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Others reactions to your Financial Independence
Old 10-25-2013, 07:59 AM   #1
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Others reactions to your Financial Independence

The attached article on the Get Rich Slowly Website: Success Stories (and the People Who Hate Them), raises an interesting point that I have always had difficulty dealing with. I haven't run across anyone who resents the success that DH and I have experienced, primarily because we don't talk about it, but we sometimes feel uncomfortable acknowledging that we are able to live a lifestyle that most have not achieved yet and many never will.

How do the good folks on this forum handle this sort of issue?
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Old 10-25-2013, 08:34 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golden sunsets View Post
The attached article on the Get Rich Slowly Website: Success Stories (and the People Who Hate Them), raises an interesting point that I have always had difficulty dealing with. I haven't run across anyone who resents the success that DH and I have experienced, primarily because we don't talk about it, but we sometimes feel uncomfortable acknowledging that we are able to live a lifestyle that most have not achieved yet and many never will.

How do the good folks on this forum handle this sort of issue?
Like you it has never been an issue for us.

We have lots of friends and family who know that we retired at 55 with enough money to have a comfortable lifestyle and no one has ever shown any negative feelings towards us.
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Old 10-25-2013, 08:46 AM   #3
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How do the good folks on this forum handle this sort of issue?
I haven't really seen it yet. I have a couple of months before I retire, but everyone knows I am doing it. Once my wife retired a few months ago, everyone realized we were serious and not just day dreaming. Most people are more interested in how they can get there too. When they hear it involves LBYM, most quickly lose interest. In a few cases I think I have planted seeds that might ER someday.

If I am ever confronted by someone that resents me because I was able to RE, I plan on handling this in a very sincere, mature and tactful way. I will simply say, "Nany nany nany, I'm free and your not".
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Old 10-25-2013, 08:48 AM   #4
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Is this--people resenting your success-- really something people run into very much? Eta: of course the link is to an article about a financial bloggers convention where things like this might get discussed, I guess, and wow there are a lot of financial blogs out there, aren't there. How do people stay on top of them--the article highlights maybe 10 sites, and half of the 80 plus comments are from bloggers with websites, and they all probably link to ten more, and so on, and so on. No wonder Google makes so much money in ad clicks.
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Old 10-25-2013, 09:05 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Golden sunsets View Post
The attached article on the Get Rich Slowly Website: Success Stories (and the People Who Hate Them), raises an interesting point that I have always had difficulty dealing with. I haven't run across anyone who resents the success that DH and I have experienced, primarily because we don't talk about it, but we sometimes feel uncomfortable acknowledging that we are able to live a lifestyle that most have not achieved yet and many never will.

How do the good folks on this forum handle this sort of issue?
It's funny. Most people that know we FIRED at age 50 just accept it. There may be some questions and a little envy, but for the most part it doesn't come up.

My mother, on the other hand, is brutally nasty about our "wealth". She lived with her last husband for 30+ years raking in the money based on his Army Col. pension, plus both of their SS payments. Then he died, the pension went away (no survivorship), and all she has is his (higher) SS payment and a small VA benefit, plus some savings. When I ask her why they didn't set things up so she would be better taken care of, she says they planned for her to die first, because his family was long lived and ours isn't. The fact that he was a smoker seems to have been ignored. I'm so flabbergasted by that (seemingly serious) answer that all I can do is stare at her blankly. All it would have taken is a slight decrease in spending and a life insurance policy. She's not eating cat food, but it's definitely a big change.

So now she's always making nasty comments about how rich we are and how all her friends have flat screen TVs and golf carts to ride around in, and things like that. We tried buying her a few nice things, but it never stops. I have explained to her that we may have a (relatively) lot of money, but we don't get pensions and it has to last us 40-50 years, so we're not living live the Trumps.

None of that matters, and the envy and nastiness keep on coming. It's gotten so bad I no longer expose DW to her venom, and my calls and visits are getting fewer and farther between. It's not the way I would prefer things to be, but it takes both sides to make a change, and she doesn't seem interested.

I think if you get exposed to people who envy your choices so much, there's little to do except limit your exposure to them. Luckily, most friends and acquaintances tend to be more polite than family members.
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Old 10-25-2013, 09:40 AM   #6
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Maybe I'm insensitive but I have never noticed any resentment. if I did we would certainly limit our exposure ( to nil in the case of friends). I have also found that you tend to feel most comfortable with friends that have similar wealth, as they tend to have similar views on many things and can share travel and other activities that may be fairly expensive. I agree the issues often relate to family who are often difficult to avoid.
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Old 10-25-2013, 10:38 AM   #7
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Never ran into it. Just about everyone in my neighborhood dropped out around age 55 or so.

What I did run into when I was 30-40 was "....if I had your money, I'd....."
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Old 10-25-2013, 10:41 AM   #8
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We never discuss our financial situation with anyone-not even our children. Actually, DW feels a little embarrassed by it after a visit to our investment advisor. We do not live in an ostentatious fashion but we do travel frequently.
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Old 10-25-2013, 10:55 AM   #9
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We haven't run into it much with family except for one SIL, who has been a layabout since high school. Since we won't give her money we're "selfish and cruel" but that's the same one who was resentful back then when DW could buy a $5 blouse with baby-sitting money and she couldn't. We write it off to her mental issues - and she does have some - but still it's hard on DW sometimes.

I ran into it a little bit at my post-retirement job since working was optional for me (and many of the others) but the resentment was from people in their 50's still living paycheck-to-paycheck. While some financial screw-ups are to be expected in one's 20's and maybe 30's, I'd think that by 50 they would learn. Apparently some never do.
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Old 10-25-2013, 11:04 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golden sunsets View Post
The attached article on the Get Rich Slowly Website: Success Stories (and the People Who Hate Them), raises an interesting point that I have always had difficulty dealing with. I haven't run across anyone who resents the success that DH and I have experienced, primarily because we don't talk about it, but we sometimes feel uncomfortable acknowledging that we are able to live a lifestyle that most have not achieved yet and many never will.

How do the good folks on this forum handle this sort of issue?
I don't think I have ever thought of it, except when someone posts about it on this forum.

There will always be people poorer and richer than oneself. I am neither resentful of those richer, or worried about those poorer except insofar as how they try to change taxes with their votes.

Ha
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Old 10-25-2013, 12:23 PM   #11
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I've never run into resentment.

The only "negative" reaction I've noticed is a sort of sad one, on the face of a friend at work, when I talk about my financial independence and ability to walk away from the job if I want to. He's in his 70s, worried about job security and planning on working another 5 years. I imagine that when he hears me talking about my situation, he compares it to his own and feels a bit disappointed. I try not to mention it too much.

If anyone was outright resentful about it, I'd just consider it their problem and ignore it, I suppose.
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Old 10-26-2013, 08:45 AM   #12
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I have encountered a bit from people since I only work part time, they try to help by suggesting that I get another job to fill the extra time that I have

Just recently, I was speaking with a woman in her 50's who was laid off, has two older children, and is getting her husband's survivor benefits...she is putting her house on the market and wants to move to North Carolina so she can retain her lifestyle instead of living "cheaply" here. I commented that moving to a lower cola area was a good idea and something we will be doing ourselves in the next ten years. The look on her face was one of pure anger and it took me back a bit. I'd rather live cheaply now so I can loosen the purse strings later
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Old 10-26-2013, 08:58 AM   #13
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No resentment that I can think of (at least none to our faces). Our family knows that we worked hard and sacrificed and are now reaping the rewards. Some envy here and there. I would probably pretty much ignore it anyway.

Sometimes I hear the "you're lucky" thing but I just acknowledge it - yes, we are.
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Old 10-26-2013, 09:57 AM   #14
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While not the majority, we have more than a few relatives and friends whose attitude is that if you are well off (meaning you have more than they do, then either (a) you are obligated to support them if they get into financial trouble, (b) it is because you did something that took something away from others, or (c) both of the above. We have learned to keep our mouths closed around these folks and provide evasive answers.

We have already gone through this when we chose to have DW be a SAHM. Rather than see it as tradeoff we chose to make, this "group" saw it as a sign of us being incredibly rich . When I do retire and choose not to work these folks will likely be making similar assumptions about what we actually have.
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Old 10-26-2013, 10:26 AM   #15
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I worry about this a bit, as I will be quitting at age 40, so there is no hiding the fact that I am choosing to be a layabout in what many would regard as prime earning years. My parents and siblings won't care. DW's parents won't care either. Not sure about her siblings, but DW has a cover story she likes and I will be using it to please her. Friends are another story. I think they will vary widely and I would be saddened to see some of them drift away over this. Guess I will just deal with it as it happens.
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Old 10-26-2013, 10:45 AM   #16
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so far I have not encountered any "true" resentment about ER'ing at 49. I do get a lot of questions on how I was able to do it as if I have the secrets to "how to" ER. After giving them the highlight on how I did it they soon realize they should have started LBYM & saving a long time ago then it just turns to being envious. I have come across a few people who try to punch holes into why if decided to ER. Telling me I'll be bored and even telling me I was crazy to quick my job at a Megacorp and I'll regret it later.... So far they are all wrong ....
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Old 10-26-2013, 10:50 AM   #17
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None of that matters, and the envy and nastiness keep on coming. It's gotten so bad I no longer expose DW to her venom, and my calls and visits are getting fewer and farther between.
The next time she said something nasty, I'd tell her point blank that she either drops the hateful attitude, or go her own separate way.

Maybe I'm too independent for my own good, but I have no patience for nasty friends and relatives, or people who only exist to push my buttons. I'll tell them to go to hell and never talk to them again, if that's the way they want it.

Probably one reason I'm still single...I don't like people who push my buttons, and would probably walk out on somebody the first time we got into an argument
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Old 10-26-2013, 10:55 AM   #18
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It's not something I worry about, or talk about any more than necessary. When it comes up I usually say I am between careers (which may be true as I haven't ruled out an encore career), even though many assume I got laid off and my retirement is a euphemism.

Some are very surprised I was able to retire at 57. I usually tell them there are advantages and disadvantages vs working, because there are IMO. I certainly don't want to gloat - yes I planned for it, but I've been very fortunate as well.

I've gotten some envy/resentment from a few people, no one close. And I don't worry about that either...I can only control how I react, not whatever goes on in the heads of others, especially folks who really don't know me well to begin with. The resentment is their issue.

So to answer the OP's question, I don't take responsibility for 'handling the issue.'
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Old 10-26-2013, 11:19 AM   #19
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I am 65, I don't color my hair, and I look my age (intentionally). So, nobody in their right mind would resent my retired status.

Also, and more relevant to the discussion, is the fact that I am not much of a social butterly and don't really have a great deal of contact with anyone who could take offense.

On the rare occasion when I am talking to someone who I sense might be working still, I try to be reasonably considerate and talk about other things.
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Old 10-26-2013, 11:43 AM   #20
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I haven't run across any explicit resentment to our FI. In fact, I'm the one who is surprised when someone enthusiastically says "congratulations" when I tell them I've retired.
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