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Reactions to ER
Old 01-23-2015, 10:32 PM   #1
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Reactions to ER

I have found curious reactions to my ER status. Retired at 49 yo.

One co-worker told me she hated me.

Another, who was laid off six months before me (she is 64 and wanted a package), told me I was too young, and "what would I do all day". Weird since she is retired. I told her I watch the markets all day. Apparently this is not good enough.

A acquaintance is convinced I am only scraping by and should take my pension and Social Security as soon as possible. Told her not to worry about me.

It is almost like they were given a manual that says you must have 2.3 children and retire at 65 to play golf. Anyone who does differently does not compute so they short circuit. They can't even imagine LBYM could result in ER.
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Old 01-23-2015, 10:49 PM   #2
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When DH retired his brother asked us if we were selling the house and moving to an apartment. Heck, no! The house is paid for and our taxes are cheap. This is all gravy now.
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Old 01-23-2015, 11:27 PM   #3
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The coworkers I gave a crap about and kept in touch with were tickled pink and didn't know what to think really. The office rumor mill left the rest of the jaggoffs wondering what I was really up to and which firm I would end up with. I was just about the lowest paid guy around when they let me go, and the salary data was all public and well known, so they probably wondered how early retirement could be true.

One of those office jaggoffs defriended me on facebook, thereby saving me the not so difficult choice of doing the same to her. I'm pretty sure she was jealous. She was always whining about money (in spite of having a silicon valley remote working husband making six figures on top of her almost six figure salary).
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Old 01-24-2015, 12:07 AM   #4
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One co-worker told me she hated me.
I have always found it sad that people are jealous. I find envious a much better word. You are not denying their fortune, but you are wishing it could be your fortune too.
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Old 01-24-2015, 08:15 AM   #5
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I have always found it sad that people are jealous. ..........
By retiring early, one is showing that it can, in fact, be done. This makes the "I can't afford to save" whiners look bad.
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Old 01-24-2015, 08:34 AM   #6
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My direct manager said he was envious. He quickly retreated, said his preacher said envy was bad so congratulations. He had to be pushing 70, so I'm guessing the first response was his true emotion.

I was allowed to sent out an enjoyed working with you email. Probably went to 250 people that I had worked with closely over 30 years. Many responses of congratulations, next runners up were "you're lucky" (wasn't sure how that was meant) and "I'm jealous". Only the VP I worked for asked, how did you do it.

There were 5 of us left that started the same day. We all spend 90 days in an internal training session together, only 1 guy responded.

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Old 01-24-2015, 08:39 AM   #7
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I recently had to dissolve a twenty five year friendship due to jealous behavior. He is ten years younger than me and I have tried to guide him on LBYM and various ways to build wealth over the years. I never got the idea that he respected my opinion regarding money. After all, I don't look like I am financially successful. So, he ignored my advice and is in poor financial health. When I retired at 51 he assumed I would be back to work soon. Now that he knows that my retirement is the real deal, the snide remarks are starting to surface.
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Old 01-24-2015, 08:59 AM   #8
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When people show they don't have respect for others, their negative opinions will backfire upon themselves. Go on and enjoy your life. Sad about the friendship. Old work friendships tend to fade unless you have other things in common.


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Old 01-24-2015, 09:04 AM   #9
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By retiring early, one is showing that it can, in fact, be done.
I agree and sometimes this can be a good thing. I worked with a pretty young group (late 20s/early 30s) and had made it clear I planned to retire at age 65. Instead, politics turned ugly and I left 3.5 years early. I'm still on good terms with that group and see one of them at some of the charity bike rides I do in nice weather. I think it was good for them to see that (a) Stuff Happens and (b) with proper planning, you can react by laughing all the way to the bank instead of conducting a desperate job search or trying to make ends meet by handing out samples at the grocery store.
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Old 01-24-2015, 10:31 AM   #10
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A acquaintance is convinced I am only scraping by and should take my pension and Social Security as soon as possible. Told her not to worry about me.
Excellent! This person will not try to hit you up for money. Say nothing, and keep up the illusion. Spread it to others if possible.
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Old 01-24-2015, 11:50 AM   #11
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Just about everyone was happy for me when I ER'd at 55. Only my mother was concerned that I would have nothing to do. Four years later everyone is still happy for me and I inspired a close friend to retire this year.
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Old 01-24-2015, 12:40 PM   #12
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When I announced at age 59 that I was retiring, the reactions were all over the map, but most were positive and genuinely happy for me. I tried not to take the negative ones personally. The most bizarre was my much younger boss who spends every penny and has no savings (information he freely shared with those he supervised!). He immediately talked about when he was going to retire. I listened, nodded, smiled, and thought I will be out of here in two months.
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Old 01-24-2015, 12:58 PM   #13
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The reactions from my former coworkers and working friends have been slightly negative. Not really negative statements, but generally a cold shoulder type of thing. A few have asked me the "what are you going to do with your time?" and "what are you going to do for money?" questions. But our retired friends and relatives are more friendly than before - it's like they have welcomed us to their club.
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Old 01-24-2015, 01:05 PM   #14
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I was pretty low-key at my office when I was getting ready to ER at 45 back in 2008. A trusted coworker/friend did know what I was up to and knew about my financial situation. In fact, he often asked me the same question I asked myself in 2008: "Why are you (I) still working here?" I declined having a luncheon on my final day, as I always hated those things and very rarely attended them for others. Nobody was mean to me but I did get those oft-asked questions other posted here such as "What are you gong to do all day?" and the "I'm so jealous" and "You're so lucky" which I simply nodded and brushed aside. But also remember that in 2008 I was working only 2 days a week so everyone already knew I had some combination of enough savings and low expenses (LBYM) to get by on just over 1/3 of my take-home pay. And they didn't see me at the office very often so it wasn't like they were going to miss me much, all of which was fine with me LOL!


I still get the "You're so lucky" remarks when I engage in small talk with people I encounter during the day. Just last Tuesday, I was at the bank making a deposit for my ladyfriend (who is out of town) and the teller, a late 20-something woman, was asking me about my weekend (Monday was King Day and the banks were closed). I responded, "I'm retired so every day seems like a weekend." That's when she smiled and gave me the common "You're so lucky" reply. I smiled and left the bank and continued on my way.
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Old 01-24-2015, 02:36 PM   #15
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Every time this topic comes up here, I think to myself how lucky I was in my friends.

First time I retired (from the USAF), nearly all my friends were in very similar circumstances to me. We didn't worry about it much because we knew the military retired pay would cover basic expenses.

Second time I retired (at 55), nobody seemed to think much about it because I was in a community of very intelligent people (custom software development) who had figured it out like I did.

I would guess that those who encountered negative reactions were hearing from a base of acquaintances who were more representative of the broader spectrum of humanity.
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Old 01-24-2015, 02:38 PM   #16
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At work I had the advantage - I was the third person to retire early (pre-65) in a few months. I take credit for pushing the first guy into retirement... He was very LBYMs type. His wife had retired (with a nice pension). He had no debt, significant savings, access to cheap travel (wife was a retired airline employee). I asked him why he was still working and told him my plans to RE as soon as I got the FI part fully funded. Apparently that hadn't really occurred to him. When he gave notice he made a point of telling me my comment triggered the start of his exit plans. A bad work experience pushed him over the edge. 2 months later another coworker left - she and her husband were very wealthy - she was no longer working for income reasons... So when I pulled the trigger folks weren't surprised. Enough coworkers knew that I'd been aggressively saving (and brown bagging it, driving older cars, paying down my mortgage) with that goal in mind. Folks weren't really surprised.

I've had a few acquaintances (parents of kids' friends for example) who seemed surprised... but no one was negative.
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Old 01-24-2015, 02:52 PM   #17
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I didn't get any negative reactions either, but I retired from a public safety job where retirement in the early/mid fifties is the norm and expected. So all I got was "congratulations, you made it!"

Surprisingly to me at the time I did get some unfavorable reactions when I mentioned that it was easier with zero debt. So I learned to keep quiet about that part.
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Old 01-24-2015, 06:11 PM   #18
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I get some sincere questions like, "What are you doing now?" from former co-workers, and when I tell them I'm traveling around the country, the general reply is, "that's what retirement should be about." Most are truly happy for me. The one disappointment was my much older brother, who's explanation on FB for my success was that I'd been 'fortunate'. Or perhaps that was his excuse for working until he couldn't any longer. About the third time he made that comment, I publicly eviscerated him with a timeline comparison of our decisions, where they differed, and how our decisions affected our current lifestyles, and then pointed out the key decisions in his life which could have led to a FI for him as well. I explained my good fortune was the product of long term planning and intelligent decisions, and his lack of good fortune was due to a lack of the same. Then I unfriended him. Lol. We're both thick skinned so no real harm done. I think it would be worse if he knew what my finances actually are, but only my son knows that and he knows better than to talk about it.


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Old 01-25-2015, 01:55 AM   #19
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I've had a few acquaintances (parents of kids' friends for example) who seemed surprised... but no one was negative.
FWIW - as ridiculous as it might seem - I think it can sometimes be easier for women, particularly if there are co-workers who still have stay at home wives.

When my husband retired, and I went to a very part-time status, I think that a lot of people just thought it was natural that I would want to join my husband. In fact, even had he not been retiring I think a lot of people wouldn't have found it that shocking since I was a woman.
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Old 01-25-2015, 06:09 AM   #20
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I got some negative reactions from many of my Facebook "friends" when I posted the wonderful aspects of retirement and my new life. They seem to wonder how I did it and many appeared jealous.

I don't post anything about retirement anymore. I just compliment them on their new pools, BMWs, and their ability to refinance their homes at age 50 for 30 more years. Some people never learn...sad.
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