Author Topic: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world  (Read 9494 times)

Albatross

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I am about 13 years away from FIRE (30 yrs old). Long story short, whenever I mention FIRE to my parents and family, their eyes peer pensively (or wisely?) into the distance, as if I don't know what I'm talking about. Whilst they don't doubt that the maths / financials of FIRE works, their concern is that I will become disconnected from the rest of society.

Even if I am out there carrying out all the projects I wish I could be doing now, instead of a day job, I think there is some merit to their concern. Let's say I finally carry out my dream of doing [y] or being a [z], it is true that the networks I've built, and (pretty much) all the friends I have, will be on a different path in terms of outlook. It has made me think about whether I'll become an 'outsider' in society, and whether this would affect my children as well when it comes to supporting them with a potentially limited network.

It's a pretty 'old school' criticism, but my parents are Chinese and to them, society, networks and 'utility' within such a framework is important. Some of this comes back to pride and wanting people to respect you for what you do - again where I live, being a doctor, lawyer, vet etc is seen as something to be respected. I'm the sort of person who would enjoy a day's work if you gave me wood and tools and told me to build a house. However, by contrast, I am a professional (that falls into one of the above categories) and I do wonder what it will be like when and if I 'quit' and people won't 'see' me in the same way anymore.

Before you consider my mindset shallow, please bear in mind that a lot of it has to do with the way I was brought up which is very hard to shake! My question to you is, if you have already FIREd, how have you dealt with this 'change in perception' of you by society / family / people you meet and do you feel disconnected from a world you have invested so much time in? If you haven't FIREd yet, do you relate to my concern at all?

Village Farang

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2018, 12:25:49 AM »
You are asking important questions but you should be aware that this is a moving target scenario.  As you get older and go through different phases in your life the answers will be different.  Your cultural and family background, as well as having children, potentially makes your path more difficult than it has been for someone like me.  There is no way of knowing in advance what you will be challenged with in the future so it really comes down to you as an individual and how resilient you are.

The fact that you are looking so far into the future and looking for assurances that everything will be ok, suggests to me that you have yet to gain the self-confidence needed to deal with what may come up.  You may end up changing your mind a few times over the next few years so just take it slow and work on developing relationships which are not solely dependent on your job title or work background.  Hobbies, sports or other outside interests separate from your work may help you deal with the transition if that time ever comes.

It is nice to have goals and dreams but don’t let them get in the way of enjoying what you have now.

former player

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2018, 04:17:37 AM »
I have FIRE'd and did have some concern about how things would work with social/professional connections, added to the fact that I was moving away from my place of work (London, glad to see the back of it after 25 years there).

The answer I've found is that you make new friends and new networks which are more diverse than your old ones and more in sympathy with the way you want to live your life.  And given the means of communication that we all have now, it is also easier to stay in touch with the parts of the old networks that still resonate with your new life and interests.

Children naturally bring with them their own networks of fellow parents, teachers, educational institutions, etc.  And you will have time in FIRE to model to them the ways in which they can proactively make for themselves the lives they want, rather than relying on whatever your current equivalent of the "old boy network" is.  They will be fine.

Freedomin5

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2018, 04:41:19 AM »
Being FIRE’d doesn’t mean you’re sitting on your porch on a rocking chair chewing a piece of straw for the rest of your days. If you’re driven enough (and Chinese enough) to have achieved a professional designation, you’re probably innately driven to achieve. I know my Chinese parents certainly instilled a good work ethic in me. So after FIRE-ing you’ll probably still be involved in the community through volunteering, etc.

That’s what helped my parents “get” the idea. I’d still be using the skills I picked up as a professional, I just wouldn’t be limited to taking only paid projects. I could take Worthwhile projects that could really make an impact on society.

In terms of networking, to what extent did your parents’ network help you get to where you are?

Sun Hat

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2018, 07:20:10 AM »
Perhaps you could consider framing the issue as having reached SUCH GREAT SUCCESS as a professional that it allowed you to retire from paid work to pursue other interests. That way, it's less about leaving a status behind, as it is capitalizing on it to move forward.

chasesfish

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2018, 08:25:32 AM »
My parents (and in-laws) aren't chinese, but I get the same reaction from them.  They have no concept or thought of why I would give up a career that looks so prominent and earns what I do.  They also think I make about 1/3rd of what I really do...

They also both spend 90%+ of their money, so the concept is so foreign to them

Lews Therin

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2018, 08:42:14 AM »
You are going to move from your work world, into a personal interest world.

I'm moving from the military world next year, FIRE, then I get to spend more time with people who bike, hike, volunteer. Unless you are FIRE-ing to go live in the woods, you'll still have lots of interactions. And I expect to see my friends/family more often, since I can do my own stuff during the week, and enjoy the weekends on their schedule.

SachaFiscal

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2018, 08:10:09 PM »
When I was working and talked to my family about quitting my job they all encouraged me not to do it. However I eventually did it anyway and now everything is just fine. They are happy for me and I actually have better relationships with them all because I call them more often and visit them more often. They can see I'm doing just fine and actually thriving. 

I do still have some issues with telling people that I am retired, mostly because in the back of my mind I think I may go back at some point (it's been less than a year).  So I tell people that I'm just taking a career break. That feeling is starting to fade and may eventually disappear.  Also I'm pretty private about my finances and when you tell people you are retired early then people start thinking you're rich and can afford a bunch of stuff.  I've already had some friends try and convince me to buy their MLM products.

I have had some problems setting boundaries in the past and always used work as an excuse.  Being busy with work.  Now that I don't have that to fall back on, I'm having to be honest with people and just tell them that I can't hang out with them as often as they would like to because I'm on an eating out budget or I am taking some time to myself.

I still identify myself by my former job. When people ask what I do, I still say what I used to do but that I'm taking a break from it at the moment.  Then I talk about all the things I'm doing with my time now.

I'm doing a lot of things that I didn't do while working.  My former job was very challenging and I learned to do many things but they were all in the same genre.  Now I'm learning so many other skills and having so many new experiences.  I go to meditation groups, take classes, listen to music performances, volunteer etc.  I meet and interact with a variety of people from many walks of life but most of the time they are much older and retired. All in all my life is more fuller and varied which I love.

When you decide to retire you can just tell people you are taking a career break.  It's more common to do that now and people won't be taken aback by it.

SwordGuy

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2018, 07:06:17 AM »
Maybe it's time to decide how you want to live your life and then do just that -- and to hell with what the relatives say.

Or, you can cave to their pressure and then raise children who are just as unhappy with the same boundaries you'll subconsciously pass on to them...


dude

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2018, 07:26:05 AM »
Funny, it was my wife who gave me the most shit about retiring early when I first proposed it (she's since come around on the idea, though she still has reservations). Her parents, on the other hand, told me I was smart to do so, that I should live life and do fun things while still young.  They were speaking from their own experience. Both worked until 65 (for Medicare) and traveled quite a bit afterwards -- for about 5 years anyway -- until health problems began to plague them after they turned 70. Man, I'm telling you it was like somebody flipped a fucking switch -- they've been homebodies ever since. They both say they wish they could have retired earlier. I'm working for only as long as I have to because I have a golden handcuff situation, i.e., an immediate pension for which I'm eligible a year from now. After that, I'm gone, and I don't give a rat's ass what ANYBODY thinks about it.

Mr. Green

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2018, 10:14:37 AM »
I feel like 13 years is way too far away to worry about it. There's just too much that can happen in life between now and then that could make this a total non-issue. You could find a job and not want to FIRE. We could see another bad recession that turns your 13 years into 20. You could be dead by then. The list is infinite. Enjoy now and shelve this thought until it's a little closer to impacting your life.

Fireinthebelly

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2018, 12:23:35 PM »
About the concern for your children - I don't think it's a valid concern.    In FIRE you will have more time to spend with them, get involved with their activities and schools, and generally be a more involved parent.   As for "supporting them with a potentially limited network" I'm not sure exactly what this means.  For myself, raising my children and financially supporting them through university is important.  Beyond that, they have to make their own way in the world, and I don't think they need their parent's networks to succeed.

For your other concern about losing respect and disconnecting from your peers when you drop out of your profession, I think it is a valid concern.    But you have 13 years to prepare!   there is lots of great advice on these forums on how to retire to something not just away from work. 

Linda_Norway

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2018, 12:44:01 AM »
Is it an option for you to play the stress-is-bad-for-your-health card?

Both DH and I are feeling the effects of stress on our body. DH has gotten heart issues and I have had cases of memory loss because of stress. These things were caused by a combination of work stress and private stress. But if we wouldn't have worked, it would have been so much easier to tackle. It think we both would have great health benefits from retiring.

I don't whether your job is bad for your health, but maybe you could overdo it a bit to convince your parents. At least, when the time comes.

My parents in law retired at 50, so they are not judging. And I think DH's brother will also fully understand it. But I haven't dared to tell my mother yet. She is in general very judgemental about anything I do. And my brother is a difficult case, as he has trouble keeping a fulltime job. I might be a bit embarrassing to tell him I could afford to quit. Although it has partly something to do with life choices.

dudunoodle

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2018, 03:21:42 PM »
Funny my parents are Chinese too. I think my mom gets very nervous whenever I mention "early retirement" during our dinner conversations. Recently, she sent me a story in Chinese about how miserable some successful Chinese engineers retired back to their hometown in the countryside. A guy moved to Beijing and made millions.. He took the money with him and moved back to his hometown in the countryside. They built a little garden inn Airbnb and started their life long dream of early retirement by building a small piece of paradise to enjoy a much slower life. A year later, he was bored out of his mind and moved back to Beijing. The main reason was because he couldn't identify himself with the new life. He lost a sense of purpose. My mom used this story to tell me that I may not finding the life with "nothing to do" is going to be "healthy" for me.

Plus, as a Chinese kid, I did inherit the tradition of taking care our elder parents. So she is probably also worried I would't be paying her mega million dollar mansion anymore. Whatever it is, "Early Retirement" becomes an unwelcoming topic. And I am trying to figure out a way to tell her, "Hey mom, you know if I don't have to pay for your lavish house, I could have retired by now."

Hikester

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #14 on: May 09, 2018, 06:16:28 PM »
Before I FIREd I gave some thought to this too. Please keep in mind that the networks you make through work are not any better than those you make through other activities, for example Meetups. Work networks and friendships initially only have in common the fact that they share a common profession and proximity (same office etc). When you meet people through other activities there will be some you really like and some you won’t, just like with work.

Perhaps you are defining your identity based on what you do at work as opposed to what other interests you have. I have met people who work was so much of who they are, they had no other interests that they were caught in the world of work only and after retiring ended up returning to work. The problem with this is that it makes your world rather limited. If you could expand your identity you will be able to deal with different stages of life better. Be careful your fear of going against a particular culture (all cultures have limitations), or disappointing your parents and friends will limit your life choices and fulfillment. In the end, if your family and friends really care about you they will see your happiness in FIRE and realize there are many ways to live happy fulfilling lives. A “good and prosperous job” is not the only path to a happy life. Don’t shortchange your dreams to accommodate societal expectations.

Islander

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #15 on: May 10, 2018, 06:58:45 AM »
Isn't it absurd? We are 30, semi FIRE, and moved 2 hours away to get away from the demands of my in laws. They expected the same things from us and after we had our first child we communicated were done with dealing with my in laws mortgages (yes plural) they basically said okay "screw you, your no longer of use to me"

Long story short. We are so much happier! It was tough for my husband at first I think because of being a son/male but his stress level has gone down tremendously. He tells me sometimes he feels as if he wasted most of his life just trying to please others but I often remind him he's only 30 and that he realized this now rather than when he's 40, or 50, or any later.

Yes it's a cultural thing but it's no excuse living your life to please others. In our situation, It's a conditional love thing from the parents and it's not healthy. You have to make yourself happy before you can help others. Sorry, I sound like Iam preaching but just wanted to share our story. We moved away and are much happier, a lot less stressed. Instead of paying someone else's mortgage we are able to buy our own house and start a family. My husband works part time and I take care of the children full time. If we continued with our previous path we would both be working 2 jobs and putting the kids in daycare. There comes a time when you need to focus on yourself instead of trying to fit into someone's else's image of how you should be and what they would like you to do. I understand it's more difficult for an Asian son than it would an Asian daughter. I think there's more expected from a son to look after their parents. In our situation, their is nothing to look after. You own 2 properties worth over 4 million... I think your well taken care of. It will never be enough.  Good luck to the original poster!


Funny my parents are Chinese too. I think my mom gets very nervous whenever I mention "early retirement" during our dinner conversations. Recently, she sent me a story in Chinese about how miserable some successful Chinese engineers retired back to their hometown in the countryside. A guy moved to Beijing and made millions.. He took the money with him and moved back to his hometown in the countryside. They built a little garden inn Airbnb and started their life long dream of early retirement by building a small piece of paradise to enjoy a much slower life. A year later, he was bored out of his mind and moved back to Beijing. The main reason was because he couldn't identify himself with the new life. He lost a sense of purpose. My mom used this story to tell me that I may not finding the life with "nothing to do" is going to be "healthy" for me.

Plus, as a Chinese kid, I did inherit the tradition of taking care our elder parents. So she is probably also worried I would't be paying her mega million dollar mansion anymore. Whatever it is, "Early Retirement" becomes an unwelcoming topic. And I am trying to figure out a way to tell her, "Hey mom, you know if I don't have to pay for your lavish house, I could have retired by now."
« Last Edit: May 10, 2018, 07:18:36 AM by Kayteekate »

BoonDogle

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #16 on: May 10, 2018, 08:32:25 AM »
Quit talking about it already.  It's 13 years away.  It's like a new employee showing up to work on his first day and saying "I'm gonna own this place in 15 years".  So many things can happen and either move the date forward or backward by then.  When you are 100% sure of the exact date you are leaving the workforce, then let everyone else in on it.  Until then nobody, besides us on this forum, cares to hear about it.

MiserlyMiser

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #17 on: May 10, 2018, 02:00:56 PM »
I think having 13 years before FI works in your favor, in terms of getting your family on your side.  Some members of my family reacted very badly when I first floated the idea of quitting my job.  They've come around in the 5 years since then--over time, they realized that I'm serious about this and actually have a plan. 

Dicey

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #18 on: May 11, 2018, 04:26:19 AM »
Just focus on the goal of achieving FI. Don't discuss your plans to RE with your parents. Once you've achieved FI, you will be amazed at how powerful and confident you feel. From there, the decision to RE (or not) is easy.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #19 on: May 11, 2018, 05:12:49 AM »
They also think I make about 1/3rd of what I really do...

They also both spend 90%+ of their money, so the concept is so foreign to them

Haha, I thought I was the only one in this boat. I probably don't make anywhere near what you do, but I still have to play down my income to my family.


Lews Therin

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #20 on: May 11, 2018, 06:30:12 AM »
I have a parent retiring at 60.. the same year I will be retiring at 30. The difference is that I'm planning on 25k spend, while my parent wanted 60-80k. It makes for interesting conversations.
0-70k.

Albatross

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #21 on: May 20, 2018, 09:31:58 PM »
Thanks everyone for replying and sorry for not responding earlier – the replies built up and I never got round to replying individually. Here are my thoughts on what people have said: Overall – my question was more about how people Post-FIRED (or close to) have dealt with feelings of being disconnected (if at all).

I just don’t talk about leaving work by a certain point, because I have no idea what will happen in the future. Even the best plans are just guidelines, and 13 years is a loooong time and the chances are much higher that your life will drastically change in that time than that it will stay on exactly the course you’ve planned on.



My point is that leaving work isn’t a given of reaching FI anyway, so why focus on it? Focus on this being about living your best life, and you will find people much more supportive.
Thanks. It's true that 13 years is a long way away, but I think it's okay to plan what you can. I was just curious how others dealt with it. I thought it might be  a significant cause for OMY.  Also I don't really mind what my parents think – I just thought they might have a good point which I need to consider.
Maybe it's time to decide how you want to live your life and then do just that -- and to hell with what the relatives say.

Or, you can cave to their pressure and then raise children who are just as unhappy with the same boundaries you'll subconsciously pass on to them...


Haha thanks – true. As above, I'm not too concerned with what my parents think – it just got me thinking about  whether I'd feel lonely in FI.
Funny, it was my wife who gave me the most shit about retiring early when I first proposed it (she's since come around on the idea, though she still has reservations). Her parents, on the other hand, told me I was smart to do so, that I should live life and do fun things while still young.  They were speaking from their own experience. Both worked until 65 (for Medicare) and traveled quite a bit afterwards -- for about 5 years anyway -- until health problems began to plague them after they turned 70. Man, I'm telling you it was like somebody flipped a fucking switch -- they've been homebodies ever since. They both say they wish they could have retired earlier. I'm working for only as long as I have to because I have a golden handcuff situation, i.e., an immediate pension for which I'm eligible a year from now. After that, I'm gone, and I don't give a rat's ass what ANYBODY thinks about it.
Yeah – I'm hoping once I leave I also don't give a rodent's bottom what people think.
Oh!

I forgot to add the most important point:

You are going to get judged by people for every single life decision you ever make, no matter what you choose to do. People judge, get used to it, it doesn’t matter.
Very true! You can never keep everyone happy – although this question is geared towards myself and my imaginary children. I just thought my parents had a point about maintaining a connection with society and how others see it.
I feel like 13 years is way too far away to worry about it. There's just too much that can happen in life between now and then that could make this a total non-issue. You could find a job and not want to FIRE. We could see another bad recession that turns your 13 years into 20. You could be dead by then. The list is infinite. Enjoy now and shelve this thought until it's a little closer to impacting your life.
True – I was just curious how others dealt with it. I wonder if it is the cause for OMY.
About the concern for your children - I don't think it's a valid concern.    In FIRE you will have more time to spend with them, get involved with their activities and schools, and generally be a more involved parent.   As for "supporting them with a potentially limited network" I'm not sure exactly what this means.  For myself, raising my children and financially supporting them through university is important.  Beyond that, they have to make their own way in the world, and I don't think they need their parent's networks to succeed.

For your other concern about losing respect and disconnecting from your peers when you drop out of your profession, I think it is a valid concern.    But you have 13 years to prepare!   there is lots of great advice on these forums on how to retire to something not just away from work. 

Thanks that's helpful. I did find my parents helped me develop a broader frame of reference by introducing me to people they knew in their industries etc. I think I came out a little more well-balanced as a result. I would just have to make sure that my network in the future is across a decent segment of society if I wanted my kids to have that exposure.
Is it an option for you to play the stress-is-bad-for-your-health card?

Both DH and I are feeling the effects of stress on our body. DH has gotten heart issues and I have had cases of memory loss because of stress. These things were caused by a combination of work stress and private stress. But if we wouldn't have worked, it would have been so much easier to tackle. It think we both would have great health benefits from retiring.

I don't whether your job is bad for your health, but maybe you could overdo it a bit to convince your parents. At least, when the time comes.

My parents in law retired at 50, so they are not judging. And I think DH's brother will also fully understand it. But I haven't dared to tell my mother yet. She is in general very judgemental about anything I do. And my brother is a difficult case, as he has trouble keeping a fulltime job. I might be a bit embarrassing to tell him I could afford to quit. Although it has partly something to do with life choices.
Thanks – as above it's not so much what my parents think, it's more that I think their concern has merit.
Funny my parents are Chinese too. I think my mom gets very nervous whenever I mention "early retirement" during our dinner conversations. Recently, she sent me a story in Chinese about how miserable some successful Chinese engineers retired back to their hometown in the countryside. A guy moved to Beijing and made millions.. He took the money with him and moved back to his hometown in the countryside. They built a little garden inn Airbnb and started their life long dream of early retirement by building a small piece of paradise to enjoy a much slower life. A year later, he was bored out of his mind and moved back to Beijing. The main reason was because he couldn't identify himself with the new life. He lost a sense of purpose. My mom used this story to tell me that I may not finding the life with "nothing to do" is going to be "healthy" for me.

Plus, as a Chinese kid, I did inherit the tradition of taking care our elder parents. So she is probably also worried I would't be paying her mega million dollar mansion anymore. Whatever it is, "Early Retirement" becomes an unwelcoming topic. And I am trying to figure out a way to tell her, "Hey mom, you know if I don't have to pay for your lavish house, I could have retired by now."
The story your mum sent you is exactly what I'm talking about – the idea that one loses his identity once out of work. I can sort of see that happening if I retire to some countryside house in the middle of nowhere in New Zealand, with no projects / fun job / hobby in mind (which is definitely not going to be the case).
And yeah – taking care of parents is a huge burden. My parents are very wealthy but I still contribute a 'measly' 10% of my salary to them every month. I know other kids who give much more.
Before I FIREd I gave some thought to this too. Please keep in mind that the networks you make through work are not any better than those you make through other activities, for example Meetups. Work networks and friendships initially only have in common the fact that they share a common profession and proximity (same office etc). When you meet people through other activities there will be some you really like and some you won’t, just like with work.

Perhaps you are defining your identity based on what you do at work as opposed to what other interests you have. I have met people who work was so much of who they are, they had no other interests that they were caught in the world of work only and after retiring ended up returning to work. The problem with this is that it makes your world rather limited. If you could expand your identity you will be able to deal with different stages of life better. Be careful your fear of going against a particular culture (all cultures have limitations), or disappointing your parents and friends will limit your life choices and fulfillment. In the end, if your family and friends really care about you they will see your happiness in FIRE and realize there are many ways to live happy fulfilling lives. A “good and prosperous job” is not the only path to a happy life. Don’t shortchange your dreams to accommodate societal expectations.
Thanks this is really helpful – exactly what I was looking for in terms of perspective. I'm glad to hear from somebody that work networks 'aren't everything'. The problem is that companies, businesses and family will emphasise how significant these networks are… and then one day when you retire they'll hold a farewell party for you and then what? In my experience people just sort of forget about you.. unless you were actually friends with individuals in the business.
Isn't it absurd? We are 30, semi FIRE, and moved 2 hours away to get away from the demands of my in laws. They expected the same things from us and after we had our first child we communicated were done with dealing with my in laws mortgages (yes plural) they basically said okay "screw you, your no longer of use to me"

Long story short. We are so much happier! It was tough for my husband at first I think because of being a son/male but his stress level has gone down tremendously. He tells me sometimes he feels as if he wasted most of his life just trying to please others but I often remind him he's only 30 and that he realized this now rather than when he's 40, or 50, or any later.

Yes it's a cultural thing but it's no excuse living your life to please others. In our situation, It's a conditional love thing from the parents and it's not healthy. You have to make yourself happy before you can help others. Sorry, I sound like Iam preaching but just wanted to share our story. We moved away and are much happier, a lot less stressed. Instead of paying someone else's mortgage we are able to buy our own house and start a family. My husband works part time and I take care of the children full time. If we continued with our previous path we would both be working 2 jobs and putting the kids in daycare. There comes a time when you need to focus on yourself instead of trying to fit into someone's else's image of how you should be and what they would like you to do. I understand it's more difficult for an Asian son than it would an Asian daughter. I think there's more expected from a son to look after their parents. In our situation, their is nothing to look after. You own 2 properties worth over 4 million... I think your well taken care of. It will never be enough.  Good luck to the original poster!


Funny my parents are Chinese too. I think my mom gets very nervous whenever I mention "early retirement" during our dinner conversations. Recently, she sent me a story in Chinese about how miserable some successful Chinese engineers retired back to their hometown in the countryside. A guy moved to Beijing and made millions.. He took the money with him and moved back to his hometown in the countryside. They built a little garden inn Airbnb and started their life long dream of early retirement by building a small piece of paradise to enjoy a much slower life. A year later, he was bored out of his mind and moved back to Beijing. The main reason was because he couldn't identify himself with the new life. He lost a sense of purpose. My mom used this story to tell me that I may not finding the life with "nothing to do" is going to be "healthy" for me.

Plus, as a Chinese kid, I did inherit the tradition of taking care our elder parents. So she is probably also worried I would't be paying her mega million dollar mansion anymore. Whatever it is, "Early Retirement" becomes an unwelcoming topic. And I am trying to figure out a way to tell her, "Hey mom, you know if I don't have to pay for your lavish house, I could have retired by now."
Thanks – as above it's not so much about my own parents (they will always be the way they are), but more that I was wondering if people Post-FIRE had issues of loneliness and disconnection from society.
Quit talking about it already.  It's 13 years away.  It's like a new employee showing up to work on his first day and saying "I'm gonna own this place in 15 years".  So many things can happen and either move the date forward or backward by then.  When you are 100% sure of the exact date you are leaving the workforce, then let everyone else in on it.  Until then nobody, besides us on this forum, cares to hear about it.
Cheers – agreed, but my parents are willing to listen. I just thought their perspective potentially had merit.


itchyfeet

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #22 on: May 20, 2018, 10:10:46 PM »
I have just glossed over this thread, so excuse me if I am really missing the key point.

I just thought I’d write to say I empathise 100% with you. I have come to a personal conclusion that it’s easiest just not to share my plans with people IRL. They can’t relate. I guess most people are hard wired to work a full lifetime, spending all that they earn as they go. Even those friends of mine that are high earners and frugal (the most common recipe to be able to FIRE) still can’t relate to stopping working 20 years early. Maybe 10 years from now when they are fairly rich some will reconsider their lives.

I will most likely FIRE at the end of this year and will tell friends I am taking a sabbatical for a few months. We will then see how life unfolds.

I am not worried about work colleagues. I have moved around a bit over my career and have not stayed in contact with very many past colleagues. Just a few. And I will continue to stay in touch with those few because our friendship, whilst formed in the office, really has nothing to do with our careers.

Albatross

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #23 on: May 21, 2018, 12:56:17 AM »
Thanks Itchyfeet - Even though I'm less than a decade into working full-time, I am starting to see that too - networks (including work) only really matter if you've connected with someone on a personal level. Every time I see a 'farewell email', like "Ms X has been with us for 35 years and has grown this sector of our business in ways that no-one else could, we wish her well in her next phase of life" - I notice how, that's it. That's all there is. Once you're no longer a part of that business, you realise what you were really worth to your work colleagues (not much).

gerardc

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #24 on: May 26, 2018, 03:56:38 PM »
I have a parent retiring at 60.. the same year I will be retiring at 30. The difference is that I'm planning on 25k spend, while my parent wanted 60-80k. It makes for interesting conversations.
0-70k.

I'll probably retire before my dad too :)

smoghat

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #25 on: July 02, 2018, 09:15:11 AM »
Abruptly FIREd two years ago. Extended family seems in denial about it. I remember the retirement parties for my wife’s father and her uncle, but nothing like that for me. Since then nobody talks to me about what I do or don’t do while they share their retirement fantasies or nightmares. It’s very peculiar!!

Linda_Norway

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #26 on: July 03, 2018, 04:00:51 AM »
Abruptly FIREd two years ago. Extended family seems in denial about it. I remember the retirement parties for my wife’s father and her uncle, but nothing like that for me. Since then nobody talks to me about what I do or don’t do while they share their retirement fantasies or nightmares. It’s very peculiar!!

That is because you are not following the norm, waiting til 65. People cannot always cope with new concepts.

smoghat

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #27 on: July 03, 2018, 03:00:56 PM »
Yes, I see what you mean. They don’t have the usual “how’s your job going?” to ask about. Still, so bizarre. You’d think they’d be happy for us, but not once did they express that, or even surprise. And I’m retiring on a big stache that they should be happy about. I guess some of this is Protestantism, a la Max Weber, that your job is somehow important to who you are.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #28 on: July 03, 2018, 06:38:07 PM »
If you are actually retiring early you'll face a non-stop barrage of not conforming to society's expectations and end up explaining yourself a bunch. The easy way is to lie. Pretend you are consulting or something equally unverifiable and don't let people know or face it head on and be a poster person for FIRE. It's your life. Do whatever makes you happy.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #29 on: July 03, 2018, 10:36:00 PM »
You’re 30, these things still matter to you. I get it. Here’s a secret, when you get in your 40s, you don’t give a shit what anyone thinks about what you do. First of all, you learn, people don’t think about you as much as you think they do. Oh sure, people have opinions, but when someone is 40 and over, the time to influence them has run its course. You can still influence someone in the 20s and early 30s. But 40+?  Don’t waste your time.

So, here’s all you need to do, stop discussing the future with everyone. Only discuss with allies. Then, let your actions speak. Save the money, investment build your FIRE pit. Then, when you’re 43, do whatever the fuck you want and if anyone says anything you don’t like, walk away and do it your way still. That’s what you’ve earned for being 40 and being FI. You’ll see. Until then, work your plan.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #30 on: July 04, 2018, 06:48:52 AM »
You’re 30, these things still matter to you. I get it. Here’s a secret, when you get in your 40s, you don’t give a shit what anyone thinks about what you do. First of all, you learn, people don’t think about you as much as you think they do. Oh sure, people have opinions, but when someone is 40 and over, the time to influence them has run its course. You can still influence someone in the 20s and early 30s. But 40+?  Don’t waste your time.

True ^^^. https://markmanson.net/not-giving-a-fuck

Albatross

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #31 on: July 04, 2018, 11:15:23 PM »
Thanks guys and gals that's true and helpful.

I think part of me wants to plan everything (I know that's not really possible though), including how I will function in my new 'environment' once I FI.

I supposed all that matters really is that I have something or some things lined up to make me feel like I've got some meaningful contribution to society or to a group of people. I'll probably feel more secure once I get my ideal side hustle on the go.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #32 on: July 05, 2018, 05:29:23 AM »
I'd have to agree with those that stated that 13 years is along ways a way and focus on getting fire'd and while give some thought about what your going to do, make it not much more than that till you get closer to being fire'd.

Secondly, you will be older and have gained more experiences along the way in those 13 years which will help you figure alot of these things out. To do this as well as others said I would talk less about it with people because Judging is what people do period.

Finally , I too had thought alot about what you are thinking but was at an older age probably around 47 when I fire'd at 50 and found most things just take care of themselves. You will meet a whole new network of friends etc...

Bottom line time is on your side so use it wisely not full of worry.

aGracefulStomp

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #33 on: July 11, 2018, 03:40:46 PM »
I'm relatively young at 28 (...right!?!) and have aimed to pursue FIRE since I was about 23. I was still in university when I discovered the concept, so I was very impatiently waiting to get into the work force to start saving and investing. I calculated that I would be bare-bones FI in about 10 years, and I thought that this 10 years would pass in a flash.

Reflecting my obsession with FIRE, when I finally started working at age 27, I was constantly calculating how much passive income I was up to based on the 4% rule, updating my spreadsheets with my small increases, calculating and re-calculating the compounding etc.

I am now 18 months into working full-time, and dear lord 8.5 years seems like a life time away. As I've recently posted about, recognising that this wasn't going to be a quick walk in the park has made me quit my high earning corporate gig for a lower paying but less stressful community position. This will make my FI goal take longer to achieve but it's worth it.

Though I still do calculations and think about my net worth, the amount of energy I devote to it as has decreased significantly. I wouldn't say that I'm less passionate, but I recognise that this is a marathon and anything can happen in the mean time and life is supposed to be lived in the present. Consequently, when I do reach FIRE, I'll already have built a life for myself and will just have more time to focus on the most enjoyable aspects of that life.

As others have stated above, I will have no idea what my life looks like when I reach FIRE. But I'm not worried about it because I'm building the life I want right now (with a few sacrifices here and then to make sure I'm on track to FIRE).

My advice is to just let things run their course. The passion you have is important to keep you motivated for the many many years ahead. It's unclear whether you are working or not, but I think you'll become painfully aware of how long away 13 years is and appropriately put FIRE at the back of your mind. You'll feel safe and happy knowing that you are slowly working towards financial freedom, while you focus on living your best life today. When you do reach FIRE (which I truly believe should be a "oh sweet!" moment rather than a "I can finally start living") you would have a whole life already built around you. It'll just be a case of expanding it or delving into particular aspects more deeply.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2018, 03:50:25 PM by aGracefulStomp »

moneytaichi

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #34 on: July 13, 2018, 11:12:29 PM »
Confidence is knowing that whatever happens, you will make the best of it, look for ways to turn it into opportunity, and grow from whatever comes your way.

Agree completely. I used to make 10 to 30 years plan, just to have a feeling of in control. It's an illusion that only put you more disconnected from the real world. I am a Chinese too so I am keenly aware of cultural expectations (unfortunately, the universal modern culture is to grind a person to ashes as a productive machine). When I left my job 3 months ago for FIRE, I told my mum and brother that I am taking some time off, and may go back to work later. DH is in FIRE for 2 years now so we said he is thinking about a business plan. This is also a story we shared during our rental process. Our plans may change any minute. For now, we only tell people a way that they can understand, and it works! Our life has been great after FIRE, living a live in our terms, with no regrets.

Sometimes we make overly long plan to reduce some anxiety deep down. Do you have some issues that need to be faced (maybe with the help of therapists)? I used counselling many years and found they are so valuable to help me get to the real issues, e.g. over-achiever, perfectionist, and people-pleaser, which are common Asian immigrant tendencies ;-)

Good luck on finding a life you want to live because you will be the one living it!

expatartist

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #35 on: July 14, 2018, 01:01:07 AM »
OP I can understand your concern about potential isolation if not doing the work grind, our city prides itself on being filled with workaholics. But it's not, actually. Sure many people there call themselves workaholics with pride (I do), and speak as if there's no choice to be anything else, but often it seems to be a case of failed imagination. This lack of creative thinking is behind many unhappy first world citizens. You've referred to the sham of community that is the corporate workplace, those who FIRE or who for other reasons are not workaholics can sustain connections in other ways. And there are plenty where we live, I used to live on that hippie Lamma island so know many ;)

In our city you've the option of going between the English- and Cantonese-speaking communities so there are many possibilities for you. More and more people are banding together to address meaningful issues within our city, from the homeless situation to cleaning beaches to many kinds of free sports and outdoor activities, more arts events than ever before....

While doing an art project last year I met a woman whose English name was "Carman". Her version of work-life balance was very HK: weekdays she was an office lady, commuting a few stops from Tsing Yi to HK Station. Weekends, she was an organic farmer in the New Territories (remote Tai Po) and had cultivated quite a following online with many visiting from far away and buying fruit, herbs, seedlings etc. Her meticulous and experimental approach to small-scale farming produced great results. She was able to spend time doing what she loved and interacting with people on her own terms. As I photographed, her pride was evident in how straight she stood, how she looked down at the earth and all who came into her small fields.

There are many different kinds of people in our city, eccentrics of different generations and from different classes and histories, if you seek them out they are great examples of having one's own take on what a good life means - even with our HCOL city and obligations to our work ethic and communities. I had lunch with someone fitting that description today in San Francisco, two HK residents brainstorming over a 3 hour lunch and studio visit, we don't tend to do things by half measures in HK do we ;)

Blindsquirrel

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #36 on: July 22, 2018, 12:28:26 PM »

Quote
Before you consider my mindset shallow, please bear in mind that a lot of it has to do with the way I was brought up which is very hard to shake! My question to you is, if you have already FIREd, how have you dealt with this 'change in perception' of you by society / family / people you meet and do you feel disconnected from a world you have invested so much time in? If you haven't FIREd yet, do you relate to my concern at all?

   I do not think you are being shallow, just normal. This is also how I was raised, it is common among the WASPs and Jewish folks I grew up with in the midwest and in many other cultures from all over the world, not just China or the USA. We are so very blessed that working actually gets us to the point of being able to FIRE. We have a fire hose of cash and luxury in general on this board compared to nearly everyone who lived throughout history. Billions of folks around the world work their butts off for not much at all. Count. Your. Blessings.

   Not to sound trite but I often think that most Americans should go hang out in Haiti for a bit and then complain if they still feel the need. Port-au-Prince is only 700 miles or so from Key West but it might as well be on another planet (different universe?)  given the differences. It is hard not to want to empty your wallet to help people there.  Yes, we have plenty of problems in the USA also but it could be much, much worse.
   "You must work" has been thumped into my thick skull so hard as a cultural norm it is very, tough to overcome. What follows may be rambling a bit but I think I know something of where you are coming from as far as culture goes.

 My father worked as an engineer until he was 70!, after that, he worked at a friends (75 year old guy!) start up engineering company (mostly unpaid but paid sometimes for another 6 years until it finally went under.) He grew up in the great depression being born in 1924. The GFC may have scared a generation but it was not the great depression.  He got drafted for WWII when he turned 18 a month after Pearl Harbor so he got to see the entire war in the Pacific up close (even made it to China). He grew up working like a dog in the depression and not destitute but definitely working class and just about everyone was poor in the 1930s by today's standards.  I grew up working as a result but more middle class due to his and my mother's efforts. He was a worker around the house also.
 Thankfully he is still healthy as you can be at 94. Growing up with such an example of thrift and hard work, I seem to have caught a bad case of it myself. The culture of "You must work" is very tough to overcome.
 Your parents may well have had a much harder time than mine.

We are FI and have been for a little while. The "You must work" voice and habit of working hard is a cultural norm that both my wife and I have ingrained so deeply that it has been hard to pull the trigger on doing the actual RE part.  Not sure if it helps you any but you are definitely not alone. That said the hourglass of your life is glued to the table so do whatever you want. Very, very few folks actually care one bit about what others do. Good luck!


Happily Irrelevant

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Re: Being judged for dreams of FIRE - disconnected from the world
« Reply #37 on: August 03, 2018, 05:37:14 PM »
I like to say I no longer live in reality since retiring.  But actually I've got it backwards.  Those that are working, spending all their money, and thinking they will retire are the ones not living in reality.  So we aren't disconnecting from the real world.  They are living in a fantasy world that will crash on them in the end.