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justifying ER
Old 08-01-2011, 11:17 AM   #1
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justifying ER

My wife had a couple of her friends over the other day and the topic came up of our ER. We both retired at 50 and for some reason this seams to bother some people. We surely don't flaunt it, but we obviously arn't working anymore so the question sometimes comes up.

One, a lawyer who appears to be doing very well, asked about my previous job. I told him that I use to put in a lot of hours and I had started planning for ER when I was 40. He made the comment " so that's how you justify quitting at 50". I simply said that I didn't have to justify anything, I simply didn't have to work and chose not to.

For some reason this rubbed me the wrong way. I didn't asked him why he continues to work, when he probably doesn't have to, when there are so many who need a job. How does he justify that.

I guess life is pretty good if this is the only thing that bothers me, that and my golf game is crappy right now.
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Old 08-01-2011, 11:19 AM   #2
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One, a lawyer who appears to be doing very well, asked about my previous job. I told him that I use to put in a lot of hours and I had started planning for ER when I was 40. He made the comment " so that's how you justify quitting at 50". I simply said that I didn't have to justify anything, I simply didn't have to work and chose not to.
I'd simply say "I ran the numbers and retirement at age 50 worked out. That's how I justify quitting at 50." Assuming I wanted to validate the remark with a comment at all.

Plus, if I wanted to get into a "debate" over it, I'd ask them -- "hey, if I don't need the job, why not create a job opening and/or promotional opportunity for someone who *does* need it?" It's pretty easy to spin the insinuation of selfishness into one of altruism in this job market.
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Old 08-01-2011, 11:22 AM   #3
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FIRE envy manifests itself in many ways...
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Old 08-01-2011, 11:44 AM   #4
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He made the comment " so that's how you justify quitting at 50".
Oh...this just threw me into fits of laughter.

Ahhh, but yeah...I can understand why it would rub you the wrong way. If he had said that to me, I'd either spew whatever I was drinking out of my mouth in his face or sock him in the head.
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Old 08-01-2011, 11:55 AM   #5
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Old 08-01-2011, 12:05 PM   #6
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I don't feel i need to justify anything, but I do tell people what they want to hear. If they ask if I am going to get another job, I tell them I'm looking but there isn't much out there. If they ask what I do all day, I tell them I'm writing a book or raising my kids or catching up on projects around the house. All are at least partially true and its what they want to hear. They're happy and I don't have to explain myself beyond that.
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Old 08-01-2011, 01:08 PM   #7
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I'm running into that at 61, planning on going part time in 2012 and then hopefully completely retired the next year. Of course, I'm not nearly as young as some of you, but many of my peers seem to think I need to justify it. You get questions like, "what will you do all day?"; or "won't you get bored?"; or "what if you run out of money?"; and that all important, "won't you feel bad about yourself?". My answers are generally that I will do all the things I don't get around to now, no I won't get bored, if I run out of money it will be because the whole country failed, and no, I won't feel bad about myself. There are a million things I would like to do, some more useful to society than others, but justifying myself to people isn't on my list.
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Old 08-01-2011, 01:14 PM   #8
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'Cause I was layed off at 49.' That 'ticked me off' so much that I stayed 'unemployed' till my first pension check at age 55.

The unemployed drew 'some' sympathy but the 'ticked off' just drew some strange looks.

heh heh heh - but after I found this forum I becam e a high class ER. Right?
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Old 08-01-2011, 01:46 PM   #9
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I'm running into that at 61, planning on going part time in 2012 and then hopefully completely retired the next year. Of course, I'm not nearly as young as some of you, but many of my peers seem to think I need to justify it. You get questions like, "what will you do all day?"; or "won't you get bored?"; or "what if you run out of money?"; and that all important, "won't you feel bad about yourself?". My answers are generally that I will do all the things I don't get around to now, no I won't get bored, if I run out of money it will be because the whole country failed, and no, I won't feel bad about myself. There are a million things I would like to do, some more useful to society than others, but justifying myself to people isn't on my list.
Just today, I got something quite the opposite. Two months ago, I purchased an item from a former ex-collegue. He asked me today when am I going to pick up the item and "why am you too busy? Retiree should be enjoying life and not running around all the time?" These are the same people that asked me when I annouced my retirement "What are you going to do all day?"
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Old 08-01-2011, 01:55 PM   #10
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You are right, you don't have to justify your actions to anyone.

Obviously your status as an ER threatened him and his choices in some way.
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Old 08-01-2011, 02:01 PM   #11
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I've just never had this problem. Maybe it's because we never stay in one place for very long. The day after I RE'ed we left the State, and in our new location we disappear for weeks or months at a time.
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Old 08-01-2011, 02:10 PM   #12
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"Those that fail to plan - plan to fail".

You planned; your lawyer "friend" didn't. That why you're retired and he isn't.

It's as simple as that. No justification of your personal action is required nor excuses to pacify his apparent envy.
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Old 08-01-2011, 02:19 PM   #13
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Like I always says, all prisoners hate an escapee.
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Old 08-01-2011, 03:00 PM   #14
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Like I always says, all prisoners hate an escapee.


Very true. Brings back memories on the day I told the other members in my team that I did the numbers, they looked okay, and I decided to call it a career.

Their emotions ran from anger (how could I walk out on them?), fear (what would they do without my knowledge and skill set?) to admiration (recall, one colleague saying, she wished she could've done what I did -- I pretty much said "screw this, and "hung up my keyboard professionally", on my own terms -- but her husband wouldn't let her).

To get back to the OP, when others ask how I can decide to retire at such an early age, I get tempted to say, "how can you not?" To get the topic back at them.
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Old 08-01-2011, 03:12 PM   #15
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You disrupted his way of thinking (his personal view of life, values, etc).

I don't want to read too much into it an parse the words... because I am sure your comment is just a paraphrase of his actual statement.

But... "Justify" would seem to imply you had to convince someone that it was the thing to do (yourself, your DW, your family, etc).

However, he may have been projecting. Maybe his wife won't go along with him FIREing.... maybe they live a high lifestyle and spend most of their earning or perhaps feel like there is some sort of prestige being a lawyer and does not want to give it up (my profession defines me).

I wouldn't worry too much about it. Just smile.... he is the one still working!
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Old 08-01-2011, 03:16 PM   #16
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I think it's possible for ERs to be a little hypersensitive to the subject, especially considering the amount of discussion time it gets here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dm View Post
He made the comment " so that's how you justify quitting at 50".
For some reason this rubbed me the wrong way.
I wasn't there for the non-verbal cues, but is it possible that he meant it as "I don't have enough money to justify retiring"? Was he using the word "justify" as a synonym for "afford"?

Nine years later I'm still telling people "It's about choices and priorities, not rocket science"...

OTOH spouse was cleaning out some e-mail the other day, and determined that we've explained exchange-traded funds to a pair of shipmates of ours no less than three times over the last nine years. Yet they're still with Edward Jones because that's where Grandpa invested, and they've just never gotten around to moving the account.
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Old 08-01-2011, 03:19 PM   #17
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I wouldn't worry too much about it. Just smile.... he is the one still working!
How is your first Monday in the ER world going? Face ache from smiling yet?
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Old 08-01-2011, 03:27 PM   #18
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For some reason this rubbed me the wrong way.
Well, it's no wonder. There's this idea around that people should be "productive members of society". It's an ethical or moral matter, perhaps inherited as part of the protestant ethic, when our predecessors in America were busy trying to rationalize their desire to make a profit with godliness. He was saying you're not a productive member of society, so that's an accusation that you have a moral problem. I think it's not surprising that he would make that accusation, and not surprising that you would resent it. Me, I don't have an opinion. Duke it out.
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Old 08-01-2011, 03:33 PM   #19
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I am just semi retired, age 59,and get an occasional comment about not working FT.
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Old 08-01-2011, 03:37 PM   #20
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There are lots of people out there with "weird" ideas.

I met a guy who think that men, real men that is, should never retire. A man should work hard, tirelessly build his own legacy, and then die.

That guy will never understand or accept the concept of ER. And you have to accept that, no matter what choice you make in life, someone will find a way to criticize you for it.

You buy a Toyota, watch out for the Toyota bashers. You buy an Apple computer, watch out for the Apple naysayers. You eat organic food, watch out for the "I like pesticide in my food" crowd. You retire early, watch out for the "real man don't retire", "it can't be done" or "you'll be bored" believers.

As long as you are happy with your choice, it's best to just filter out the noise (easier said than done, I agree).
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