Author Topic: Reframing RE as a second career to fend off haters  (Read 3544 times)

catccc

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Reframing RE as a second career to fend off haters
« on: June 29, 2017, 02:02:27 PM »
I generally don't care much about other people's opinions on my choices, I just do what works for me.  I do sometimes get hate on my ER plans.  Again, I don't need people to be on board with it, but constantly defending my choices (to a particular friend) gets a tad old. 

I thought this would work better:
"Hey, I quit working in accounting!  I'm now a full-time investor.  It's great, I work as much or as little as I want, and I make my own schedule, and I can work from anywhere I have internet access." 

I just wouldn't tell people my "work" is checking my personal capital app every once in a while to see what my NW is and planning draw down strategies to minimize taxes...

Anyone ever think they need to drop the word "retirement" which has connotations of old people past their prime and explain their financial choices in another way?

ejmyrow

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Re: Reframing RE as a second career to fend off haters
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2017, 11:56:35 PM »
Sure. The idea is also to do something meaningful with your life when you stop working for money. Instead you get to do your own projects for the love of it. Perhaps your friend can understand that.

Playing with Fire UK

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Re: Reframing RE as a second career to fend off haters
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2017, 12:14:38 AM »
There was a thread a while ago that suggested what a FIREd person should put on their business card. Some of them were sensible.

Instead of 'full-time investor', I'd lean towards whatever you're going to be doing with your time. So if you are going to garden, you are now a gardener; if you are going to watch TV, you are now a media observer.

Good luck with this friend. It may be that they will never understand your choice because it is different to their choices. I had a similar thing with a colleague recently; he has access to his pension and doesn't need to work but chooses to, even while complaining about how much it intrudes into his life. I can't see why he doesn't retire, and he can't see why I wouldn't want to work for as long as I can. We are different and that is okay. 

TartanTallulah

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Re: Reframing RE as a second career to fend off haters
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2017, 03:20:17 AM »
In my occupation, "I'm leaving to take on a new career," would be regarded with far more suspicion, and draw out more people quietly waiting to see me fall flat on my face, than, "I'm retiring early because I think I can afford it and I want to have some time off while I'm still young, I might do some seasonal work to help people out/do a bit of training and dabble in something else because the internet makes work for idle brains, but I'm not retiring because I think the grass is greener in another line of work."

Dee18

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Re: Reframing RE as a second career to fend off haters
« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2017, 05:49:20 AM »
What stands out to me in the original post is "constantly defending my choices."  I worked with a woman long ago who was comfortable saying no to an invitation.  She didn't make up excuses.  She simply said, in a very friendly tone, that she wouldn't make it.  If someone pushed her, she had a great expression that was a small smile, and utter calm.  She never defended her choice.  Try it! i have found it works in all kinds of situations.  In your situation you could say, "I'm happy with my choice," give the small smile, and no additional remarks. 

Case

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Re: Reframing RE as a second career to fend off haters
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2017, 01:32:16 PM »
I generally don't care much about other people's opinions on my choices, I just do what works for me.  I do sometimes get hate on my ER plans.  Again, I don't need people to be on board with it, but constantly defending my choices (to a particular friend) gets a tad old. 

I thought this would work better:
"Hey, I quit working in accounting!  I'm now a full-time investor.  It's great, I work as much or as little as I want, and I make my own schedule, and I can work from anywhere I have internet access." 

I just wouldn't tell people my "work" is checking my personal capital app every once in a while to see what my NW is and planning draw down strategies to minimize taxes...

Anyone ever think they need to drop the word "retirement" which has connotations of old people past their prime and explain their financial choices in another way?

Eventually people (that know you well enough) are going to probe and discover that you aren't really working, but are just managing your personal finances.  I think maintaining that image will be awkward, if it's not real.

I say either get a real side-job, or tell people to fuck-off if they bug you too much about retiring early.  And of course, as you well know, if they bug you a lot they probably aren't your friends and aren't worth your time.  And the great thing about retiring early is that you don't have to maintain fake friendships.

Laura33

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Re: Reframing RE as a second career to fend off haters
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2017, 02:02:07 PM »
What stands out to me in the original post is "constantly defending my choices."  I worked with a woman long ago who was comfortable saying no to an invitation.  She didn't make up excuses.  She simply said, in a very friendly tone, that she wouldn't make it.  If someone pushed her, she had a great expression that was a small smile, and utter calm.  She never defended her choice.  Try it! i have found it works in all kinds of situations.  In your situation you could say, "I'm happy with my choice," give the small smile, and no additional remarks.

This.  If it's a stranger who is pressing for details, a cool "why do you ask?" should do.  If it is an actual friend, I'd say something like, "you know, you say that all the time -- why does it bother you so much?"  And then wrap up the conversation with "you know, the same comments every time are getting kind of old, so if it bugs you, let's just talk about something else."  OTOH, if it's a "friend" as in "frequent member of my social circle but not someone I'm truly close with," I'd be more inclined to brush it off with a laugh, a/k/a "ah, there you go again with the 'you can't possibly retire' bit" and then immediately change the subject to something else.

Fundamentally, a real friend will want to understand and support you -- and if it's not a real friend, it's none of their business.  Better to stop feeding the monster entirely than to waste your own time finding more palatable delicacies.

Bicycle_B

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Re: Reframing RE as a second career to fend off haters
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2017, 02:34:44 PM »
Anyone ever think they need to drop the word "retirement" which has connotations of old people past their prime and explain their financial choices in another way?

Sometimes when asked what I do, I smile brightly and say "Nothing!" 

After which they look at me and I say, "I mean, I live off my investments, but mostly I loaf a lot." 

What can they say after that??

IRL, since I do have a very small part time job, and I actually want to earn some more money, I feel like saying I'm retired would be inaccurate because I still want some more work (not enough to go get it, but that's another story).  So sometimes I say, "I do [name of small job]".  But I have used the nothing-followed-by-investments approach sometimes and it has seemed fine.

Like Dee18 and Laura33, I am struck that the persistence of this one friend seems odd.  What is their beef exactly?  They don't understand?  They "hate" by jeering that you're "useless" because you're planning not to work?  They think it won't work, you'll run out of money and you their beloved friend will be homeless via your own mistake?  They're jealous so they attack using all of the positions I described?  There's not enough detail yet to know what the problem is, except that not everyone behaves as your friend is doing.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 02:37:27 PM by Bicycle_B »

le-weekend

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Re: Reframing RE as a second career to fend off haters
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2017, 09:03:28 PM »
I once mentioned the desire to retire early and/or be financially independent at the lunch table at work. Reactions were disbelief, jesting, and inability to comprehend how that was possible. So there's issue #1 being that so many people literally are not aware that other paths are possible.

Issue #2, in my armchair sociologist opinion: As people in society we tend to bond with our peer group over an unspoken agreement that we have similar financial values, habits, goals and struggles. So when one person suddenly announces their departure from that unspoken agreement, the energy gets weird... because all people hear is "I'm going to be rich and leaving you suckers behind!" (which is kinda true no?   :-)

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ixtap

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Re: Reframing RE as a second career to fend off haters
« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2017, 09:25:50 PM »
Before I discovered FIRE, we were already well on the road, but our specific goal is to go cruising. I realized a couple of months ago that when DH lays out our long term plans to other people, "retiring" refers to something that comes after we get tired of sailing around, not the moment that he leaves his job. He also has several different retirements planned, although the most recent is to get a job in Europe.

He works with computers, words mean whatever he assigns them to mean.

Rosy

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Re: Reframing RE as a second career to fend off haters
« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2017, 09:30:38 PM »
If by haters you mean your "friend" tell them the truth and ask them why they have an issue with it. Good friends accept your choices - eventually:)
The rest of the world - tell them you now work from home ...

Women have it easier in that regard. I was embarrassed to explain that I had to retire from my interior design business for health reasons, so I just said I retired - temporarily, but maybe longer, because I wanted to do work on long overdue renovation projects at home.

catccc

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Re: Reframing RE as a second career to fend off haters
« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2017, 11:26:12 AM »
What stands out to me in the original post is "constantly defending my choices."  I worked with a woman long ago who was comfortable saying no to an invitation.  She didn't make up excuses.  She simply said, in a very friendly tone, that she wouldn't make it.  If someone pushed her, she had a great expression that was a small smile, and utter calm.  She never defended her choice.  Try it! i have found it works in all kinds of situations.  In your situation you could say, "I'm happy with my choice," give the small smile, and no additional remarks.

This.  If it's a stranger who is pressing for details, a cool "why do you ask?" should do.  If it is an actual friend, I'd say something like, "you know, you say that all the time -- why does it bother you so much?"  And then wrap up the conversation with "you know, the same comments every time are getting kind of old, so if it bugs you, let's just talk about something else."  OTOH, if it's a "friend" as in "frequent member of my social circle but not someone I'm truly close with," I'd be more inclined to brush it off with a laugh, a/k/a "ah, there you go again with the 'you can't possibly retire' bit" and then immediately change the subject to something else.

Fundamentally, a real friend will want to understand and support you -- and if it's not a real friend, it's none of their business.  Better to stop feeding the monster entirely than to waste your own time finding more palatable delicacies.


Like Dee18 and Laura33, I am struck that the persistence of this one friend seems odd.  What is their beef exactly?  They don't understand?  They "hate" by jeering that you're "useless" because you're planning not to work?  They think it won't work, you'll run out of money and you their beloved friend will be homeless via your own mistake?  They're jealous so they attack using all of the positions I described?  There's not enough detail yet to know what the problem is, except that not everyone behaves as your friend is doing.

I have to say, most people that hear about my plans are excited for me, and they want to know more about how I got on this path.  There really is only one person that gives me flak about it... she is one of my oldest and closest friends.  She would call me in the middle of a night with a crisis.  We discuss finances probably more than most friends would, and occasionally we discuss my FIRE plans if they come up.  I don't try to bring them up all the time or anything!  The last time it came up, we had the same conversation we've had before.  She questions why I want to do it, asks why anyone would want to retire so early, scoffs at wasting years of investment into a career, says how bored I might get, etc.  I answered her questions honestly and sincerely, like I had done before.

But after that conversation it suddenly dawned on me that she was being passive aggressive, and my responses were all coming from a defensive position.  IDK what it was, perhaps the setting we were in (had just come back from 20 yr hs reunion, sitting in the kitchen of her new 800K mcmansion), but it just hit me.  That we've had these same conversations before and I was addressing the same passive aggressive remarks.  I was embarrassed that I hadn't realized she was being passive aggressive.  I'm a great active listener to people who are being passive aggressive, if I can recognize what is going on!  Active listening usually squashes it.  Instead it was like I was feeding the troll.

Upon the realization, I was slightly bothered that she couldn't be like most other friends and just be happy for me.  Maybe it's insensitive of me to discuss it because her financial situation is so different.  But I never felt like it was insensitive because she's always out earned my family considerable, so it's always come down to spending choices, and I don't judge hers.  She's swimming in high income and high expenses that go along with them.  I walked into her new house (4,500 sqft for her, fiance, and one dog) and told her how gorgeous and spacious it was.  I didn't scoff and say "I'd hate to clean this place!" or "huge house, huge mortgage, am I right?!" or "why would anyone want to heat and cool all this?!"  I was a nice friend and I celebrated her decision with her, and pointed out the positive things, even though it wouldn't have been my choice.

Anyway, thanks all for the responses.   I'm going to look for that thread about what a retired person puts on their business card.  While the motivation behind my post was really the annoyance I felt over the conversations with my friend, I would like to check out some of the ideas thrown out there!

tyort1

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Re: Reframing RE as a second career to fend off haters
« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2017, 11:44:55 AM »
I generally don't care much about other people's opinions on my choices....

This is the core problem - you do, in fact care.  Work on this part and the rest will take of itself.

Laura33

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Re: Reframing RE as a second career to fend off haters
« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2017, 12:09:19 PM »

I have to say, most people that hear about my plans are excited for me, and they want to know more about how I got on this path.  There really is only one person that gives me flak about it... she is one of my oldest and closest friends.  She would call me in the middle of a night with a crisis.  We discuss finances probably more than most friends would, and occasionally we discuss my FIRE plans if they come up.  I don't try to bring them up all the time or anything!  The last time it came up, we had the same conversation we've had before.  She questions why I want to do it, asks why anyone would want to retire so early, scoffs at wasting years of investment into a career, says how bored I might get, etc.  I answered her questions honestly and sincerely, like I had done before.

But after that conversation it suddenly dawned on me that she was being passive aggressive, and my responses were all coming from a defensive position.  IDK what it was, perhaps the setting we were in (had just come back from 20 yr hs reunion, sitting in the kitchen of her new 800K mcmansion), but it just hit me.  That we've had these same conversations before and I was addressing the same passive aggressive remarks.  I was embarrassed that I hadn't realized she was being passive aggressive.  I'm a great active listener to people who are being passive aggressive, if I can recognize what is going on!  Active listening usually squashes it.  Instead it was like I was feeding the troll.

Upon the realization, I was slightly bothered that she couldn't be like most other friends and just be happy for me.  Maybe it's insensitive of me to discuss it because her financial situation is so different.  But I never felt like it was insensitive because she's always out earned my family considerable, so it's always come down to spending choices, and I don't judge hers.  She's swimming in high income and high expenses that go along with them.  I walked into her new house (4,500 sqft for her, fiance, and one dog) and told her how gorgeous and spacious it was.  I didn't scoff and say "I'd hate to clean this place!" or "huge house, huge mortgage, am I right?!" or "why would anyone want to heat and cool all this?!"  I was a nice friend and I celebrated her decision with her, and pointed out the positive things, even though it wouldn't have been my choice.

Anyway, thanks all for the responses.   I'm going to look for that thread about what a retired person puts on their business card.  While the motivation behind my post was really the annoyance I felt over the conversations with my friend, I would like to check out some of the ideas thrown out there!

It wasn't like you were feeding the troll.  You were feeding the troll.

The logical conclusion to leap to is that she is insecure and needs to defend her own McMansion lifestyle by finding fault with yours.  But regardless of her reasoning here, you have been a good friend, and she is being rude and hurtful, and you have every right to be more than "slightly" bothered. 

If she truly is an old and close friend and it's just this one thing that bugs her, please tackle that head-on (in a nice way).  This might just be a blind spot for her -- because doesn't everyone want an $800K McMansion? -- and so she might not actually realize that her comments are condescending and hurtful.  So give her the benefit of the doubt and tell her that it hurts your feelings when she belittles your choices.  Point out all the times that you have been happy for her choices even though you would choose differently for yourself, and ask her to please do the same for you -- or at a minimum shut it with the criticial/disparaging comments. 

And then if she keeps harping on it, well, that's another useful data point for you in figuring out how good of a "friend" she really is.

Cassie

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Re: Reframing RE as a second career to fend off haters
« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2017, 12:24:01 PM »
WE actually lost a long time friendship over this. It had been no secret for years that we worked for the government for lower salaries because we wanted pensions.  I retired at 58 and get a 20k/year pension. My DH was laid-off and could not find a new job so took his pension at 53 for the same amount. When she found out I was retiring she left me a message at work when I would not be there telling me I as making a big mistake.  Then we downsized our house to a mega fixer upper that we had to fix before we could move in. My DH had the time to do it since he was not working. They were very jealous of our small pensions. They are both self employed from home and for years was telling us to leave our jobs and work for ourselves and we said that was not the plan. Now they are 10 years older and mad that they can't retire. Then they get a 300k inheritance and instead of staying in their nice 1700 sq ft home they buy a brand new one that is 2700 sq ft.  Finally after about 2 years I just quit returning their phone calls, etc. All the rest of our friends were happy for us.

catccc

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Re: Reframing RE as a second career to fend off haters
« Reply #15 on: July 03, 2017, 01:04:29 PM »

It wasn't like you were feeding the troll.  You were feeding the troll.

The logical conclusion to leap to is that she is insecure and needs to defend her own McMansion lifestyle by finding fault with yours.  But regardless of her reasoning here, you have been a good friend, and she is being rude and hurtful, and you have every right to be more than "slightly" bothered. 

If she truly is an old and close friend and it's just this one thing that bugs her, please tackle that head-on (in a nice way).  This might just be a blind spot for her -- because doesn't everyone want an $800K McMansion? -- and so she might not actually realize that her comments are condescending and hurtful.  So give her the benefit of the doubt and tell her that it hurts your feelings when she belittles your choices.  Point out all the times that you have been happy for her choices even though you would choose differently for yourself, and ask her to please do the same for you -- or at a minimum shut it with the criticial/disparaging comments. 

And then if she keeps harping on it, well, that's another useful data point for you in figuring out how good of a "friend" she really is.

Ha, I said "like" because I think of 'trolls' as something specific to online forums, but that is probably a misunderstanding on my part. 

Anyway, thank you, lots of good advice.  She has a strange relationship with her mother, who is very passive aggressive towards her, and it is very possible she didn't realize she was being condescending/hurtful.  I've known her since we were kids in grade school.

I am actually now reminded of some recent times we've clashed on other values, bigger ones than money.  At those times I questioned whether or not I should continue the relationship, and I've chosen to overlook our differences.  I guess sometimes people change, and they grow apart.  If these kinds of things keep stacking up, I'll have to learn to let go...

Psychstache

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Re: Reframing RE as a second career to fend off haters
« Reply #16 on: July 03, 2017, 01:59:27 PM »

It wasn't like you were feeding the troll.  You were feeding the troll.

The logical conclusion to leap to is that she is insecure and needs to defend her own McMansion lifestyle by finding fault with yours.  But regardless of her reasoning here, you have been a good friend, and she is being rude and hurtful, and you have every right to be more than "slightly" bothered. 

If she truly is an old and close friend and it's just this one thing that bugs her, please tackle that head-on (in a nice way).  This might just be a blind spot for her -- because doesn't everyone want an $800K McMansion? -- and so she might not actually realize that her comments are condescending and hurtful.  So give her the benefit of the doubt and tell her that it hurts your feelings when she belittles your choices.  Point out all the times that you have been happy for her choices even though you would choose differently for yourself, and ask her to please do the same for you -- or at a minimum shut it with the criticial/disparaging comments. 

And then if she keeps harping on it, well, that's another useful data point for you in figuring out how good of a "friend" she really is.

Ha, I said "like" because I think of 'trolls' as something specific to online forums, but that is probably a misunderstanding on my part. 

Anyway, thank you, lots of good advice.  She has a strange relationship with her mother, who is very passive aggressive towards her, and it is very possible she didn't realize she was being condescending/hurtful.  I've known her since we were kids in grade school.

I am actually now reminded of some recent times we've clashed on other values, bigger ones than money.  At those times I questioned whether or not I should continue the relationship, and I've chosen to overlook our differences.  I guess sometimes people change, and they grow apart.  If these kinds of things keep stacking up, I'll have to learn to let go...
For a long time my wife's oldest friend was her best friend. By the time I met my wife, that was no longer true (they had drifted apart and had very different values in how to live there lives) but she still thought of her as her best friend. It caused a lot of frustration until one day she finally accepted that this woman was her oldest friend, and still friendly, but was no longer her best friend and she had to stop conceptualizing her as such and expecting the kind of intimacy and connection that you would get from a best friend from childhood.

Just some food for thought.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2017, 02:01:27 PM by Psychstache »

Guide2003

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Re: Reframing RE as a second career to fend off haters
« Reply #17 on: July 03, 2017, 02:58:34 PM »
Anyone ever think they need to drop the word "retirement" which has connotations of old people past their prime and explain their financial choices in another way?
I feel like this with my parents. Sometimes by the way they talk about their future plans, it sounds like I'm closer to retiring than they are. When they ask "What next?" I always feel like I need to make up something. Not that I'm worried about what they say, but it still seems odd to me that there will just be a big gap of unknown there that needs to be filled with something. I think the last time I didn't have to answer to someone every day was age 3, and it will be odd having to structure my day myself. I think I will have to spend the couple years before retirement working on learning how to structure and motivate myself without anyone telling me what to do!

FIence!

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Re: Reframing RE as a second career to fend off haters
« Reply #18 on: July 03, 2017, 04:37:05 PM »
At this point I'm just underscoring points made by others, but it's clear the haters are not plural, it's a single hater. Just like you get to choose to retire, you get to choose what friends you have. Imagine your life one year in the future, and that you haven't talked to this friend for months. Does that make you feel sorrowful or relieved? There's your answer.

The problem is not ER, or how you choose to describe it, it's your friend. You know why you retire early? To not have to work so hard. Making up stories about what your life really entails to please a troll sure sounds like work, doesn't it?

Villanelle

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Re: Reframing RE as a second career to fend off haters
« Reply #19 on: July 03, 2017, 08:37:37 PM »
If she's truly a dear friend and it's a relationship you value, why not say, next time it comes up, "Hey, we've talked about this several times, and clearly, we just aren't going to be able to see this eye to eye.  I feel like you keep wanting me to defend this to you, and that's kind of annoying and upsetting. It seems like my decision upsets you for some reason, but I can assure you I'm not doing anything risky or unhealthy, so that concern isn't about me, really.  And that's okay, too.   It's okay that you don't think it's a choice you'd want, but I've come to this point carefully and thoughtfully, and as  friend, I'd hope you could accept that we see this differently, and just be excited for me, just as I'm excited for you when you make choices that make you happy but that differ from what I'd have chosen for myself.  Is that something you think you can do?  Because I really don't want to keep having this same conversation, or to have this create an issue in our friendship."

If she can't do that, when you spell it out clearly, then she's a shitty friend.  She doesn't need to understand, but she needs to respect and support. 

Playing games and being semi-dishonest by saying you aren't retired when in fact you very much consider yourself to be retired is silly, and I think it lessens you, especially when you do it with people who are supposedly important to you. 

catccc

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Re: Reframing RE as a second career to fend off haters
« Reply #20 on: July 03, 2017, 08:50:44 PM »
WE actually lost a long time friendship over this...  Finally after about 2 years I just quit returning their phone calls, etc. All the rest of our friends were happy for us.

That's unfortunate, but I think you did the right thing letting the friendship fizzle.  It sounded like it was always going to be an issue...