Author Topic: Trying to FIRE and dealing with being a social outcast.  (Read 4069 times)

bob999

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Trying to FIRE and dealing with being a social outcast.
« on: August 01, 2017, 01:22:00 AM »
Hi all,

I have been a MMM follower for about 5 years and have come a long way in my thinking towards being FIRE. I am still not a 100% Mustachian but I feel it takes time to change. I am really looking for some encouragement and advice from fellow Mustachians as I am feeling hopeless on my journey to FIRE.

A little about myself: Married with two young kids. Both of us are high income earners and fairly frugal (but not to MMM standard).
We used to save about 30% before finding MMM but have since increased this to ~70%. My wife does not follow FIRE thinking and wants to continue working till age 60. I don't want to FIRE alone. (we are currently in our late 30s)

I don't know anyone in real life who is planning to FIRE and I have faced resistance from family and friends at even the hint of retiring early. They seem to think that I am lazy if I want to retire early and give (advice) on why it 'cant be done' and 'shouldn't be done'. E.g. think of your kids future. Why are you being so selfish. Earn while you can. Why get paid half (for part-time work) when you can get paid full...the company will still expect you to deliver same results and pay you less.

We are currently renting a small place and have a few investment properties. All our friends/family live in McMansions (and have investment properties). They can not understand why we choose to live (rent) in such a small place. They think we are not enjoying life by not buying a million dollar home. Or are stupid to own investment properties yet rent ourselves.

My wife (not being a FIRE type person) also thinks that we should buy a home but is content with living where we are for the moment. As long as we buy a nice home (think expensive) at some time in the future.

I am constantly struggling with myself on what to do. I don't really talk to anyone about FIRE as no one seems to understand. I plan my/our financial future but with so many variables (e.g. buying a home at some point, unknown kids expenses as they grow up, elderly parents to look after at some point) it is hard to see the end of the tunnel. Sometimes I feel it is impossible to retire early given the social norm of working till you are 65.

The finance part of equation is fairly easy for me. We are earning well and save/invest most of it. If we work for 10 more years we will retire with 2x our inflation adjusted expenses. Which makes me think that I would retire even earlier but the unknown variables (house, kids etc.) make me wonder if it is safer to just keep working till age 50.

Anyone in a similar situation who can perhaps encourage, advise on what to do?

Thanks a million.

 

 


human

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Re: Trying to FIRE and dealing with being a social outcast.
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2017, 04:28:59 AM »
If you are committed to staying in the marriage try plan for a house that you think could also serve as a good FIRE home. Do you think your wife woukd compromise on the house at all? Try to set a budget, area, property taxes you can live with.

The house is tricky because the choice shouldn't be completely yours. You need to negotiate, act like you are buying a car if your max is 100 bux act like it's 80 and then slowly come around to 110.

As for FIRe and family/friends : when do you want to.FIRE? How old are the kids? Could your fire in 10 years and be a sahd? You'll just have to.suck up the criticism or ignore it?

bob999

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Re: Trying to FIRE and dealing with being a social outcast.
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2017, 05:13:08 AM »
If you are committed to staying in the marriage try plan for a house that you think could also serve as a good FIRE home. Do you think your wife woukd compromise on the house at all? Try to set a budget, area, property taxes you can live with.

The house is tricky because the choice shouldn't be completely yours. You need to negotiate, act like you are buying a car if your max is 100 bux act like it's 80 and then slowly come around to 110.

As for FIRe and family/friends : when do you want to.FIRE? How old are the kids?  Could your fire in 10 years and be a sahd? You'll just have to.suck up the criticism or ignore it?

The thing with the house is, we could afford 1mil home (not a big deal in the city we are in Australia) and not a fancy house either. That is the reality of the property market here. But it makes me feel sick just thinking about taking out such a big loan. And this would derail the 'early' retirement plan. I think I could still do it 'with the house' in about 15 years time but without the house it would be much much sooner.

I want to FIRE asap. The kids are under 5 year old.

Not sure what "Could your fire in 10 years and be a sahd?" means.

yachi

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Re: Trying to FIRE and dealing with being a social outcast.
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2017, 05:47:35 AM »
sahd: Stay at Home Dad.  If you're saving 70% of your combined incomes, you might be able to live off just your wife's income.

Cranky

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Re: Trying to FIRE and dealing with being a social outcast.
« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2017, 06:44:14 AM »
Make some new friends, and don't discuss your financial plans with anyone but your wife.

Think out with her "What do you want to do when you retire? What are you wanting to retire *to*? What does she want to do?"

I think you can work out a life plan that will suit you both, but you should stop discussing it with other people because it's none of their business.

okits

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Re: Trying to FIRE and dealing with being a social outcast.
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2017, 11:45:12 AM »
Sometimes, to make something socially acceptable, you need to present it in a way that most people (even with consumerist leanings) will understand.

Do you know anyone who has had a heart attack or gotten cancer too young?  Anyone who died shortly after retirement (or even before retirement) and never got to enjoy their golden years (or even enjoy life, if they kept working and putting off other things until retirement)?  By my mid-30s I've seen various sad cases where relying on there being a tomorrow (when you'll finally spend time with your family, pursue your hobbies, take care of yourself, and enjoy life) hasn't worked out for the people in question.  If you absolutely must explain yourself to others (besides your wife and kids), this is a very relatable reason.  "Seeing ____ get sick/die young really hit me hard and I realized I need to make time for my family and to enjoy my life sooner rather than later."

Lots of people couch their ER as a break/sabbatical or a career change. 

For your wife and the house, is this the house you want to raise kids in (so, live there about 20 years) or that you hope to die in (live there 40-60 years)?  If #1, part of your plan can be to eventually downsize (release some equity and reduce your housing costs).  If #2, you can aim to buy a more modest, adaptable place with future accessibility needs in mind.

The scenarios and concerns you raise are brought up extremely often in this community.  Browse for some existing threads to read and you may get more ideas or insights you find useful. 

Dee18

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Re: Trying to FIRE and dealing with being a social outcast.
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2017, 12:21:41 PM »
While one solution is to not raise the subject of FIRE with most people, another is to talk about it with calm confidence.  (And I think either path is just fine.) What people say to you is their choice; how you react to it is your choice.  I sometimes find myself attributing a more negative intent to comments than the words absolutely require. This is especially likely if I'm not confident about my choice.

ixtap

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Re: Trying to FIRE and dealing with being a social outcast.
« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2017, 12:47:31 PM »
Instead of focusing on retirement, focus on what you will be doing. Be a stay at home dad. Be a food bank coordinator. Be a woodworker. Be a connoisseur of local gossip. Whatever your thing is, make that the focus of conversations.

It will do you some good to put some thought into this, anyway.

mm1970

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Re: Trying to FIRE and dealing with being a social outcast.
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2017, 12:51:58 PM »
sahd: Stay at Home Dad.  If you're saving 70% of your combined incomes, you might be able to live off just your wife's income.

Yep.  I think a bunch of people would be more receptive to the "I'm a stay at home dad" instead of "I'm retired", even if it's the same thing.

People are weird.

Lis

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Re: Trying to FIRE and dealing with being a social outcast.
« Reply #9 on: August 01, 2017, 01:12:44 PM »
Keep in mind too that nothing needs to be permanent. If you "FIRE" now you don't have to stay that way if your circumstances change. If you have the opportunity to stay home with the kids now, do it, and go back to work when they're 10, 16, 25, whenever (or never). The only other person whose opinion matters is your wife, because you guys have built and are building your life together, so you need to make decisions with each other.

bob22

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Re: Trying to FIRE and dealing with being a social outcast.
« Reply #10 on: August 01, 2017, 05:16:58 PM »
What I tell people, when they disagree with my position on FIRE: How much is more time worth (to do what you want, to be with your family)? You can't buy more time with money.

human

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Re: Trying to FIRE and dealing with being a social outcast.
« Reply #11 on: August 01, 2017, 05:55:49 PM »
In 10 years you can fire with twice your expenses meaning you can fire in 5 years.

But the house . . .  my suggestion is to lay it all out here, what's your actual income, your wife's income, how much do you have stashed, how much would property taxes increase by if you got a million dollar home?

What city? Maybe some other Australians here can suggest other neighbourhoods or suburbs?


SwordGuy

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Re: Trying to FIRE and dealing with being a social outcast.
« Reply #12 on: August 01, 2017, 09:46:48 PM »

Quote
I don't know anyone in real life who is planning to FIRE and I have faced resistance from family and friends at even the hint of retiring early. They seem to think that I am lazy if I want to retire early and give (advice) on why it 'cant be done' and 'shouldn't be done'. E.g. think of your kids future. Why are you being so selfish. Earn while you can.

Don't take financial advice from:

(a) broke-ass people.
(b) people who make lots of money but have no wealth.



 

Altons Bobs

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Re: Trying to FIRE and dealing with being a social outcast.
« Reply #13 on: August 02, 2017, 12:14:04 AM »
You seem to care a lot of what other people think of you.  If you still feel that way, keep living for other people instead of for yourself.

TartanTallulah

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Re: Trying to FIRE and dealing with being a social outcast.
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2017, 12:29:43 AM »
sahd: Stay at Home Dad.  If you're saving 70% of your combined incomes, you might be able to live off just your wife's income.

Yep.  I think a bunch of people would be more receptive to the "I'm a stay at home dad" instead of "I'm retired", even if it's the same thing.

People are weird.

My husband was a SAHD for a while and had to deal with a lot of sneering about being "a househusband". We developed many ways of suggesting that people might like to mind their own business.

You can't change other people. If those around you have different priorities and you're truly committed to your own life plan, you need to accept that you'll encounter challenges and hostility rather than support. Within your marriage, listen and be prepared to look at your dreams through the eyes of your wife and children. Other people, including family members, need no more explanation than, "Right now, this way of living suits us."

shelivesthedream

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Re: Trying to FIRE and dealing with being a social outcast.
« Reply #15 on: August 02, 2017, 01:22:48 AM »
A few observations:
1. You don't want to FIRE alone. Why not? Is slaving away at work for no reason until you're 60 really preferable to spending a bit of time without your wife during the day? I think what you mean is "I want my wife to want to do everything I want to do", which ain't never gonna happen. Even if you both FIREd, you'd still have to negotiate how you spend your days together.
2. You're married. You have to meet your wife halfway on life, including big houses and spending money.
3. Your friends think you will be unhappy retired. Is this because they are good friends and can see you're unhappy now, or is this because they are bad friends?
4. You don't have to FIRE forever right now. You can take a break. Why not spend a few years being a SAHD? Sure, you might get a bit of stick, but it's a wonderful thin to do for your children and "It's for the kids" is a socially-acceptable reason to not work.
5. You could also quit work to "manage your investment properties".
6. The only person whose opinion matters is your wife's.
7. I think you would benefit from a short course of therapy. Not because it sounds like you're crushingly depressed, but because you need to talk to an outsider about your goals and what makes you happy and what you want out of life. Therapy is not just for the mentally ill. It's like having an emotional life coach. (Book a session with an actual life coach if you feel embarrassed.) Dr Doom at Livingafi did a great post about having retirement therapy - can't find it on my phone but maybe someone else has the link?
 

Trifele

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Re: Trying to FIRE and dealing with being a social outcast.
« Reply #16 on: August 02, 2017, 04:04:58 AM »
Make some new friends, and don't discuss your financial plans with anyone but your wife.

Think out with her "What do you want to do when you retire? What are you wanting to retire *to*? What does she want to do?"

I think you can work out a life plan that will suit you both, but you should stop discussing it with other people because it's none of their business.

This.  Agree that you should limit the financial discussions to your wife only.  It appears that the others around you don't get FIRE/support it, so don't talk to them about it.  This is very common, by the way.   Many of us mustachians are 'in the closet' about our FIRE plans, with no one to talk to other than our spouses and the folks on the forum.   However, if you would like some new like-minded friends, it's definitely possible to meet other mustachian-minded folks.  For example, I've found that hiking clubs are usually full of them.  If you seek out non-consumerist activities, you will find those people. 

I also agree with the other posters that you and your wife can probably come up with a financial/life plan that suits both of you.  With some honest conversation about what you both want and why, you will get there.  You are young, and your kids are young.   Sounds like a year or two off work at home with them could be a win/win for you and the kids.    It'll be fine.  You can do it, Bob. 
« Last Edit: August 11, 2017, 04:32:14 AM by Trifele »

milliemchi

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Re: Trying to FIRE and dealing with being a social outcast.
« Reply #17 on: August 02, 2017, 04:29:06 PM »
As kids get older and you get better information on their health and scholastic ability (and attitude), you will have a better idea of the costs that you may face in the future. My kids are 5 and 12, and I think I have a pretty good idea (though anything can happen). So, keep working until you feel more confident about the future, and then re-assess.

And - why don't you want to FIRE alone? You don't see your wife 9-5 now. You can get/give as much companionship from/to her when FIREd as when working, and you will get the 9-5 to find even more companionship via hobbies, meetup groups, other SAHPs, etc. You can cook and provide a wonderful home for her and feel good about yourself. If you can be OK with working for many more years, you can certainly be OK with not working the same number of years. And - she might see you being happy and decide to cut down on her hours or retire herself.

apricity22

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Re: Trying to FIRE and dealing with being a social outcast.
« Reply #18 on: August 02, 2017, 06:00:31 PM »
sahd: Stay at Home Dad.  If you're saving 70% of your combined incomes, you might be able to live off just your wife's income.

Yep.  I think a bunch of people would be more receptive to the "I'm a stay at home dad" instead of "I'm retired", even if it's the same thing.

People are weird.

I think a lot of people have a preconceived notion of exactly what "retirement" should look like and when someone in their 30's or 40's mentions the word retirement it doesn't fit with what people think it should look like. Consider some of the criticism I have seen on other forums regarding MMM that goes something like this, "He isn't retired! He owns a rental house and he is probably making a fortune on that blog that people who think he is actually retired are stupid enough to read!"

For this reason, I have come to greatly prefer the term "Financial Independence" which people don't automatically associate with somebody who is in their 60's or later.

SwordGuy

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Re: Trying to FIRE and dealing with being a social outcast.
« Reply #19 on: August 02, 2017, 07:56:37 PM »

Saw the comments earlier about what other folks said about someone being a stay at home dad, etc.

Happened to see this image and thought of this discussion:


It might be a useful response.

dreams_and_discoveries

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Re: Trying to FIRE and dealing with being a social outcast.
« Reply #20 on: August 03, 2017, 01:39:05 AM »
Another one who says ignore the haters, and don't share too much.

Sabbaticals are much more in fashion now.