Author Topic: ashamed to be FIRE?  (Read 5306 times)

Cashonda

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ashamed to be FIRE?
« on: November 14, 2017, 11:13:34 AM »
Maybe a weird question...

Have any of you FIREd or partially FIREd and then were embarrassed to tell people about it?

I worked in the rat race for about 12 years and always wanted to quit and be free. I remember as a 14 year old asking my mom "how much money do you need to have so that you dont ever have to work?" She gave me a very perplexed look. But I didnt really discover people like you fine folks until recently. I mean, I heard of the 4 hour workweek, the Motley Fool and Smart Dad Dumb Dad or whatever it is called, but that didnt really answer my question. How can I quit working full time and just live off my savings?

Anyway several years ago I just got fed up and quit my job. I planned to find another job in a month or so. But I never did. I started a few passion projects and side hustles and even small businesses over time. But I never went back to working for the man full time.

I had some money saved that paid me interest, and it was pretty much enough to live on, very frugally. I wasn't like you awesome folks and I didnt plan on doing this, but it was working out ok.

The thing is, I never told ANYONE that I was doing this. Friends seemed to wonder how I could support myself without a FT job and probably gossiped behind my back but no one really asked me straight out. And the thing is, if they did, I dont know what I would have said. I told a boyfriend once after we had been dating for about a year that I lived about 50% off interest from my savings. He looked at me like I was nuts. He had a full time job and thought I was lazy because I worked when I wanted and didnt have to go to the office daily. He would even complain that he had to support me, when he was living in my house without paying rent! But I think in his mind, I didnt "work" so I was poor and so he must be supporting me- although probably it was the other way around!

Now I have discovered MMM and all the other FIRE folks and I feel like I have found my tribe. Maybe now I can finally realize what I have been doing and tell people the truth. But I still wonder if I will get flack for it.

I guess I feel a stigma toward being RE that it means I am spoiled or lazy. And I was wondering if anyone else has experienced this after retiring early.

Do people give you crap about not working a full time job while you are still young? Do people give you crap for living frugally when if you just "got a job" you could have anything you wanted?

ixtap

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2017, 12:04:13 PM »
Just keep the focus on what you ARE doing, rather than what you are not doing. Has your health improved? Are you getting involved in anything new?

jim555

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2017, 12:09:10 PM »
I used to tell people I was retired.  But then I would have to explain things and that is more information than I am willing to share, and it gives away I have money.  So now I say I work from home.  Too much information can create weird reactions.

I have always been frugal so no one was surprised when I told them I retired. 

Someone I know couldn't understand how I could give up so much money by quitting.  Told her not to worry about it.


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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2017, 01:24:01 PM »
I'm in the jim555 boat.  A few select people know my status but most people think I "work from home".  It isn't worth the hassle to explain it to someone who isn't going to be enthusiastic about it.  Weird sidelong glances and lots of disbelief.
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RyanAtTanagra

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2017, 02:30:52 PM »
First, I hope you got rid of that boyfriend, he sounds like an idiot.  Or that he at least came around.

Second, I don't plan on telling people I'm retired/fi/fire/whatever, for those reasons.  I'm just going to say 'I'm taking a break and living off savings until I figure out what I want to do.'  If people realize I haven't worked in a long time I'll just say 'yea, I still haven't run out of savings yet, so I'm just enjoying it.'  People might not understand how one can invest enough to live on, but most can at least wrap their head around having enough savings to take a break, albeit short maybe.

frompa

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2017, 02:35:38 PM »
Well, I don't know that "embarrassed" is the right word, but I am reluctant to say that I'm retired because even though I have enough gray hair to look close to normal retirement age (which has been true since I was about 25...), people think nothing of giving me crap about not working.  And frankly, my decisions around work/not work are not something I feel I need to defend or even describe to casual acquaintances or even friends.  If your reluctance to tell others of your status, however, is on account of something that doesn't sit right with you, then you should pay attention to it and figure that out.  But if you're just having to fend off others comments, either don't tell or work on your skills of changing the subject. 

In the big picture, though, this isn't a bad problem to have!!

DS

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2017, 02:43:24 PM »
I always find it interesting. I have heard from the same people who buy lottery tickets that early retirement is "lazy."

AKA...It's "lazy" if they aren't the ones doing it.

Cookie78

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2017, 02:47:51 PM »
Well I think you are awesome and I hope you booted the bf out as soon as he said HE was supporting YOU!! Unreal!

As for me, my parents and one of my brothers know, but probably don't really quite believe the extent to which I am FI. Especially my dad.
My other brother knows and recently we've been talking a lot about it and he's listening to ChooseFI and MadFientist, and interested in improving his financial situation.
My bf knows and is working towards FIRE himself.

No one else knows very much. I tell most people I am taking a year off work to spend time with my family (who live a 9 hour drive away), which technically is true. I am scheduled to go back to work in August and may do so for a few weeks, or longer if my rental house doesn't sell. After that maybe I'll tell them I took another year off, maybe I'll tell them I quit. I guess it depends on who I am talking to.

All that to say I do sometimes feel a little bit embarrassed, because from outside appearances I am not working and living in my mom's basement! I came back to my home town for most of my first FIRE year to help out my mom and hang out with my family. My family is all thrilled to have me around, especially my mom, and they know I'm not a free-loading bum. Anyway, it doesn't bother me that much, just a little bit on the rare occasion. And no one as actually said nor insinuated anything negative.

Ultimately it's no one else's business and their opinions shouldn't matter.

life_travel

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2017, 03:24:21 PM »
Maybe a weird question...

Have any of you FIREd or partially FIREd and then were embarrassed to tell people about it?

I worked in the rat race for about 12 years and always wanted to quit and be free. I remember as a 14 year old asking my mom "how much money do you need to have so that you dont ever have to work?" She gave me a very perplexed look. But I didnt really discover people like you fine folks until recently. I mean, I heard of the 4 hour workweek, the Motley Fool and Smart Dad Dumb Dad or whatever it is called, but that didnt really answer my question. How can I quit working full time and just live off my savings?

Anyway several years ago I just got fed up and quit my job. I planned to find another job in a month or so. But I never did. I started a few passion projects and side hustles and even small businesses over time. But I never went back to working for the man full time.

I had some money saved that paid me interest, and it was pretty much enough to live on, very frugally. I wasn't like you awesome folks and I didnt plan on doing this, but it was working out ok.

The thing is, I never told ANYONE that I was doing this. Friends seemed to wonder how I could support myself without a FT job and probably gossiped behind my back but no one really asked me straight out. And the thing is, if they did, I dont know what I would have said. I told a boyfriend once after we had been dating for about a year that I lived about 50% off interest from my savings. He looked at me like I was nuts. He had a full time job and thought I was lazy because I worked when I wanted and didnt have to go to the office daily. He would even complain that he had to support me, when he was living in my house without paying rent! But I think in his mind, I didnt "work" so I was poor and so he must be supporting me- although probably it was the other way around!

Now I have discovered MMM and all the other FIRE folks and I feel like I have found my tribe. Maybe now I can finally realize what I have been doing and tell people the truth. But I still wonder if I will get flack for it.

I guess I feel a stigma toward being RE that it means I am spoiled or lazy. And I was wondering if anyone else has experienced this after retiring early.

Do people give you crap about not working a full time job while you are still young? Do people give you crap for living frugally when if you just "got a job" you could have anything you wanted?
I can't answer your question as we haven't FIREd yet but want to say welcome ! Yes I felt like an outsider for years until I found my tribe at MMM forums , it's awesome :)

spartana

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2017, 03:58:10 PM »
I'm in the jim555 boat.  A few select people know my status but most people think I "work from home".  It isn't worth the hassle to explain it to someone who isn't going to be enthusiastic about it.  Weird sidelong glances and lots of disbelief.
Me too. Started out saying I was taking an extended sabbatical (which was true) but when People started bugging me about it and I knew I wasnt going back to work ever I started to say I work from home/remotely. Because I had previously had an outdoor field job it was a little harder to lie. Didn't tell people that because I was ashamed but just so they would stop bugging me. Now I do say I retired early and explain if asked. Still get lots of negativity but easier now. Back when I first ERed and was also very newly divorced most though I took the ex for everything and was getting alimony. Nope. Split assets equally (and had earned them.equally) and no alimony for either of us
« Last Edit: November 14, 2017, 04:04:07 PM by spartana »
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2Birds1Stone

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2017, 04:07:32 PM »
Can't you just tell the truth and say you're self employer/entrepreneur? No one needs to know that half your income comes from investments :)
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Cali Nonya

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2017, 04:58:51 PM »
Actually I get the OP's comment, but I would like to rephrase it.

It may not be that you are embarrassed, but that you are feeling judged for a perceived lack of a work ethic.
For many groups / cultures, being productive is highly valued, especially in your 'working' years.  If you are not producing, you are failing your social contract.

My take on that is that there can be many different types of productivity not just wage work (but we have gotten used to equating only wage-work as 'work').  Not to disagree with any of the above, but just point out that a bit of a mental tweek might just be what is needed.  Focus on what you are currently contributing, not on how you are getting by.

FINate

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2017, 05:23:34 PM »
I just tell people I'm retired. Happy to answer questions if they ask. Too busy enjoying RE to care what they think about it LOL.

Retire-Canada

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2017, 06:21:27 PM »
I'm ashamed to be 48 and still working after numerous $100K+ years of income. No joke.

azure975

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2017, 10:12:54 PM »
I struggle with this as well. It's ironic because it used to be that not having to work and having leisure time signalled wealth and was desireable. Now in our workaholic culture not working is associated with laziness and worthlessness. The idea seems to be that even if you're a billionaire like Zuckerberg or Musk, you should still continue to work as a sign of work ethic and "maximizing your potential." I guess I have two problems--I care too much about what others think of me, but I also have somewhat internalized this mindset and can get down on myself for not being as hardworking as others.

I think I just need to continue to de-brainwash myself!

Rollin

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #15 on: November 15, 2017, 07:23:39 AM »
I tell people that ask. I meet a lot of people when I'm out and about and that is one question that comes up a lot - "what do you do?" I say I am retired because I am not ashamed, but rather proud of what I have accomplished. Sometimes I just go right into saying "anything and everything" and they seem a little bewildered and go to another subject. If they inquire further about what I do with my time I do not go into any more detail, as it would literally take too much time to tell them all the things I'm doing. They probably wouldn't get it still, because I estimate that people's judgement or negative comments (I have not gotten many of those) is basically their own crap coming to the surface.

My dad retired early and so did my older brother, so we are kindred spirits and I got full support from both. I love doing things with them as well, as we have no clocks to worry about and can do whatever we want. It is awesome. I also spend a lot of time with friends who still work and they understand for the most part. However, I was having coffee with two of them the other day (a beautiful and long bike ride down the beach to a local coffee house) and one mentioned he would retire in a few years and the other said "you don't want to do that!, what would you do with all that time?" Frankly, it triggered my as I was sitting right there and was feeling slightly vulnerable at the time (for unknown reason, just was). I took it as a slight, even though he did not mean any harm, and was just speaking without thinking. So, I do occasionally feel odd about what I've done.

Lastly, I have had many long discussions about why we work and what is important in life and I think that my friends really get it and would much prefer my lifestyle over theirs. I do not rub it in when I'm out riding on a beautiful day, or out in the Gulf of Mexico in my boat ON A WEEKDAY, but rather share pictures occasionally and have talks about time, flow of the day, week, seasons, and what they mean to me. In fact they are all at work now and I'm sitting outside by my pool, next to the woods (which I hiked the dogs through this morning), on a glorious sunny and cool day writing this past. How awesome is that!

Last night over beers at a local nano brewery I was explaining (as best I could) what it feels like to have ample time to finish projects with quality as opposed to rushing through things and getting all stressed. Or, just getting more on the clocks that the dogs use (hint - they don't use one) and go out for our walks regardless of the DST clock changes. Etc. etc.

Thank you for asking a great question. However, I will say at last that if you direct your life based on other's comments you may just well end up as miserable as most of them seem to think they are. Remember, it's their crap not yours (but, you can have some compassion for them :).
« Last Edit: November 15, 2017, 10:12:31 AM by Rollin »
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soccerluvof4

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #16 on: November 15, 2017, 08:49:15 AM »
If people ask I dont have a problem telling people I am retired. I too am proud of it but depending to on what questions they start asking me and or how they act depends on how much further I will say. At times I have said , well its not like i retired rich or anything but was tired of what i was doing and thought now with where we are with kids and stuff will give it a go and see how it works out. Thats about as far as I will go.
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misshathaway

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #17 on: November 15, 2017, 09:19:34 AM »
You can't hide it from your neighbors or family and I'm not a quick enough thinker to evade a point-blank question from an acquaintance. The reaction has been mostly negative. I never volunteer the info because it often ends up with intrusive questions about money and unsolicited suggestions about how I should use my time. The upside of these exchanges is that eventually I got a thicker skin and now care much less about what other people think of me.
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Retire-Canada

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #18 on: November 15, 2017, 09:35:07 AM »
You can't hide it from your neighbors or family ...

If I told people I was working from home as a consultant they'd have no idea and no way to realistically verify if it was true. That said you may not want to lie to people.

spartana

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #19 on: November 15, 2017, 09:52:59 AM »
You can't hide it from your neighbors or family ...

If I told people I was working from home as a consultant they'd have no idea and no way to realistically verify if it was true. That said you may not want to lie to people.
True. I usually told neighbors and aquaintences that I was working from home but was pretty much up front about being retired with friends or potential romantic partners. Although because I travelled often for several months at a time some questioned what I actually did (International Woman Of Mystery? Kept Woman who travels with Sugar Daddy? Professional beach volleyball player? All of the above ? ;-)). When/if I ever settle into a new place I will continue to tell neighbors I work from home. Keeps those who want way too many favors or visits at bay.
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Sun Hat

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #20 on: November 15, 2017, 10:17:09 AM »
Do people give you crap about not working a full time job while you are still young? Do people give you crap for living frugally when if you just "got a job" you could have anything you wanted?

In short, yes. I get a lot of crap and unsolicited career advice from family who assume that I'm lazy. Also for living frugally when they think that if I worked, I could have everything that they think I should want. Fortunately, friends have either been supportive or we're no longer friends. Acquaintances and neighbors get a range of answers that have shades of truth and opacity depending on my whim of the day and how much inquisitive BS I feel like tolerating.

DTaggart

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #21 on: November 15, 2017, 10:23:58 AM »
This is a very pertinent thread for me, as I'm FIREing early next year and do not intend to tell my family. Obviously my husband knows what's going on, but I do not plan on sharing with my parents, siblings, or in-laws. We live 500 miles away from the nearest relative so I don't expect this will be too difficult to do.

I'm not "ashamed" that I won't be working, in fact I am extremely proud of what we've accomplished and I openly advocate for a frugal lifestyle to anyone who will listen. It's more that I don't want to have to explain and justify my decisions, especially to my dad. I don't know exactly what his deal is, but he is extremely fearful and risk-adverse when it comes to finances (all of his money is in CDs). He once read an article on Yahoo! Finance (where he gets all of his information) that said you need $3 million to retire, so that's of course what he thinks you need. (He doesn't have $3 million, and he's retired, but apparently *I* will need $3 million). I have two brothers who my parents have had to assist financially at various times, and despite the fact that I have been on my own since 19 and NEVER asked for a dime from my parents, he acts like any decision I make is going to result in him having to bail me out and his eventual insolvency and homelessness. Anytime I have expressed the merest sentiment that I might be less than ecstatic about my job, he tells me that I am lucky to be employed, and goes on and on about one of my brothers or other relatives who have had less than stellar employment histories and financial difficulties and implies I should be grateful for the opportunity to slave away for 45 years of my life. He would completely lose his shit if I told him I was going to quit my high-paying, secure job with no plans to get another one, no matter how well thought out and researched my plan is. He would just come up with 1000 crazy "what-if" scenarios "for me to think about." Then shake his head disapprovingly while passive-aggressively acting like "well, it's your decision" (to completely ruin HIS life).

I decided many years ago that I just wasn't going to discuss investing or finances with him (or politics, or religion, or the environment, or women's rights, or etc etc etc), and I certainly don't see the need to change that now. Of course if I tell anyone else in the family, it will eventually get back to him, so the immediate plan is to just not disclose it.

With my in-laws, there is a lot of money-related drama, and if they had any idea how much money we had there would be expectations of hand-outs, if not full-on support. I've written about FIL in various other threads, so I won't repeat my rants here, but TLDR he's a debt addict who constantly expects family to bail him out, and we've pretty much cut him off. SIL is still enabling him, and is pissed because she is giving him money and we're not. (So, SIL, stop giving him money - it doesn't fix his problems).

So, with anyone I'm related to, I'm just going to keep on like nothing has changed. I'd like to be open with friends/acquaintances, but I worry someone might make an offhand comment on Facebook and a family member would see it, so I'll probably be somewhat close-lipped there, too.

It makes me kind of sad, because this is a huge and exciting deal for me. I've been working my ass for years to make this happen and I'm stoked about reaching this goal and all the new and fun things I'm going to get to do, but I can't really share it :( But one of my FIRE project/goals is to make new friends (who I won't friend on FB), and maybe I can be open with them. We'll see.

infromsea

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #22 on: November 15, 2017, 10:29:14 AM »
He had a full time job and thought I was lazy because I worked when I wanted and didnt have to go to the office daily. He would even complain that he had to support me, when he was living in my house without paying rent! But I think in his mind, I didnt "work" so I was poor and so he must be supporting me- although probably it was the other way around!

Funny you ask...

My wife and I had a LONG conversation about this yesterday. I'm a "hybrid fire" in that I have a military pension and the SO still works, she likes her job and isn't a "stay at home" type of person. She gets a lot of satisfaction from her work and I'm cool with that, would never try and force her to retire, even though we could both stay home on my pension thanks to low expenses. On top of that, I do work part time teaching a course at the local community college so I tell folks I do that, teach at the CC, it keeps the questions down.

Back to convo with the SO.

I asked her if she was jealous at my free time or the other benefits listed in other posts in this thread (love em!). She said she would always be a little bit jealous at my ability to sleep late if I want or get a nice day drunk buzz if the urge hit me (not often). However she DOES enjoy the cooking/cleaning/house keeping I do.

I asked her if she could see herself ever "doing what I do" (being retired and working part time/chilling out) she said no. So, I asked her how she could be jealous then, she did not have a response.

What I think is going on here, and when others question/criticize our way of life is that they HIDE behind the "if you are not working for the man, you don't contribute to society [fu** society if contributing to it requires being a wage slave]. Most wage slaves want to share their misery with others and one argument is the old "you could be earning/doing/contributing so much more". This comes from a place of deep disgust/despair. When you tell someone you "don't work" they realize that they've made some mistakes if they HAVE to work and, realizing that, go into defensive mode and being to criticize IF their internal monologue made them feel inferior/realize they could be doing what you are doing if they've made the right choices.

My SO was irritated that she's been trying to find a new hire for her office but it's tough, a lot of folks send in resumes and answer the phone but don't show up for interviews, they are just keeping the un-employment flowing. She thinks it's wrong to get benefits IF you could hold a job (and I agree but that's another topic). I asked her if that meant I was slacking, in her eyes, and she really thought it over, and I think her jealousy towards me lessened a little bit since she verbally stated that no, I had already earned a stipend from previous work (my retirement is actually more than she makes working full time), so she saw the difference between what I do (am not "fully employed") and the behavior of someone just riding benefits out of laziness.

So, for me, there's been some guilt from walking away from a six figure salary six years before I had to and the fact that I'm not beating the bushes looking for another wage-slave job so I can keep stuffing retirement and savings accounts/buying shit we don't need (something we don't do now) and "fit in" with societies expectations but, the trade-offs are soooo worth it, as you seem to have learned. I'll take that little bit of guilt and acknowledge it and deal with it rather than the alternative, I'll take that trade any day!

Thanks for a stimulating question!




infromsea

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #23 on: November 15, 2017, 10:31:35 AM »
If people ask I dont have a problem telling people I am retired. I too am proud of it but depending to on what questions they start asking me and or how they act depends on how much further I will say. At times I have said , well its not like i retired rich or anything but was tired of what i was doing and thought now with where we are with kids and stuff will give it a go and see how it works out. Thats about as far as I will go.

I do something like this...

I tell folks, I'm blessed to have "retired early" from the military, BUT, not because we are rich, but because we are very frugal. I don't know why I feel compelled to add that but I guess it's so I don't feel as if I'm bragging about how much money I have.

infromsea

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #24 on: November 15, 2017, 10:37:35 AM »
He had a full time job and thought I was lazy because I worked when I wanted and didnt have to go to the office daily. He would even complain that he had to support me, when he was living in my house without paying rent! But I think in his mind, I didnt "work" so I was poor and so he must be supporting me- although probably it was the other way around!

Sorry you can't share your accomplishments with your old man. As a father of a 22 year old I can tell you, we never stop fretting over our kids and, our fear of what could go wrong for THEM is even greater than fear of bad things happening to us.

So, I'd say this, he's coming from a place of love, even if it doesn't feel like it.

I won't be telling my pops either (totally different demographics) but it's because I don't want him to worry about me/us/my family and we have to help him out every now and then, I don't want him to hesitate to call me because he thinks I'm not in a place to help out, otherwise I'd be very clear with him.

I hope you reach a place where you can share with your dad. I would suggest a book called Crucial Conversations, maybe it could help you find "a path" to have that conversation with him.

Best of luck!

Linda_Norway

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #25 on: November 15, 2017, 11:26:39 AM »
@DTaggart: You have a very challenging family and I understand your choice to not tell them.

In our case, FIL is an early retiree himself, retired at 50. My mother has for many years received a pension paid out after my father's death in 1995. She didn't work until 65 either. I have taked finances with her before and told her we were pretty wealthy. It didn't raise negative comments.

At work I have told a few colleagues about my future plans. One, who is in his late fifties and quite wealthy, doesn't understand what I would do with my time. Sit at home with the spouse? Not something he could consider doing himself. He probably enjoys his job quite a lot.

Cali Nonya

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #26 on: November 15, 2017, 11:37:11 AM »
I just want to say I find the responses about not caring what family and friends think very strange.  It's normal to be concerned with your standing within your inner circle, and it's very normal for parents to be concerned for their children to be financially stable.

I know my mother worries about myself and my sibling, but I plan on a working-less version of FIRE than a not-working version of FIRE, not because of peer pressure but because I am someone who does enjoy work (very much a worker bee, I had time off and didn't like it).

I just wanted to say, I think it's normal to discuss plans like this with family and for concern to be normal.  I do have these conversations with my mother, and I understand where she is coming from when she says that what I have is not enough to be retired on.  I think it's worth listening to people who are older and have seen some of the hardships that might hit that you might not be taking into account.  I know her concern is medical / health issues, not whether I am 'rich' or 'successful'.

FINate

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #27 on: November 15, 2017, 11:50:26 AM »
I don't care about their opinion on the matter. I'm open to factual concerns, or even reasonable hypotheticals. But to be frank, I've put a lot more thought and planning into FIRE than my friends and family, so it's unsurprising that they've never brought up anything insightful. Besides, the same folks trying to give me their opinion don't appreciate it when I point out that their spending habits are incongruent with their goals, or that their diet/lifestyle is endangering their health (not even a opinion, lots of science to back it). So yeah, I don't really care what they think about it.

Rollin

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #28 on: November 15, 2017, 12:07:23 PM »
This is a very pertinent thread for me, as I'm FIREing early next year and do not intend to tell my family. Obviously my husband knows what's going on, but I do not plan on sharing with my parents, siblings, or in-laws. We live 500 miles away from the nearest relative so I don't expect this will be too difficult to do.

I'm not "ashamed" that I won't be working, in fact I am extremely proud of what we've accomplished and I openly advocate for a frugal lifestyle to anyone who will listen. It's more that I don't want to have to explain and justify my decisions, especially to my dad. I don't know exactly what his deal is, but he is extremely fearful and risk-adverse when it comes to finances (all of his money is in CDs). He once read an article on Yahoo! Finance (where he gets all of his information) that said you need $3 million to retire, so that's of course what he thinks you need. (He doesn't have $3 million, and he's retired, but apparently *I* will need $3 million). I have two brothers who my parents have had to assist financially at various times, and despite the fact that I have been on my own since 19 and NEVER asked for a dime from my parents, he acts like any decision I make is going to result in him having to bail me out and his eventual insolvency and homelessness. Anytime I have expressed the merest sentiment that I might be less than ecstatic about my job, he tells me that I am lucky to be employed, and goes on and on about one of my brothers or other relatives who have had less than stellar employment histories and financial difficulties and implies I should be grateful for the opportunity to slave away for 45 years of my life. He would completely lose his shit if I told him I was going to quit my high-paying, secure job with no plans to get another one, no matter how well thought out and researched my plan is. He would just come up with 1000 crazy "what-if" scenarios "for me to think about." Then shake his head disapprovingly while passive-aggressively acting like "well, it's your decision" (to completely ruin HIS life).

I decided many years ago that I just wasn't going to discuss investing or finances with him (or politics, or religion, or the environment, or women's rights, or etc etc etc), and I certainly don't see the need to change that now. Of course if I tell anyone else in the family, it will eventually get back to him, so the immediate plan is to just not disclose it.

With my in-laws, there is a lot of money-related drama, and if they had any idea how much money we had there would be expectations of hand-outs, if not full-on support. I've written about FIL in various other threads, so I won't repeat my rants here, but TLDR he's a debt addict who constantly expects family to bail him out, and we've pretty much cut him off. SIL is still enabling him, and is pissed because she is giving him money and we're not. (So, SIL, stop giving him money - it doesn't fix his problems).

So, with anyone I'm related to, I'm just going to keep on like nothing has changed. I'd like to be open with friends/acquaintances, but I worry someone might make an offhand comment on Facebook and a family member would see it, so I'll probably be somewhat close-lipped there, too.

It makes me kind of sad, because this is a huge and exciting deal for me. I've been working my ass for years to make this happen and I'm stoked about reaching this goal and all the new and fun things I'm going to get to do, but I can't really share it :( But one of my FIRE project/goals is to make new friends (who I won't friend on FB), and maybe I can be open with them. We'll see.

Your secret will be safe with us, but we also support your direction whole-heartedly! You go!
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TheWifeHalf

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #29 on: November 15, 2017, 12:55:35 PM »
We are FI but not RE (health insurance reasons) We don't tell anyone how fortunate we've been, and don't intend to tell anyone in the future.
My family shows signs of jealousy that I don't want to deal with. I just like the outside world to not draw conclusions about us, so, we look like just average working class folk.
My family already draws conclusions based on my husband's job, I just let them think what they want and continue living my life.

it's very normal for parents to be concerned for their children to be financially stable.



Unfortunately, not all.

DTaggart

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #30 on: November 15, 2017, 01:18:56 PM »
Thank you all for your responses. I know that my dad is motivated by concern for what he thinks is best for me, it's just that his concern gets convoluted into an extremely patronizing attitude that is difficult to deal with. Since I don't want him to worry about me, and I don't see any way to make him NOT worry about my FIREing (short of saving up $3 million, and even then he'd probably come up with something), I've concluded that not telling him is the best course.

I'm comfortable with this decision, I think what bugs me is despite years of evidence to the contrary, he often acts like I'm clueless. For example several years ago my husband was working a high-paying contract job, and so one day my dad said to me "You might want to mention to MrTaggart that he should think about putting a little bit of that money aside, as sometimes those contract jobs disappear." At that time we were living off about 50% of MY paycheck, with everything else going into our many different investment accounts and paying down the mortgage. I mean, I know he was just trying to be helpful, but that's like telling Eric Clapton he should think about practicing his scales every day. I've tried to subtly allude to my vast piles of money and low expenses, and they know we've paid our house off, but it all just seems completely out of his worldview.

I'm pretty sure we'll break the news eventually. Our long term goals (probably 5 years out) involve some long-distance hiking, and I won't be able to fake having a job while spending 5-6 months hiking the PCT. So, I'm envisioning something like:

Me: Guess what Mom and Dad! MrTaggart and I are finally going to hike the PCT like we've been talking about for years!
Mom&Dad: Oh! How.... interesting. What about your job?
Me: Oh that? I quit 5 years ago, we've been living off our investments and it's been working fine.
Mom&Dad: Oh, ok then.

Should go just like that, right? :)

Retire-Canada

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #31 on: November 15, 2017, 01:21:37 PM »
I've tried to subtly allude to my vast piles of money and low expenses, and they know we've paid our house off, but it all just seems completely out of his worldview.

That's the problem with talking to family about money issues. For most people early retirement is as foreign/mind blowing as if you told them you had signed up with NASA to be a colonist on Mars.

Megma

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #32 on: November 15, 2017, 01:48:56 PM »
So, I'm envisioning something like:

Me: Guess what Mom and Dad! MrTaggart and I are finally going to hike the PCT like we've been talking about for years!
Mom&Dad: Oh! How.... interesting. What about your job?
Me: Oh that? I quit 5 years ago, we've been living off our investments and it's been working fine.
Mom&Dad: Oh, ok then.

Should go just like that, right? :)

This is hilarious. I love it. Sometimes telling your parents things years later is a good approach. Mom do you remember Step-dad's brand new white Dodge Ram pick up? When Sis was 16 and was 13 we borrowed it to go to the mall when you were out of town. It was a beast to park it back in the garage because it was so big. Maybe this is why I like small cars now?

For us, DH and I are no where near FIRE (sadly for us!) but we haven't told my mom or his parents that we bought our first rental house. My dad knows but we only told him a few months after because I wanted to ask him a maintenance question! My mom would realize we have a lot of money and ask us for some (we've already given her "loans" in the past...but now she's cut off). DH's parents seem to think we are clueless about everything despite the evidence to the contrary.
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bacchi

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #33 on: November 15, 2017, 02:31:28 PM »
I've tried to subtly allude to my vast piles of money and low expenses, and they know we've paid our house off, but it all just seems completely out of his worldview.

That's the problem with talking to family about money issues. For most people early retirement is as foreign/mind blowing as if you told them you had signed up with NASA to be a colonist on Mars.

I've told my parents numerous times and they always forget.

They just think I'm terminally unemployed and always ask about upcoming interviews.

"Still looking, mom. (Sigh.)"

harvestbook

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #34 on: November 15, 2017, 06:07:26 PM »
If you're not maximizing your laziness, you're not trying hard enough, is how I look at it.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #35 on: November 16, 2017, 05:59:46 AM »
My plan is a simple one, when I formally retire, I’m going to then have a blog/podcast business.  I’ll tell everyone that I’m an entrepreneur and support myself through my internet business. That’s it. No one will think I’m rich and ask for handouts or be resentful and I’ll have total cover to do whatever I want. I. Can. Not. Wait.

CogentCap

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #36 on: November 16, 2017, 12:02:21 PM »
If you're not maximizing your laziness, you're not trying hard enough, is how I look at it.

LOLOLOL!

I love it, but I can just imagine the look of eternal dismay on the Boomer's faces if I tried telling them that!

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #37 on: November 16, 2017, 12:17:39 PM »
If you're not maximizing your laziness, you're not trying hard enough, is how I look at it.

LOLOLOL!

I love it, but I can just imagine the look of eternal dismay on the Boomer's faces if I tried telling them that!


I didn't even realize that was my life philosophy until I saw it put into words.

CheapskateWife

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #38 on: November 16, 2017, 12:20:38 PM »
We aren't FIRE yet, but the day is coming....I've been talking about it for a few years with my parents, and thankfully when it comes to money, they are blissfully mid-western about it.  If they have concerns, they aren't voicing them.

My plan is to tell my current associates that I'm quitting to go back to consulting work.  Am I?  Probably not right away, but maybe later...on my own terms.  There is one fellow at work who knows the truth but only because I've been trying to get him to join our cult. 


soccerluvof4

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #39 on: November 16, 2017, 02:14:48 PM »
If people ask I dont have a problem telling people I am retired. I too am proud of it but depending to on what questions they start asking me and or how they act depends on how much further I will say. At times I have said , well its not like i retired rich or anything but was tired of what i was doing and thought now with where we are with kids and stuff will give it a go and see how it works out. Thats about as far as I will go.

I do something like this...

I tell folks, I'm blessed to have "retired early" from the military, BUT, not because we are rich, but because we are very frugal. I don't know why I feel compelled to add that but I guess it's so I don't feel as if I'm bragging about how much money I have.






I hear ya!! after posting that I was kind of thinking about it for the day and think I answer it that way because I feel it takes some judgement out but really is probably doesnt...haha.  End of the day I dont really care, it just works for me and seems to usually end the conversation.
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Holyoak

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #40 on: November 16, 2017, 03:39:23 PM »
If you're not maximizing your laziness, you're not trying hard enough, is how I look at it.

LOLOLOL!

I love it, but I can just imagine the look of eternal dismay on the Boomer's faces if I tried telling them that!


I didn't even realize that was my life philosophy until I saw it put into words.

I model my life after Native Americans...  Do what need be done, do it well and nothing more.  Never been much of a follower of idle hands and the devil crap/XXXXXX work ethic, etc.  I'll leave with this:

Indian Chief Two Eagles was asked by a white U.S. government official, “You have observed the white mand for 90 years.  You’ve seen his wars and his technological advances.  You’ve seen his progess, and the damage he’s done.”

The Chief nodded in agreement.

The official continued, “Considering all these events, in your opinion, where did the white man go wrong?”

The Chief stared at the government official then replied,

“When white man find land, Indians running it, no taxes, no debt, plenty buffalo, plenty beaver, clean water.  Women do all the work, medicine man free, Indian man spend all day hunting and fishing all night having sex.”

Then the Chief leaned back and smiled, “Only white man dumb enough to think he could improve system like that."

Masstache

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #41 on: November 16, 2017, 05:02:58 PM »
This is my favorite MMM forum post ever, thank you for asking the question!.  I have really enjoyed reading everybody's thoughts, and it makes me happy to have finally found my tribe.   For so many years I felt like a freak, saving my money and living well below my means.  I felt intuitively that someday I could just stop working and live off my savings, but until I found this community I had no idea that there was a name for such a thing and lots of like-minded people already doing it.

My approach to talking about my retirement has evolved in the 2 years since I FIREd.   I had planned my FIRE date and had everything lined up to walk away,  and I had told my family and a few close friends the plan.   They were mostly baffled but supportive.   And then I hit the FIRE jackpot:  2 weeks before my FIRE date I was laid off.  So I pretended to be really sad about being laid off and walked away with a nice severance package to throw on top of my stash.  It saved me the trouble of explaining to people why I had voluntarily quit my job without another one lined up.   And it really made it easy to explain my lack of going in to the office in the first few months.  I just told people I had been laid off.   But then I had to face endless questions about how the job search was going and all kinds of sob stories from neighbors who had gotten laid off (from 6 figure salaried jobs) and nearly lost their houses and clown cars because they lived paycheck to paycheck.   At first when asked about the job search I would say something like "It's summer so I decided to enjoy the good weather" and then "The school year just started so I'm helping the kids get back into the routine" and then "The Holidays are coming so I'm going to enjoy being home with family."   And eventually people stopped asking at all, and I am sure they are all looking at me and thinking "That poor bastard has been unemployed for 2 years and still hasn't found a job!"   My parents don't help at all in that respect: all my aunts and uncles and cousins will ask them "Has he found a job yet?" and even though they know I did this on purpose and that the layoff was just coincidentally timed, they always will say "No, he is still unemployed."  And from hundreds of miles away I can hear them all say "The poor bastard, still hasn't found a job."

At this point, when someone new asks the old "So what do you do?" question I usually just say "I'm at home with the kids full time" which is mostly true.  Never mind that the kids are in school 7 hours a day.  Some people don't even ask, they just make assumptions and say something like "I see you around during the day, you must work from home, which is cool."   One of my favorite MMM posts is the one about the Retirement Police, people that just won't accept that you can be actually retire younger than 65 and insist that you must still be working somehow.  I can count on one hand the number of truly satisfactory conversations I have had about my decision to retire, and these were all with old friends from engineering grad school who can do math and who really appreciate the accomplishment and freedom of having worked and saved for all those years.       

But you guys are awesome.   You are my people.  Thank you!

bacchi

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #42 on: November 16, 2017, 07:00:36 PM »
I model my life after Native Americans...  Do what need be done, do it well and nothing more.  Never been much of a follower of idle hands and the devil crap/XXXXXX work ethic, etc.  I'll leave with this:

Indian Chief Two Eagles was asked by a white U.S. government official, “You have observed the white mand for 90 years.  You’ve seen his wars and his technological advances.  You’ve seen his progess, and the damage he’s done.”

The Chief nodded in agreement.

The official continued, “Considering all these events, in your opinion, where did the white man go wrong?”

The Chief stared at the government official then replied,

“When white man find land, Indians running it, no taxes, no debt, plenty buffalo, plenty beaver, clean water.  Women do all the work, medicine man free, Indian man spend all day hunting and fishing all night having sex.”

Then the Chief leaned back and smiled, “Only white man dumb enough to think he could improve system like that."


I think it was in Neuoromancer where some Native Americans pooled their money, bought a ton of land in the midwest, stocked it with game, and then quit their office jobs to became nomads.

Miss Piggy

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #43 on: November 16, 2017, 07:25:49 PM »
And eventually people stopped asking at all, and I am sure they are all looking at me and thinking "That poor bastard has been unemployed for 2 years and still hasn't found a job!"   My parents don't help at all in that respect: all my aunts and uncles and cousins will ask them "Has he found a job yet?" and even though they know I did this on purpose and that the layoff was just coincidentally timed, they always will say "No, he is still unemployed."  And from hundreds of miles away I can hear them all say "The poor bastard, still hasn't found a job."

You lazy, good for nuthin' piece of....oh, wait...never mind.  Congrats! I hope plan to be in your shoes before too long.

SailormanDan

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #44 on: November 17, 2017, 04:29:52 AM »
When I first told my brother I was quitting the rat race and retiring he told me that was unethical.  I was not a good member of society if I wasn’t contributing to it.  He was, of course, wrong for a whole host of reasons but I found this to be a teachable moment in my life. 
Today, when others ask what I do for a living I tell them I’m a sailor.  This usually creates a perplexed look and I explain further that I own and live on my own sailboat that I sail full-time to the most beautiful places on earth.  Then they usually ask how I can do that at such a young age (45).  And that is when I get to be that “good member of society” and teach someone to how to fish (versus handing them one).

This website, and many others, have given me one of life’s greatest asset and that is to be FI.  RE is just the result.  So as I blow someone’s mind about retiring before the accepted age of 65 (I think advertisers came up with this) I get a chance to explain savings, dollar-cost averaging, consumerism and my all-time favorite – compound interest.  I LOVE compound interest!

I am proud to be a part of this community and definitely not ashamed.  I wear it like a badge of honor and encourage others to change their lives, and habits, if they really want what I have. 

As for my brother he probably lives the dream of working until 70 and then sitting on the front stoop watching the world go by.  Me, I work for myself now and thank God every day for the incredible life I now live.

infromsea

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #45 on: November 17, 2017, 05:51:16 AM »
When I first told my brother I was quitting the rat race and retiring he told me that was unethical.  I was not a good member of society if I wasn’t contributing to it.  He was, of course, wrong for a whole host of reasons but I found this to be a teachable moment in my life. 

As for my brother he probably lives the dream of working until 70 and then sitting on the front stoop watching the world go by.  Me, I work for myself now and thank God every day for the incredible life I now live.

Similar situation. I was struggling with the decision to retire, I called big bro and told him I was miserable at work, his response was something along the lines of "all work sucks, you get paid well, shut up".

I realized that asking his advice wasn't smart, he's in a different place, financially/emotionally/marriage wise, just does't make sense to seek his advice.

I realized that there are many who just will not come around to the FIRE mentality, and that's too bad. I think you are right in that sometimes, all we can do is be a good example and, if they come asking, we'll be ready to teach.

jim555

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #46 on: November 17, 2017, 06:20:57 AM »
...  I was not a good member of society if I wasn’t contributing to it. ...
I was told I needed to contribute to society and I wasn't old enough to retire.  LOL

misshathaway

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #47 on: November 17, 2017, 07:18:48 AM »
You can't hide it from your neighbors or family ...

If I told people I was working from home as a consultant they'd have no idea and no way to realistically verify if it was true. That said you may not want to lie to people.

I don't think one has any obligation to answer truthfully to every casual question, but I could never maintain that story. "So what kind of clients do you have?" "Is this work different from what you did at Xcorp?" I am truthful due to lack of imagination and a good memory about what I said before.
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Holyoak

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #48 on: November 17, 2017, 07:31:41 AM »
I was told I needed to contribute to society and I wasn't old enough to retire.  LOL

This is so much of the never ending sense of envy/shaming by cowardly folk and brainwashed society...  So going to a job fully defines a proper, and exclusive way to contribute to society?  Who even says you have to/want to contribute to their myopic view, if much of the very society you are smothered by, is nearly antithetical to how you wish to conduct your life?  I did not give up on society, it gave up on me.

Society (aka your government owners and handlers) need well conditioned drones paying taxes, buying lots of disposable shit, commuting in their way over the top financed vehicle to waste mucho fuel and time, enduring never ending life reducing stress, throw your kids into daycare, come home to a shit microwave meal/fast food crap, "relax" with well taxed alcohol and smokes, and join in on the rah-rah-rah red white and blue propaganda of bread and circus.  Really, just fuck-off contribute to society assholes, and your lack of vision and imagination.

BTDretire

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Re: ashamed to be FIRE?
« Reply #49 on: November 17, 2017, 11:48:00 AM »
I'm not ashamed, my wife maybe! We have a small business I'm working as little as possible,
10 to 20 hours a week. She is telling our customers I don't work much because I have a bad back. It's true I have a bad back, but I worked for 7 years that way, I didn't retire because of my back. I retired because after reading MMM and finding 25X spending is enough, and calculating that we have 40X spending plus FRA SS in 3yrs 5 mo. So there is absolutely no reason to continue working.
  My wife is Asian, so, I'm the lazy American. But, I'm having fun while she's working at least 70 hours a week. I wonder if the kids will appreciate their inheritance? :=/