Author Topic: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?  (Read 6086 times)

chevy1956

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FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« on: January 18, 2021, 12:03:13 AM »
So far I haven't told anyone not even my parents. I'm sort of scared to tell people because I wonder what they will think and I'm even more scared to tell my parents who may react with asking me to do more stuff for them.

I'm really interested in how everyone has handled this issue.


Adventine

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2021, 12:44:57 AM »
Your money, your business.

You're not obliged to tell anyone, especially if you think they may just take advantage of you.

For those who you do choose to tell, it will actually be a good litmus test. Will they simply be happy for you, or will they start to demand more of your time, money and attention?

I'm fairly open on these forums because so many like-minded people hang out here, but I don't share much with people in real life, especially if I know they're not similarly oriented.


Linea_Norway

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #2 on: January 18, 2021, 02:00:11 AM »
We only told FIL, who also FIREd himself. We thought he did so at 52-ish, but it turned out he worked much longer after that. Unfortunately, he has been proudly telling everyone he knows about our achievement. That was not our intention at all and the reason we didn't tell my mother who is usually the person who talks too much about her children. DH wanted to keep his FIRE secret, as he was officially still employed and only talking a year sabbatical. FIL lives in another country, so our secret hasn't spread here yet. But you should realize that you can't expect people to treat your secret the way you anticipated.
I had in the previous years told a few frugal coworkers about my FIRE plans, to inspire them to do the same. They asked me when I left whether this was it. Because DH wanted me to keep it secret, I had to say no, we are only taking a year of. Although I ended up telling one guy and asking him to keep it a secret.

Maybe next time I visit my mother I will tell her. She responded very positive when we took a year of, as she also realized that life can be too short (my father died at 50). I would just feel a bit awkward when my brother would find out. He has struggled a lot with unemployment and probably isn't in the best position for retiring. And not of his own fault.

2sk22

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2021, 03:10:29 AM »
I did tell my friends and family when I retired. However, since I'm in my 50s, it was not quite such a big deal as it would be if I was younger. My announcement was well generally received - did not get much in the way of snark or annoying comments.

BikeFanatic

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #4 on: January 18, 2021, 05:04:39 AM »
I have only been retired 2 weeks and mid 50 I only told a few people that I was taking time off. I did not tell my family yet, concerned that they will want more of my time.

Rdy2Fire

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #5 on: January 18, 2021, 07:13:11 AM »
Nope. People know I am not working, a few know I may not really plan to go back to work and a few keep asking when I will be looking for a job. Not sure how people would react but based on what I've seen so far don't know I want to see it.

Malcat

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #6 on: January 18, 2021, 07:18:45 AM »
It's your business, but I would also explore where this fear is coming from.

That's a lot of power to be giving other people.
I don't share my personal finances with a lot of people specifically because I *don't* care what they think, so why bother sharing. But I have exactly *zero* fear of sharing with the people I do care about. I care about them because I trust them.

Do they always agree with my decisions? No, of course not, but I'm never afraid of their reactions because I trust them.

So why are you afraid of the people you should trust? It's not the end of the world if a loved one doesn't agree with one of your life choices. You won't suddenly explode if they think you are being foolish, so why be afraid?

My family and friends have frequently challenged my choices, but I know they do it out of love because they think I might be missing something. I listen, I respect their input, I tell them I appreciate that they care about me, and then I do whatever the fuck I feel like doing.

If you don't feel comfortable with this, I would consider that concerning, as this is the cornerstone of being an autonomous adult, and being confident in your ability to make serious life decisions.

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2021, 08:04:51 AM »
I did tell my friends and family when I retired. However, since I'm in my 50s, it was not quite such a big deal as it would be if I was younger. My announcement was well generally received - did not get much in the way of snark or annoying comments.
This was me at 54. Now I'm 62 and it's not really early any more.  I still say it with gusto to anyone who inquires.

4tify

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2021, 09:34:47 AM »
I did tell my friends and family when I retired. However, since I'm in my 50s, it was not quite such a big deal as it would be if I was younger. My announcement was well generally received - did not get much in the way of snark or annoying comments.
This was me at 54. Now I'm 62 and it's not really early any more.  I still say it with gusto to anyone who inquires.

Love this @Dicey !

I used to tell people when I found out about MMM et al because I was so excited and thought everyone should know about FIRE. But then I realized most people aren't all that interested, or are so fixed in their beliefs that altering their lifestyle just seems totally impossible.

I'm planning to leave my FT job this year and I'm asking myself how I'll communicate it. I kind of want to follow Dicey's lead since I'm in my early 50's and tell the world "I did it!" But more likely I'll just say "I'm taking time off to figure out the next steps and enjoy my youth while I've still got it."

spartana

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2021, 09:38:57 AM »
Because I left my job fairly young I just said I was taking a long sabbattical - which is actually what I thought it would be -  but morphed into permanent RE instead. I found people did demand more from me than I was willing to give because I.had so much free time (single and no kids) so eventually just said I was working p/t or on call when I was in town (not travelling). It seemed to make things easier for me. Now that I'm older I have no problem just saying I'm retired even though, with a few exceptions like sister and BF, everyone I know is still working.

ETA: OP learning to politely say "no" asap goes along way towards stopping future demands on your time. Once I learned I can stall or just turn down requests from others without feeling guilty it both improved my life and people eventually stopped asking.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2021, 09:44:06 AM by spartana »

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2021, 01:20:49 PM »
OP, I'm not sure from your description if you plan not to talk about it at all, or if you are trying to concoct some kind of cover story.  I would caution you to think about how you will talk about this not just now, but 10 years from now.  You might get tired of the story, but find a harder time with the whole truth after that long.

For me, I told my family that I expected to retire when I came back from Ireland.  Of course, I expected that in 2023.  Having come back to the US in 2020, I called it a sabbatical, and that was true:  I wasn't sure how my stache would fare in 2020, I had received a European-sized severance that discouraged me from working for the rest of the year, and I used that time to think about where I was.  Come 2021, I am fully retired.  I do not shout it to the heavens, but I am open about it, if it comes up.  And I have no trouble telling people "no" if they assume I have oodles of time to give them--I have a lot going on!

Malcat

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2021, 01:55:50 PM »
OP, I'm not sure from your description if you plan not to talk about it at all, or if you are trying to concoct some kind of cover story.  I would caution you to think about how you will talk about this not just now, but 10 years from now.  You might get tired of the story, but find a harder time with the whole truth after that long.

For me, I told my family that I expected to retire when I came back from Ireland.  Of course, I expected that in 2023.  Having come back to the US in 2020, I called it a sabbatical, and that was true:  I wasn't sure how my stache would fare in 2020, I had received a European-sized severance that discouraged me from working for the rest of the year, and I used that time to think about where I was.  Come 2021, I am fully retired.  I do not shout it to the heavens, but I am open about it, if it comes up.  And I have no trouble telling people "no" if they assume I have oodles of time to give them--I have a lot going on!

Also be careful concocting a story that is actually a lie. It's psychologically exhausting and damaging to consistently lie to those close to you. Sometimes it's necessary, but it comes at a cost, which might be worse than just dealing with reality head on

Mmm_Donuts

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2021, 03:28:33 PM »
I hear what Malcat is saying, and I wish it was that easy, but I just can't see sharing FIRE with the friends I'm close with who are in debt or have no assets and feel stuck in life. How would I do that without rubbing "I'm so rich you guys!" in their faces?

I tell people selectively - if they are in a similar situation. Otherwise I keep it to myself.

Rdy2Fire

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2021, 04:56:52 PM »
I hear what Malcat is saying, and I wish it was that easy, but I just can't see sharing FIRE with the friends I'm close with who are in debt or have no assets and feel stuck in life. How would I do that without rubbing "I'm so rich you guys!" in their faces?

I tell people selectively - if they are in a similar situation. Otherwise I keep it to myself.

Exactly why I don't really mention it. In my case some friends who scrape by cause they've made horrible life choices and then seem annoyed that I can do what I want

Malcat

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2021, 04:57:29 PM »
I hear what Malcat is saying, and I wish it was that easy, but I just can't see sharing FIRE with the friends I'm close with who are in debt or have no assets and feel stuck in life. How would I do that without rubbing "I'm so rich you guys!" in their faces?

I tell people selectively - if they are in a similar situation. Otherwise I keep it to myself.

I never said it was easy, and I acknowledged that sometimes maintaining a lie is necessary, but that doesn't mean it doesn't come at a cost.

Also, FWIW, I have no problem being open about my financial circumstances with my loved ones who are struggling. I don't believe that I need to suffer along with them in order to be able to be close to them, to offer them compassion, etc.

I suffer from a severe, horrible, constant pain-causing illness and I don't resent my loved ones who are able-bodied and free of pain. I don't consider it "rubbing it in" when my siblings tell me about mountain biking and playing basketball.

Each person needs to determine their own solutions for managing interpersonal relationships. I'm just sharing that I consider it quite a harsh sacrifice to have to live a lie.

And there is a distinct difference between being private and straight up lying to loved ones. The latter is psychologically costly.

markbike528CBX

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2021, 05:50:24 PM »
OP @chevy1956,

I was willing to bet a lot of expensive beverages that this question had been asked loads of times prior.

Not so much.  But some. Here are the most related threads.

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/post-fire/what-do-you-tell-people-you-do-do-people-believe-you-are-retired/

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/post-fire/friends'-reaction-post-fire/

I have not had negative reactions (but I was 53.5).  I'd wait till a question arises and tell the truth.  If other people can't handle it, you need to realize that the problem lies with those people, not you.  A couple quick "no" answers to time-sucks should clear things up.
Of course, I'm 2000+ miles away from the old hometown, family etc, so there was no temptation for anyone to consider requesting me for time-suck tasks.



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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2021, 06:46:51 PM »
Iím open about it with anyone who cares. I talk money with my family a fair amount because I want my parents to know Iím there for them. We talk through their own financial decisions. But my family is supportive and kind. They also have questions and want to make good choices, even if none of them are on the FIRE path.

Iíve always told my colleagues that my plan was save and exit our industry early. But most people donít actually want to hear about it. And a lot of them donít believe me so I donít bring it up. But occasionally someone will tell another another colleague that Iím doing this crazy early retirement thing and they should come ask me about it. FIRE is not that familiar to many people so Iím always happy to introduce them to the idea in case they like it.

step_away

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2021, 08:07:19 PM »
I told my immediate family of my plan to FIRE a few years ahead to manage their expectations.  A few friends also know since I've been planning to retire early since college.

My parents like to work and are the type to always look for opportunity to earn more.  They didn't understand at first but eventually came to accept it. 

My mom still worries I don't have enough and started giving me "pocket money" like when I was a kid though I repeatedly told her I'm ok.  She started saying it's an advance on my inheritance.  SMH and 😂

Almost felt like I'm boomerang and not FIRE'd
« Last Edit: January 18, 2021, 08:12:09 PM by step_away »

chevy1956

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2021, 10:00:44 PM »
Hi everyone. I've read through all the linked threads and the comments on here. It's great stuff. Thank You !

I tell you something the part of actually retiring to me is really tough. It's great to have a community on here to discuss this stuff. At the same time I feel like I'm complaining about something this is awesome. It's actually been a big adjustment phase for me. You can call it a detox phase but adjustment phase works better for me. I am completely down with the maths part of FIRE including investing and spending and SORR. I'm cool with all of this stuff.

Anyway atm I think I'm leaning towards telling anyone who asks that I'm on sabbatical which is true. I have no intention of returning to work. I'm loving this lifestyle. I will probably joke about how I can't see myself going back to work and see how that goes.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2021, 10:04:27 PM by chevy1956 »

markbike528CBX

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #20 on: January 18, 2021, 10:34:08 PM »
OP    @chevy1956, it is not clear to me if you are or are not currently employed.

If you have a boss, I wouldn't be explicit with your plans, until you reach whatever bonuses, promotions, layoff severance, etc you give a f#$% about.
Once you give actual separation notice (not sure of your location) you may or may not be frogmarched out the door, depending on company and boss.

chevy1956

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #21 on: January 18, 2021, 10:47:49 PM »
OP    @chevy1956, it is not clear to me if you are or are not currently employed.

If you have a boss, I wouldn't be explicit with your plans, until you reach whatever bonuses, promotions, layoff severance, etc you give a f#$% about.
Once you give actual separation notice (not sure of your location) you may or may not be frogmarched out the door, depending on company and boss.

I'm getting paid up until November this year but I am not working. I've been off since October. I'm not giving any notice until the last possible minute. If there is any inclination I can get a redundancy with a payout I will try and get that but I can't see that happening.

I don't give a ### about telling my work anything but I work for a big corporate and I honestly think most people including my boss wouldn't care apart from probably wanting me to go back to work because I get along with most people I work with.

Still unless something drastic happens I'm not going back.

Mmm_Donuts

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #22 on: January 19, 2021, 06:04:01 AM »
I hear what Malcat is saying, and I wish it was that easy, but I just can't see sharing FIRE with the friends I'm close with who are in debt or have no assets and feel stuck in life. How would I do that without rubbing "I'm so rich you guys!" in their faces?

I tell people selectively - if they are in a similar situation. Otherwise I keep it to myself.

I never said it was easy, and I acknowledged that sometimes maintaining a lie is necessary, but that doesn't mean it doesn't come at a cost.

Also, FWIW, I have no problem being open about my financial circumstances with my loved ones who are struggling. I don't believe that I need to suffer along with them in order to be able to be close to them, to offer them compassion, etc.

I suffer from a severe, horrible, constant pain-causing illness and I don't resent my loved ones who are able-bodied and free of pain. I don't consider it "rubbing it in" when my siblings tell me about mountain biking and playing basketball.

Each person needs to determine their own solutions for managing interpersonal relationships. I'm just sharing that I consider it quite a harsh sacrifice to have to live a lie.

And there is a distinct difference between being private and straight up lying to loved ones. The latter is psychologically costly.

I hear what you are saying about compassion. I don't believe I need to suffer along with anyone either - the point of compassion is to listen and try to help, which I do.

The difference between finances and health in your analogy is - you don't blame the able-bodied for your situation. In the case of finances, some of my friends are angry at "society" or "the rich" for somehow making their situation what it is. We've been friends for 20 years - that's why this isn't easy - and when they talk about something being only "for rich people" or express anger towards some vague notion of "rich people" keeping them down, then I learn to keep my mouth shut. Also there have been times when I say something that just naturally rolls out of my mouth (not so Mustachian!) along the lines of - Can you hire someone to do that? And they get irritated with me for even asking.

Some are working but have been in or are in debt / living paycheque to paycheque. Some are on CERB / CRB (Canadian emergency benefits - 2k/month.) I can't really come out and say I'm ready to retire early. If there's a way to do it without ruining the friendship I'm still trying to figure it out. I don't really lie, I just don't fully explain my situation to some friends. When we hit our FIRE number I could only tell one relative (and this forum). I feel I am not judgmental of their situation, I really care about them, I just feel sad when I feel judged myself. We all are hard workers but somehow all have different patterns towards spending and saving and 20-30 years later that really becomes obvious.

I fully believe financial savvy should be taught in schools when we're young. It's such a shame that it's not, and that it's such a forbidden topic. There is a lot of anger and misinformation and emotion about the 1% and stereotypes of rich CEOs (or whoever) keeping people down. Some of us just work hard and know how to save and invest when we're young, and we keep going. It's not about being an evil corporate gold digger, but that's the impression most people who are struggling tend to have - that there's an 'us' and 'them.'

Linea_Norway

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #23 on: January 19, 2021, 06:23:26 AM »
@Mmm_Donuts It could be that your friend has a point if the tax system in your country generally favours the rich/wealthy people, which it does in some countries.
But in this case, I wouldn't tell the person about your finances, because they might resent you for it. Even though you personally haven't done anything wrong.

Malcat

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #24 on: January 19, 2021, 07:03:59 AM »
I hear what Malcat is saying, and I wish it was that easy, but I just can't see sharing FIRE with the friends I'm close with who are in debt or have no assets and feel stuck in life. How would I do that without rubbing "I'm so rich you guys!" in their faces?

I tell people selectively - if they are in a similar situation. Otherwise I keep it to myself.

I never said it was easy, and I acknowledged that sometimes maintaining a lie is necessary, but that doesn't mean it doesn't come at a cost.

Also, FWIW, I have no problem being open about my financial circumstances with my loved ones who are struggling. I don't believe that I need to suffer along with them in order to be able to be close to them, to offer them compassion, etc.

I suffer from a severe, horrible, constant pain-causing illness and I don't resent my loved ones who are able-bodied and free of pain. I don't consider it "rubbing it in" when my siblings tell me about mountain biking and playing basketball.

Each person needs to determine their own solutions for managing interpersonal relationships. I'm just sharing that I consider it quite a harsh sacrifice to have to live a lie.

And there is a distinct difference between being private and straight up lying to loved ones. The latter is psychologically costly.

I hear what you are saying about compassion. I don't believe I need to suffer along with anyone either - the point of compassion is to listen and try to help, which I do.

The difference between finances and health in your analogy is - you don't blame the able-bodied for your situation. In the case of finances, some of my friends are angry at "society" or "the rich" for somehow making their situation what it is. We've been friends for 20 years - that's why this isn't easy - and when they talk about something being only "for rich people" or express anger towards some vague notion of "rich people" keeping them down, then I learn to keep my mouth shut. Also there have been times when I say something that just naturally rolls out of my mouth (not so Mustachian!) along the lines of - Can you hire someone to do that? And they get irritated with me for even asking.

Some are working but have been in or are in debt / living paycheque to paycheque. Some are on CERB / CRB (Canadian emergency benefits - 2k/month.) I can't really come out and say I'm ready to retire early. If there's a way to do it without ruining the friendship I'm still trying to figure it out. I don't really lie, I just don't fully explain my situation to some friends. When we hit our FIRE number I could only tell one relative (and this forum). I feel I am not judgmental of their situation, I really care about them, I just feel sad when I feel judged myself. We all are hard workers but somehow all have different patterns towards spending and saving and 20-30 years later that really becomes obvious.

I fully believe financial savvy should be taught in schools when we're young. It's such a shame that it's not, and that it's such a forbidden topic. There is a lot of anger and misinformation and emotion about the 1% and stereotypes of rich CEOs (or whoever) keeping people down. Some of us just work hard and know how to save and invest when we're young, and we keep going. It's not about being an evil corporate gold digger, but that's the impression most people who are struggling tend to have - that there's an 'us' and 'them.'

I did say that there's a huge difference between being private about your personal circumstances and lying about them.

It doesn't sound like you are lying to your loved ones, it sounds like you've decided it's judicious to be private and maintain certain boundaries because your friends cannot be reasonable about "rich people".

None of what you've said contradicts what I've said.

All I've said is that lying to loved ones comes at a significant psychological cost that shouldn't be under estimated.

Actually, your example above doesn't contradict that either, it clearly shows how hard it is on you to have to hide your life from some of your oldest friends. It's emotionally hard. That's my whole point.

At no point have my replies said "go ahead, tell everyone, it's easy!". My posts have advised to evaluate carefully what the situation really needs, because lying seems like a really easy option for maintaining privacy, but it isn't, it takes a huge toll if done with loved ones.
« Last Edit: January 19, 2021, 07:06:36 AM by Malcat »

Mmm_Donuts

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #25 on: January 19, 2021, 07:57:10 AM »
@Malcat I'm not trying to contradict or disagree with you, I'm just trying to elaborate and add to the discussion :)

Mmm_Donuts

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #26 on: January 19, 2021, 08:02:21 AM »
@Mmm_Donuts It could be that your friend has a point if the tax system in your country generally favours the rich/wealthy people, which it does in some countries.
But in this case, I wouldn't tell the person about your finances, because they might resent you for it. Even though you personally haven't done anything wrong.

I think they THINK the government isn't hard enough on rich people, for sure. But our current government offers so many tax cuts and benefits that I do'nt really see what there is to complain about on that front currently. I also try not to bring up politics with these friends either ;)

ericrugiero

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #27 on: January 19, 2021, 08:13:13 AM »
I'm still a ways from FIRE but my thought is I won't totally stop working until close to traditional retirement age.  I'll probably have some kind of side gig such as flipping houses, owning rentals or selling stuff on Amazon.  Making a bit of money could be fun and will give me an honest answer if people ask.  Whatever I do will have a more flexible schedule which is my main issue with my current job.  I don't mind working, I just want it to be on my own timeline.  That will probably be the reason I give for not having a "traditional" job. 

Malcat

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #28 on: January 19, 2021, 08:42:25 AM »
@Malcat I'm not trying to contradict or disagree with you, I'm just trying to elaborate and add to the discussion :)

I must have misinterpreted.

zinnie

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #29 on: January 19, 2021, 09:45:04 AM »
No. My immediate family has an idea but no specifics. For everyone else Iím a consultant/freelancer in the same area I used to work in full time. People donít need to know Iím not really taking on projects or making an effort to get much work. Iíve done a few short things when people approach me but thatís about it.

In my view it just isnít worth it unless people are in a similar situation. They get jealous or donít understand, and I donít generally want to broadcast that I have a lot of moneyóespecially with people who are struggling. Iíd rather talk about the things I care about and how I spend my days. And none of those require knowing my financial situation.

When I get older Iíll tell people. And Iím working on some volunteer and side projects that might eventually qualify as what I ďdo.Ē But for now this seems to be a good way to transition.

bownyboy

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #30 on: January 20, 2021, 03:14:49 AM »
Most of my family lives a distance away so its not something that really comes up in discussion. They know I contract and change companies regularly. So having some time off 'in-between contracts' would be normal.

I do however have a couple of close friends who are similar ages and also contract in IT and who are aiming to FIRE; we regularly chat about investments, our plans, 4% rule etc. I'm slightly ahead of them, so have been giving them advice, links to articles and websites etc.


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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #31 on: January 20, 2021, 08:28:26 AM »
I didnt go out of my way 6 years ago at age 50 to tell people I fire'd but when asked what I do I said I am retired. Very few times did I get "Really"? as much as I got a "Good for you". Now at 56 barely get asked and its not really a big deal. Maybe I just look old for my age as being retired is so hard on oneself! haha

bmjohnson35

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #32 on: January 20, 2021, 09:46:04 AM »

It's interesting how often people ask what you do for a living when you first meet them.  It became more obvious after I FIRED.
I don't have a standard response, but they are similar to the responses I have read above.  If I am in a hurry or simply don't want to get into the discussion, I will say that I am presently unemployed.  I find that this shuts down further discussion, since most assume it is not by choice and they find the topic awkward.  As for friends, family, former co-workers or professional colleagues, they all new my situation.  I did have friends and family express concern. Most were concerned that I would get bored or the lack of structure/purpose would negatively impact my well being.  We don't share our financials or NW. Aside from my mother, none have even asked.

ixtap

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #33 on: January 20, 2021, 10:06:52 AM »

It's interesting how often people ask what you do for a living when you first meet them.

I find that they ask "What do you do?" And so I tell them the things I do. Some show genuine interest in getting to know me and some follow up with some variation of "But money?!" The answer they get to that very much depends on my mood that day.

GuitarStv

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #34 on: January 20, 2021, 10:07:57 AM »
The more people who think you're rich the more likely you are to get robbed.  :P

Malcat

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #35 on: January 20, 2021, 10:52:47 AM »

It's interesting how often people ask what you do for a living when you first meet them.

I find that they ask "What do you do?" And so I tell them the things I do. Some show genuine interest in getting to know me and some follow up with some variation of "But money?!" The answer they get to that very much depends on my mood that day.

I actually rarely told people what my profession was unless I actually wanted to get to know them, because I'm one of those professionals where the moment people find out, people have A LOT of questions, and even more opinions.

I usually answered with "I'm a consultant", which was my side hustle. If they don't really care, that checks the "what do you do?" box well enough for them to move on most of the time. Sometimes they might want to know in what field, and rarely much more than that.

One doesn't need to be retired early to have a need for firm boundaries.

rightstuff

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #36 on: January 20, 2021, 11:41:27 AM »
I appreciate all of the comments and links here; this topic is at the forefront of our minds as DW and I decide to really pull the trigger or OMY!

A while back I read something about being "rich" versus being "wealthy" and that is where any conversations with folks outside of the FIRE community cause my biggest concerns.  At the end of the day I suspect any discussions depend on the audience involved.

Wolfpack Mustachian

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #37 on: January 20, 2021, 03:13:31 PM »
I'm curious for people that have told others, especially for ones that have done it without taking an early pension or something that's easily understood - what would you actually say? I'm retired.....? Do you give any details? I'm not talking about numbers, but do you reveal it to the point where you basically explain that you live off of the interest and growth of money that you have in an account? It seems like if you explained you were early retired if people were close to you/inquisitive at all, it would come down to them having a basic understanding of that fact. If they did have that fact, then they would know you had a relative crap ton of money in the bank, and I'm curious if that would change the relationship. That's always been the confusing/sticking point for me.

spartana

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #38 on: January 20, 2021, 10:44:27 PM »
I'm curious for people that have told others, especially for ones that have done it without taking an early pension or something that's easily understood - what would you actually say? I'm retired.....? Do you give any details? I'm not talking about numbers, but do you reveal it to the point where you basically explain that you live off of the interest and growth of money that you have in an account? It seems like if you explained you were early retired if people were close to you/inquisitive at all, it would come down to them having a basic understanding of that fact. If they did have that fact, then they would know you had a relative crap ton of money in the bank, and I'm curious if that would change the relationship. That's always been the confusing/sticking point for me.
I never talked money directly but just said I had saved enough by living frugally (true) that I could take off work to do some things while younger but that I lived on a relatively low income (also true) while I did that. As a divorced,  no kids, very stealth wealth orientated person with no debt and a paid off house no one really questioned it. Most, unfortunately, felt I was living an impoverished life and denying myself all the finer things I could have if I continued working. Dating was fun as a FIREd woman though too  ;-).

ETA: I also lied and said I was taking several years off work to pursue other things but I'd eventually go back to work - and then didn't. When you're in your 30s or early 40s that seems easy to accept by most people. Now that I'm older I'm more likely to say I'm retired. No biggie until people asked how long I've been retired then I get some weird comments.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2021, 10:54:18 PM by spartana »

spartana

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #39 on: January 20, 2021, 10:59:32 PM »
The more people who think you're rich the more likely you are to get robbed.  :P
The key is to look so poor and say you're "unemployed" that people - including random strangers and robbers - give YOU stuff!  Being a minimalist helps too.

Adventine

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #40 on: January 20, 2021, 11:07:03 PM »
The more people who think you're rich the more likely you are to get robbed.  :P
The key is to look so poor and say you're "unemployed" that people - including random strangers and robbers - give YOU stuff!  Being a minimalist helps too.

I like your style and will copy it in own FIREtirement :)

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #41 on: January 21, 2021, 01:40:09 AM »
I'm curious for people that have told others, especially for ones that have done it without taking an early pension or something that's easily understood - what would you actually say? I'm retired.....? Do you give any details? I'm not talking about numbers, but do you reveal it to the point where you basically explain that you live off of the interest and growth of money that you have in an account? It seems like if you explained you were early retired if people were close to you/inquisitive at all, it would come down to them having a basic understanding of that fact. If they did have that fact, then they would know you had a relative crap ton of money in the bank, and I'm curious if that would change the relationship. That's always been the confusing/sticking point for me.

Some time ago DH and I were having dinner at friends and talked about moving into the country. One of the friends carefully asked about our working plans in such a region, or whether that was not an important aspect. We told here that working was no prioritized anymore and that we didn't need any high paying jobs. Maybe a bit of consultancy work or any simple job would do. We are 47/50 years old, don't have children and have been living frugally. The friends seemed to accept the explanation and didn't ask for more details. But we didn't go all the way yet and tell them about retirement.

The friends own situation is that he is officially early-ish retired at 62 with an official pension. She is late 40-ies and still working for her pension. Most people cannot imagine retiring before their official pension kicks in. I would have thought that his pension could perhaps cover a retirement for two. But instead they use it on a few luxuries, like owning two holiday cabins and a saleboat.

Malcat

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #42 on: January 21, 2021, 05:19:01 AM »
I'm curious for people that have told others, especially for ones that have done it without taking an early pension or something that's easily understood - what would you actually say? I'm retired.....? Do you give any details? I'm not talking about numbers, but do you reveal it to the point where you basically explain that you live off of the interest and growth of money that you have in an account? It seems like if you explained you were early retired if people were close to you/inquisitive at all, it would come down to them having a basic understanding of that fact. If they did have that fact, then they would know you had a relative crap ton of money in the bank, and I'm curious if that would change the relationship. That's always been the confusing/sticking point for me.

I've found that saying "I saved enough to equal a modest pension" tends to cover it quite well for anyone who doesn't really understand personal finance.

zinnie

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #43 on: January 21, 2021, 09:10:54 AM »

It's interesting how often people ask what you do for a living when you first meet them.

I find that they ask "What do you do?" And so I tell them the things I do. Some show genuine interest in getting to know me and some follow up with some variation of "But money?!" The answer they get to that very much depends on my mood that day.

I actually rarely told people what my profession was unless I actually wanted to get to know them, because I'm one of those professionals where the moment people find out, people have A LOT of questions, and even more opinions.

I usually answered with "I'm a consultant", which was my side hustle. If they don't really care, that checks the "what do you do?" box well enough for them to move on most of the time. Sometimes they might want to know in what field, and rarely much more than that.

One doesn't need to be retired early to have a need for firm boundaries.

Lots of good points in here, thanks! I completely agree it depends on the situation, and that you really have no obligation to give more info than you want to. Showing confidence in your decisions always helps, too, as people tend to take their cues from how you present yourself. If you seem evasive they can see you as untrustworthy. I do believe it's important to have a story to tell about yourself--but that you 100% get to decide what to share in that story.


The "what do you do for a living" question always strikes me as really asking: "how do you contribute in a meaningful way to the world?" I try to start with "in my career I've done x, y, z" and then talk about the things I'm most proud of, transitioning from things I've done at work to "but what I'm really excited about right now is [fill in hobby/ side project/ volunteer work]."

Something simple that worked since I'm not even close to traditional retirement age: When I left my last job I changed my LinkedIn to self-employed as "_____ Strategist" and listed the things I most enjoyed from my career as my areas of expertise. People reach out every so often and it's kind of fun to have calls to share knowledge, to be honest. (And it's funny to me how just  declaring myself an expert in what I like doing has random strangers reaching out about it. If I had realized this earlier and tried to make a business out of it, I probably could have avoided years of drudgery, ha!)

spartana

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #44 on: January 21, 2021, 09:35:28 AM »
The more people who think you're rich the more likely you are to get robbed.  :P
The key is to look so poor and say you're "unemployed" that people - including random strangers and robbers - give YOU stuff!  Being a minimalist helps too.

I like your style and will copy it in own FIREtirement :)
LOL. The only problem is that people are always trying to find you jobs. No, just...no.

But seriously they do.  So saying sabbatical always works....for awhile. After a few years they start asking again about when are you going back to work. Saying "never" when in your 30s or 40s and probably early 50s doesn't always stop that.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2021, 09:39:12 AM by spartana »

Malcat

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #45 on: January 21, 2021, 10:57:17 AM »

It's interesting how often people ask what you do for a living when you first meet them.

I find that they ask "What do you do?" And so I tell them the things I do. Some show genuine interest in getting to know me and some follow up with some variation of "But money?!" The answer they get to that very much depends on my mood that day.

I actually rarely told people what my profession was unless I actually wanted to get to know them, because I'm one of those professionals where the moment people find out, people have A LOT of questions, and even more opinions.

I usually answered with "I'm a consultant", which was my side hustle. If they don't really care, that checks the "what do you do?" box well enough for them to move on most of the time. Sometimes they might want to know in what field, and rarely much more than that.

One doesn't need to be retired early to have a need for firm boundaries.

Lots of good points in here, thanks! I completely agree it depends on the situation, and that you really have no obligation to give more info than you want to. Showing confidence in your decisions always helps, too, as people tend to take their cues from how you present yourself. If you seem evasive they can see you as untrustworthy. I do believe it's important to have a story to tell about yourself--but that you 100% get to decide what to share in that story.


The "what do you do for a living" question always strikes me as really asking: "how do you contribute in a meaningful way to the world?" I try to start with "in my career I've done x, y, z" and then talk about the things I'm most proud of, transitioning from things I've done at work to "but what I'm really excited about right now is [fill in hobby/ side project/ volunteer work]."

Something simple that worked since I'm not even close to traditional retirement age: When I left my last job I changed my LinkedIn to self-employed as "_____ Strategist" and listed the things I most enjoyed from my career as my areas of expertise. People reach out every so often and it's kind of fun to have calls to share knowledge, to be honest. (And it's funny to me how just  declaring myself an expert in what I like doing has random strangers reaching out about it. If I had realized this earlier and tried to make a business out of it, I probably could have avoided years of drudgery, ha!)

99% of the time it's absolutely not that profound of a question. That's why few people ever asked me any follow up questions when I said I was a consultant. "Consultant" means virtually nothing, if people cared, they would ask more, but they often don't. "So what do you do?" is more of a reflexive question than anything else, I even find myself automatically almost asking it when talking to new people and have to catch myself not to do it.

There's no bigger meaning to the question beyond the fact that we've all been conditioned to ask it, and don't have a ubiquitous alternative.

You're spot on about the importance of how you say things though. When I don't want to be questioned about something, I simply give off my "I don't owe you any explanation" vibe, and very few people will ask any follow up questions.

Even when I now say I'm "retired", if I don't want to explain, people get the message and they don't probe. They'll often say "but you're so young!" And if I don't feel like treating that as a question, then I don't. I just say "yep" and leave it at that.

On the very rare times that someone I don't care about is being pushy and insisting that they are entitled to explanations, I'll proffer "are you trying to ask me about my personal finances?" and that will almost always silence even the most entitled pain in the ass.

If I'm talking to someone I actually care about, I'll handle it very differently, but I'm extremely open with the people I care about.

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #46 on: January 21, 2021, 12:08:55 PM »
I'm about to FIRE and have struggled a bit with who to tell how much. I was originally thinking of trying to screen this information away from the family members who I don't get along with as well, but recently decided it would just be too difficult to keep it totally secret from them.

I'm probably still going to tell my mom I'm "on sabbatical," because I don't think she will understand the FIRE thing at all -- but I'm not going to ask other people to lie to her about it for me. Maybe she'll be confused, but so be it.

bigblock440

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #47 on: January 21, 2021, 02:10:31 PM »
I think the main reason people ask "what do you do" is because that's where most people spend the majority of their time.  If someone asked me what I do outside of work, I don't think they'd find "eat dinner and sleep" all that interesting, so they ask about how you spend the vast majority of your time instead.

Wolfpack Mustachian

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #48 on: January 21, 2021, 07:14:18 PM »
I'm curious for people that have told others, especially for ones that have done it without taking an early pension or something that's easily understood - what would you actually say? I'm retired.....? Do you give any details? I'm not talking about numbers, but do you reveal it to the point where you basically explain that you live off of the interest and growth of money that you have in an account? It seems like if you explained you were early retired if people were close to you/inquisitive at all, it would come down to them having a basic understanding of that fact. If they did have that fact, then they would know you had a relative crap ton of money in the bank, and I'm curious if that would change the relationship. That's always been the confusing/sticking point for me.

I've found that saying "I saved enough to equal a modest pension" tends to cover it quite well for anyone who doesn't really understand personal finance.

Thanks for all the responses. This one really made me think. I tend to think everyone has my perspective and understanding on what savings to equal a modest pension would look like, but that's a great point that most people have so little of a clue about personal finance that they could very easily not know what the nuts and bolts of that would mean.

Malcat

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Re: FIRE - Do you tell people or not ?
« Reply #49 on: January 21, 2021, 07:43:27 PM »
I'm curious for people that have told others, especially for ones that have done it without taking an early pension or something that's easily understood - what would you actually say? I'm retired.....? Do you give any details? I'm not talking about numbers, but do you reveal it to the point where you basically explain that you live off of the interest and growth of money that you have in an account? It seems like if you explained you were early retired if people were close to you/inquisitive at all, it would come down to them having a basic understanding of that fact. If they did have that fact, then they would know you had a relative crap ton of money in the bank, and I'm curious if that would change the relationship. That's always been the confusing/sticking point for me.

I've found that saying "I saved enough to equal a modest pension" tends to cover it quite well for anyone who doesn't really understand personal finance.

Thanks for all the responses. This one really made me think. I tend to think everyone has my perspective and understanding on what savings to equal a modest pension would look like, but that's a great point that most people have so little of a clue about personal finance that they could very easily not know what the nuts and bolts of that would mean.

Just reverse engineer the logic. If someone thinks you're "rich" because you have a million dollars and have retired early, then they're also clueless enough not to understand that "the equivalent of a modest pension" equals a million dollars in the bank.

It's possible to be completely honest with people without drawing their attention to what they don't need to realize.