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Old 04-30-2009, 07:45 AM   #21
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I have been dealing with the same issues for a long time, Pavo. I am honest with my co-workers and tell them that these things are too expensive for my budget (when conversation drifts in that direction). They try to persuade me otherwise but I don't budge.

As for the peer pressures, I was able to tough it out. After all, I survived junior high school and never fit in there, either. I guess that is true for many people. I keep my work and my social life separate, and do not spend much if any time with co-workers away from the office. I think this has helped a lot. My co-workers are not my buddies - - my relationship with them is purely a working relationship so my efforts are focused just on efficient interaction on work related matters.

Now that I am ready to retire, they are all befuddled and wondering how I could afford it. Most are telling me they can't even imagine being able to retire for a long, long time. When they ask me how I could possibly retire in 2009, I tell them but it really doesn't seem to sink in. At this point, I don't care because I am moving on.
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Old 04-30-2009, 07:24 PM   #22
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Welcome back, Pavo. Didnít I adopt you a year ago? So glad this isnít the return of the prodigal son. Maybe you just need to finesse the art of changing the subject.
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Old 04-30-2009, 07:52 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Jay_Gatsby View Post
. What you're buying isn't a good time, but rather a place as "one of the guys". Remember, your work friends are your peers, and will be your network as your career advances. They need to be comfortable around you, and declining to socialize with them will keep you from being able to tap a valuable resource in the future.

Don't worry about the money too much right now. They'll eventually come around to your way of thinking as they get married and have kids (in their early-to-mid-30s).

I agree but I think you can do it cheaper than this . Meet the guys occasionally for drinks and if they are going out for dinner or clubbing bail out . The money will be well spent and you may make some great friends.
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Old 05-02-2009, 12:13 PM   #24
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Pavo,

I'm about 14 years older than you and still remember being in pretty much the same position as you at a bit younger age. My approach was very similar to what Moemg suggests: I would generally join coworkers for happy hour immediately after work (which I did and still do enjoy on occassion) but bail if they were heading out to expensive dinners, clubs, etc. that did not interest me. I also generally joined for work lunches on occasion. Owning property alwasy gives you a ready made excuse to bail since you always have something that you need to take care of at home.

As Dex noted: Your future income will depend in part on others perception of you personally. I will assume you are a top performer from your posts; but, when times get really tough at the firm, it is much harder to lay-off the guy who is fun to drink with, lunch with, etc. Likewise, when it is time for promotion, they people making the decission will consider how much time they really want to spend with you.

A ray of hope: Now, I am basically FI; so, I can be as weird as I want. I no longer care what coworkers think since I am no longer really playing the game. I'm too gready to just quit while the money keeps flowing; but, work isn't as annoying for me any longer with this freedom. (I also have interesting work and some briliant coworks right now who I actually enjoy spending time with on occassion.) It sounds like you well down the same path.

Good luck and keep the faith!
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Old 05-08-2009, 02:57 PM   #25
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Ahh, it's been raised from the ashes!!!
Thanks for the wonderful comments. Very much appreciated.

So, I've been staying the course, but I'm not kidding anyone - it is tough at times.

Maybe I can further explain some of my weirdness. I'm a 1st generation from Eastern Europe in the States. My first language wasn't even English - that came in time. So, I was raised in the culture of the old country until I began to assimilate when my parents made the huge push for education and sent us to private schools. I assimilated in school, yet retained my cultural identity without a problem, but today I work in the professional world among yuppies. These guys are all clones, it's sad. So it's tough to balance it all out - deep down inside I am still that boy from Eastern Europe, pale skinned, blue eyed and all, yet I have the smarts and work ethic and discipline to succeed where I am at, but there really isn't anyone like me in my industry. On top of that, I come from a family as blue collar as they come. It's not all that easy to detach from my roots as I won't forget who I am or where I came from. Eventually I'd like to get into a line of work where I'd feel more at ease, but given this economy, and the fact that I won't make as much elsewhere, I will ride this out as long as I can.

If I can just make it a few more years...

Now, something VERY interesting happened a while back. I was at lunch with my manager, who is also a friend. During our meal, he eventually asked about a property I purchased in a subtle way. We began talking about it, but I kept it vague as he began asking some financial questions. He's a smart guy and he pieced my finances together together in his mind from our conversation, also given that I don't spend like colleagues and splurge like others in the office - he turned away staring into space and said 'that's a lot of money.' Very awkward, yet, I looked him directly into the eyes and said 'it is.'

On one hand I felt great knowing I have an upper hand of sorts, and on the other hand, I was scared because I don't want to piss anyone off, especially in this economy where I still have plenty of work at my firm, but if I were to leave, then woe is me. But, given that it's a recession and many colleagues are walking on pins (it's clearly visible in demeanor), I am financially secure and confident. I'm not wealthy, but it's kind of like I am secretly laughing now as I have a sizable nest egg.

I'm not sure what my manager was getting it. One of my friends said he was trying to size me up. My dad said it's because he is hurting financially as he had EVERYTHING invested in stocks, whereas my assets are more in real estate as passive income. I don't know. Sometimes I get the feeling that he is now jealous of me, which I don't want. I don't want to be hated.

Honestly, all I want is to FIRE to do what I want - spend time with family, travel, pursue a line of work which is a self-fulfilling hobby, etc. All of this noise and peer pressure that I have to navigate stinks!
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Old 05-08-2009, 03:49 PM   #26
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These guys are all clones, it's sad.
You say that because you do not really know them and don't want to know them. They likely return the feeling.

But Yalies are no more clones than Poles or Czechs are. Outsiders often feel superior, but may not be.

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Old 05-08-2009, 03:52 PM   #27
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I'm a bit younger (it is probably going to take me just as long though, if not longer, I probably have more debt because of professional school), and have dealt with the same exact sort of issues. The culture at my last workplace was a bit more inclined towards saving rather than spending...they ran regularly instead of going to the bars, which is another way to relieve some of the high stress of heavy work hours. When they asked about finances, since they all seemed to be fairly well balanced, I was just honest about it, and showed them a retirement prediction spreadsheet I use, though I waited awhile to feel them out before I did that. One of them really likes talking about the economy, so it is one of the main things we talk about.

From the boss discussion, he was probably trying to get to know you or size you up for sure. Either way, you just have to try to keep the conversation friendly by talking about his past. The pointed questions are really hard to avoid, so you just have to answer them and move on. Whatever you do, just keep concentrating on keeping the job, it's fun planning things out, but it is really secondary to improving your income. That is something I keep trying to get myself to work on as well, since I plan things out way too far ahead sometimes.
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Old 05-08-2009, 06:26 PM   #28
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Now, something VERY interesting happened a while back. I was at lunch with my manager, who is also a friend. During our meal, he eventually asked about a property I purchased in a subtle way. We began talking about it, but I kept it vague as he began asking some financial questions. He's a smart guy and he pieced my finances together together in his mind from our conversation, also given that I don't spend like colleagues and splurge like others in the office - he turned away staring into space and said 'that's a lot of money.' Very awkward, yet, I looked him directly into the eyes and said 'it is.'
Friendliness or fishing expedition?
Either way, I think you handled it just fine.
My 2 cents...Manager or friend or both, he should not be asking you detailed financial questions unless you two are going to be formal partners in a business. It is rude to do that in any culture.
I have been on the receiving end of this type of inquisition myself, but for a different reason. It had to do with life insurance amounts.
My usual response was something along the lines of "It makes me very uncomfortable to discuss my personal finances.
I was raised not to talk about money in public." All BS of course, but the inquisitor didn't know that.
All I know is it short circuited the nosy questions every time.
I call this being creative, some would call it lying. Just as long as I was consistent with my answers, and polite but sparing with my words, it worked.
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