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Partially FIRE'ed at 30 - Social Issues / Dating
Old 03-24-2014, 08:39 PM   #1
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Partially FIRE'ed at 30 - Social Issues / Dating

So I lost my job about 5 months ago (see previous thread) and I've decided to take some time off from work and see how the FIRE'ed life is.

Although my networth now is around $650k (all liquid stocks/bonds/cash) and clearly not enough to really FIRE for life, I figure 30 is a fine age to take a small break from the rat race and try and enjoy life.

The last 5 months have been pure bliss. I haven't missed the stuffy offices once (maybe only the company paid business trips).

The problem i'm facing though is that all my friends pity me because I'm "unemployed". It's pretty awkward. It's true that I am still feeling out the job market for good opportunities - I don't feel like a downtrodden unemployed person.

Close friends basically know that i've saved a lot of money and can live comfortably for the time being on them. But I definitely get the vibe from my acquaintances and new acquaintances that they feel sorry for me - when I just want to tell them (without sounding like a pompous douchy jackass) that I have savings and that I want to live life rather than working.

More importantly - when dating - the "what do you do for a living" is very difficult to answer. On the one hand, I don't want her to pity me as an unemployed person but on the other hand I don't want to have to wip out my bank statements. Women definitely should think about what a future spouses financial life will be like so I don't really blame them for trying to understand mine, but I feel like it's a very fine line to answer.

Has anyone struggled with these issues?
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Old 03-24-2014, 10:23 PM   #2
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Well, position yourself as 'on sabbatical'. You really need to set some goals for this interregnum period... whether it be participating in an archeological dig or enriching your CV.

With some goals established I think your social life won't be a big issue, but yes, few women want to support an drift-less able-bodied spouse and care for children at the same time.
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Old 03-25-2014, 07:16 AM   #3
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Well, position yourself as 'on sabbatical'. You really need to set some goals for this interregnum period... whether it be participating in an archeological dig or enriching your CV.

With some goals established I think your social life won't be a big issue, but yes, few women want to support an drift-less able-bodied spouse and care for children at the same time.
How about the truth? You are testing the waters for a possible early retirement 10 or 20 years down the road. Having been laid off you decided to see what a life of indolence and/or financial freedom feels like at a young age.

On a related point, are you maintaining a story for interviews concerning what you were doing in the gap? About a year after college I took off for about a year diving and traveling with a couple of short term temporary junk jobs tossed in to generate a few bucks. I stayed on the Chicago substitute teacher rolls for the whole period and kept a vaguely worded reference to that on my resume (sans any mention of hours) and skipped all of the temp gigs. Made it seem like a I was more consistently employed. No one ever questioned that period other than to ask about the experience of sub teaching which I could truthfully answer.
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Old 03-25-2014, 08:51 AM   #4
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I never had that "problem" but like most things in life, think the truth works quite well. You lost your job but it was high stress so you are taking a break from work and only casually looking for another job. Thankfully, when you were working you saved and have a emergency fund that you can use to provide your living expenses during this temporary period of unemployment.
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Old 03-25-2014, 08:56 AM   #5
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I never had that "problem" but like most things in life, think the truth works quite well. You lost your job but it was high stress so you are taking a break from work and only casually looking for another job. Thankfully, when you were working you saved and have a emergency fund that you can use to provide your living expenses during this temporary period of unemployment.
Sounds about right to me.
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Old 03-25-2014, 08:57 AM   #6
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Well, position yourself as 'on sabbatical'.
+1

You can also use this to learn something about your date, especially if she says something along the lines of, "Oh, I didn't know you were religious".
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Old 03-25-2014, 09:06 AM   #7
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+1

You can also use this to learn something about your date, especially if she says something along the lines of, "Oh, I didn't know you were religious".
Agree that you may learn something about your date. "At leisure and have a bucket of cash to spend". My understanding is that that particular lure attracts a certain kind of fish....
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Old 03-25-2014, 09:44 AM   #8
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Agree that you may learn something about your date. "At leisure and have a bucket of cash to spend". My understanding is that that particular lure attracts a certain kind of fish....
A groper?
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Old 03-25-2014, 11:06 AM   #9
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It's a lot easier to answer the "what do you do" question when you are older and pretty much done with the world of work, as most ER's at that point aren't too concerned with the impression they are giving. In your situation though, it can be a difficult balance to strike, made more complex by the fact that you never quite know how the other party is going to interpret your explanation (even if it is the unbridled truth). Too much mention of investments, savings, financial stability etc. and they might start to wonder where your yacht is, but an explanation that veers too much in the other direction might have them thinking you're a good-for-nothing, barely fit to be considered a member of decent society. What's a temporary retiree/taker of sabbatical to do? *throws hands up in air*.

I think the other folks here have said it well. Your best attempt at the truth takes care of your end of things. How the other side decides to interpret it is beyond your control.

I do agree that you probably don't have enough to permanently ER, though, for the sake of comparison, your portfolio is the same size that mine was when I began withdrawals (and thus my ER) in 2011. However, I was a bit older, at 47, and found a way to be comfortable and happy on 1300/month withdrawals + ~$100 - $150 from a very minor job on the side. Not many would want that kind of retirement.

Best of luck with the gals!
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Old 03-25-2014, 11:23 AM   #10
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My major point is that the OP should develop a plan for the next phase of his work life. For example wood products is cyclical. A couple of my acquaintance were lumber brokers. During the boom times they saved and when the downturn came they lost their jobs and took of for Europe. When the lumber market came back to life they returned and had enough savings to buy a house for cash and get back in their game. They maintained their industry networks.

It is likely that the OP isn't interested in returning to his former occupation but he must have learned something from that experience to build upon.

Explaining that to a date should be a slam dunk.
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Old 03-25-2014, 12:01 PM   #11
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I think you should be honest. When I met my husband I learned that he'd taken several "sabbaticals" between jobs through the years. It didn't freak me out because he owned his own home (modest, but paid for), had zero debt, and had enough money to do travel as desired. Clearly he had figured out a system that worked for him.

Since you appear to have your financial ducks in a row, any smart, financially savvy date should be able to see the reality. In fact it may be a way to weed out women who are just looking for a gravy train.
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Old 03-25-2014, 01:55 PM   #12
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I really understand. My last j*b ended exactly 5 years and 51 weeks ago today. I was 52. 2008 was not a good time to be looking for a six figure replacement job. Employers were laying off, suspending 401K matches, and going out of business. After spending time looking at the portfolio, we determined we were quite financially healthy. We are currently at about 1.8% WR, and that is after we are taking out an extra $1000/month to beef up the cash supply as we are about to launch a $75K home renovation (currently waiting for estimates). After almost six years, most people here have figured out our situation, but I have three older siblings that live in other cities, two of whom seem to wonder how we can be surviving on cat food for so long. They absolutely do not get it. Now, if one were to judge our means by what we drive and what we wear, I might understand. I actually get more pleasure seeing the equivalent of a new car on a statement than I would get from the new car itself.

Maybe you could just say you are between jobs. I wish I had something better to offer.

Edit to add: I have never before heard of a "pompous douchy jackass", but looking back, I used to work for one.
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Old 03-25-2014, 04:34 PM   #13
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"I was a Wall St banker. I did well enough financially. It was pretty stressful, so I'm taking some time off to regroup. I'm looking for a position with more work/life balance. So what do you do?"
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Old 03-25-2014, 05:55 PM   #14
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Fuego... well done!!
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Old 03-26-2014, 11:21 AM   #15
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Hey sounds like you have your financial house in order. On the dating front, do not let people know that you even have a hint of wealth. It's much easier to find a genuine grounded person when money is not a factor. When my DW found out that I had a lot more than anyone would suspect it made her slightly nervous. She was also a saver, so the concept of not spending was something she was very comfortable with. You will eventually find someone that works for you, that has similar financial beliefs. Good luck on the social front.
As to the job/break/sabbatical issue, I have taken two career breaks to get a MBA and another masters (mostly night school after job). Everyone seems ok with it if you continue training or are doing something. No shame in taking some time off if you are working to make your future better.
Maintain all of your industry contacts, take people out to lunch, make sure you attend industry symposiums, fairs or shows. Just my thoughts. GL
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Old 03-26-2014, 04:56 PM   #16
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Just tell the ladies you are a "freelance pharmaceutical salesman"
This explains you not apparently working and having enough money around


But seriously I like the sabbatical or taking time to regroup work/life balance answers.
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Old 03-26-2014, 06:12 PM   #17
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Others have covered the 'dating' advice quiet well so I don't have anything to add.

However, from the career perspective what are your plans/goals whether in the next 2 months or 9 months? I ask because the employers will ask the same question as your dates but explaining a sabatical (at 30yo) will be looked at as odd, at least in my field. As someone who hires in my field I would suggest putting something in the resume for the time you were on the sabatical rather than letting the screener guess and conclude that you've been out of a job and haven't been hired yet. Just throwing it out there so you're not caught off guard when you start sending out resume's and might not get a lot of responses back.
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