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I think I did a bad thing
Old 10-22-2010, 02:19 PM   #1
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I think I did a bad thing

I've been trying to keep my FIRE goals somewhat secret from my family, mainly because I don't want to jinx it. Well, yesterday, my mother got it out of me. We were talking about the future, financial situations, and such. Talked about Grandmom (her mother), as Grandmom's 86 now and isn't the healthiest thing in the world. Grandmom's convinced she's out of money, even though she's not. Then there's my uncle (Mom's brother), who's okay for the time being.

But then, we came to me. Mom worries, because I took out an HELOC and owe $160K on it. I told her that I'm fine, and could pay it off if I really wanted to. She asked me if I'm doing okay and I said that, as of the other day, I'd actually hit an all-time high. She then asked how much. I said I'd rather not say. Why not? Well...umm...it's a little obscene. Then she said c'mon, if you can't trust your mother, who CAN you trust? And before I knew it, I blurted it out. I should've made up a low figure, but I told her the real thing.

All she said was "wow, that's really good. I'm proud of you". But, I guess, I just don't want other family members making stupid financial decisions, thinking they can fall back on me. I did tell my Mom that it's all tied up in retirement, mutual funds, stocks, etc, could drop like a rock at a moment's notice, and I'd pay through the nose in taxes whenever I cashed anything out.

Then, we started talking about retirement, and the house I live in, which is only 3.5 miles from work. I mentioned that, while I fantasize about moving away, the reality is that I'll probably still be here at least until I retire. She said so, probably at least another 20 years. Without even thinking, I blurted out "HELL NO! As God as my witness, I won't be working when I'm 60!" Maybe I've watched the scene in "Gone with the Wind" with Scarlett in the radish patch a few too many times.

So, there, I've done it...spilled the beans that I want to retire early, and that I'm actually on track for it. I just really, REALLY hope I haven't cursed myself!
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Old 10-22-2010, 02:50 PM   #2
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I just really, REALLY hope I haven't cursed myself!
You'll know... when your mother hits you up for a loan.
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Old 10-22-2010, 02:52 PM   #3
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Cat's out of the bag now. You may have relieved your mother's worrying. You may also be designated the new family bank/sucker. Protect your assets!

I think if we ever decide to disclose rough amounts of what we have saved to our family (mainly the in-laws), I would probably knock a zero off, and then reiterate the fact that it is all tied up in retirement accounts and investments and cannot be touched. We may just be out of work/gainfully unemployed for an extended period. Though DW's mom will worry necessarily if that is our cover story.
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Old 10-22-2010, 02:58 PM   #4
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One thing my Mom understands, at least, is that I won't get a pension when I retire, so all I have is whatever I save on my own, plus whatever social security is around by the time I start to collect.

And thankfully, she and my stepdad aren't TOO bad with money. They own two houses, one up here in MD and one in Florida, but the combined mortgages only total around $160K, and they're 15 year. They'll also both get good pensions when they retire, and Mom has a pretty good amount saved up in whatever the federal gov't calls their version of the 401k.

A year or so ago, my Mom did ask me if I wanted to go half-and-half with her on some property down in Florida, so she could keep her horses there, rather than have to pay to board them once they move down to Florida full-time. But I put my foot down on that one and said no!
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Old 10-22-2010, 03:03 PM   #5
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I once told my mom how much we had. It was really fun for the shock and awe value; she was speechless. But I later regretted it just in general terms.
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Old 10-22-2010, 03:06 PM   #6
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We hide it from our In-laws as best we can. We have a business we run part time that does pretty good. We just let them think it does even better so that we can scrape by. The would not bother us for money they would just give more to DW's brother than they already do at the expense of her. We do not need their money but it hurts her feeling to see them give to her brother way more than they do to her. They just enable him and family and it will be an issue for them when the In-laws expire and the dole ends. This is how DW wants to handle it and I go along with her desire as it is her family.
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Old 10-22-2010, 03:43 PM   #7
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We hide it from our In-laws as best we can.
My BIL the CPA, a tax preparer for the eight-figure rich, has a pretty good feel for our net worth. He's matter-of-fact about ours-- he's seen what alcohol & "recreational" drugs can do to families with the assets that he files taxes on. For the last 20 years he's been planning to ER about two minutes after he turns 55. No qualms about what he'll do all day, especially during the tax season of Feb-Apr.

My father-in-law is still convinced that his daughter/granddaughter are going to end up on the streets, homeless & penniless. I don't talk any finances with him, let alone ours.
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Old 10-22-2010, 03:43 PM   #8
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I can relate well to this thread... through various little slips and off hand comments over the past year, I suspect that my immediately family may finally suspect that DW and I are sitting on a sizable little nest egg... certainly a much larger one than our chosen lifestyle would suggest. The temptation to tell all and watch the shocked faces is tempting... but I think I will wait until I retire before 45 and enjoy the incredulous reactions at that point.
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Old 10-22-2010, 04:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andre1969 View Post
I've been trying to keep my FIRE goals somewhat secret from my family, mainly because I don't want to jinx it. Well, yesterday, my mother got it out of me. We were talking about the future, financial situations, and such. Talked about Grandmom (her mother), as Grandmom's 86 now and isn't the healthiest thing in the world. Grandmom's convinced she's out of money, even though she's not. Then there's my uncle (Mom's brother), who's okay for the time being.

But then, we came to me. Mom worries, because I took out an HELOC and owe $160K on it. I told her that I'm fine, and could pay it off if I really wanted to. She asked me if I'm doing okay and I said that, as of the other day, I'd actually hit an all-time high. She then asked how much. I said I'd rather not say. Why not? Well...umm...it's a little obscene. Then she said c'mon, if you can't trust your mother, who CAN you trust? And before I knew it, I blurted it out. I should've made up a low figure, but I told her the real thing.

All she said was "wow, that's really good. I'm proud of you". But, I guess, I just don't want other family members making stupid financial decisions, thinking they can fall back on me. I did tell my Mom that it's all tied up in retirement, mutual funds, stocks, etc, could drop like a rock at a moment's notice, and I'd pay through the nose in taxes whenever I cashed anything out.

Then, we started talking about retirement, and the house I live in, which is only 3.5 miles from work. I mentioned that, while I fantasize about moving away, the reality is that I'll probably still be here at least until I retire. She said so, probably at least another 20 years. Without even thinking, I blurted out "HELL NO! As God as my witness, I won't be working when I'm 60!" Maybe I've watched the scene in "Gone with the Wind" with Scarlett in the radish patch a few too many times.

So, there, I've done it...spilled the beans that I want to retire early, and that I'm actually on track for it. I just really, REALLY hope I haven't cursed myself!
If your family has any self respect they will know that you are you, and they are not. Don't worry.

Ha
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Old 10-22-2010, 08:03 PM   #10
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To my family, I have been the "rich relative" since the day I graduated from college. The exact amount is largely irrelevant to them (and I have never told them), although they do know that my goal since my early 20's was to retire early.
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Old 10-22-2010, 08:15 PM   #11
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Andre1969...listen carefully now...

Stand in front of a mirror, set your best deadpan or pathetic expression and repeat after me...click your heels 3x if you need a rhythm to chant to

"Sorry, but it's all invested."
"Sorry, but it's all invested."
"Sorry, but it's all invested."

Got it?
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Old 10-22-2010, 08:19 PM   #12
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Though we are a close family, we never share net worth and income with siblings. We also know never to ask. Of course, my mother is curious at times, as a mother who worries about her children even if we are grown, but I never tell her. And if my siblings tell her, she never tells me and I have never asked.
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Old 10-22-2010, 10:55 PM   #13
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My mother, who I am not close to (my folks split when I was young, and I was raised by my Dad), is terrible with money. At the same time, she feels compelled to dole out unsolicited financial advice every time I see her. I finally revealed that DW and I have no non-mortgage debt, and are handling our finances just fine, thank you.

We've since been hit up several times for loans, and frequent real-estate investment "opportunities". If I had it to do over again, I'd have kept my mouth shut.
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Old 10-22-2010, 11:11 PM   #14
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If we ever disclosed our NW to anyone, it would be my in-laws. They are close to retirement and very frugal. In fact, I am helping them a little bit with retirement planning. Because of that, I know their financial situation and know that they will be doing fine in retirement. Since they are willing to share with us how much they have, and they are like-minded people, I don't mind sharing how much we have.

I'm more concerned about close friends. If we do retire in our 40's (10-15 years from now), I'm sure some of them will think I must be insane to quit working. Then it would be really tempting to spill the beans, just to stop them from worrying.

Oh well. Will worry about it later!
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Old 10-22-2010, 11:28 PM   #15
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We are the proverbial millionaires next door. So I think our families would be shocked to learn our actual income/net worth numbers. I am quite proud of our financial achievements and I sometimes wish that we wouldn't have to be so secretive about them. We hesitate to share those achievements with family members, however, because many people in our families do not see money the way we do: we think of $1M as enough capital to generate a meager $30K in annual income for (maybe) the rest of our lives, they think of $1M as enough money for us to live large and give generously to the rest of the family. I think that disclosing our financial standing to family members would seriously complicate our relationships with them.
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Old 10-23-2010, 12:22 AM   #16
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This thread is a great help for me! I am very proud of what I've accomplished on the FIRE front. I don't much like answering money questions with 'all I have is what's in my 401K', and never mentioning the paid-off house, etc., etc. Of my half-dozen siblings, there's one who knows. She has done better than me, so my secret is safe with her . The rest? Noooooooo! When I bail out early, it will be a family surprise.

Steve
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Old 10-23-2010, 08:11 AM   #17
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Financially we are doing well, but not as well as most of you. My in-laws feel they must give their grand daughter, who they raised, all the free money they can. I find it amusing their, little girl moved out at 15 to live with her boyfriend, who is almost 20 years older than she is. They later were married. He finally has a job that pays half way decent (about what my wife makes), but she refuses to work. They both then complain that they don't have any money, so the in-laws continue to supplement their lifestyles instead of telling her to get a job.

All of that leads to this: We have no problems telling the DW's parents what we have, because they have a lot more. The niece is out of the question. Although they think we are very wealthy, because we manage our finances. My father knows approximately what we have, but only from an educated guess. He dealt with finances his whole life so he's pretty good with the money side of things. My mother and sister have no clue, and will not know. Both would ask for money in a heartbeat, if they knew how much we had. The only other sister the DW is remotely close to complained that we cheated her on a house we sold her for 10k less than appraised value. She doesn't have a clue about what we have either. She just continues to complain that the haves will always cheat the have-nots. The last time I talked to her (after she complained about being given 10k in equity) I told her to get off the drugs and join mainstream society and she might become one of the haves.

Like most of you, almost all of our money is in some kind of investments so getting any of it out is not going to happen for anybody.
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Old 10-23-2010, 11:20 AM   #18
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I gave about as good a hint as I've ever given as to my financial means last week to my older brother. He is good with money, definitely knows more about the various financial instruments than I. He both makes and spends a lot more than me. I'm sure he is financially sound.

He is in the middle of refinancing his home. "You should consider a re-fi with these rates, little bro."

"We looked at that last week. Our loan is small enough that closing costs are too high. We've decided to simply pay it off."

"Really!?!" I wished him luck with his re-fin and the conversation ended.

Later that day I found a copy of The Cheapskate Next Door by Jeff Yeager. Good read. Reflected me in several ways. Big bro gave me a light-hearted hard time about it.
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Old 10-23-2010, 11:29 AM   #19
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I suspect that for anyone who retires early (without baring all the financial details), there will be family and friends who worry whether things will be ok and/or speculate about how how much money the retirees must be sitting on. I'm sort of assuming it's just something we'll (hopefully ) have to deal with when the time comes.

In our case, I think it will be relatively easy for people to explain to themselves, since DH will have a military pension and we don't have kids. And we will be able to say honestly that we're basically living off of his pension, so no reason for anyone to think we have big $$ stashed away. We are completely open with my parents and both our siblings about our plans because they are all like-minded. DH is more circumspect with his mom but she's not financially irresponsible and I think we'll all be pleased if we pay for her to visit a couple times a year or things like that. We are lucky (so far, that we know of) not to have relatives that are likely to feel entitled to loans, etc.
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Old 10-23-2010, 02:30 PM   #20
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I have never shared my net worth with anyone. DW gets on my case regularly about me talking about how I saved on this and that, saying they will think we are poor.

In conversation with one of our friends where we were discussing another party who has a 58' yacht, 2 condos (north and south), an RV, a Harley etc. I said I thought he was worth $15 million and she immediately launched into a discourse about how $15 million does not go very far these days...

Yes I don't share my financial state because I don't want her to know how poor I am! But I also have a neighbour who rents and live on the dole. He enjoyed the high life (big house, Cadillac, yacht) until he went bankrupt. Now he is literally hand-to-mouth. Yet he pays $2850/mo in rent, smokes, goes through a case of beer a day, has 2 phone lines for each of him and his wife (one landline and one cell). He just turned 80! His retirement plan is to purchase a lottery ticket each week.

So yes it is best not to share one's networth with anyone. Not even close friends or family.
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