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Old 08-05-2020, 03:43 PM   #1
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Friends after FIRE

I've read about this event from others but was still caught off guard today when my same age friend said "What ? You're not working? "



She could not understand even after I said "We're ok, we've been saving" . She knew my DH was already retired.



We ve known each other for decades and often vacation with them.

It was an awkward conversation and she ended it quickly.

We don't discuss money much but I know that she and DH have different spending habits compared to us (we LBYM).



What are your experiences with friends who did not understand the goals of FIRE or were unable to ?
Did the friendship survive ?
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Old 08-05-2020, 04:01 PM   #2
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We didn't retire until our mid 50's so it was not much a shock to some of our friends. We were careful not to be boastful about it and most accepted and congratulated us. Others became distant. Out of envy or what else, I'm not sure. One close friend did a 180 and hardly speaks to me anymore.
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Old 08-05-2020, 04:04 PM   #3
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Not a lot to add, but we were talking to some dear friends this weekend of the same age and they told us that we are the only couple in our peer group or younger either of them knows where both are fully retired. (We are 62 & 60.)
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Old 08-05-2020, 04:21 PM   #4
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Yes, those that you thought of as close friends will soon not be. I retired six years ago at 56. It was sad to see friends fade away because of my independence. I have always been very LBYM. Over time I have accepted this as a natural progression. I relocated to a town this spring where I did not know anyone. It's been a challenge to rebuild a network. Some of the people that I am meeting must also be FIRE'd.

Start building a new network of friends, those old connections will not be what they were in the past.
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Old 08-05-2020, 04:41 PM   #5
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I made the mistake of doing a retirement planning talk at w#rk, and letting folks know I had ER plans. Most often get incredulous reactions, and envious reactions...only true friends will be happy for you, but even they will not comprehend how ER is possible.
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Old 08-05-2020, 04:59 PM   #6
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Back in my mid 50ís, I sometimes worked 1 day a week, and sometimes worked from home or our snowbird condo. Working friends would ask ďWhat is your secret?Ē I always gave some vague reply. I didnít tell them when I retired just in case. But I donít remember anyone getting all bent out of shape about it. We are all retired now and still friends so all is well.
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Old 08-05-2020, 05:41 PM   #7
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I have a regular golf group Iíve been playing with for years. At the 19th hole shortly after I retired one of the guys made a snarky remark ďI sure donít know of many people that retired at 58Ē. I replied that ďI bet you donít know many people that saved half their incomeĒ. Some people donít get it.
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Old 08-05-2020, 06:25 PM   #8
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We moved so we made a lot of new friends under our new circumstances. All comment that we are too young to retire, but enjoy our company anyway.
We have some old friends who make the journey to see us and maybe they know us best. They would have expected nothing less, knowing how goal oriented we were.
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Old 08-05-2020, 06:31 PM   #9
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I had a different experience - I've had many friends relook at their situation, make changes, and retire. They have said that I inspired them. One hadn't really been thinking about income potential from a granny flat they have. Another realized he had more than enough and was working out of habit more than anything. A third realized that when their house was paid off they'd need less money - and could swing it on pensions/savings. A fourth needed to figure out the health insurance bit - and after talking to me about the guaranteed coverage under ACA she pulled the plug. The last was laid off - but she'd been letting her boss know she was ready to be laid off for two years. (My entire former work group was shut down.) No intention of getting another job. Her text to me when it happened was "I retired on the company dime!"

I've had very few people react negatively when they find out I retired at 52.
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Old 08-05-2020, 06:32 PM   #10
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OP I think your situation is a bit different than most of those who will respond (given our demographics here by default). Female relationships are trickier to start with, but you know that.

The decades/vacation part implies very close friends for a very long time, long enough that even if she's totally accepting of the difference in finances, she might feel a bit wounded that you never said anything earlier? Just guessing, could be wrong, but that's quite a different level of closeness than "dude I play golf with every other weekend" friends.

In your shoes, I'd probably take her to lunch and let her talk more, find out what's bothering her most, and try to move past it and just put finances in the back pocket where they've always been. But if it survives or not depends more on her than you at this point.
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Old 08-05-2020, 06:37 PM   #11
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No issues here. Several of our friends retired before us (they were a little older), so we all retired around 60.

We all talked about getting out around 60 for years, so that is what we all planned for, and did.
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Old 08-05-2020, 06:54 PM   #12
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Friends after FIRE

Thank you all for the responses.

Agree, female friendships can be tricky and maybe she is hurt that I have not shared more about these plans. I don't want to sound like I am boasting, so I just talk about family, etc.

Other friends know our FIRE plans and are happy.
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Old 08-05-2020, 07:04 PM   #13
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I ER’d at 55. I didn’t have any negative reactions from friends but, as you would expect, it is harder to sync your retired life with their working life. That can put a strain on friendships.
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Old 08-06-2020, 09:09 AM   #14
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I think ER simply speeds the sorting process, allowing real friends to shine and casual/transactional/accidental friendships to fade. And if you only end up with one or two real friends? Fine. Better to know that than to waste time on ones not ultimately worth it
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Old 08-06-2020, 09:53 AM   #15
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I think ER simply speeds the sorting process, allowing real friends to shine and casual/transactional/accidental friendships to fade. And if you only end up with one or two real friends? Fine. Better to know that than to waste time on ones not ultimately worth it
I agree, real friends are with you no matter the circumstances.
One of my best friends, also happens to be a former coworker, is 67 and still working. Plans to go to 70. I'm 56 and retired 3 years now. We live far apart now, but still talk regularly. His financial picture is such that he needs to work until then. Although he wants to pull the trigger on retirement. Choices made, along with some circumstances beyond his control make it what it is for him. But he doesn't have any bad feelings about me being retired so much earlier than him. We get along good and visit when we can.
When I did retire, most people were encouraging and wanted to have the same, but their financial status required keeping working.
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Old 08-06-2020, 10:29 AM   #16
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The decades/vacation part implies very close friends for a very long time, long enough that even if she's totally accepting of the difference in finances, she might feel a bit wounded that you never said anything earlier? Just guessing, could be wrong, but that's quite a different level of closeness than "dude I play golf with every other weekend" friends.
+1, this is what I was thinking when reading the OP's post, too. I didn't have any reactions like that from my work friends, but we were not that close.

When I retired, I really didn't follow up on friendships. My friends while I was working were "work friends" and mostly we were just thrown together working on the same projects. We didn't spend much if any time together outside of work. So, when I retired, the friendships just naturally receded into the past. Their lives were still almost entirely involved with work, mine wasn't any more, and our paths just naturally diverged. I think of them now and then, but not enough to even call any of them on the phone.

Even if I met up with my work friends I really wouldn't have time for them now. I am so busy with retired life. I know it sounds odd but honestly I am busier now than I was before. So many things I want to see and do! Really the only friend I have now IRL is Frank. I do want to find some girlfriends too at some point, but during a pandemic is probably not the best time to pursue new friendships. So, that can wait.
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Old 08-06-2020, 11:26 AM   #17
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One of the lessons I have learned in life is that there are people who may be friends, even close friends - as long as they perceive they are in a better "state" than you, or that you are as miserable as they are. As soon as they see you as having an advantage or being happy, the friendship can wane.

I am not surprised by the OP's experience. It has happened to us, well before FIRE. The majority of our friends have evolved to those who are happy for our successes and are a support for our troubles, just as we try to do for them. The saying "those who mind do not matter, those who matter do not mind" rings true.

The only thing we do... is nothing. We do not talk about our FIRE situation, as it can be interpreted as bragging. We just live and enjoy our lives. There may be hope for the long run...a few of these friends who faded away at first returned to closeness after time went on, admitting that they were focusing too much on their jealousy instead of taking care of their own situation.
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Old 08-06-2020, 12:29 PM   #18
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We were unprepared for the resentment from some acquaintances. One couple stopped talking to us. I started saying we worked from home. DH was always pretty upfront about us being retired. In hindsight, I think he had the right idea. I should have not had to fudge the truth to make other people feel less jealous. That was really their issue, not mine.

I could kind of tell who never read The Millionaire Next Door from some people's reactions. A few seemed much friendlier when they thought we were poor ant not just frugal. But our thrifty habits and not spending money on designer clothes and luxury cars were part of what helped us retire early, which was the message from TMND. Some of our neighbors made it a point to tell us their incomes after we told them we were retired, like they felt inferior about not being retired and were trying to impress us.

Some of our friends retired early before us, before we realized it was even a possibility for us, and we were happy for them. If anything we asked them questions on how they did it and learned form them. We're still all good friends to this day.
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Old 08-06-2020, 12:55 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by jollystomper View Post
One of the lessons I have learned in life is that there are people who may be friends, even close friends - as long as they perceive they are in a better "state" than you, or that you are as miserable as they are. As soon as they see you as having an advantage or being happy, the friendship can wane.

I am not surprised by the OP's experience. It has happened to us, well before FIRE. The majority of our friends have evolved to those who are happy for our successes and are a support for our troubles, just as we try to do for them. The saying "those who mind do not matter, those who matter do not mind" rings true.

The only thing we do... is nothing. We do not talk about our FIRE situation, as it can be interpreted as bragging. We just live and enjoy our lives. There may be hope for the long run...a few of these friends who faded away at first returned to closeness after time went on, admitting that they were focusing too much on their jealousy instead of taking care of their own situation.
Yep, never underestimate the concept of jealousy for this matter.
For us, we have many non retired friends who are in their early 50's, so no issue there. Some friends are retired, but older than us, so no issue there either.
Mainly just lucky.
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Old 08-06-2020, 02:12 PM   #20
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DH was always pretty upfront about us being retired. In hindsight, I think he had the right idea. I should have not had to fudge the truth to make other people feel less jealous. That was really their issue, not mine.

Iíve only been FIREd for one month and have been cringing when DW tells people ďHe retired!Ē Iíve been saying, ďIím on sabbatical.Ē This comment helps me get over trying to control othersí perceptions, because:

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. The majority of our friends have evolved to those who are happy for our successes and are a support for our troubles, just as we try to do for them. The saying "those who mind do not matter, those who matter do not mind" rings true.
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