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Social Transition into Retirement
Old 02-04-2014, 02:50 PM   #1
Confused about dryer sheets
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Social Transition into Retirement

I am an artist who just retired at 50. Most of my friends are artists who struggle financially. I have been lucky that I don't have a car, kids, or large expenses and have saved money. I have not shared that I am FI because it would shock them, and I'm not sure how to deal with the possible response.

I never realized until now, that most of our conversations revolve around how to make money, (since this is a common concern in our peer group) and now I have less in common with my friends. It feels very sad in some ways.

I'm wondering how other people deal with these social transitions when your friends are struggling but you are no longer interested in the old conversations?

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Old 02-04-2014, 03:02 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum and good for you for making a financial success of your career in the arts! I am wondering whether you will continue to make art for pleasure now that you are FIRE. It sounds like hanging out with your artist colleagues may not be a positive way to spend your time as you cannot share your true financial status without creating jealousy, unless you can mentor young artists in how to emulate your success.

In FIRE you will need new interests and there are many threads here about "what do you do all day?". As a physician, one of the activities I have been considering is taking up painting again as I used to enjoy it so much when I was young. I just haven't found the right avenue yet. However, it might be more difficult to go in the opposite direction!

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Old 02-04-2014, 03:18 PM   #3
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Interesting question. Were you able to become FI because of your artistic accomplishments (vs an inheritance, day job, poker )? If so, did your friends not know you were successful? Maybe some of them are doing better financially than their financial grousing implies. If you continue your artwork you will still have that interest in common with them.

Congrats on the ER at 50.
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Old 02-06-2014, 04:44 PM   #4
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Being FIREd now for about 18 months, maintaining previous connections with my career peers vs making new connections with people who share other things in common with me is one of my main concerns. I FIREd at 43 so virtually all my friends are still working. I am making new friends who are interested in common hobbies, such as woodworking, chess, angel investing, etc. But most of them are also either still working or 20 years my senior!

I am curious how other very early retirees navigated this.
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Old 02-06-2014, 04:52 PM   #5
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I guess I was lucky in that I've consciously never made true friends of anyone I worked with. So I spend more time with my friends now, and almost none with my former work-friends. And talking about money is something I rarely did with friends, so it's really not an issue for me fortunately - then or now.

Not what you want to hear, but you might want to expand your circle of friends where 'how to make money' isn't a common topic for discussion. I can certainly understand how that's awkward for an ER.

I never would have guessed artists would talk much about 'how to make money.' I would have guessed creativity, the leading edge of their artistic endeavors and/or enjoying life in the present would dominate discussion. Shows how little I know (former engineer)...I learn something every day.
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Old 02-06-2014, 04:54 PM   #6
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I am curious how other very early retirees navigated this.
I caved in and just accepted that it's lonely at the top
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Old 02-06-2014, 05:50 PM   #7
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I am viewed upon by my social circle as a bit of a weird bird (retired < 50) , but I think they are looking to model what I have accomplished.

I try not to gloat about how great it is, but if anyone asks, I say that it is working for us (myself and DW). Having more time to deal with ailing parents (4, wait, down to 3 of them in total between DW and myself) gives some nobleness to it.

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Old 02-07-2014, 06:43 AM   #8
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I FIREd 5 years ago at age 45 but for the last 7 years I worked it was only part-time. Therefore, it was 12 years ago when I had the big change to my daily life, switching from full-time to part-time. It was 12 years ago that, after regaining control of my personal life, I resurrected an old, dormant hobby, and began doing some volunteer work. Those with me in the hobby are an older crowd, many of whom already retired. With the volunteer work, they know that my not working full-tme was the main reason I can help them out, and going from part-time to ER only made it easier for me to fit my volunteer work into their schedule.

Those in both groups also knew how much I hated the commute, even only a few days week in those 7 part-time years, and how happy I was to have rid myself of it totally. There are a few people in my hobby who like to discuss investments which is nice becasue it gives us something to talk about. But that is the limit to which I discuss my finances other than my close circle of long-time friends.
Retired in late 2008 at age 45. Cashed in company stock, bought a lot of shares in a big bond fund and am living nicely off its dividends. IRA, SS, and a pension await me at age 60 and later. No kids, no debts.

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Old 02-07-2014, 01:20 PM   #9
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Welcome to the Early Retirement Forum.

My beloved and I don't really have much of a social circle other than each other, mostly because we don't want one. People that we know invite us to things but we usually try to beg off if we can (both of us being severely INTJ).

I never realized until now, that most of our conversations revolve around how to make money, (since this is a common concern in our peer group)
In your conversations, I'd focus on the LBYM/thrift/frugality aspects of life that you have discovered. Given their interest in making money, perhaps they are interested in knowing how to keep it as well.

It is difficult to tell from the above, but perhaps you are implying that they talk/brag a lot about their consumer purchases. If so, possibly you do not feel that you have much in common with them. Maybe you never did?

Additionally, I am sure you will meet some other retirees in time and make new friendships among them as well.
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And I will taste no other wine tonight.

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Old 02-07-2014, 01:46 PM   #10
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We retired about three years ago, late-40's (me) and mid-50's (DH). Initially it was a bit lonely 'out here,' but over time we've met other folk like ourselves, who consider our ER status to be normal, and are more interested in what we are doing with our lives right now, than how we got here.

I will admit that I've learned to significantly underplay our situation when around non-FI folk. In their company I focus on what we do with our time that I know they can relate to - physical fitness, outdoor pursuits that involve strength not money, and other 'safe' non-money oriented topics.

I did have one person ask me "How I did it." My answer was dull but true; "We lived below our means for a really, really long time." I mean, what is the comeback to that going to be?
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Old 02-07-2014, 04:09 PM   #11
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My friends are in same field but not same location and we live in a smattering of nearby towns. We all freely talk about finances, but with nice pensions it is pretty obvious everyone will be fine when they retire. I mentally prepared for solo retirement by adopting a more introvert lifestyle. Heck even my GF has at least 16 more years to go. I probably communicate by texting and emails with each of my four best friends about 5-8 times a day. The advent of the smart phone and their willingness to want to use it keeps us connected daily but minimal face to face contact especially in the winter. So on a typical day outside of my evening visit with GF and workout time, I have minimal face to face contact with people and am quite comfortable with it.
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Old 02-07-2014, 04:16 PM   #12
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[QUOTE=W2R;1412571My beloved and I don't really have much of a social circle other than each other, mostly because we don't want one.[/QUOTE]

That sounds exactly like DW and me. We socialize with family occasionally, go to the gym 3 - 4 times a week, but that's about it.

And we never talk about money. They will be slaves to the credit industry for the foreseeable future, we ended that 15 years ago.
I heard the call to do nothing. So I answered it.
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Old 02-08-2014, 01:39 PM   #13
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I have a large social circle and my close friends know I'm not wealthy by any means, they just think I'm lucky because I have a pension to cover my expenses. The people at my old job think I must have invested well (I didn't) because they were surprised that I retired at 54. Nope, I knew I would never be rich, but I'm doing better than most people who work. Freedom was my goal. I am pretty independent and can amuse myself, however, it is lonely that most of my friends still work and making arrangements to get together are tougher.
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Old 02-08-2014, 01:43 PM   #14
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I still meet anger from some folks when I tell them I have a pension. I took a low paying job for years to get it and they played the stock market and made out very well. Did I begrudge them that? I contributed to my pension, the city did as well, but 75% is from investments the retirement organization made.
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Old 02-10-2014, 07:48 AM   #15
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I have found that most people are happy for you as a new retiree. I have experienced more pressure to volunteer time and talents because what can you possibly do with all your spare time? Ha! I am guarding my "spare time" with my life! ha!
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Old 02-10-2014, 01:17 PM   #16
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This was one of my biggest fears when I stopped working. Oddly I seem to have had more social connections with others now I've got the time (ie, no shift work). And people who I have previously only known in passing, I spend more time with. It's the complete opposite of the loneliness I was dreading. In fact, being at home by myself (DH still working) is bliss.

Forget about the money side of it, Meteor - concentrate on the people you actually like, and enjoy those friendships for what they offer in other areas apart from the financial struggle.

Yay to you as well - you're obviously very talented.

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