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Is There Any Yearning to Be Recognized for Your FIRE Success?
Old 02-11-2021, 10:17 AM   #1
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Is There Any Yearning to Be Recognized for Your FIRE Success?

I have been living below my means for 20 years while climbing up the corporate ladder. I invested extra funds from promotions and bonuses to get to my FIRE goal. I am FI and will work for another 10 years until RE.

From the outside, no one can tell my financial net worth. I live in smaller house than I can afford, drive old reliable cars with scratches and my wife jokes that I dress like a homeless guy. I like to wear socks until they have holes in them. I prefer my old jacket and don't buy much new clothes. I prefer my sweat pants to name brand outfits. I only dress up for work with a suit and tie.

On the other hand, I have a brother who lives in a big house with heavy credit card debts. He has a flashy car, latest phones/TVs and lavish gifts to others. Everyone thinks he is very successful even though he is living paycheck to paycheck.

Is there any yearning to be recognized for your FIRE success?
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Old 02-11-2021, 10:28 AM   #2
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Not really. I don't get my self worth from what others may think of me and what I own.
I buy what I want.
We do have two 5 year old cars, I have some designer clothes and purses ( but they were bought at a discount store), if/when we travel we go first class. Our house is 60+ years old.
I could afford to look a lot wealthier to the outside world, but why?
DH and I are happy where we are and how we live.
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Old 02-11-2021, 10:35 AM   #3
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No Not really and I think you'll have the last laugh in the end.
If your wired in such a way to achieve FIRE as you have it's hard to be the show off type. There is a lot of the "illusion of wealth " that goes on out there rather than the actual wealth that many of us stealth types achieve. I am certain that the majority of people see others with the "illusion of wealth" and fall in to the envy mode. Heck I see it all around my small neighborhood. One of the neighbors is about my age and is always crying poor mouth about how he'll never be able to retire. Meanwhile he built the house as a second home and probably over his budget but you know it impresses the other neighbors at cocktail time.
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Old 02-11-2021, 10:43 AM   #4
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Just the opposite for us. We would prefer people think of us as just getting by, making them less likely to ask us for money. We even considered allowing our families to believe that we are still working (I am still working until April - DW retired last year). Ultimately though, it seemed too difficult of a lie (or omission) to pull off.
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Old 02-11-2021, 10:44 AM   #5
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I remember in college telling an advisor I hoped to be as successful as she and her husband. She paused and asked why I thought they were successful. I pointed out their businesses, her car and his truck, their home. She simply sighed and replied “ATX78701, sometimes you don’t know how much debt people have.”

At one time I fed my ego and showed off. Fancy this or that. Mostly the condo or house I had and some furnishings. Eventually, I saw them as the obstacles to FIRE. I want to enjoy want I have, but not to show off.
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Old 02-11-2021, 11:06 AM   #6
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It's much better to stay under the radar but during your early retirement don't be afraid to spend.
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Old 02-11-2021, 11:09 AM   #7
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Is there any yearning to be recognized for your FIRE success?
Thankfully, no. Fretting that my choices in lifestyle are not optimum is not a plague I have to fight.

Needing to be recognized for my goal achievement or needing to be critical of others for their lifestyle choices are real signs of insecurity. But over time you can learn to live in your own skin.
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Old 02-11-2021, 11:14 AM   #8
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No, really prefer people think were just average among our peers in terms of being “well off”.

Now that this one company starting neighbor left, we could possibly be the wealthiest in our neighborhood not counting the developer. But do I want people to know it? No way!!
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Old 02-11-2021, 11:16 AM   #9
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Is there any yearning to be recognized for your FIRE success?
Absolutely not.

I did what I needed to do, in order to live the life I wanted to live. I think many people who are not retired have done this, too.
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Old 02-11-2021, 11:20 AM   #10
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No, really prefer people think were just average among our peers in terms of being “well off”.

Now that this one company starting neighbor left, we could possibly be the wealthiest in our neighborhood not counting the developer. But do I want people to know it? No way!!
And, of course, "FIRE success" doesn't necessarily mean you're "well off." Just refer to the "How Low Can You Go" thread..........
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Old 02-11-2021, 11:24 AM   #11
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We even once had some neighbors say something like “of course you young folks are still working”. Have no idea how they concluded that, but we didn’t disabuse them of their idea.
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Old 02-11-2021, 11:27 AM   #12
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I like to keep a low profile. And I thrive as a dark horse.
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Old 02-11-2021, 11:27 AM   #13
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No desire to be 'recognized'.....especially in a police lineup.
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Old 02-11-2021, 11:28 AM   #14
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To answer the OP's question, I did when it came to a few, select people. Those people were the ones I knew but not too well (i.e. they didn't know I was planning to retire) and who stood to benefit from my retiring. They benefited from my added availability to be with them in our common activities.
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Old 02-11-2021, 11:33 AM   #15
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Just the opposite for us. We would prefer people think of us as just getting by, making them less likely to ask us for money.
+1. Absolutely no desire to be "recognized" for my FIRE accomplishments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by finnski1 View Post
One of the neighbors is about my age and is always crying poor mouth about how he'll never be able to retire. Meanwhile he built the house as a second home and probably over his budget but you know it impresses the other neighbors at cocktail time.
I know someone exactly like this. He knows I'm doing well enough financially to have been retired since my late 40s, and this has prompted him on multiple occasions to say "At the rate I'm going, I literally won't be able to retire until I'm 90!" Unsurprisingly, he has a very gold-plated lifestyle: country club membership, big fancy house, multiple luxury cars, vacation home, etc. etc.

I am MUCH happier living my low-stress, comfortable, middle class FIRE lifestyle in relative anonymity than losing sleep and popping antacid pills trying to keep up a flashy, spendy, hyperconsumer lifestyle.
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Old 02-11-2021, 11:33 AM   #16
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... I can afford, drive old reliable cars with scratches and my wife jokes that I dress like a homeless guy. I like to wear socks until they have holes in them. I prefer my old jacket and don't buy much new clothes. I prefer my sweat pants to name brand outfits. I only dress up for work with a suit and tie.
....
True to my heart but is my wife's dismay. "Can you PLEASE take off your sweatshirt with paint stains before we go out..?"
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Old 02-11-2021, 11:43 AM   #17
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I'm a lot more like you than your brother.
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Old 02-11-2021, 11:54 AM   #18
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Nope. I was almost embarrassed when the subject came up. Now that I look old as hell it's not a problem. Medicare is usually the only subject that pops up within my circle of friends related to retirement. Ha.
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Old 02-11-2021, 12:04 PM   #19
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No way, no how. I much prefer the stealth wealth mode of living.

I am actually pretty proud to roll around in my 10 year old Accord that has some dents/dings in it, it draws ZERO attention and I like to brag to my DW about the $18 a month it costs for insurance.

My neighbor is very much status seeking (or appears as though he is) but not retired. He had a Raptor F-150 (I think it was a 2019 model) and just traded it for a brand new super duty "Tremor" that has a sticker price of almost $100K. I am not one to judge, but I find it somewhat comical to have such an expensive vehicle that sits outside. They also have a fairly new Jag they take out on Friday nights and it has had a spare tire on it for a couple of months now.
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Old 02-11-2021, 12:33 PM   #20
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I have been living below my means for 20 years while climbing up the corporate ladder. I invested extra funds from promotions and bonuses to get to my FIRE goal. I am FI and will work for another 10 years until RE.
If you're already financially set, why do you want to work another 10 years?
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