Eh, I dont worry about it. I consider the source.

At least someone got you to say it! Consider the enrichment to our culture.

By the way, I'm slowly moving the wife-to-be in to my house. Yesterday I unpacked a bag of stuff...

You wont believe this...

A supersize 200 sheet box of dryer sheets.

The woman comes with a DOWRY!

I brought this to her attention...her comment..."Those should be good for at least a thousand washes!".

Have I found a gem or what?
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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?
Old 06-29-2004, 04:02 PM   #10
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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?

ESRBob, I haven't encountered outright resentment, but I've been talking about my ER plan for years, so it came as no surprise to close friends/family. But I have noticed that they all seem to need some "excuse" for me. Since they're all aware of writing I've done, they just assume I'll be doing another book. That seems to make it "OK" in their minds. I don't tell them I'm writing (I'm not at the moment) - they just assume it, as if nobody wouldn't do something to make money.

If anyone brings it up directly with me, I rail about the dismal, demoralizing, demeaning state of most workplaces today, how there's so much more to life, how much better I feel since leaving, etc. In other words, I launch a full frontal assault on the conventional assumptions about work. I'm like a street-corner preacher. When I'm done, they're usually trying to explain to me why they haven't been able to do it. I actually enjoy telling people what I have done and why.

Also, I truly don't give a rip what anyone thinks about me - never have. I'll lose sleep if I think I messed up badly, but not if someone else thinks I did. I believe that fits with being a left-handed INTJ. It really makes this very easy for me.
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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?
Old 06-29-2004, 04:47 PM   #11
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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?

Bob_Smith

HMmmmm - Left handed, INTJ, and eleven years in ER - by golly you're right! I to polish up my sermon. heh, heh sounds good to me.
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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?
Old 06-29-2004, 06:18 PM   #12
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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?

My Husband and I encountered this 14 years ago when we retired at 38. I must have been very naive at the time, thinking that friends would want the best for other friends, but such is not always the case. You must realize that this reflects THEM more than it reflects your choice.

They are unhappy, for many reasons, and after many choices, and so they cannot find it within themselves to be happy for you.

I don't know your ER story, so I don't know if you inherited a bundle, or invented something and struck it rich, or just found a million dollars on the sidewalk one day. I do know that most millionaires are just regular folk, who have worked their butts off, aren't huge consumers, and save like the dickens, like we did.

For this, I cannot apologize, but can only try and inspire others to do somewhat the same thing. Amazingly, ER is not for everyone, and for many reasons.

Also, one thing I want to state strongly here, is that just because my Husband and I no longer work for money, does not mean we don't work. The world has opened up to us now in ways we never knew before, to volunteer our expertise and services. Not having the stress to put food on the table or make a mortgage frees us up to contribute to those less fortunate. We are contributors to society now, just as we were before we retired. In some ways, even more so.

Again, remember this is a reflection of their own unhappiness. Don't bite that cookie, and you'll be happier yourself.

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Bob, perhaps you can live without these "friends".
Old 06-29-2004, 07:11 PM   #13
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Bob, perhaps you can live without these "friends".

They must think you're beyond salvation, or at least intervention. Luck is their excuse for their own inability/lack of motivation. I bet that the harder you worked, the "luckier" you got.

If I met someone like you who figured out to meet a bunch of my own life goals, I'd want to learn how you did it (or at least get the cheat codes for my brokerage account). I certainly wouldn't waste my time pulling you back down into the crab bucket.

Maybe you should review a few quotes from the "Where do you work?" post. But if the questioner persists, I'd seize the opportunity to educate another young dreamer.

I think that sometimes it's appropriate to sympathise-- "I wouldn't be ER'd if I had your five kids to raise" but other times it's better to point out that you enjoy a less consumptive life that isn't necessarily for everyone.

Leaving the workplace separates you from your co-workers, not your friends. My spouse is still my best friend, but I keep looking for others to add to the list. You're probably a different guy now than you were years ago-- that's as it should be-- and it's a matter of finding new people who share your interests.
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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?
Old 06-29-2004, 07:12 PM   #14
 
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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?

I never noticed any hostility or resentment, just surprise.
I heard my ex made some disparaging comments, but
that might be just post divorce sour grapes.

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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?
Old 06-29-2004, 09:04 PM   #15
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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?

I wouldn't be surprised if my husband and I get some weird vibes from acquaintances and some family members (not all) when we ER. Right now we're 29/31 and have a general plan of ER in 5 years or so, so we're planning on bailing pretty early I would expect that anyone who currently doesn't understand why we don't spend money on an expensive [fill in the blank] just because we *could*, won't "get it" that the money we saved by living low on the hog is what will let us ER.

OTOH, our mutual best friend is also firmly aimed at the same ER goal, so we have no trouble discussing our plans and goals with him, and in fact it's fun and motivational to compare notes.
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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?
Old 06-29-2004, 09:10 PM   #16
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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?

Yes, I think there is real envy and resentment from old friends and coworkers. I wish it were not so. The only solution I have found is to build a circle of new friends.
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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?
Old 06-30-2004, 05:30 AM   #17
 
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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?

People don't seem to mind that I RE'd, but I get more remarks about my husband. Just last night I was at a gathering with some other women and one asked me what my husband did. I replied that he was retired and right now was home painting our living room. She replied back ok but really what does he do?

Many feel it ok for the wife to stay home and play tennis, shop, whatever but it's unacceptable for a man to do the same. I guess this is sex discrimination in reverse.
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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?
Old 06-30-2004, 06:21 AM   #18
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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?

ESRBob,

Interesting, I'm not ERed yet and won't be for some time. I've been working on the ER plan since about day 2 of my career. I ask questions and try to learn things that will help me reach the ER goal. Most folks around the office know that I have at least some knowledge when it comes to investing, taxes, and other financial questions. This creates some good opportunities to chat with folks about their situation and goals or lack there of. Most are surprised that I am interested in and have been working towards ER for a long time. Most can't figure out why I would want to leave a "good" job early. Then they help me out with you know you can retire at age x, which is pretty early. They almost always get the retirement age, x, wrong. A few suggested that if I could replace my wage income with investment income, I could keep working and really sock away the money.

My experience has been that folks lack creativity or feel they need to "do what they are told" and work for a living. Somehow it feels wrong to them to think about ER WithOut the security of a pension. These folks are everyday people. They buy their modest cars and keep them for 8-10 years (or more). They spend endless hours in research to save $3/month on a combination of phone, cable, and internet service. For the most part they wouldn't consider spending 1 hour to get a long term financial plan in place. Somehow these folks seem to be able to prove wrong "take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves." I suppose they need to pay themselves first to be able to have the pounds see to their own care, but that's another thread...

Thanks for sharing your story. It's seems so strange to me that folks feel that others must be wrong if they don't do things "the right way" or "like everyone else". Life is full of choices and not being like everyone else is perfectly ok. The world is full of small minded folks who can't manage to think outside of the box. Good luck.

Kind Regards,

Chris
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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?
Old 06-30-2004, 07:57 AM   #19
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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?

I get envy, resentment, and general puzzlement, but I haven't seen outright hostility or attempts at intervention yet.

One thing I didn't expect was that I've started to see some of the spending habits of my friends as neurotic. When I was working and a friend would buy a new car, I might have felt a little competitive urge kick in. Now I feel like saying "Are you nuts? Your old car was perfectly fine. Save your money for retirement, you fool!"

Mind-sets change. People try to grow together, and if they can't, they grow apart.
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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?
Old 06-30-2004, 08:37 AM   #20
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Re: How do you deal with envy/hostility to ER?

An old friend told me to not worry, that I'd find a job soon. Many seem to regard it as a form of unemployment ... although they are truly envious of the trips I'm taking. A few look upon it with envy, trapped in large homes with larger mortgages. Fewer still are out here with me enjoying ER. A friend and her husband just joined me. Seems the call of a first grandson coupled with Tier3 public sector DBP plan was too great to resist.
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