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SecretlyFI 01-17-2013 09:50 PM

Does being good with money have to be a secret?
 
Hi,
I'm happy to have found this forum where being responsible with money is appreciated and celebrated. As I've moved closer to FI I've started to feel like it needs to be kept very quiet and not shared with people. Family and friends are either jealous or start taking advantage of you. Co-workers who are busy talking about their expensive cars, houses and vacations seem like they would have some contempt as well. Even worse, I've heard comments made about people who are believed to be in good shape financially as being at the bottom of the list for promotions and bonuses with the explanation that they don't need the money. And these were spoken by the people making those decisions (who also complain about not having enough $$).

So it seems like people like us need to live in the FI closet and/or be subject to penalties. Like it's not bad enough that tax deductions get phased out and SS might start getting means tested and I'll probably never get a break on college aid for my son. Sheesh.

Don't get me wrong, none of this deters me from my goals and I feel happy every day with my success but it sure would be nice to not have to hide it. Have others experienced this?

By the way, here's my stats to round out my intro. 44, married with 11 yr old son. Got aggresive with banishing debt about 3 years ago. We only ever had a mortgage and car loans but I realized it was holding us back and decided once it was gone, I would only earn interest and never pay it again. Paid off the house 2 years ago. Now we're putting 60k a year away after tax in addition to maxing out 401k. Portfolio is at 700k now and I'm feeling good about FIRE by 55. Incredibly I also have a DB pension that would start at 65 for 80k a year. My worst fear is that the pension will be taken away next. Not that we couldn't make it without it but it would be a real body blow and cement that feeling that good guys never get a break.

Anyway, I'm so grateful to have found this forum. Thanks

RunningBum 01-17-2013 10:07 PM

Welcome. I generally found it best to lay low, but that's my nature anyway. The good news is, you'll get the last laugh when you ER. I get an occasional comment about how "lucky" I am to be retired, but I just say that I made my own luck, which is true.

traineeinvestor 01-17-2013 10:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SecretlyFI (Post 1272501)

Don't get me wrong, none of this deters me from my goals and I feel happy every day with my success but it sure would be nice to not have to hide it. Have others experienced this?

Welcome to the forum.


Sure have, although not as extreme as you have. Once people know you are leaving, your chances of getting a discretionary bonus pretty much evaporate and that is entirely undertsandable - why waste money on someone who is leaving?

The greater issue is the "what will you do all day" response. DW and my parents are all predicting that I will go back to work simply because I will be bored in retirement. Yeah, right!

growing_older 01-18-2013 01:00 AM

That has been my experience as well. Even good friends with different money goals do not appreciate that I have saved quite a bit, almost like they think I either cheated or had some advantage they did not. Most people who talk about money like to spend it or borrow it it seems. Only once in a while someone will be like me, very quiet during these talks, but later one on one I can find a fellow frugal saver, but it is very rare.

At work, people who are hungry get more consideration for raises. People known to be happy about their position and compensation get lesser priority when dividing the raise pool. Likewise people coasting to a retirement get no new interesting work assignments. I'm very quiet about my plans and even about my inclination to FIRE. I let everyone know I am eager for better pay and better assignments, although I'm in the shadow of FI and really could cruise along fine even with a big pay cut. If that were known I think my work life would suffer considerably. I don't even browse early-retirement.org from work, lest someone get the wrong (or right) idea.

Major Tom 01-18-2013 01:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SecretlyFI (Post 1272501)
Hi,
Have others experienced this?

I think many of us have. I have experienced it a little, in the form of comments from friends and family, such as suggestions that I'm "loaded", or remarks along the lines of "It's OK for you, you've got money", and even a suggestion after a year or two of semi-retirement that I get a job.

Most of these comments were made in what seemed like a fairly good-natured fashion but I did wonder about one or two of them. However, recently I saw a quote, either here or on Facebook that I think applies perfectly, and that is, "It is none of your business what others think of you."

Indeed. I find that thought quite freeing.

bUU 01-18-2013 04:28 AM

I've experienced both sides of the spectrum in just the last 15 hours, though related to financial insights rather than actual financial assets. I've had two financial discussions with friends-who-are-also-co-workers.

Full disclosure: The first is my absolute best friend, excepting my spouse, so her consideration and support and friendliness would be without reserve, regardless. Anyway: She had been contributing 10% traditional 401(k) and 6% Roth 401(k), and trying to eek out some extra cash to fund an IRA. Our company 401(k) sucks very badly, with ERs in the 1.4% range and undistinguished funds besides. We have no company match. So I shared with her how much I've learned over the last six months and she'll probably be aiming to switch things around so that all her contributions are pre-tax (she's in a lower tax bracket and even her own brokerage's IRA calculator recommends she steer clear of Roth given her situation), and that she fully-fund her IRA for now, even if that means less going into her 401(k). She was very appreciative of the insights and assistance.

The other discussion was about the ending of the payroll tax holiday. Someone (perhaps in this forum?) noted yesterday, ‎"Funny, I remember people dismissing the small gain they saw from the payroll tax holiday when it first came into effect. I guess that is human psychology: We tend to regret a loss more than we appreciate a gain of the same amount." I thought that was a very insightful comment and posted it to my Facebook timeline. This friend got very snarky in her reply, "maybe the people in your circle dismissed the gain". I work at the other side of the office so I don't know for sure but I suspect she was one of those people whining loudly when paychecks were distributed yesterday morning, showing the effect of the ending of the payroll tax holiday, as if the company or the government did something nasty to her, instead of recognizing the tax holiday simply as a good thing that had come to an end.

obgyn65 01-18-2013 04:35 AM

Welcome.

Bestwifeever 01-18-2013 08:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Major Tom (Post 1272552)
I think many of us have. I have experienced it a little, in the form of comments from friends and family, such as suggestions that I'm "loaded", or remarks along the lines of "It's OK for you, you've got money", and even a suggestion after a year or two of semi-retirement that I get a job.

....

We get the opposite from one friend. We've been retired for 4 years and don't get SS, and she is absolutely mystified that we can afford our lifestyle. I tell her it's magic.

REWahoo 01-18-2013 08:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bestwifeever (Post 1272602)
We've been retired for 4 years and don't get SS, and she is absolutely mystified that we can afford our lifestyle. I tell her it's magic.

To her it probably is. :)

travelover 01-18-2013 09:59 AM

My friends and relatives think I'm a slacker and a kept man. I do nothing to dissuade this impression.

Midpack 01-18-2013 10:19 AM

Having had a few conversations with people over the years, I quickly concluded there's no point in 'evangelizing' about FI. I never have to begin with - and I (would) never bring it up, I know it won't end with any benefit to either party.

Many times when people ask they're just making conversation and really don't want answers. I tell them I was just lucky (that's what they believe anyway), laugh it off and change the subject. When people seriously ask, I answer honestly & humbly but as briefly/concisely as possible. I almost always get the 'German shepard look' or a half million reasons why they couldn't possibly follow. I agree with them and (deftly) change the subject. If people probe further, I recommend books that have been helpful to me. That's as far as I will go.

There's no need to hide LBYM and it's extensions, western culture has people believing they can buy happiness, status, friends, love and anything else they want. It so pervasive that it's spread by the masses among themselves - 'keeping up with the Joneses.' There's no danger a lot of people will figure out 'our secret.' Plenty of books, articles, etc. are out there - they aren't popular. Most of what I know came from people like Bogle and Bernstein.

Bottom line: Arguing about LBYM or investment philosophy is truly as pointless as arguing about religion or spirituality. Why bother?

travelover 01-18-2013 10:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Midpack (Post 1272647)
..........
Bottom line: Arguing about investment philosophy is truly as pointless as arguing about religion or spirituality. Why bother?


Amen :laugh: to that. Even among people that have seriously asked my advice I've had not a single convert.

REWahoo 01-18-2013 10:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by travelover (Post 1272656)
Amen :laugh: to that. Even among people that have seriously asked my advice I've had not a single convert.

Same here. I think that tithing thing turns them off...

NotMyFault 01-18-2013 10:44 AM

Ok this may sound paranoid but you should absolutely keep your financial acumen a secret. You tell a friend they casually say something to another friend and the next thing you know your house is robbed. Criminals do not pick their targets randomly. Oh and don't drive a fancy car they are like a sign that says steal from me. Sorry for being nuts but me wife's dad is a retired police officer.

NMF

REWahoo 01-18-2013 10:48 AM

Assuming there is any, my financial acumen is not associated with material possessions that could be stolen in a burglary. Well, perhaps there is an association in a negative way.

Midpack 01-18-2013 10:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NotMyFault (Post 1272659)
Ok this may sound paranoid but you should absolutely keep your financial acumen a secret. You tell a friend they casually say something to another friend and the next thing you know your house is robbed. Criminals do not pick their targets randomly. Oh and don't drive a fancy car they are like a sign that says steal from me. Sorry for being nuts but me wife's dad is a retired police officer.

NMF

LBYM is new to you I take it. The only valuable assets an LBYMer is likely to have aren't at 'the house' and most don't have/want fancy cars. Have you read "The Millionaire Next Door" by any chance? Great book IMO...

Major Tom 01-18-2013 10:50 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by NotMyFault (Post 1272659)
Ok this may sound paranoid but you should absolutely keep your financial acumen a secret. You tell a friend they casually say something to another friend and the next thing you know your house is robbed. Criminals do not pick their targets randomly. Oh and don't drive a fancy car they are like a sign that says steal from me. Sorry for being nuts but me wife's dad is a retired police officer.

NMF

Welcome to the forums but I can tell you that if I had much in the way of things worth stealing, I wouldn't be FI ;D

NotMyFault 01-18-2013 10:55 AM

Not having the good stuff doesn't stop people who think you do from breaking in your house. I have seen many posts from people that have described having nice things that I am sure they want to keep. A thief would be very disappointed with the take at my house.


NMF

heeyy_joe 01-18-2013 10:57 AM

I join others in offering a hearty welcome to the forum and add my congratualtions for figuring out how to LBYM. The only negatives DW and I get are from her side of the family. A lifetime of spendthrifts is now a round chorus of "pay my bills for me cause you got so much 'n I ain't got nuthin'". Well, you reap what you sow. Nearly all people at work are supportive yet incredulous about anyone in their 50's being FI, or looking to RE. And I wouldn't worry about the pension. They might freeze it (not contribute further) but what you have earned is partially or all covered via government guarantees. Now, let's all wait and see what a buck is worth in twenty years when we have too much money chasing too few goods. Cheers! Joe

T-bird 01-18-2013 11:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by travelover (Post 1272635)
My friends and relatives think I'm a slacker and a kept man. I do nothing to dissuade this impression.

Before my DW and I figured out that she could ER last year at 55 I was under the impression that I would be able to finish up before her and use your line as my own. Now I have to wait while the better looking of us gets to do what she wants while I struggle for 47 more w*rking days before I hit the exit. :laugh: And will be 58 to boot! Life just isn't fair sometimes. :facepalm: Oh well I'll just have to be thankful that I'm getting out when I can.

T-bird
Class of 2013
DW Class of 2012


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