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Do you lie about your means or plans?
Old 04-24-2014, 08:19 AM   #1
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Do you lie about your means or plans?

I read the thread about people lying about ER. About how they instead say they are consulting or working on a side business.

I've recently brought up to a few friends that I think we're going to make the jump for moving and FIRE. They think I'm crazy/nuts. How is it possible? Who can has extra money to save?

Truth be told my DH and I have always saved money. We wouldn't be living where we were if we couldn't. My friends don't seem super indulgent or spendy, but granted I don't see all their spending. So I wonder how do people always seem to save they can't save?
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Old 04-24-2014, 08:34 AM   #2
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I have always been upfront about plans to retire at age 55. Although when I actually do retire in a couple of months I will have overshot that goal by 1 yr + 5 months, the plan hasn't changed. Just took me a little longer to do it. In my case, OMY + a few months was worth it, I think. Anyhow, nope, I absolutely do not lie about retiring, even though I get a lot of feedback, mostly from family, telling me I really shouldn't. With regard to questions about the financial parts, I just say that I'll actually get a pay raise by retiring (true). That's usually the end of the conversation, after they get a confused look and say "really"?
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Old 04-24-2014, 09:09 AM   #3
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You can't be responsible for what other people think, so why worry about it? Especially where money is concerned, I wasn't willing to discuss our personal finances with others when we had a net worth of less than $5000, why start now?

If you choose to tell your friends about your plans to retire, you shouldn't be surprised that you'll get all sorts of reactions - support, admiration, inspiration, jealousy, bewilderment, etc. That's why we told no one, not even family, until I actually announced my retirement.

For anyone who (seriously) asks me for money advice, I recommend books, websites, etc. - I don't make recommendations of my own, not even family.

Anyone can save money, it's just a matter of choices. For the many people who've told me they couldn't possibly reduce their spending, I've never had a problem giving them real life examples of countless others who are making it on (much) less. No matter what your means, they are always thousands if not millions living on much less (you could save the difference). Too many people tend to believe they "deserve" more than they can afford...
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Old 04-24-2014, 09:25 AM   #4
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I worked in a profession where it is the norm to retire late, so I never discussed my plans at work. I didn't lie, just let people assume whatever they wanted. As a result, when I left a very challenging job to move to a less stressful one a few years before ER, some of my closest colleagues didn't see it coming and were shocked. I did share my plans with some LBYM close friends who "got it" and were very supportive and confidential.
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Old 04-24-2014, 09:44 AM   #5
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No lying but plenty of obfuscation and misdirection.
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Old 04-24-2014, 10:04 AM   #6
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I didn't lie; I never said a word about either. A big part of the reason for not sharing FIRE plans was that I didn't want anybody at w*rk to know that I was a lame duck. The reason for not discussing means is that it's nobody's business.
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Old 04-24-2014, 10:09 AM   #7
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Too many people tend to believe they "deserve" more than they can afford...
Amen.
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Old 04-24-2014, 10:11 AM   #8
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I bluntly told some people, but fewer and fewer as time went on. To this day I have friends from whom I get the "does not compute" reaction from, so I dissemble a bit (on sabbatical, taking a break, etc.).
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Old 04-24-2014, 10:11 AM   #9
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I have friends and acquaintances who:

a) Never save; in fact, they live beyond their means.
b) Have a stash, but never think it's enough, because they want a lifestyle they can't afford, or because they haven't really crunched the numbers, or because they have no good health insurance options, or all of the above.

Many have financial advisors, and really have no idea what their returns or costs are for that "service"...

I don't talk about my numbers much, but I do talk about wanting to get out ASAP, and that I'll be comfortable, but not rich, much like I am as a w*rking stiff.
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Old 04-24-2014, 10:34 AM   #10
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I have a few built in advantages: no kids yet at 36; a wife that works and makes above the median income by herself; a generous pension if I make it five more years. Most simply write it off to those advantages, or find it unpracticable for themselves for various reasons. The part they miss is that even with those advantages, we still live well below our means and manage to save 40-50% of our gross income. Not everyone will be able to do that, but saving 10% is better than saving 5% or 0%.

Ridiculously early retirement may not be realistic for some, but it is achievable for more than they think. Delayed gratification isn't attractive to some.

So, no, I don't lie about my plans, but I temper my enthusiasm around those who have kids or just don't offer up details unless someone asks. I don't care if they think I'm nuts; it's my life.
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Old 04-24-2014, 10:40 AM   #11
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My siblings and my spouse's siblings (and their spouses) spend beyond their means consistently. Most don't have pensions to supplement their SS or, if they do, it's inadequate to support their lifestyles. The last thing I want to do is let them all know we're in solid financial shape. I'm afraid I'd be immediately looked at as "The Bank of 2B."

Our children know we're "comfortable" but they also know how frugal we are. One daughter is concerned that we're spending too much on international travel but the other one told her to now worry about our ability to manage our money (yet was unspoken). One son knows our total picture but he's very level headed with substantial assets of his own at a pretty young age. He has our financial PA if/when the need arises.

I've thought about how to announce my impending retirement. For my siblings I might tell them I lost my job but no matter how hard I look I can't find anything. Maybe they could lend me a few bucks.
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Old 04-24-2014, 10:46 AM   #12
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I've thought about how to announce my impending retirement. For my siblings I might tell them I lost my job but no matter how hard I look I can't find anything. Maybe they could lend me a few bucks.
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Old 04-24-2014, 11:12 AM   #13
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Actually, I lie about being ER'ed. I secretly sneak off every morning to my job as a Walmart greeter.
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Old 04-24-2014, 11:24 AM   #14
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A few years ago I decided that I'd like to RE (or at least ESR) by 45. I told some people about it. For the most part my peers didn't react much one way or the other -- not sure if they didn't believe me, or just didn't care. A few like-minded friends were very interested in talking about it more and comparing notes on strategies to achieve RE.

Parents, parents-in-law, and various other elders had a different reaction. The best way to describe it would be poorly disguised apprehension combined with skepticism and just a smidge of envy. Maybe envy isn't quite the right word, but I got the impression that they felt it was unseemly for someone from a generation (or more) younger than them to stop working while they were still working. Hard to say for sure.

As I get closer to 45, I'm becoming more confident that the numbers will actually work out -- especially since I think I'd like to continue working part time after that until maybe 55. These days I don't tend to tell people that I plan on retiring at 45, but rather that I'd like to switch to part time at some point if finances allow it. Most people don't bat an eye at that.

Either way, I don't feel the need to lie about my RE/ESR plans. Perphaps mild obfuscation or partial truths depending on the audience.
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Old 04-24-2014, 11:36 AM   #15
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If you just call it "downsizing" most people don't have a problem with the concept of moving into the slow lane.

But I wouldn't talk about specifics or distant future plans anyway, and I don't like to discuss how anyone can afford anything. Who knows what is going on in other people's lives.
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Old 04-24-2014, 11:39 AM   #16
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You can't be responsible for what other people think, so why worry about it? Especially where money is concerned, I wasn't willing to discuss our personal finances with others when we had a net worth of less than $5000, why start now?
+1 I've never talked about my finances with anyone and don't plan to change that after ER.

I'm learning that it probably won't be a big deal in my area since it is a state capital. I went to a party recently that was mostly state workers in their 50's and the most common job description was "retired". I actually got a few "you're still working? You must not work for the state..." comments.
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Old 04-24-2014, 12:49 PM   #17
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You can't be responsible for what other people think, so why worry about it? Especially where money is concerned, I wasn't willing to discuss our personal finances with others when we had a net worth of less than $5000, why start now?
+2

I never discuss such things except here on the forum, and with my beloved companion. As for other people, it's none of their business.

I *do* rave on about how much I love retirement, but only when talking to other retired people. And, I don't turn the topic to money.
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Old 04-24-2014, 01:01 PM   #18
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Pretty much the same here - I rarely discuss finances with others except one friend who shares more than I do (he likes to talk). Even when I do, I'm careful to frame things in terms of percentages or other relative terms rather than absolute terms.
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Old 04-24-2014, 01:35 PM   #19
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+2

I never discuss such things except here on the forum, and with my beloved companion. As for other people, it's none of their business.

I *do* rave on about how much I love retirement, but only when talking to other retired people. And, I don't turn the topic to money.

I agree with the idea of not discussing your finances with just anybody. For most of us it's probably a very small group: our spouses/partners, and possibly our children or parents. Maybe a close friend or adviser.

At the same time, I don't think the OP was referring to spilling the financial beans either. Just the idea of FIRE. I've talked to plenty of people about my FIRE hopes/dreams/plans without disclosing specific financial terms.
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Old 04-24-2014, 01:59 PM   #20
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I don't think the OP was referring to spilling the financial beans either. Just the idea of FIRE. I've talked to plenty of people about my FIRE hopes/dreams/plans without disclosing specific financial terms.
I read the OP for more than just the "idea of FIRE" in him/her saying "I've recently brought up to a few friends that I think we're going to make the jump for moving and FIRE. They think I'm crazy/nuts. How is it possible? Who can has extra money to save?"

How one could bring up EARLY retirement without expecting any discussion/questions about "financial beans" is beyond me. YMMV
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