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Old 10-28-2013, 12:54 AM   #61
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I have been retired from high tech for about 6.5 years now and I live in the Philippines (the fourth country that I have lived in).

The main questions I get now when I see old friends and colleagues and even some family are:

Are you *really* retired?

Why are you living abroad?

I think some suspect that I don't have much money and thus can't afford to live in the USA and that is why I am living abroad -- which is not true, of course.

Some family members have thought I must be up to something secret. One family member asked me if I am gay! Which came as a total shock to me, especially as I have had many girlfriends over the years and my mom even met my girlfriend when she visited me in Asia.

When I was living in Colombia, my girlfriend and a couple of her friends thought I might be a secret US government agent, they later confided in me. I mysteriously traveled around the world. I spent a good deal of time on language acquisition. I seemed to have plenty of money. I exercised daily and was very fit. I spent all kinds of time reading about various topics. I have also been told by more than one person that I look like Matt Damon, who played Jason Bourne. Hmmm.
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Old 10-28-2013, 01:45 AM   #62
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Kramer, international man if mystery......
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Old 10-28-2013, 06:55 AM   #63
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Ah. So being FIRED is just a cover story.
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Old 10-28-2013, 07:55 AM   #64
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Kramer - that's awesome! Secret agent...

I really think that most of our family/friends don't really know how much we have. I think they wonder, but we haven't hit any resentment. We dress casual (OK, borderline sloppy) a lot of the time. One of our neighbors asked me not long ago if we had refinanced our mortgage since we moved in 6 years ago. I wanted to giggle and say, "what's a mortgage?" I just said no. She said you really ought to. I said I'd think about it.

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Old 10-28-2013, 09:03 AM   #65
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Cj

+1

Having just retired six months ago, I've been very enthusiastic about being retired, and I post a lot of photos on FB from our travels because everyone says they like photos. Lately, though, I've been feeling small pangs of guilt over having such a comfortable and early retirement. The topic of retirement is generally brought up by others, though. Still, I think I'd be more comfortable discussing it less.
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Old 10-28-2013, 09:08 AM   #66
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I had a lengthy chat yesterday catching up with a friend from college. For like the third time he asked a lot of questions about my plan to bail. There is no hostility or envy in it, just that this does not compute for him. He is in an unhappy marriage and they are a financial trainwreck, so I imagine this seems to him like I am planning to relocate to the moon.
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Old 10-28-2013, 09:14 AM   #67
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so I imagine this seems to him like I am planning to relocate to the moon.
This is what I get about DH quitting back in June. Our buddies just seem sort of awkward about it, sometimes making fun of him as a kept man working for me now, and sometimes wondering how we can afford to pick up the tab on group activities. If they really wanted to know, I'd sit them down and torture them with numbers/budgets/timelines, but really, they don't.
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Old 10-28-2013, 09:23 AM   #68
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....If they really wanted to know, I'd sit them down and torture them with numbers/budgets/timelines....
Sounds to me like a quick and easy way to get rid of a friend....
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Old 10-28-2013, 09:35 AM   #69
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Sounds to me like a quick and easy way to get rid of a friend....
Anyone who is a close enough friend to us has two reactions to our financial situation. First is that my husband is universally referred to as "that poor bastard" once they get to know me pretty well, and second, that it is abundantly clear where our money goes, or doesn't, as the case may be.

BTW, Rewahoo, a new country was formed this weekend while we were camping at a bluegrass festival with friends; they call it "Sarahstan". And everything is perfect there, and done just how I think it should be. Visa applications will be accepted starting next week.
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Old 10-28-2013, 10:10 AM   #70
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BTW, Rewahoo, a new country was formed this weekend while we were camping at a bluegrass festival with friends; they call it "Sarahstan". And everything is perfect there, and done just how I think it should be. Visa applications will be accepted starting next week.
Where the sun always shines and the beer flows like water? Count me in as a regular tourist...
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Old 10-28-2013, 11:22 AM   #71
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I've been accused of having every nickel I've ever made. I take it as the ultimate compliment.
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Old 10-28-2013, 12:24 PM   #72
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I am fortunate that we have no problems with siblings from both sides, as they are all OK financially. Two are of retirement age, but want to work to get more spending money. My younger brothers are well-paid high-tech workers, but I doubt that they save much outside their 401k, and that's not enough for ER, unless one works for the next Google.

I guess relatives all know that we are not into extravagance, other than having 2 homes. We drive older cars than they do, and our Japanese SUV does not impress like their BMW X3 and X5. So, they understand that because they do not want to cut back consumption, they will have to work, while we don't. Still, I do not think they know that we are multimillionaire. They never probe though.

As to friends, I only have two really close friends. They are OK financially, and as we have been friend for decades, envy is never something that would come up. As to other friends, they are more like acquaintances, and they do not know how much we have to even express envy.
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Old 10-28-2013, 02:32 PM   #73
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I've been accused of having every nickel I've ever made. I take it as the ultimate compliment.
You can actually test that hypothesis by comparing your NW to your total lifetime medicare earnings from your SS record. Mine is only ~70%, but one does need to eat and have a little fun now and then.
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Old 10-29-2013, 11:22 AM   #74
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Interesting topic.

Most of my peers/friends at work freak out when I mention I plan to retire at 55 at the latest. (I'm 52). Lots of discussion about this lately because a coworker just gave notice for his retirement and folks wonder how he can afford it. Most of my peers spend as much (or more) than they earn... so retirement and FI are not on their radar. Ironically, they accuse me of being cheap for bringing my lunch to work, driving an 18 year old car rather than a new BMW like themselves, and cooking at home.

Family... My sister and I both inherited money when our parents died. Not enough to be FI - but enough to move the FIRE date forward a few years for me. My BIL has inherited quite a bit more money. They live a lifestyle that works for them - but requires a lot of cash. So our networth is about the same and they can't consider retiring without changing their lifestyle. We've talked about it. They both love their jobs - so are fine working for several more years. I don't love my job and my sister understands my desire to RE.

Hubby's family - we don't talk about it, other than to say we're paying off our mortgage, so that we can afford to retire some day. They range in financial stability from on SSI (one BIL), and chronically unemployed/underemployed (another BIL) to upper middle class typical - getting/got kids through college and figuring out or starting retirement. One BIL is a saver - he's in good shape. I trade advise with him on how to empower the kids to be financially independent from parents and on the road to success in life.

I would imagine the two BILs who are living close to the edge, financially, would be the first to have their hands out if they knew our net worth. We don't plan on sharing that info with them. Especially since both are in their current situation because of self inflicted circumstances.
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Old 10-29-2013, 11:28 AM   #75
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We live well but not extravagantly. Nobody knows our NW other than our estate lawyer. If anyone were to ask I would tell them "enough to not work anymore". Beyond that it is none of their business as far as I am concerned.
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Old 10-29-2013, 12:01 PM   #76
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Wow. I love the various responses to this topic. I posted the link and have not had a chance to check back since due to travel. In my own situation we, like most of the responders, never discuss our NW with anyone, but as several have mentioned, it sometimes becomes obvious by virtue of the way in which we live (not an opulent lifestyle, but one of a certain amount of affluence nevertheless). I think my reasons for posting the article, is I feel a certain amount of guilt for being in the situation that we are in, not because we don't deserve it, or didn't work hard - just because -well we seemed to always be in the right place at the right time, didn't stumble along the way and now have the great good fortune to not have to worry about finances. Lord knows there is enough to worry about in this world!

Your responses have been insightful and are the reason that I love this board. I'm a bit addicted to it.
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Old 10-29-2013, 12:26 PM   #77
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There's one more reason why I think people do not envy us. It's perhaps because they do not know our NW. Surely, they might wonder how we finance our expenses, but most people underestimate what we spend, and overestimate what we can get from investment.

For example, many naively think that one can spend 10%/yr of his investments, so that if one can have decent living for $50K/yr - which is true, but as frugal as we are, we spend more than that - then he would need only $500K.

Even my own children do not know how much we have. Though they are young adults in their mid 20s, they have not been around enough to know as we do. So, the other day, I asked them how much they thought we spent a year. Their answer came in at 50% of our actual expenses. In order to break them in slowly, I sent them a short itemized list of our actual expenses to show them that we are spending more than their gross income, and they are professionally employed college graduate and post-graduate. Small things add up!

PS. I tried to encourage my children to save for their ER, and also hinted that as much as we spend, there might not be a lot left for them. I do not think the latter will be true, but do not want them to set expectations.
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Old 10-29-2013, 12:59 PM   #78
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We have not shared our NW with anyone. Our lifestyle looks pretty unremarkable to the outsider, in true millionaire-next-door fashion. As long as DW continues working, nobody has any reason to believe that we are financially independent.
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Old 10-29-2013, 02:16 PM   #79
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As I was reading through this thread, I'm having a hard time wondering why everyone is so secretive and closed about their financial situation.

I've always known a more open environment when it comes to money. I know what my parents have, what they made, how much their pensions and SS are since I was in college. I was taught from a young age to LBYM. To this day my brother and I are transparent in our financial goals as they are similar.

I find that as I talk about FIRE with friends, I get a lot of people who are not only intrigued, but have made lifestyle changes to catch up and achieve the goal as well.

Why not share your success and teach others??
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Old 10-29-2013, 02:26 PM   #80
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As I was reading through this thread, I'm having a hard time wondering why everyone is so secretive and closed about their financial situation.

I've always known a more open environment when it comes to money. I know what my parents have, what they made, how much their pensions and SS are since I was in college. I was taught from a young age to LBYM. To this day my brother and I are transparent in our financial goals as they are similar.

I find that as I talk about FIRE with friends, I get a lot of people who are not only intrigued, but have made lifestyle changes to catch up and achieve the goal as well.

Why not share your success and teach others??
I tend to agree with this - to an extent.

I'm also surprised by the number of folks who don't tell their children about their net worth. I consider it part of their financial education to understand about savings/compounding/index fund investing and LBYM. But talking about what our incomes are and how we make it a priority to save, they're learning financial values. My kids are 10 and 12. Just today, driving my middle schooler to school we had a conversation about starting to invest sooner will get you to the goal sooner. But also that the earlier you retire, the bigger the nest egg you need. (It's a 20 minute drive and he's a math driven kid - so we even touched on life expectancies, withdrawal rates, etc.)

Our kids will NOT learn this is school - so it's up to parents to teach them. And the best way to teach is to show them real life... like their household.

That said - I'm also clear in talking to them that PARENTS determine spending levels. The money earned by the parents is OWNED by the parents, not the kids. And we need the money we've got set aside to retire early... not to buy them video games. They've come to accept this.
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