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What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd
Old 02-21-2005, 11:04 AM   #1
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What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd

Was again thinking the above question through and while some proudly will yell to the world "I am retired!" I would not feel comfortable doing so still being in my 30ties. Call me old fashioned :grin:.

I would probably try to work a bit with offshore investments - with some good friends I have in that biz. I would make it clear that it would be commissions only and on my own schedule - and it would give me the reply to say that am am a financial advisor. For most people on the planet one will get the same reaction as if saying one is a banker :lol: . A blank stare and move on to the next subject.

The fact that I can do this biz anywhere (especially when advising myself!) makes things even easier, and with my 2 home bases (Thailand and Scandinavien home country) none of my friends in either place will expect me to work hard when I am THERE (thinking I must be more busy in the OTHER country).

Now; it is not just vanity towards friends and family and new people that drives this. More importantly; it is to ensure that I keep the profile of still working so I do not suddenly become an obvious target for abuse/loans/kidnappings/crime/more loans/never pay you back as you are rich/you buy all the drinks as you are rich Etc. attitude.

That could break some friendships through envy or greed and could also alinate the more conservative part of the family - besides the crime part.

Yes, it is sad that one has to do these hoops, but people are so programmed to work,work,work that I have decided not to use energy fighting such a losing battle: "what will you DO!?", "are you that lazy!?", "you have a great career!?", "it can not be done due to ......!"(fill out the blank with kids, salary level, education level or whatever), "don't you feel guilty!?" - ahh.. I could go on and on.

I previously had in my mind that I would convert more and more into FIRE but have since learned that we are a VERY select few and that most others have mental blocks that will not allow the FIRE thought. Very often because it will impact their standard of living (above their means) now.

Thoughts? Cheers!
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Re: What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd
Old 02-21-2005, 11:16 AM   #2
 
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Re: What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd

I was quite proud that I could ER and make it work,
especially since I did it with practically nothing.
OTOH, I was almost 50 before the idea struck me.
Even so, I got some pretty strong reactions from people:

"No kidding?" (incredulous) "I wish I was you!" (envy)
"What does he do all day?" (baffled) "Here is a job
you could do!" (Unacceptance) "Well it was your choice!" (pissedoffedness - Hey, I made up a word) That was
my ex

JG
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Re: What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd
Old 02-21-2005, 11:26 AM   #3
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Re: What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd

Great new word John!

And very, very true points - some would argue that it is much more fun to tell the truth - but I have tried that (not as RE but as FI while trying to convert people and explain that FIRE is possible for normal people) and have learned it is simply not worth my (FIREd) time! * (I love this smiley!).

The replies are many of the same you experienced - then add to the equation that I will be mid/late 30ties and you can imagine the reactions! *
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Re: What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd
Old 02-21-2005, 12:26 PM   #4
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Re: What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd

If you want to be a real social pariah, tell them your collecting workmans's compensation, and waiting on SSD. I'd just as soon say I robbed liquor stores. I mostly mumble something about out of work due to health problems, and then the party your talking to tells about a lazy relative thats on the dole.
I had an uncle once who handed out bussines cards that had as an occupation some weird word, when I got home I looked it up in the dictionary and it said someone who stretches the truth. Maybe that's what I should do....Shredder
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Re: What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd
Old 02-21-2005, 12:34 PM   #5
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Re: What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd

Shredder,

Business cards sounds like a great idea. I could be in the import/export business. When I travel internationally, I am exporting myself. When I return home, I'm importing.
Works for me.

MJ
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Re: What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd
Old 02-21-2005, 12:44 PM   #6
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Re: What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd

Quote:
I had an uncle once who handed out bussines cards that had as an occupation some weird word, when I got home I looked it up in the dictionary and it said someone who stretches the truth. Maybe that's what I should do....Shredder
Years ago I knew a struggling writer who had "professional dilettante" on her business cards.

As to what to tell other people that depends on a lot of things. If you are travellling a lot (and it seem that you will or are planning on it) then some "stories" won't fit with the facts. Then again for some people whom you will meet only briefly then it doesn't have to be that detailed. I'm planning to be a "perpetual" traveller for a number of years at the start of FIRE and I agree that in some places you will want to not appear to be too rich. Perhaps a story about being a school teacher on sabbatical and travelling the world cheaply would be an ok "cover". It depends on how luxuriously you plan on travelling.

As to family that's a tough one but with your living away from "home" much of the year couldn't you just say that you were managing some foreign investments/company/etc.? My parents already know that I plan to FIRE and they seem fine with it. I haven't told my siblings yet but one of them will likely have problems with it and even more so her husband. I don't have to interact with him regularly but I will have to see him at family get togethers. Not sure how to deal with him yet.

It reminds me of a story by Steinbeck about a guy travelling across the US in the 20's or 30's. He tells people the truth that he is doing it to see America and meet people from across the country. He doesn't get a warm reception and people are kind of hostile to him. He changes the story to one of travelling across the US on a bet (IIRC for some trivial amount of money) and people are helpful and treat him warmly.
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Re: What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd
Old 02-21-2005, 01:28 PM   #7
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Re: What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd

Business cards would certainly be part of the "package" and I WOULD actually be working with a legit company as mentioned - I would probably also start my own homepage with basic financial advise or whatever - so plenty of addresses to put on the card.

And you are right; my plan is to tell people that i am working as associate director/financial advisor for the company. A lot of ravel is involved normally (if do full time) so no problems there! The charm is that it is REAL - only difference is that I only get commissions and therefore might not earn much - but I do not have to discuss those details with anyone of course.

I will however also establish a small own company I think - or at least a homepage. Maybe selling something? At least there is something to put on the name card should I not want to work with the financial guys for some reason.

Not SO worried about the safety part - but low profile is good no matter what (also for costs - considering portfolio might have to last 60 years+! )
And also it avoids the envy/greed(loans) Etc.

Cheers!


Quote:

Years ago I knew a struggling writer who had "professional dilettante" on her business cards.

As to what to tell other people that depends on a lot of things. *If you are travellling a lot (and it seem that you will or are planning on it) then some "stories" won't fit with the facts. *Then again for some people whom you will meet only briefly then it doesn't have to be that detailed. *I'm planning to be a "perpetual" traveller for a number of years at the start of FIRE and I agree that in some places you will want to not appear to be too rich. *Perhaps a story about being a school teacher on sabbatical and travelling the world cheaply would be an ok "cover". *It depends on how luxuriously you plan on travelling.

As to family that's a tough one but with your living away from "home" much of the year couldn't you just say that you were managing some foreign investments/company/etc.? *My parents already know that I plan to FIRE and they seem fine with it. *I haven't told my siblings yet but one of them will likely have problems with it and even more so her husband. *I don't have to interact with him regularly but I will have to see him at family get togethers. *Not sure how to deal with him yet.

It reminds me of a story by Steinbeck about a guy travelling across the US in the 20's or 30's. *He tells people the truth that he is doing it to see America and meet people from across the country. *He doesn't get a warm reception and people are kind of hostile to him. *He changes the story to one of travelling across the US on a bet (IIRC for some trivial amount of money) and people are helpful and treat him warmly.
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Re: What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd
Old 02-21-2005, 02:15 PM   #8
 
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Re: What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd

Disclaimer...........CHP post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I don't see why we need to hide the fact that we have ERed.. In my case, I have owned my own company
and been President and CEO since 1990. This will
most likely continue until my demise. However, I feel
no urge to print business cards or start a web site.

JG
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Re: What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd
Old 02-21-2005, 02:31 PM   #9
 
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Re: What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd

Here is my current Personal Card. I had this made up about 5 years before I left the Workplace. Just my name under the fly.

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What's wrong with "I'm retired!!"  ?!?
Old 02-21-2005, 02:46 PM   #10
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What's wrong with "I'm retired!!"  ?!?

Waddya mean you feel uncomfortable saying "I'm retired"?!?

Do you gauge your self-worth from the opinions proffered by people who are still working for a "living"? Doesn't ER provide enough satisfaction to proclaim that avocation with pride?

If you're gonna go through the charade of pretending to have a job, then you might as well go out and get one. It's probably less work than pretending.

As for business cards... there's a reason they're called BUSINESS cards. If you're not in business, then why do you need a business card? Do houses still have foyer trays for calling cards? Do any of us still remember what corners are supposed to be folded down for what meanings?

You need help or you need a job. I can offer you the former. Here's a sample ER conversation to practice at your next 12-step meeting:

You: "Ahem. I'm retired."
Them: "But waddya DO all day!? Are you that lazy?!? You had a great career!! It cannot be done due to ......! Don't you feel guilty!?" (and my personal favorite) "You're too young to be put out to pasture like that!"
You: "Gee, it seems to be working fine for me. Let's compare what we're doing next Monday morning. I'm going to sleep in, have a leisurely breakfast, and enjoy working on whatever catches my fancy. Or maybe I'll just go surfing and check out the beach babes. What are you going to be doing then?"

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Re: What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd
Old 02-21-2005, 03:46 PM   #11
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Re: What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd

Quote:
The reason is to set up the next fishing trip. I know people all over the world and have invitations to Stay in Italy, New Zealand, Jackson Hole, Naples Florida, Montana, Alaska, Ireland etc. etc.

And I actually take them up on it!
Cutthroat, you are perfect. You live like a 19th century British aristocrat. A bit of grouse shooting on the moor, a bit of salmon fishing on the Spey...

What a gig!!

Mikey
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Re: What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd
Old 02-21-2005, 04:11 PM   #12
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Re: What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd

I'm going to steal someone elses line (Nords?) from an earlier thread of similar countenance.

"So what do you do?"

"In the event of what!?!"

Actually I'm taking a cue from credit applications. The last few I filled out for credit cards say that if you're retired or not working, to list your last job title and place of work.

So I just tell people I'm in marketing. They get a vacuous look on their face and 99.2% of the time dont ask anymore questions.

Lately when I've been out and about with the baby and get asked how I can be off work on a weekday, I just tell them I'm his mommy. That ends that line of conversation almost as quickly as the above method.

I've found that saying I'm Retired, or saying I'm An Investor is just begging for a lot of dumb statements and questions that I've heard 3845 times before and am not anxious to hear again.

Whats that funny bit...something about if you have to use more than 1 or 2 words to explain your job, that you've got a real problem? EG: Doctor, lawyer, car salesman. But if you have to go down the path of "ok, you know those xyz machines? Well the part in those that takes up the paper...I check those on an assembly line to make sure they're made right". Translation: you're screwed.
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Re: What's wrong with "I'm retired!!" *?!?
Old 02-21-2005, 04:24 PM   #13
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Re: What's wrong with "I'm retired!!" *?!?

Quote:
Waddya mean you feel uncomfortable saying "I'm retired"?!?
I think it matters a lot what you are trying to do. if you live pretty well and are young, saying you are retired often means you are rich, you are crazy, or you are a drug dealer.

In many places you don't want any of these ideas floating around. I've been retired 20 years, and the first time I told someone that I didn't know well was last saturday night. His reaction led me to believe that overall I would have been better off to keep up my former ruse.

If you don't mind writing off non-commercial girls, and you are home, disability is a good one. No one wants to hit up a disabled guy for a loan. (Admittedly not true if you go low enough.) A downside for singletons is that women are usually not really turned on by this.

If you travel modestly, and will be in contact with middle and lower lower class people you need more respect than disability will confer. Teacher on leave, or at my age, even retired teacher is best. Everyone knows you have money that comes in modestly and only in monthly installments, so you aren't that worthwhile a target for kidnappers or scams.

For the teacher pose you should not be a complete ignoramous. While that may be an excellent way to impersonate a teacher in the US, in foreigh countries your fellow educators are apt to know a little something.

OTOH, most foreign and especially 3rd world countries are much more class conscious than we are here in the USA, so you wil have to do better if you wish to go to posh parties.

If you know a little about medicine or public health, you can hardly do better than to invent some sort of medical charity. Best is something that women will go all squishy over- maybe helping orphans, or victims of land mines or whatever. You are fact finding, that is all. A low level functionary.

I know a guy who is well meaning enough, but fairly ineffectual, who has used this cover for years. He meets solid middle class people, including some very attractive women. He may have even managed to raise some money for their special projects. I know he would like this, it if were to happen.

I think the absolute worst is what Ben said- Financial Advisor. In much of the world, this means deals, scams, illicit activity. I would never draw this sort of attention to myself.

I speak from some experience here. It is very hard for us boy scout types to see how things look to people to whom our values make utterly no sense.

Mikey
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Re: What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd
Old 02-21-2005, 04:30 PM   #14
 
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Re: What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd

Tell 'em you're a salsa dancing instructor.

JG
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Re: What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd
Old 02-21-2005, 04:37 PM   #15
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Re: What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd

Quote:
Tell 'em you're a salsa dancing instructor.JG
That is no fun because it is true!

Mikey
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Re: What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd
Old 02-21-2005, 04:40 PM   #16
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Re: What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd

Hmmm

First swear them to silence - and tell them your a spy - like the underground gourmet and the guy who scopes out tour destinations for specialty travel agencies.

Act the part.
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Re: What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd
Old 02-21-2005, 04:43 PM   #17
 
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Re: What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd

My job has stressed me out so much the last 5 years that I already look retirement age, although I'm just 50. When I do retire 12/31/06, I will look like an old geezer.
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Re: What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd
Old 02-21-2005, 06:07 PM   #18
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Re: What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd

He he - still laughing from all the great replies here!
A few things: name cards (not business cards) is SUCH a natural thing in all of Asia that there is no way around it - the flyfishing one is very neat! I am sure you know that - but if not - take a trip to Asia as more than a tourist.

As to not wanting to share my FIRE with the world - I believe I already covered the reasons why - call it self worth or whatever - bottom line it is MY business not theirs.

Mikey had a great understanding of the situation! And Salsa dancing instructor might actually be possible in my current location! (Caribbean).
Cheers!
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Re: What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd
Old 02-21-2005, 07:18 PM   #19
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Re: What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd

I think you are smart to not broadcast the fact that you are retired in your 30's. You're better off enjoying your life quietly.

Human beings have been know to experience envy and jealousy.

Why bring possible negative feelings into your relationships?

Your closest friends and family will figure it out for themselves and you probably want to be truthful with them anyway.

Tell the truth but don't boast.

Mountain_Man
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Re: What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd
Old 02-22-2005, 06:46 AM   #20
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Re: What to reply to "what do you do?" when FIREd

Good points Mountainman. I like my cover-job idea too (mainly because it is true). It is not like I am telling anyone that I am an astronaut! (now THAT would be cool! hmmm... 8)).


I am sure I will become an even better friend and family member in FIRE - more time(to listen), less stress - and even the financial flexibility to help (with gifts not loans) when I see true need.

MM:
I think you are smart to not broadcast the fact that you are retired in your 30's. *You're better off enjoying your life quietly. *

Human beings have been know to experience envy and jealousy. *

Why bring possible negative feelings into your relationships? *
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