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General Discussion => Post-FIRE => Topic started by: meteor on December 23, 2016, 01:07:47 PM

Title: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: meteor on December 23, 2016, 01:07:47 PM
I'm still having problems answering the "What do you do for work?" question. I don't want to discuss my financial FI (through hard work), especially with people are struggling from month to month. When I've tried to be honest with a few people in the past I tend to get a blank stare. It does not seem to bring me closer to them, rather it feels more separate.  If I talk about my hobbies -- then it just leads to more questions of how I make a living doing that. What do you say (that is also respectful) in these situations?
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: Freedom17 on December 23, 2016, 01:58:34 PM
How about saying that your a consultant? It can be in whatever profession you previously worked in.
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: Fishindude on December 23, 2016, 02:26:53 PM
I don't see why this is a big issue?
Just say .... I'm retired.  I had a good job, managed and invested my money and don't need to work a regular job anymore.
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: NoNonsenseLandlord on December 23, 2016, 02:34:53 PM
I am retired.  Or a real estate investor.  Or a fighter pilot.  Depending on the audience and the hopeful results.
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: jim555 on December 23, 2016, 02:57:19 PM
Live off my investments.  Why should I lie?  Or I could say "capitalist" :)
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: Cassie on December 23, 2016, 03:36:41 PM
Consultant in your previous field would be the easy one. We still do some of that so we say semi-retired but we are not young.
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: Cpa Cat on December 23, 2016, 04:08:55 PM
My husband retired at 32 after selling a successful business. We've struggled with this.

We were concerned that saying he's retired would make everyone think, "Oh, this guy is rich." And indeed, it was a problem for awhile. We continue to be the first stop when family or friends want to borrow money. Some of his family members seemed to expect him to give them money. Yes, he made good money, but not good enough money to retire himself and his dad and his brother and buy a new car for his sister.

I decided to become a CPA after his retirement, and that cut down on a lot of issues. A lot of people assumed we were badly hurt by the recession, which is why I had to go back to work - but that isn't really true.

For awhile, we tried telling people that he manages his investments. But then people started wanting to hire him or ask him for investing advice.

So now I go back to the truth. My husband had a successful start up and is retired. Some people ask me why I still work, and I tailor my response depending on who's asking. He was worried that it would hurt my credibility if people thought we were moneyed, but actually the reaction from most of my clients has been positive. They seem to like the idea that we're successful financially.

Once in awhile, there's an awkward stare. I just smile and redirect by asking that person about their job. I try not to "explain" too much, but sometimes it's unavoidable - people with positive reactions will often want to know all of the details of how he did it.

Last week at a wedding, a guy asked what my husband did, and I told him that he's retired and the guy kind of stuttered and stared at me and said he hoped to retire next year. Then he got up and left awkwardly. And stared at my husband for the rest of the evening. Non-stop. It was super weird.
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: Spork on December 23, 2016, 05:07:44 PM
Like the above, I say "I'm retired." 

They rarely press for more information, but if they do, I state things very simply:  "I'm a cheap bastard.  I spent less than I earned for many years."  No one has asked for more information, though if they did, they'd probably get an honest, full explanation.  I don't (and wouldn't) go into actual financial numbers... and I don't think they are necessary. 
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: NikkiT on December 24, 2016, 12:04:06 AM
I asked the same question to this forum one year ago.  Since then, I have had a lot of practice with it.  I live the nomad/travel lifestyle and meet new people regularly.  I use to be uncomfortable when asked "what do you do?"  But, as with anything, the more you answer it, the more comfortable you become.

Also, I have achieved comfort with where I am at in life and I think that shows when I answer people.  I use to be worried about making people feel jealous or any other negative feeling.  Now, I realize that they alone are responsible for their feelings.  Marianne Williamson has a beautiful poem that addresses this fear.  It says "Your playing small does not serve the world.  There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people don't feel insecure around you. And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same."

I also believe that the world in general does a fantastic job of advocating for consumerism.  Millions of dollars (billions?) are spent to convince us to buy, buy, buy.  Who advocates for FIRE?  A hundred bloggers?  They are way outnumbered!  I feel strongly that I should not hide the fact that I chose the FIRE path.  That path needs more advocates.  People need to meet other people face to face that have FIREd, so that they know it's possible.  I don't want to miss an opportunity to point someone to MMM or JLCollins just because of my fear of their opinion of me.

I also notice that my social circle is changing.  My best friends remained, but the rest are changing.  The new people I am meeting are not as surprised by FIRE.  They are digital nomads, world travelers, all sorts of interesting and nontraditional people.  As my life changed, my social circle did too. Suddenly, my accomplishments looked laughably small and ordinary. 

Back to your question.  If someone asks what I do for a living, I say "work?...no, I don't do that anymore."  Some people ask if I'm taking a break and going back to work.  I reply "not if I can help it."  I give more details if a person is sincerely interested.  No one has ever asked the size of my nest egg. 

Hope this helps!
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: gerardc on December 24, 2016, 02:06:02 AM
How about saying that your a consultant? It can be in whatever profession you previously worked in.

That's what I'd do. Ideally, it would be true, but it could be only 2-3 hours last time 6 months ago and they wouldn't have to know. It's much easier to "white lie" people when the truth previously applied, and you can still visualize all the details.
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: gerardc on December 24, 2016, 02:14:53 AM
I also notice that my social circle is changing.  My best friends remained, but the rest are changing.  The new people I am meeting are not as surprised by FIRE.  They are digital nomads, world travelers, all sorts of interesting and nontraditional people.  As my life changed, my social circle did too. Suddenly, my accomplishments looked laughably small and ordinary. 

Yes! Notice the difference: in the office, people tend to assume early retirement isn't possible; during travels (hostels, resorts, etc.) many people are FI, self-employed, looking for a temporary work lifestyle or semi-retirement, etc. Seems like 2 different worlds really!
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: mustachepungoeshere on December 24, 2016, 04:20:57 AM
"work?...no, I don't do that anymore." 

I love almost every word of your post, but these seven are just divine.
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: Rollin on December 24, 2016, 04:54:03 PM
I simply say I'm retired. I do not feel comfortable with anything but the absolute truth. Besides, maybe my openness will get them to talking about it for themselves, or they may be planning to FIRE and we have a great conversation. I owe nothing to anyone though, and if you start to act like a chameleon I feel as though you loose some of yourself (karma?).
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: gerardc on December 24, 2016, 07:03:36 PM
Saying you're retired at 35 doesn't really fly. This community defines retirement as FI or freedom, but for most people, retirement means not earning money for active sources. You can be a stay at home parent for a while. But at 35, most likely you'll get a side hustle eventually. So, even if being "retired" gives you confidence and safety, it's probably more of a break, if you're realistic. Has anyone not earned another penny from active work after 35? It seems people would do that for a few years at most. It has nothing to do with the retirement police, but everything to do with communicating effectively with other people using standard definitions of retirement. Now, if you're 45-50+, then you can honestly claim retirement with higher confidence.
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: Jon_Snow on December 24, 2016, 07:57:34 PM
It irritates somewhat, but saying I'm "retired" is often more trouble than it's worth. I'm starting to use "I'm a day trader" quite a bit. Not entirely accurate, but I am able to quickly deduce in which circumstances it's just easier to proceed that way. People of "normal" retirement age tend to become a bit agitated when I have used the R-word in the past....while people closer to my age seem interested and congratulatory. Go figure. :)
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: soccerluvof4 on December 25, 2016, 10:38:26 AM
I say I am retired but look once in awhile to pickup some cash here and there if I want some extra pocket money.
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: Jammu on December 25, 2016, 09:04:29 PM
What do you do?

I say "a little of this, a little of that..." and waggle my eyebrows.

Nobody ever asks me a follow up.
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: bacchi on December 26, 2016, 12:23:33 PM
Yeah, I say it in a joking manner too. "Work? It's overrated." or "What do I do? As little as possible."

My parents know the truth but ignore it. It just doesn't compute for them.
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: Goldielocks on December 27, 2016, 12:32:24 PM
Hmm,

Talking about a hobby or volunteer work you are working with is usually sufficient...   MOST people just want a topic to converse about with you, and don't want to talk about your personal money (because they may have to share their personal money)... so "Retire" feels awkward to them.

"I am planning a three year trip to Asia"
"I am restoring at '67 Ford"
"I am building a home, just started on the siding today.. we went with Hardieboard...."
"I am learning how to play the guitar"
" I have volunteered with the Food Bank"

Anyway, this the type of answer that DH would say when he was a SAHD, in a community that was all dual income or SAHM only and people could not wrap their heads around a SAHD.   So it should work for early retirees, too.
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: Mr. Green on December 27, 2016, 12:46:18 PM
"I'm a day trader"
You trade your days for happiness. If others assume you meant buying and selling stocks, well that's not your fault. :)
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: lizzzi on December 27, 2016, 01:01:23 PM
I don't see any reason not to just tell the truth. "I'm out of the workforce right now." You can always add, "I'm working on a couple projects at home." Or, "I'll be in New York for the next three months." Or whatever.  (Those statements are true for me.) You really don't have to say, "I'm retired." And you for sure don't have to discuss your finances.  There are so many things that contribute to our identity. It isn't just whether or not you have a job and what it pays.   
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: cchrissyy on December 27, 2016, 01:23:50 PM
do you have real estate? "I manage a rental house"

do you sell things on ebay or craigslist or such? "I have an ebay business"

are you in a band or do mechanics or woodworking or whatever as your main hobby? Just say that, "I'm in a band" or "I do woodworking"

do you volunteer pretty often? you can use the word "volunteer" or honestly and naturally substitute the word "work" as you say "I work at the soup kitchen downtown" or "I'm the reading coach at St Mary's school" or "I volunteer at the animal shelter"

if you're newly retired and decompressing, you can answer this like you're on a break. "I closed my business, not sure what I want to do next" or "I'm an accountant, but taking a break this year! Going to India in the spring! Your plans for next year and the year after aren't the point of the conversation, don't feel bad about neglecting to explain your full plan.

are taking classes for a skill you always wanted or for a future part-time gig you always wanted to do? just say "I'm brushing up on my French, taking classes and maybe getting a translator certification so I can volunteer in the hospital"
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: libertarian4321 on December 27, 2016, 04:30:28 PM
I'm starting to use "I'm a day trader" quite a bit.

I'd never use "day trader," because to many people, that's roughly equivalent to "professional gambler" or similar d-bag on his way to going broke.

I just say I live off my investments. 

Investing, not trading.

Or, better yet, go with this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMFJBd40Awo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMFJBd40Awo)

Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: gerardc on December 27, 2016, 10:01:17 PM
I don't see any reason not to just tell the truth. "I'm out of the workforce right now."

That comes off as you being unemployed. With some hint to possibly being employed again in the future.

do you have real estate? "I manage a rental house"

do you sell things on ebay or craigslist or such? "I have an ebay business"

are you in a band or do mechanics or woodworking or whatever as your main hobby? Just say that, "I'm in a band" or "I do woodworking"

do you volunteer pretty often? you can use the word "volunteer" or honestly and naturally substitute the word "work" as you say "I work at the soup kitchen downtown" or "I'm the reading coach at St Mary's school" or "I volunteer at the animal shelter"

if you're newly retired and decompressing, you can answer this like you're on a break. "I closed my business, not sure what I want to do next" or "I'm an accountant, but taking a break this year! Going to India in the spring! Your plans for next year and the year after aren't the point of the conversation, don't feel bad about neglecting to explain your full plan.

are taking classes for a skill you always wanted or for a future part-time gig you always wanted to do? just say "I'm brushing up on my French, taking classes and maybe getting a translator certification so I can volunteer in the hospital"

Best answer yet.
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: Cerastez on December 29, 2016, 07:17:42 PM
I still hem and haw, when I am asked.  I have had some very negative responses, when I say that I am retired.  The kindest response was that "I must have won the lottery."  The cruelest was "You must have divorced one hell of a sugardaddy." 
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: BlueHouse on December 29, 2016, 07:47:40 PM
I feel like I've been stretching the truth about what I actually do for a living for so long that it won't be hard to keep lying about it once I don't have to go to the office anymore.  :_
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: ysette9 on December 29, 2016, 09:32:15 PM
I'm not there yet, but have thought that I would answer this question by saying that we are on sabbatical. We do want to test drive FIRE with a sabbatical, so it would be true in the beginning. Nothing wrong with an indefinite sabbatical, I suppose.
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: StetsTerhune on December 29, 2016, 11:15:36 PM
My wife and I do some consulting. Her more than me, but both enough that they are great answers to "what we do." Depending on who we're talking to we stress our work or our traveling. 

Ultimately, everyone is just looking to make conversation with that question. "I'm retired" is very interesting to some people, but for a lot of people who are uncomfortable taking about money, it's a conversation ender. My consulting work is interesting to people, so I can talk about that if they want. I'm much more interested in travel, as are most people I meet these days, so I stress that mostly.
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: financialfreedomsloth on December 30, 2016, 12:33:47 AM
I have always found 'gentleman of leisure' to have a nice ring ...

Not yet fired but I could see myself playing that part in some circumstances:
Q:'what do you do?'
A: ' I am a gentleman of leisure'
Q:'what do you mean by that? do you not work then?'
A:'My dear man! Let us not talk about such vulgar subjects as work! There are ladies present!'

Hmm, me thinks I need to find a pocket watch and a monocle ...
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: boarder42 on December 30, 2016, 03:56:11 AM
I feel like this is an issue more for introverted people than extroverted.

I'm an extrovert and side with the just say you're retired and then maybe a few people will listen and you can share the good word. Mustashian missionaries anonymous.
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: Villanelle on December 30, 2016, 04:05:42 AM
What do you do?

Whatever I want!

or 

I love to read, and I'm training for a half marathon, and I watch more TV than I probably should, and I've recently taken up chess again, and...
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: rockstache on December 30, 2016, 08:39:00 AM
"work?...no, I don't do that anymore." 

I love almost every word of your post, but these seven are just divine.

+1 this is just beautiful. I can't wait to use it.
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: Strick on December 30, 2016, 11:43:22 AM
Like the above, I say "I'm retired." 

They rarely press for more information, but if they do, I state things very simply:  "I'm a cheap bastard.  I spent less than I earned for many years." 
I think this is the most honest approach that also doesn't give off the sense that you're dripping with money or that you're bragging in any way.
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: SwordGuy on January 08, 2017, 06:22:11 PM
I have always found 'gentleman of leisure' to have a nice ring ...

Not yet fired but I could see myself playing that part in some circumstances:
Q:'what do you do?'
A: ' I am a gentleman of leisure'
Q:'what do you mean by that? do you not work then?'
A:'My dear man! Let us not talk about such vulgar subjects as work! There are ladies present!'

Hmm, me thinks I need to find a pocket watch and a monocle ...

I love it!
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: Bolshevik Artizan on January 09, 2017, 07:47:43 AM
How about saying that your a consultant? It can be in whatever profession you previously worked in.

That's what I'd do. Ideally, it would be true, but it could be only 2-3 hours last time 6 months ago and they wouldn't have to know. It's much easier to "white lie" people when the truth previously applied, and you can still visualize all the details.

Agree with this, from both. I still work, but I do work that interests me most of the time as a freelancer. It helps that my friends are completely non-judgemental and unquestioning, and recognise that our son is the most important thing in our lives. As a side comment, I would reflect that this demonstrates the extent to which people define other people by what they do for a living.

It's only when I stopped working that I came to realise two very different things: one, that paid labour is necessary for people to survive and yet (point two) so much of that paid labour these days is so spiritually unsatisfying. If you can find something that you love doing and that pays the bills, you'll never work - and you'll never retire.

Case in point, my neighbour is mid-forties like me. He sold his business two or three years ago and retired, lives pretty modestly, but has now gone (sorry ladies) balls deep into a new business just because he likes working. He owns it and he can do what he likes. His wife works too, three days or so, as a yoga instructor - again because she likes it, no other reason.

Longer response than I anticipated, but I think this is an important point to contemplate before you push the button. Even MMM himself takes pains to stress that early retirement does NOT mean a life without labour. It means a life without compulsion/slavery, if you like: and getting and staying debt-free is so, so much of this battle.

End of sermon - sorry!


BA
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: limeandpepper on January 09, 2017, 08:01:02 AM
I have always found 'gentleman of leisure' to have a nice ring ...

Not yet fired but I could see myself playing that part in some circumstances:
Q:'what do you do?'
A: ' I am a gentleman of leisure'
Q:'what do you mean by that? do you not work then?'
A:'My dear man! Let us not talk about such vulgar subjects as work! There are ladies present!'

Hmm, me thinks I need to find a pocket watch and a monocle ...

I love it!

+1  Very Oscar Wilde. :D
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: Libertea on January 09, 2017, 09:25:24 AM
I say, "whatever I want to do."  At the moment, it is sabbatical and travel and learning a new language.  In the second half of this year, I will be starting training for a new career that I may never actually work in, just because I wish to learn those skills.

We humans are interesting creatures.  On one hand, we value our rugged individualism, our ability to do whatever and be whomever we want.  Every person on this forum is neck-deep in a process of self-reinvention, and in a much more self-conscious way than most.  We are all hyper self-aware.  On the other hand, we care so much about what other people think of us, even people we don't know or care about.  It's not enough for us to figure out what the "right" path for ourselves is in life; we feel we must convince others of its rightness, too.

When I was in my early twenties, I fought with my parents incessantly.  I wondered, why can I not get my mother (in particular) to just see reason?  If only I could explain myself well enough, surely she'd be won over by the irrefutable logic and rightness of what I'm telling her.  Alas, 20+ years later, that breakthrough in insight has never happened.  I understand now that it never WILL happen, because you do not convince others of a worldview based upon logic.  They either buy into it in their soul, or they do not. 

My mother is an emotional creature; I am, too.  We've spent far too many decades subconsciously learning how best to push each other's buttons and react rather than interact.  Now I don't try to explain my rationales to her, beyond saying, "this is what I want."  If I can't make that breakthrough with my mom, who has known me for over forty years and has a vested interest in maintaining a relationship with me, what possible hope can there be of convincing a recalcitrant acquaintance to see things my way?  And knowing that there is no chance of success, why would I even try?
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: Snow White on January 09, 2017, 04:13:37 PM
Depending on the audience, I say I am either ornamental or a trophy wife.  Since I am 62 and a low maintenance kind of girl...that usually gets a couple a glances. Probably they think hubby got the "thanks for playing" trophy! 🤣
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: neverrun on January 09, 2017, 06:46:18 PM
I'm not retired and have multiple stories for what I do.  (I have a job that fascinates people but I get sick of the same questions).  Since right now I think I will likely spend time working in or around National parks/wilderness areas I fully plan to say I'm a National Park Bum.  Kind of like a ski bum but I prefer to hike here in XX National Park instead.
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: Metric Mouse on January 10, 2017, 12:04:36 AM
I have always found 'gentleman of leisure' to have a nice ring ...

Not yet fired but I could see myself playing that part in some circumstances:
Q:'what do you do?'
A: ' I am a gentleman of leisure'
Q:'what do you mean by that? do you not work then?'
A:'My dear man! Let us not talk about such vulgar subjects as work! There are ladies present!'

Hmm, me thinks I need to find a pocket watch and a monocle ...

I love it!

I may have to work that into the rotation!
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: Cottonswab on January 17, 2017, 03:49:38 AM
I have always found 'gentleman of leisure' to have a nice ring ...

Not yet fired but I could see myself playing that part in some circumstances:
Q:'what do you do?'
A: ' I am a gentleman of leisure'
Q:'what do you mean by that? do you not work then?'
A:'My dear man! Let us not talk about such vulgar subjects as work! There are ladies present!'

Hmm, me thinks I need to find a pocket watch and a monocle ...

I love it!

I may have to work that into the rotation!

I will also have to make use of this term!

I suspect my most frequent response will be "Formerly an engineer. Currently a gentleman of leisure."
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: gerardc on January 18, 2017, 12:07:17 AM
If you're a PhD, you can always say you're a "PhD in X", where X is something silly or fun you like to do :D
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: spokey doke on January 18, 2017, 07:48:06 AM
Hmm,

Talking about a hobby or volunteer work you are working with is usually sufficient...   MOST people just want a topic to converse about with you, and don't want to talk about your personal money (because they may have to share their personal money)... so "Retire" feels awkward to them.

"I am planning a three year trip to Asia"
"I am restoring at '67 Ford"
"I am building a home, just started on the siding today.. we went with Hardieboard...."
"I am learning how to play the guitar"
" I have volunteered with the Food Bank"

Anyway, this the type of answer that DH would say when he was a SAHD, in a community that was all dual income or SAHM only and people could not wrap their heads around a SAHD.   So it should work for early retirees, too.

I do a version of this, since I spend most of my time working on a hobby/passion, which may or may not make money...it sounds like an job occupation and I can talk about it as if it is work
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: Racer X on January 18, 2017, 08:01:25 AM
Depending on the audience, I say I am either ornamental or a trophy wife.  Since I am 62 and a low maintenance kind of girl...that usually gets a couple a glances. Probably they think hubby got the "thanks for playing" trophy! 🤣

:)

I joke about being a trophy husband.  I even have a t-shirt claiming myself as such.  When I tell someone I'm a Trophy Husband I will sometimes quietly whisper afterwards "I didn't say it was first place..."
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: Car Jack on January 20, 2017, 01:37:08 PM
Ah, just pull the George Castanza routine.

them: "so what do you do?"
you: "Oh, I'm an archetect"
them: "that's really interesting....who do you work for?"
you: "Vandelay Design.  We've very small and quite selective.  I love the work, it's invigorating and peaceful at the same time".

Of course, be sure to add this information to your LinkedIn profile
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: solon on January 20, 2017, 01:45:19 PM
Ah, just pull the George Castanza routine.

them: "so what do you do?"
you: "Oh, I'm an archetect"
them: "that's really interesting....who do you work for?"
you: "Vandelay Design.  We've very small and quite selective.  I love the work, it's invigorating and peaceful at the same time".

Of course, be sure to add this information to your LinkedIn profile

What's the joke here? Is it all a lie? There really is a Vandelay Design. http://www.vandelaydesign.com/
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: Spork on January 20, 2017, 03:19:24 PM
Ah, just pull the George Castanza routine.

them: "so what do you do?"
you: "Oh, I'm an archetect"
them: "that's really interesting....who do you work for?"
you: "Vandelay Design.  We've very small and quite selective.  I love the work, it's invigorating and peaceful at the same time".

Of course, be sure to add this information to your LinkedIn profile

What's the joke here? Is it all a lie? There really is a Vandelay Design. http://www.vandelaydesign.com/

I believe it was actually "Vandelay Industries."  The joke was it was a made up thing, yes.  There was a made up man (Art Vandelay) that George used for job references and miscellaneous other things over several episodes.)
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: arebelspy on January 25, 2017, 02:06:13 AM
Depending on the audience, I say I am either ornamental or a trophy wife.  Since I am 62 and a low maintenance kind of girl...that usually gets a couple a glances. Probably they think hubby got the "thanks for playing" trophy! 🤣

:)

I joke about being a trophy husband.  I even have a t-shirt claiming myself as such.  When I tell someone I'm a Trophy Husband I will sometimes quietly whisper afterwards "I didn't say it was first place..."

A participation trophy?  ;)
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: Dicey on December 04, 2017, 07:22:51 AM
This thread was mentioned elsewhere. I thought it deserved a bump, so...BUMP!
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: SnackDog on December 04, 2017, 07:41:29 AM
Other favorite answers to "What do you do?" -

I'm in real estate
I manage investments
I'm a travel planner
I'm potentially between jobs
I'm thinking of running for office

Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: TheWifeHalf on December 04, 2017, 06:42:17 PM
I suspect my answer, when TheHusbandHalf retires, will be the same then as it is now: "I'm a kept woman"
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: MrThatsDifferent on December 05, 2017, 03:59:48 AM
Other favorite answers to "What do you do?" -

I'm in real estate
I manage investments
I'm a travel planner
I'm potentially between jobs
I'm thinking of running for office

I definitely plan on telling everyone that Iím on a listening tour as I contemplate running for the presidency.
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: Linda_Norway on December 05, 2017, 04:15:30 AM
I'm not there yet, but have thought that I would answer this question by saying that we are on sabbatical. We do want to test drive FIRE with a sabbatical, so it would be true in the beginning. Nothing wrong with an indefinite sabbatical, I suppose.

Our plan is to call FIRE a sabbatical for the first year or so. And maybe do some consultancy work (at least DH plans to do this in his current field of expertise). It also wouldn't be so painful to go back to work if it financially wouldn't work out (if the stockmarket would really crash or if my FIRE calculations aren't correct).

We will be approaching 50 by the time we FIRE, so it is not so very weird to be retired some years later.
At Christmas we will be visiting FIL who retired at 50 and who is now 75-ish. I will ask him what he use to do.
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: dude on December 05, 2017, 10:07:37 AM
Shit, I've been telling people for years I'm retiring in 2019, so when it happens, I will not have any reservation in telling people, "I'm retired, bitches!"
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: WSUCoug1994 on December 05, 2017, 07:21:28 PM
Shit, I've been telling people for years I'm retiring in 2019, so when it happens, I will not have any reservation in telling people, "I'm retired, bitches!"

This (except 2022). 
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: zinnie on December 05, 2017, 07:48:08 PM
I learned pretty quickly that explaining what I used to do and saying that I'm "taking a year off" gives me lots of judge-y and/or jealous comments from people I don't know well. Or they just assume my husband is supporting me, which I take offense to, for some reason. So I definitely won't be using the "I'm retired" in the near future. (Also, because I might not be, yet. Haven't quite decided!)

For now, I'm a "freelance editor," even though I haven't done freelance work since leaving my full-time job. But I might someday. And I have in the past :)

Good friends know my story. But with new people or acquaintances it's just not worth throwing something so out of left field at them. If they become better friends over time, I'll gladly share more.

At the same time, I do need more of an answer to that question than what I used to do. Whether it's income-producing or not, we all have general life goals or strategies. I've just been too scattered since I left work to have more than feelers in a few dozen different directions!
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: Cookie78 on December 05, 2017, 11:24:51 PM
I learned pretty quickly that explaining what I used to do and saying that I'm "taking a year off" gives me lots of judge-y and/or jealous comments from people I don't know well.

That's interesting to me because this is my go-to answer to avoid the whole financial/retirement discussion. So far it's been working phenomenally well. Everyone just assumes I'm going back after a year (and I may for a few weeks or months). I'm curious what the reaction will be when I leave my job again.... uh... I'm taking another year off?
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: CanuckExpat on December 06, 2017, 12:05:46 AM
I learned pretty quickly that explaining what I used to do and saying that I'm "taking a year off" gives me lots of judge-y and/or jealous comments from people I don't know well.

That's interesting to me because this is my go-to answer to avoid the whole financial/retirement discussion. So far it's been working phenomenally well. Everyone just assumes I'm going back after a year (and I may for a few weeks or months). I'm curious what the reaction will be when I leave my job again.... uh... I'm taking another year off?

Taking a sabbatical and taking a year off bought me about six months, or a year. After that, people seemed to fall into two groups:
1) Didn't really care anymore nor ask. Things become normal for people fast.
2) Clued in that we've been "taking some time off" for a long, almost indefinite amount of time

2)a) Asked a bit but didn't want to get into finances
2)b) Asked gently and curiously because they wanted to know and perhaps also experience freedom :)
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: arebelspy on December 06, 2017, 07:41:31 PM
"We're taking some time off to travel."

"We have some rental properties."

Those two sentences have covered 90%+ of the questions.
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: SimpleSpartan on December 06, 2017, 10:05:27 PM
I have always found 'gentleman of leisure' to have a nice ring ...

Not yet fired but I could see myself playing that part in some circumstances:
Q:'what do you do?'
A: ' I am a gentleman of leisure'
Q:'what do you mean by that? do you not work then?'
A:'My dear man! Let us not talk about such vulgar subjects as work! There are ladies present!'

Hmm, me thinks I need to find a pocket watch and a monocle ...

Aha I choked on my beer lol,  love this!!!!!!
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: ixtap on December 06, 2017, 10:25:42 PM
-I am a kept woman.
-What does your husband do?
-He is a kept man.
-????

-I live a life of leisure?
-How?
-By being leisurely!

Unfortunately, I know that people persist. Few ask how much I make now, but many want to know how I can expect to start cruising. I really, really want to ask for an accounting of their finances when this happens.
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: Linda_Norway on December 07, 2017, 05:39:22 AM
<...>

Unfortunately, I know that people persist. Few ask how much I make now, but many want to know how I can expect to start cruising. I really, really want to ask for an accounting of their finances when this happens.

How impolite those people are. Maybe you should suggest a swap of your tax reports. You share yours if they share theirs. Then you can start laughing when you see theirs...
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: zinnie on December 07, 2017, 09:33:25 AM
I learned pretty quickly that explaining what I used to do and saying that I'm "taking a year off" gives me lots of judge-y and/or jealous comments from people I don't know well.

That's interesting to me because this is my go-to answer to avoid the whole financial/retirement discussion. So far it's been working phenomenally well. Everyone just assumes I'm going back after a year (and I may for a few weeks or months). I'm curious what the reaction will be when I leave my job again.... uh... I'm taking another year off?

Taking a sabbatical and taking a year off bought me about six months, or a year. After that, people seemed to fall into two groups:
1) Didn't really care anymore nor ask. Things become normal for people fast.
2) Clued in that we've been "taking some time off" for a long, almost indefinite amount of time

2)a) Asked a bit but didn't want to get into finances
2)b) Asked gently and curiously because they wanted to know and perhaps also experience freedom :)

I was surprised, too, how controversial taking a year off was! Seemed like NBD to me but apparently a lot of people just canít fathom having enough money to do that. I actually made the mistake of telling this to a group of moms at a party who had young children running all over the place and I got a snarky ďwish I could take a year off, but just canít do that when youíre a parent!Ē

Interesting thoughts on expiration dates and taking a year off. Canít get away with that forever, I suppose. Hopefully people will just give up like your #1. Iíve mostly resorted to a brief answer and then changing the subject back to them.



Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: ixtap on December 07, 2017, 01:54:12 PM
<...>

Unfortunately, I know that people persist. Few ask how much I make now, but many want to know how I can expect to start cruising. I really, really want to ask for an accounting of their finances when this happens.

How impolite those people are. Maybe you should suggest a swap of your tax reports. You share yours if they share theirs. Then you can start laughing when you see theirs...

Tends to be the same demographic that has opinions on our children. Not that we have any, but evidently that is inconceivable, as well. Only in that case, uh I happen to be infertile. Not that I ever had the urge for more than a day at a time, but what if I had already paid thousands of dollars trying before giving up? Ohhh...maybe I can take care of both conversations at once! "Cheaper than fertility treatments!"
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: shawndoggy on December 07, 2017, 02:14:25 PM
Good stuff here.  I'm looking forward to having a PhD in chilling out and/or kickin it.  Still working on the dissertation.
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: CanuckExpat on December 07, 2017, 04:59:38 PM
I know the thread subject is "without explaining your finances", but the alternative is to briefly explain your finances (in as much or as little detail as you want): "we have savings", "we have investments"

Most people probably feel much more awkward talking about finances than you do and will quickly drop it. Remember, it's like a bear: they are more afraid of you than you are of them

I actually made the mistake of telling this to a group of moms at a party who had young children running all over the place and I got a snarky ďwish I could take a year off, but just canít do that when youíre a parent!Ē

As someone who has young children, and taking a year off (an indefinite year off) there is some truth to that unfortunately but you can always turn it around on them "Ya, guess you missed the lecture in health class about the dangers of unprotected sex eh"? They probably won't bother you again :)
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: Daisy on December 07, 2017, 10:00:32 PM
Good stuff here.  I'm looking forward to having a PhD in chilling out and/or kickin it.  Still working on the dissertation.

You won the post-of-the-day award.
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: CanuckExpat on December 07, 2017, 10:07:54 PM
Good stuff here.  I'm looking forward to having a PhD in chilling out and/or kickin it.  Still working on the dissertation.

You won the post-of-the-day award.

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/welcome-to-the-forum/the-best-post-i-saw-today-on-the-mr-money-mustache-forums-was/
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: Dicey on December 07, 2017, 10:50:43 PM
-I am a kept woman.
-What does your husband do?
-He is a kept man.
-????
DH and I have a version of this.
Me: I have a rich husband.
He: I have a rich wife.
LOL, we're both right.

As to the specific question, we don't discuss finances much with others. We live in a fairy-tale clown house that happens to be on the same street as DH's office. His colleagues drive past our house on the way to and from work every day (DH walks). They ask him how the hell he can afford such a nice house so close to work. He just uses the rich wife line. They would die if they knew we have no mortgage.
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: gerardc on December 07, 2017, 11:15:20 PM
-I am a kept woman.
-What does your husband do?
-He is a kept man.
-????
DH and I have a version of this.
Me: I have a rich husband.
He: I have a rich wife.
LOL, we're both right.

As to the specific question, we don't discuss finances much with others. We live in a fairy-tale clown house that happens to be on the same street as DH's office. His colleagues drive past our house on the way to and from work every day (DH walks). They ask him how the hell he can afford such a nice house so close to work. He just uses the rich wife line. They would die if they knew we have no mortgage.

So... how do you afford it? Do you just splurge on house but save on car and other expenses? Were you more frugal in your younger years?
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: AspiretoFIRE on December 08, 2017, 01:04:36 AM
I asked the same question to this forum one year ago.  Since then, I have had a lot of practice with it.  I live the nomad/travel lifestyle and meet new people regularly.  I use to be uncomfortable when asked "what do you do?"  But, as with anything, the more you answer it, the more comfortable you become.

Also, I have achieved comfort with where I am at in life and I think that shows when I answer people.  I use to be worried about making people feel jealous or any other negative feeling.  Now, I realize that they alone are responsible for their feelings.  Marianne Williamson has a beautiful poem that addresses this fear.  It says "Your playing small does not serve the world.  There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people don't feel insecure around you. And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same."

I also believe that the world in general does a fantastic job of advocating for consumerism.  Millions of dollars (billions?) are spent to convince us to buy, buy, buy.  Who advocates for FIRE?  A hundred bloggers?  They are way outnumbered!  I feel strongly that I should not hide the fact that I chose the FIRE path.  That path needs more advocates.  People need to meet other people face to face that have FIREd, so that they know it's possible.  I don't want to miss an opportunity to point someone to MMM or JLCollins just because of my fear of their opinion of me.

I also notice that my social circle is changing.  My best friends remained, but the rest are changing.  The new people I am meeting are not as surprised by FIRE.  They are digital nomads, world travelers, all sorts of interesting and nontraditional people.  As my life changed, my social circle did too. Suddenly, my accomplishments looked laughably small and ordinary. 

Back to your question.  If someone asks what I do for a living, I say "work?...no, I don't do that anymore."  Some people ask if I'm taking a break and going back to work.  I reply "not if I can help it."  I give more details if a person is sincerely interested.  No one has ever asked the size of my nest egg. 

Hope this helps!

I love your perspective!  I have not achieved FIRE yet but accelerating towards it and I fully plan to adopt this method, I try even now to explain the enlightened path to those with good jobs "struggling" to make ends meet!
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: Dicey on December 08, 2017, 08:24:22 AM
-I am a kept woman.
-What does your husband do?
-He is a kept man.
-????
DH and I have a version of this.
Me: I have a rich husband.
He: I have a rich wife.
LOL, we're both right.

As to the specific question, we don't discuss finances much with others. We live in a fairy-tale clown house that happens to be on the same street as DH's office. His colleagues drive past our house on the way to and from work every day (DH walks). They ask him how the hell he can afford such a nice house so close to work. He just uses the rich wife line. They would die if they knew we have no mortgage.

So... how do you afford it? Do you just splurge on house but save on car and other expenses? Were you more frugal in your younger years?
The answer lies in Really Simple Math. It's also why I soapbox about waiting to pay down your mortgage until after you stuff your other investment accounts full. If you invest early, eventually those dollars grow to a point where they earn more than you do at work. And they keep growing, like magic, even when you stop working for a paycheck.

In our case, we married later in life. We each had a home, purchased with a mortgage and paid as scheduled. We each had 401ks', Roths and taxable investments. Right after we married, his dad died and we realized that his mom had ALZ. Neither of our homes were suitable, so we sold them both and bought this one, which we assumed we'd get a mortgage on. During the application process, the mortgage broker sternly advised us to wait until the following week to lock the rate, when we specifically asked to lock it that day. Of course, rates took a huge spike, which pissed us off. We looked at each other,  said "Fuck that" and decided to write a check. We're still kinda sorry we did that, because mortgage money is so cheap, but there's plenty left in the 'stache.

Neither of us were ever huge wage earners. We never achieved a crazy high savings rate either. In my case, I was mustachian before Pete coined the term but I always saved for the future and enjoyed the here and now.

Superficially, DH was the opposite. He had tools, cars, motorcycles, boats, jet skis, even an RV. He was using Craigslist the way Pete advises when Pete was still in grade school. Buy it, use it, refurbish it, sell it for what you paid (or more) then repeat. He also did side gigs for ca$h.

The point is: this MMM stuff really, really works. Just get started. Sequence optimally, invest wisely, and keep the faith. Eventually you'll be sitting on a fat wad of dough and be as amazed as we are. And grateful.
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: timstobbs on December 10, 2017, 08:25:32 AM
I'm new to this game as I just retired  this fall.  My current answer has been: "I've retired from engineering so I can focus on writing more." First off it is completely true and it seems to be working out really well since it gets most people onto the second topic of 'oh, what do you write?'.  Which then leads to a nice discussion on my current writing project.

Very occasionally, I get some additional questions about 'how old are you?' or 'is there much money in writing?' at which point I will mention our investments cover our basic expenses and I'm writing to pay for my vacations.  Most people just don't bother with additional questions.
Title: Re: How do you answer "What do you do?" without explaining your finances?
Post by: nazar on December 16, 2017, 04:58:05 PM
I suspect my answer, when TheHusbandHalf retires, will be the same then as it is now: "I'm a kept woman"

I like this, and if they press for details:  I am a kept woman.  I kept my money rather than spend it on shoes, clothes, and $15 cocktails at girl's night.