Author Topic: any suggestions for a simple / succinct explanation of my earlier retirement?  (Read 4137 times)

KyDustBunny

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I tried to find this topic among the existing posts as I'm SURE this has been discussed before, but, after 2 hours of going down entertaining rabbit holes, I am shrugging my shoulders and creating a new topic.

Q:  What verbiage do you use to try to simply/succinctly explain the Mustachian lifestyle to your family, friends, neighbors?

I am interested for 2 main reasons:

1- We want to be clear that we are not exactly swimming in "extra" money
         ("Would you like to join us in St. Thomas this Fall?"  "Let's buy Mom a new tablet since she isn't using the new laptop we all bought her last year"
           "Can you contribute to my daughter's GO FUND ME so that she can quit her job and fly to Australia to help fight the wildfires?") 
          Note: We have a line item built into our budget for Charitable Donations AND one for Gifts but neither line item is limitless

2- I'd genuinely love to inspire others

I just know y'all will offer up some great suggestions!




bluebelle

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just so I'm clear, you're not looking for an answer to the question "why/how did you retire early", you're trying to have a polite answer for 'fuck no, I'm not paying for your stupid money ideas".....ie people assume you have a shit ton of money because you retired early.

I'm interested in the answers you get.....I've been flying under the radar, but am outing myself this year as we move to a resort community on a lake and DH retires, with me soon to follow.   I've had relatives assume they don't need to pay be back because "I don't need the money".

Model96

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I've decided to be self employed......property maintenance

Malcat

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You don't.

Trust me, no one wants to hear about it unless they specifically ask you. If you live really well and are happy and healthy, people will notice and once in awhile, they'll take interest. If they're genuinely interested, then they're already doing the heavy lifting for you and you can just tell them whatever they already want to know.

ysette9

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“Sorry, there isn’t room in the budget” or “sorry, we have already allocated our charitable giving budget for the year”, or a simple “good luck with that, let me know how it goes!”.

Kris

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I worked hard to save enough to retire early.

That is all. That is enough.

Beyond that, any questions they ask do not need to be answered by you, unless you really want to.

TartanTallulah

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"I was only able to retire early because we're happy to live on almost nothing."

ixtap

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"I was only able to retire early because we're happy to live on almost nothing."

Family is capable of critiquing your choices to live in such straightened circumstances AND looking to you as the most well off simultaneously.

DaMa

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I have said, "It's more about what you spend than what you save.  I live small on a tight budget."  It's not really an issue.  Most people think I'm broke, because I live in a small condo, drive a 9 yr old subcompact, and wear the same clothes for years.

As far as people asking you to buy stuff, go with "I'm sorry, it's not it my budget."

ixtap

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"It isn't how I choose to spend my money for my long term goals."

I have found that can make some people think and it leaves the conversation open. Family that wants more is going to be judgemental about anything you say and probably aren't open to thinking it through.

Mtngrl

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My husband's usual answer is "I wasn't able to retire early by throwing my money around." Delivered in an imitation of a grumpy old man, it usually gets a laugh, but people do get the message. If they persist, he might progress to "You ought to know me well enough not to ask that. I'm cheap!"

spartana

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I think this is age dependent too. If you retired very young then it is likely people assume its a temp thing and you are a starving beatnik hippie and have no money. That you'll eventually "grow up" and go back to work. If you retire at an older age closer to traditional retirement age then they might think you're loaded and can afford to fund their requests.

I retired fairly young and I personally never really said I retired early or was FI. Just that I had saved a bit of money by living frugally and was taking some time off work to do other things and living on a small fixed budget. The fact that I never went back to work (at least not after my second long sabbatical) created more worry about me on their part then belief that I had vast riches to share. Looking "poor" with my little old house and old vehicle and old non-fancy everything else helped.

But if the OP wants to be upfront about FIRE to inspire others that its doable then he will likely have to evade others asking for money. Most people seem to assume if you've got extra money you will spend all of it (and often more thru taking on debt) so will assume you are loaded and ask for help. A pat answer to that is probably something that will likely hurt or anger them.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2020, 04:09:31 PM by spartana »

Villanelle

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I mostly agree with "you don't".
If you are trying to express that you can't (or won't) afford that trip when people assume that you are rich because you are retired, something along the lines of, "Sorry, that's not in the budget".  But if you want to say a bit more, "we were able to retired early because we were frugal, but we will only be able to stay retired if we continue to be frugal.  We just don't have the extra money needed to go on that type of trip."

Cassie

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No good answer as we were 53 and 58 so not very early.

KyDustBunny

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Thanks, everyone for your suggestions.

We are 56 ad 57.... closer to the traditional retirement age, but retirement is still unfathomable for many of our peers.

I especially like the idea of just stating something about our frugality allowing us to quit working now but that we need to stay frugal if we're going to stay
retired!   

Also, I get the sense that most of you don't think it's possible to inspire others to exit the rat race.
I guess my own experience lines up with that thought.... I tried to share some of the MMM concepts at an intimate dinner party on NYE with close friends.
It went over like a lead balloon.  Actually, the silence that filled the room was really awkward.   I forget sometimes that the MMM lifestyle is very counter cultural.

And, in the end,
I suppose I can't choose people's values for them.

THANKS again for your help!



Malcat

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Thanks, everyone for your suggestions.

We are 56 ad 57.... closer to the traditional retirement age, but retirement is still unfathomable for many of our peers.

I especially like the idea of just stating something about our frugality allowing us to quit working now but that we need to stay frugal if we're going to stay
retired!   

Also, I get the sense that most of you don't think it's possible to inspire others to exit the rat race.
I guess my own experience lines up with that thought.... I tried to share some of the MMM concepts at an intimate dinner party on NYE with close friends.
It went over like a lead balloon.  Actually, the silence that filled the room was really awkward.   I forget sometimes that the MMM lifestyle is very counter cultural.

And, in the end,
I suppose I can't choose people's values for them.

THANKS again for your help!

It's entirely possible, I do it all the time, but I don't do it by trying to convince anyone of anything.

People take an interest in my unusual lifestyle and we have open two way discussions about life and money values. I'm not trying to sell them on anything, it's an idea exchange. If they find my ideas compelling, then they'll consider taking them up in their own lives.

Cassie

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Most people would rather keep working than give up some of the expensive, wasteful things they buy. We drive old cars with low miles and most people won’t do that.

GreenSheep

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Most people would rather keep working than give up some of the expensive, wasteful things they buy. We drive old cars with low miles and most people won’t do that.

Someone told me exactly that last month. He congratulated me on my retirement and said it sounded really nice, but it would be a long way away for him because he likes expensive things too much. The way he said it, it was like he had a disease or something -- like he has no control over his expensive tastes.

Cassie

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We moved into town and downsized our house to 1400 sq ft. A few people thought we were crazy and tried to talk us out of it and to keep working. One couple in their late 60’s upsized to 3k sq ft about the same time. We like to travel and they can’t afford to.  I love having less space to take care of.

Malcat

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Most people would rather keep working than give up some of the expensive, wasteful things they buy. We drive old cars with low miles and most people won’t do that.

Someone told me exactly that last month. He congratulated me on my retirement and said it sounded really nice, but it would be a long way away for him because he likes expensive things too much. The way he said it, it was like he had a disease or something -- like he has no control over his expensive tastes.

I had a patient yesterday go on and on and on about it.
I tell all of my patients that I'm mostly retired from practicing and I only work one day a week.

This 70ish guy just couldn't believe it and kept saying "but you look so young! How is that possible???"
To which I joked, "oh it's easy, you just have to be willing to accept only a fifth of your income and there you go, anyone can work one day a week."

He didn't even seem to find it funny, he just kept exclaiming
"How is that possible? I spend so much more now that I'm retired!!"

He went on to rant about how he upsized to a much bigger house, how he spends so much more on golf now, how he spends a fortune on paying for private school for his grandkids (in an area with extremely good public schools), how he is picky about cars, etc, etc

I just shrugged and said "I'm a minimalist who lives in an apartment that's probably smaller than your garage"

He said "my garage is a thousand square feet!!!"
I said "my apartment is 800 square feet, and there's two of us living there"

No matter what I said, he just could not fathom that I could possibly have chosen a life that wasn't incredibly expensive.
He barely even registered any answers I actually gave him, he was so preoccupied that his way of life is just normal.

There was absolutely no sense that he saw his life as the product of decisions he had made, just that that's what life is like and as you get older, you spend more, period.

ShastaFire

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Most people would rather keep working than give up some of the expensive, wasteful things they buy. We drive old cars with low miles and most people won’t do that.

Someone told me exactly that last month. He congratulated me on my retirement and said it sounded really nice, but it would be a long way away for him because he likes expensive things too much. The way he said it, it was like he had a disease or something -- like he has no control over his expensive tastes.

Similar here - a relative said they could retire early but "we don't want to live like that".  I could only interpret their vision as being full of deprivation and scrounging.

Egad.

reeshau

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Quote from: Malkynn
This 70ish guy just couldn't believe it and kept saying "but you look so young! How is that possible???"
To which I joked, "oh it's easy, you just have to be willing to accept only a fifth of your income and there you go, anyone can work one day a week."

He didn't even seem to find it funny, he just kept exclaiming
"How is that possible? I spend so much more now that I'm retired!!"

And thus is induced the state of cognitive dissonance.  It would be interesting to find out how he describes your conversation after this:  does he maintain his disbelief, or does he start to fabricate some narrative of your deprivation or unhappiness at your current state?