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Is "early retirement" insensitive right now?
Old 12-22-2020, 10:15 PM   #1
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Is "early retirement" insensitive right now?

In this season of illness, unemployment and photos of food pantries on every news site, is it insensitive to tell colleagues and customers that I'm retiring early? I've tried saying "I'm stepping back from work to pursue my interests," but that sounds like I'm having a midlife crisis and I'll be back when the money runs out (I'm not coming back).

I think I feel lingering guilt over my success. But I made many sacrifices when I was younger - including shelving unprofitable dreams in order to be a responsible wage-earner - and have been planning for retirement since 1995. It just happens that I'm retiring when other people are not doing so well.
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Old 12-22-2020, 10:33 PM   #2
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As long as you’re not gloating, I think colleagues and customers would be happy with your success.

We each have our own lives to live - when I retired at 58, I was concerned with what colleagues thought. Fast forward four years and their reaction (even though supportive) is meaningless now. I know I made the right decision then, and it’s still the right decision.

We are living through historic hardship, and I have increased expanded my giving to charities and family as much as I feel comfortable.
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Old 12-22-2020, 10:38 PM   #3
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I have no problem with someone wanting to retire early, whether due to hard work, lots of planning, and/or some luck (unexpected investment spike, receiving a sizable inheritance, etc.).

I do get annoyed when someone is sticking their success in my face, usually someone who has won the game many times over. For those people, it doesn't seem to be enough to be retired and be happy. Honestly, I've seen some posts this year asking whether an $8M+ nest egg is enough to retire on, and I wonder if they are truly asking for advice or just showboating. Maybe I've been reading too much into those posts.
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Old 12-22-2020, 10:51 PM   #4
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There have been many years of turbulent times in decades past. This pandemic we are going through now is unique in many ways but what is not unique is the financial hardships people are experiencing. Just look back to the last financial meltdown in 2007 and think about where the stock market went then versus where it is now.

I never “gloat” about my good fortune that allowed me to retire early. But at the same time I see nothing wrong with sharing your retirement plans with friends and colleagues just as you would if we were not in the middle of a pandemic. There is nothing wrong with doing well.
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Old 12-22-2020, 11:03 PM   #5
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Think of it as leaving a job opening for someone else, an act of charity
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Old 12-22-2020, 11:06 PM   #6
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No matter what the state of the economy, you are still doing something that most people cannot/will not do. There will still be a few who *might* be offended just with you stating the fact. If some ask questions I would just keep the answers brief and humble.

There is a difference between simply stating the fact of "I'm retiring" to those who need to know, and dancing around in a jig in the public or corporate square screaming "HAHA! I'M RETIRING EARLY!! AND YOU"RE NOT!! I"M SO FILTHY RICH!! TAKE THAT, YOU PEASANTS!" Avoid the latter, or any appearance thereof .

The only people I actually told were those who were directly impacted by it. Most of my friends IRL did not find out until after I had retired, and only by asking me or hearing it "through the grapevine".
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Old 12-22-2020, 11:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Think of it as leaving a job opening for someone else, an act of charity
This is how I choose to see it. Especially if that "someone else" needs it a lot more than I do.
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Old 12-23-2020, 12:25 AM   #8
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I don't worry about what other people think. Perhaps its cold hearted, but to let what others think affect what I do, nope that would drive me crazy. People will always find a reason to have a problem with you, no matter what you do or say. Not everyone is the kind person you find on this forum.

I don't gloat. I don't rub it in. But if someone doesn't like something you do, that's for them to live with.

Be happy for yourself and live.
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Old 12-23-2020, 02:20 AM   #9
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I retired at 58/59 and could have cared less what other people thought about it.

Much to my spouses chagrin at times I did not live my live worrying about what other people thought. I was too busy getting on with living, achieving my career and financial goal to bother about what others would think or say.

You cannot live your life for others. Just do what you think is right for you and those who you love.
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Old 12-23-2020, 04:00 AM   #10
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What other people think of you is none of your business. In good times or bad times, some people won't be supportive of your choice to retire early and will criticize you for it. It's a reflection of them, as people, not you. Maybe they are innately jealous, or maybe your success reminds them of their own failures, or maybe they are just negative about everything, or maybe they are just in a bad mood. Who knows. But if you feel guilt over your own success, then it's up to you to make peace with yourself. Don't go out of your way to hurt others, stay humble, and enjoy the fruit of your hard work.
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You would be surprised
Old 12-23-2020, 04:15 AM   #11
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You would be surprised

Quote:
Originally Posted by statsman View Post
Honestly, I've seen some posts this year asking whether an $8M+ nest egg is enough to retire on, and I wonder if they are truly asking for advice or just showboating. Maybe I've been reading too much into those posts.
For some folks, no amount is enough. We are on the higher end, and if not for a company package, I still do not know when I would have pulled the trigger. We FIRE types are all over the spectrum, from those who RE as soon as they hit their number to those who OMY for years just to add another million or two. I have not seen many here who seem to be bragging and I try not to.
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Old 12-23-2020, 04:22 AM   #12
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I am happy that some people have planned and executed their plans for their early retirements. There are just so many days on this earth, and we're not in charge of the calendar.

And leaving the workforce as soon as possible solidifies having the best of life.
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Old 12-23-2020, 04:35 AM   #13
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I think it is an error, to worry too much about what others may think of you.
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Old 12-23-2020, 04:47 AM   #14
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Just wait until people ask. You certainly did not cause the current circumstances, so do not feel guilty over that.
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Old 12-23-2020, 05:41 AM   #15
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Sure it would be insensitive to boast about one's enormous foresight and wealth to co-workers anxious about making it through the next few months. But I'm sure that's not what you're doing. I'm sure there's a way to convey the information without crowing.

Just leave out the "early" and tell them you are retiring, which is informative and factual. Let them ask for additional details if they want to hear it. There are plenty of what Jane Austen calls "nothing-meaning" phrases with which to embroider the statement if appropriate. You have this forum for gloating, and that's fine.
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Old 12-23-2020, 06:00 AM   #16
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Someone else in need can have your job.
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Old 12-23-2020, 06:50 AM   #17
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Think of it as leaving a job opening for someone else, an act of charity
Good thought. It happened to my senior person when I took a package.
Remember that there is a lot of jealousy out there, so don't worry about it.
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Old 12-23-2020, 06:52 AM   #18
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The company I work for offered a voluntary early retirement for those over 60. Some here won’t consider that early but, for me it is. I accepted it and retiring in February. Everybody seems to be really happy for me. This is even from people that are choosing not to take it. I believe that if you don’t flaunt it then most people will respect your decision. You will get the occasional person who is jealous and make negative remarks. They mainly will do that no matter what the situation or they either just had a lot of bad situations and don’t have the money or they created those situations. Overall, I think it is ok.
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Old 12-23-2020, 07:05 AM   #19
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I wouldn't let anyone else influence my retirement decision. Not sure what to tell people but most of so many other concerns these days so they'll probably give it 10 seconds thought at most, and move on to their own situation. Why do you care if they think you'll be coming back when the money goes?

Maybe responding "For personal reasons" is enough to keep them from asking more.
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Old 12-23-2020, 07:14 AM   #20
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This is the part that other people don't want to hear about. Nobody outside this forum welcomes stories of "what I suffered to get where I am today." (But you can share all the details with us, and we'll even try to top your tale of deprivation).

To the rest of the world, it comes across like telling all the overweight people that they could be thin, if they'd only eat less and exercise more, like you do.

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I But I made many sacrifices when I was younger - .
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