Author Topic: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE  (Read 11360 times)

Stachey

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Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« on: June 03, 2016, 04:21:22 PM »
One month into FIRE!!!  (happy dance!  happy dance!)

I've been reading MMM forever and was so glad to read the encouraging articles all through my horrible working life.  Now I am so glad to have found the MMM forum!!!
Largely because I am completely surprised by my friends' reactions to my FIRE.

I thought that I had found a group of close friends who were enthusiastic and supportive about my real interests in life which are writing and painting. 
But now that I have all the time in the world to work on those things, my friends find out I don't have a job and they say "What are you going to do?!?!" 

Well let me see...Write.  Paint.
What did they think I was doing with every spare minute for all those years.

Did anyone else have similar reactions from friends?
Is there any point in talking with anyone outside of this forum about FIRE?

It's so frustrating to be constantly surrounded by people who are so fear based and can never see what is actually possible to achieve.

Evgenia

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2016, 05:13:35 PM »
Congratulations! We're one year in to FIRE and life is better than grand.

A few things happened to us, friend wise:

* Conversations were awkward, but only at the beginning. Some people assumed we just didn't want to hear about their jobs anymore, for example, since we couldn't commiserate because we don't have jobs. This passed, but we made a special effort to ask about all aspects of our friends' lives in the immediate post-FIRE period.

* People (not many) who know about our FIRE status now believe it's possible for themselves, and we've gotten a LOT of requests for advice, to the point that I'm half considering the idea of becoming an FIRE coach. But, it's frustrating, because it comes down to wishing without behavior change for most of them. This is hard to watch: people open up about their finances, often unprovoked, which means we're effectively watching some train wrecks that we didn't previously know were train wrecks.

We have, for example, a friend who is a partner at a law firm and pulls down over $300k/year without bonuses. His wife is a SAHM, their house and vehicles modest and inexpensive. The eldest child is in public school, there are no childcare costs. They live paycheck to paycheck and I don't even know how. (Like, I literally don't know how that amount of money can be frittered away.) We've had to find nice ways to stay OPEN to giving advice, but also cut off the thread when it gets repetitive and people obviously aren't interested in doing the harder change work. Just something to consider in friend conversations.

* Happily, friends returned to being... friends. We shifted some previously work-centric activities because of that. Rather than happy hour (work focused because it's always after work), for example, we added hikes. Rather than eat dinner out and complain about our jobs, we invite people over for board games and cook outs and make a lot of food for them, and include their kids.

* I lost (was shunned by) female friends in tech, which was the field I worked in for 20 years. A big part of our time together was spent complaining about our jobs, and talking about things that should change (that gross harassing guy should be fired; I should get more sleep; we need to work less). When I bit the bullet and actually walked away, though, I was "jokingly" (not very) called a traitor to the cause, told I needed to continue to be an example for other women and tough it out, etc. I was totally surprised by this, at the time, and these work-centric "friendships" did not recover.

* I was outright called crazy, though my husband was not (he "deserved a break," no matter we both worked the same amount, in the same field, for the same duration). He noticed this gendered language more than I actually did and would just say things like "I'm sure Evie would really appreciate hearing that from you," which shut it down. It was odd, though. Like, we're both FIRE, we did it together, but he's The Exhausted Worker and I'm The Gold Digger all of a sudden? Weird stuff.

* On the brighter side, we have had MANY people tell us we're a huge inspiration and that they're now considering and/or making a lot of changes that they weren't previously.

Good luck and, again, WELL DONE!

Jim2001

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2016, 08:12:51 PM »
I want to be prepared when I FIRE in late 2017, so I'm following this thread...

MsRichLife

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2016, 02:33:27 AM »
I'm FIREing in Oct 16 and since the paperwork has gone in, I'm now quite open about leaving. People seem very concerned about what I'm  going to do with myself. My initial responses that were variations of 'have a break', 'whatever I want', or 'not much' didn't go down very well.

I now seem to have perfected a suitable response which people seem to be ok with. I tell people that I'm taking a year to de-stress, work on my health, renovate my house, work on the garden, travel and spend some time with my son before he goes to school. After the year, I'll see if I want to do any consulting or coaching etc.

With this response I seem to be providing a list long enough to suitably fill my time. People latch onto one thing or another and the conversation moves on without awkwardness. It's sad that it's necessary, but so be it.

Mmm_Donuts

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2016, 07:21:52 AM »
This has been one of the most unpleasant parts of our FIRE experience so far. I don't like getting into detail with people about our financial plans, so now that DH isn't working and I'm working very little (I work very part time, about 6-8 weeks per year), the most common reaction has been one of worry. We're in our 40s, and unless obviously wealthy, RE just doesn't seem like something people do here.

My mother constantly asks if we are doing OK financially. Friends constantly ask if DH has gotten a job yet. It doesn't bother him, and he hasn't ruled out working again in the future at some point, so he answers with vague replies like "not yet." We live in a culture where workaholism is completely normal, so we are seen as total slackers. Also most people cannot fathom that it's possible to live in any way other than paycheque to paycheque. I'm at the point where I need to have a sit down serious chat with some family members and close friends to say look, we are fine with the way things are, so you should be, too. [...so butt out!] I'm really not sure what else to tell them. I know they are just concerned for us, but they needn't be.

Rezdent

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2016, 09:17:58 AM »
This has been one of the most unpleasant parts of our FIRE experience so far. I don't like getting into detail with people about our financial plans, so now that DH isn't working and I'm working very little (I work very part time, about 6-8 weeks per year), the most common reaction has been one of worry. We're in our 40s, and unless obviously wealthy, RE just doesn't seem like something people do here.

My mother constantly asks if we are doing OK financially. Friends constantly ask if DH has gotten a job yet. It doesn't bother him, and he hasn't ruled out working again in the future at some point, so he answers with vague replies like "not yet." We live in a culture where workaholism is completely normal, so we are seen as total slackers. Also most people cannot fathom that it's possible to live in any way other than paycheque to paycheque. I'm at the point where I need to have a sit down serious chat with some family members and close friends to say look, we are fine with the way things are, so you should be, too. [...so butt out!] I'm really not sure what else to tell them. I know they are just concerned for us, but they needn't be.
I could see my family and friends being worried about a vague, noncommittal "not yet" if the answer doesn't convey any confidence or peace.
They would back off if my answer was more along the lines of "no job yet, but that's okay.  We've got our budget covered, we are not in a hurry.  We're taking some time away".

ender

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2016, 09:18:05 AM »
One month into FIRE!!!  (happy dance!  happy dance!)

I've been reading MMM forever and was so glad to read the encouraging articles all through my horrible working life.  Now I am so glad to have found the MMM forum!!!
Largely because I am completely surprised by my friends' reactions to my FIRE.

I thought that I had found a group of close friends who were enthusiastic and supportive about my real interests in life which are writing and painting. 
But now that I have all the time in the world to work on those things, my friends find out I don't have a job and they say "What are you going to do?!?!" 

Well let me see...Write.  Paint.
What did they think I was doing with every spare minute for all those years.

Did anyone else have similar reactions from friends?
Is there any point in talking with anyone outside of this forum about FIRE?

It's so frustrating to be constantly surrounded by people who are so fear based and can never see what is actually possible to achieve.

There's not much here to go on regarding your friends' reactions.

But it's an entirely normal reaction for someone who is not aware of FIRE being an actual option to immediately think, "you are going to be broke/die." If your paradigm for financial aspects of life does not include the ability to save money, let alone enough money to stop working on.

Which means really there are two options - you can try to educate to this possibility, or give reasons like MsRichLife does.

Mmm_Donuts

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2016, 09:34:32 AM »
This has been one of the most unpleasant parts of our FIRE experience so far. I don't like getting into detail with people about our financial plans, so now that DH isn't working and I'm working very little (I work very part time, about 6-8 weeks per year), the most common reaction has been one of worry. We're in our 40s, and unless obviously wealthy, RE just doesn't seem like something people do here.

My mother constantly asks if we are doing OK financially. Friends constantly ask if DH has gotten a job yet. It doesn't bother him, and he hasn't ruled out working again in the future at some point, so he answers with vague replies like "not yet." We live in a culture where workaholism is completely normal, so we are seen as total slackers. Also most people cannot fathom that it's possible to live in any way other than paycheque to paycheque. I'm at the point where I need to have a sit down serious chat with some family members and close friends to say look, we are fine with the way things are, so you should be, too. [...so butt out!] I'm really not sure what else to tell them. I know they are just concerned for us, but they needn't be.
I could see my family and friends being worried about a vague, noncommittal "not yet" if the answer doesn't convey any confidence or peace.
They would back off if my answer was more along the lines of "no job yet, but that's okay.  We've got our budget covered, we are not in a hurry.  We're taking some time away".

Oh, we have said something to this effect, many times. But they still ask. Eventually the responses get shorter! They may just be asking because, like I say, it's not normal to be doing this and everyone talks about work, so they could just be making conversation. But there's definitely a projected tone of worry.

Financial.Velociraptor

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2016, 10:00:03 AM »
They all thought (think) it is weird.  I'm more than 3 years in and I think it is starting to sink in that I really don't plan to look for another job.

Ellsie Equanimity

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2016, 10:30:06 AM »
I thought that I had found a group of close friends who were enthusiastic and supportive about my real interests in life which are writing and painting. 
But now that I have all the time in the world to work on those things, my friends find out I don't have a job and they say "What are you going to do?!?!"

I'm not sure if they are saying what are you going to do (with your time)? or what are you going to do(/how will you financially make it)? Either way, seems like a normal response to me.

You just opened up 40+ hours per week in your schedule. How are you going to fill it is a natural question. Vague answers also correlate to people's vague hobbies that they don't get to spend that much time on or don't really think through and do that much with despite good intentions. The more you can say some specific goals/plans, the more others see what you are doing. As in writing, it's all about showing not telling - details help them visualize. 'I'm going to write and paint' tells me almost nothing. 'I am working on a novel about xyz and attending writing critique groups once a month. In six months I'm going to a conference where I hope to show an excerpt to an editor for feedback, and I also have a goal to paint (number or settings) by the end of the year' tells me a lot more and now I really have a feeling for what you are doing whereas before I didn't. You don't have to have super ambitious goals about it either, but the more details you can provide the more I understand the actual answer of what you are going to do with your time.

If the question is financially how are you going to make it, well depending on how open you've been about what you are doing financially and how comfortable you are with being open about it, says about how much they will understand. If you're not open then it's not the norm, not something typically thought possible, so of course they will wonder. If you're open, they may or may not understand depending on their perspective on life, what they think is important, and how well they can relate to other's perspectives and lifestyles.

Is there any point in talking with anyone outside of this forum about FIRE?

It's the same as talking to anyone who has any different view from you. You can talk to different people in different levels of detail depending on how each of you handle the conversation. The more teachable each of you is or at least willing to respect other people's opinions even if they differ from your own, the better it will go.

Stachey

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2016, 12:11:09 PM »
Thanks so much all for the feedback! 

Your post Evgenia sounds similar to quite a few of my friends. 
After years and years of stressful work where I would tell my friends horror stories of managers screaming profanities and threatening people, only one friend said it was good that I was out of there and should take a break.  Although that sentiment only lasted a couple weeks. 

I had no idea that workaholism was so firmly entrenched in North American society that people seem to think the only reason they are on the planet is to be good little worker bees.  Are there other places in the world where work is just one aspect of life and they have so many more facets to their daily life?

elaine amj

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2016, 03:59:22 PM »
I am not FiRED yet but plan to be in 2-3 years. I have told a few close friends about my plans and they think it is great (with no desire/ability to pursue anything similar). Of course, hard to say how they will be AFTER we FIRE, but I am not expecting any real difference.

Not sure what I will tell the world. So many folks here have mentioned it is better to stealth FIRE and just say something vague about flexible work from home.


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Choices

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2016, 10:21:25 PM »
Right now you're a curiosity and a challenge to their own beliefs and choices. Hang in there. You'll soon become their inspiration.

frompa

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2016, 08:43:39 AM »
Stachey - Thanks for posting this question.  We are recently FIRE'd - my man quite definitively when he left his employment of 25+ years in late February, and me more slowly as I ease out of my self-employment of the last several decades.  Over this past weekend we got together with a group of friends and I was surprised at how many of them had little comments about our status -- "Oh, so that's how you're retired early," and "Sure, we know YOU don't have to get up in the morning, but we do," and "Break my heart and tell me how awfully busy you are with all the things you want to do," etc. etc.  These were all in the context of conversations that had nothing to do with our non-working lives or status. (Both my sweetie and I tend to avoid being the center of attention.)  The comments were often in the form of jokes, but it's clear that they are at the least unsettled by our status of being perfectly happy with not working.  It shouldn't be a mystery to any of them - we told them for months ahead of time that we were downshifting, planning to leave paid work, and so on.  And they've seen for years (if they cared to notice) that we drive old cars or not at all, have a small house, do most of our own cooking and brewing, and so on. Some of the comments are snarky/jealous, and some are all about how different we are now.  This does make me wonder how friendly these friends can or will remain.  I guess I can't say it's a surprise, because others have written about this phenomenon, but it is nonetheless a disappointment.  We'll see if things with friends change as time passes. A little more surprising to me is that the biggest source of support are older family members, who say "Isn't it great? It's like you thought your life should be ever since you finished high school, right?"  I expected them to be more money-freaked out, on our behalf, but they totally get living lightly $-wise for the sake of having the time to do what you want.   

Lake161

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2016, 08:50:37 AM »
I've found most people very supportive, but I've also learned that once we don't have our jobs to whine about, I don't have so much in common with my former colleagues.

Living overseas, we do meet up with other early retirees and younger folks taking a sabbatical, and find we have a lot in common.

We've also made friends among the traditional post-65 retirees.  We find we have more in common with them than the younger vacationers we meet who are so busy cramming activities into their two week vacation that they tire us out.

The only time I've found things to get awkward is when we have to discuss money (e.g. When planning a group outing). Sometimes there's an assumption that since we retired a bit young, we must be really rich spendypants. It's easier to hang out with people on similar budgets.

opnfld

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #15 on: June 06, 2016, 12:03:53 PM »
I appreciate the comments so far.  I FIRE in August; my wife will continue to work two days a week.  I plan to stem any adverse reactions from friends by getting really WEIRD, i.e. developing all the areas of my personality that have been oppressed/repressed for the past ten years by the cubicle life, suburbia, and a bus commute.  This may appear to outsiders as a severe mid-life crisis, but it's my life and it's only lived once.  Strategy: supplant jealousy or concern with mystery and excitement.  It helps that we are relocating.

I like the comment about giving everyone food.  I think that is a useful tactic.

Good Lord FIRE will be incredible.

Stachey

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #16 on: June 06, 2016, 12:42:45 PM »
Thanks Frompa...your experience sounds similar to mine.  It was disappointing to find out that people who I thought knew me and knew that I have been frugal forever now suddenly equate my "good luck" with a sudden windfall or something.

I liked a comment on one of the other posts about this topic...someone kept telling them they were "lucky" to have achieved FIRE so the person started replying: "Not lucky, just smart."

Opnfld...LOL...cubicle life, suburbia and bus commute has fried my brain too.


MissNancyPryor

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2016, 01:28:04 PM »
Following!

SwordGuy

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #18 on: June 06, 2016, 04:19:38 PM »
MrsEnder, you are very wise and kind.

Evgenia

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #19 on: June 06, 2016, 05:57:58 PM »
The comments were often in the form of jokes, but it's clear that they are at the least unsettled by our status of being perfectly happy with not working.  It shouldn't be a mystery to any of them... And they've seen for years (if they cared to notice) that we drive old cars or not at all, have a small house, do most of our own cooking and brewing, and so on... A little more surprising to me is that the biggest source of support are older family members, who say "Isn't it great? It's like you thought your life should be ever since you finished high school, right?"

This has been our experience as well. When people expressed surprise, it was all I could do not to remind them of things like "Yeah, remember that time you told us we should get a bigger house? Well, we didn't." and "Remember how the very first thing you said when you saw our house was 'When are you going to remodel the kitchen?' Well, we didn't." Neither of us owned cars for 10 years but no one seems to remember that, either.

I think that, at least for a couple of these folks, they feel proven wrong, or as if our lifestyle choices are -- simply by virtue of their existence -- a commentary on theirs (and of course they're not, as I could give two hoots about what other people do with their money). Many of our friends here in Silicon Valley have very high incomes, $300k/year per household without counting shares or options of stock, and they have no or low savings and are beholden to their (often miserable) jobs. But at least there's a Tesla in the driveway and a second mortgage on a house in Sonoma.

Older family members have also been our biggest source of support. They are VERY "Good for you, don't do what I did. I could have and should have paid off the house sooner, not been tempted by new cars," and so on. I did not expect this.

dragoncar

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #20 on: June 06, 2016, 09:16:33 PM »
I thought that I had found a group of close friends who were enthusiastic and supportive about my real interests in life which are writing and painting. 
But now that I have all the time in the world to work on those things, my friends find out I don't have a job and they say "What are you going to do?!?!"

I'm not sure if they are saying what are you going to do (with your time)? or what are you going to do(/how will you financially make it)? Either way, seems like a normal response to me.

You just opened up 40+ hours per week in your schedule. How are you going to fill it is a natural question. Vague answers also correlate to people's vague hobbies that they don't get to spend that much time on or don't really think through and do that much with despite good intentions. The more you can say some specific goals/plans, the more others see what you are doing. As in writing, it's all about showing not telling - details help them visualize. 'I'm going to write and paint' tells me almost nothing. 'I am working on a novel about xyz and attending writing critique groups once a month. In six months I'm going to a conference where I hope to show an excerpt to an editor for feedback, and I also have a goal to paint (number or settings) by the end of the year' tells me a lot more and now I really have a feeling for what you are doing whereas before I didn't. You don't have to have super ambitious goals about it either, but the more details you can provide the more I understand the actual answer of what you are going to do with your time.

If the question is financially how are you going to make it, well depending on how open you've been about what you are doing financially and how comfortable you are with being open about it, says about how much they will understand. If you're not open then it's not the norm, not something typically thought possible, so of course they will wonder. If you're open, they may or may not understand depending on their perspective on life, what they think is important, and how well they can relate to other's perspectives and lifestyles.

Is there any point in talking with anyone outside of this forum about FIRE?

It's the same as talking to anyone who has any different view from you. You can talk to different people in different levels of detail depending on how each of you handle the conversation. The more teachable each of you is or at least willing to respect other people's opinions even if they differ from your own, the better it will go.

That sounds like an exhausting conversation.  I'm just gonna tell people to shove it.

opnfld

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #21 on: June 07, 2016, 10:29:23 AM »
It's the same as talking to anyone who has any different view from you. You can talk to different people in different levels of detail depending on how each of you handle the conversation. The more teachable each of you is or at least willing to respect other people's opinions even if they differ from your own, the better it will go.
That sounds like an exhausting conversation.  I'm just gonna tell people to shove it.
I agree.  This approach forces you to remember what amount of detail each person received and you end up re-explaining things incessantly.  Possibly I'm just not good at it, possibly don't care enough to put in the effort; but i want to avoid this entirely.

Cassie

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #22 on: June 07, 2016, 05:16:11 PM »
I think the younger you are the more it is an issue. Family might be genuinely worried about you $ wise but friends probably not so much. They are probably just jealous. My DH and I took our pensions at 58 and 53. They were not big -only 20k each but you would have thought they were huge by some people's reactions. Even though for years we stayed with the state for this very reason and put up with plenty of BS when they were telling us to leave all of a sudden they were mad that we were getting pensions. We lost a few friends over this. When I talked about it for 15 years I don't know why it was a mystery. A couple we know that have been self employed for years working from home tried for years to get us to leave the state. Now at age 70 they are still working.  They went so far as to leave me a message at work telling me not to retire.  WTF?  Our friendship didn't last long after we did. Ironically we both got bored and went back to p.t. consulting but it is from home on our terms in our pj's.  Some weeks we don't work at all and some 10 hours/week. Whatever we feel like.

AlwaysBeenASaver

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #23 on: June 08, 2016, 10:02:40 PM »
I told one close friend, long before FIRE, what my goals were (retiring early), and she thought it was such a terrible idea that I didn't tell anyone else. She insisted I'd be bored, because she'd be bored if she stopped working. When I finally FIREd, I was kind of vague to most people because I was worried about a negative reaction and also just didn't feel like advertising it.  I told my mom a few months ahead and she was thrilled. She told my uncle, who had also retired early, and he was happy for me too. My retired neighbor just assumed I was retired when I stopped working and he was happy for me, and he told my other retired neighbor who was also happy. So basically, all the retired people who know are very happy for me, and I haven't told many people who are still working.

Stachey

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #24 on: June 09, 2016, 07:04:44 AM »
I have heard words of encouragement from older retired people. ("successfully" retired people that is)
The "successfully" retired ones always have a bunch of projects and activities and social outlets on the go all the time. 
The "unsuccessfully" retired ones are the ones who spend most of their lives in front of the idiot box, bitching and complaining endlessly.

Racer X

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #25 on: June 09, 2016, 07:43:00 AM »
I've been pretty vague about my retirement with friends.  Even close family members, I've taken a "Well, we'll see what happens" approach.  I mean, hey, as soon as someone offers me a job as a Formula 1 driver, astronaut, or fighter pilot, heck yeah, I'll go back to work!  :) 

Because Mrs. X is still working (wants to work that OMY) I did get a couple of "trophy husband" jokes.  If she needed to work, that might sting a bit.  But since it's strictly her choice, I just laugh and embrace it.

Overall it's amazing how few people really ask, though.  I'm pretty skilled at not being the center of attention, and most people are more than happy to talk about themselves. 

aFrugalFather

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #26 on: June 09, 2016, 08:51:09 AM »
I'm surprised this seems to be an issue for people.  Maybe I'm just a hermit, but I quickly eject any negative people from my life.  I make some limited exceptions to people I've had in my life since the beginning of school though, so I can see how some annoyance might creep in that way.

tzukulika

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #27 on: June 09, 2016, 09:44:45 AM »
I have *threatened* my close friends with RE for years. Maybe *I was* obsessed with it RE, who knows, water under the bridge. But my close friends are not from work , so there. I have only one close friend @ work which I wanted him to understand the MM way - I shove periodically MMM links to good topics on his email, he finally bought it ( I think). Other close co-workers did not seem receptive to MMM lifestyle and I did not push it.  Anyway, they are somewhat bewildered that I followed up in my plans - so I detect some reservations from them. Will see how that goes.
HOWEVER , I started my RE way by being laid off ( engineered that, could not hack it !
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/burnout/msg421361/#msg421361 ). The laying off happened because Megacorp is closing the site and many folks are in distress now about new jobs , relocation etc. I'm pissed of that some of my close coworkers about have more 20 years in the same high paying job and scrambling now to either move or find another job (tough in the location). Sure that A7 was worth it, huh ? There are some folks that are really hurt , nobody @ work knows that I'm FI, never mind RE for good , and I don't think that I will ever open up to them.
Rambling , not enough coffee yet.

BTDretire

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #28 on: June 10, 2016, 02:24:44 PM »
I have *threatened* my close friends with RE for years. Maybe *I was* obsessed with it RE, who knows, water under the bridge. But my close friends are not from work , so there. I have only one close friend @ work which I wanted him to understand the MM way - I shove periodically MMM links to good topics on his email, he finally bought it ( I think). Other close co-workers did not seem receptive to MMM lifestyle and I did not push it.  Anyway, they are somewhat bewildered that I followed up in my plans - so I detect some reservations from them. Will see how that goes.
HOWEVER , I started my RE way by being laid off ( engineered that, could not hack it !
http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/burnout/msg421361/#msg421361 ). The laying off happened because Megacorp is closing the site and many folks are in distress now about new jobs , relocation etc. I'm pissed of that some of my close coworkers about have more 20 years in the same high paying job and scrambling now to either move or find another job (tough in the location). Sure that A7 was worth it, huh ? There are some folks that are really hurt , nobody @ work knows that I'm FI, never mind RE for good , and I don't think that I will ever open up to them.
Rambling , not enough coffee yet.
  It must be such a great feeling to know you took care of your finances and now have the ability to allow the situation at Megacorp to be a little icing on the cake, a bit of chocolate on the ice cream, even a little schadenfreude. Congratulations.

Rollin

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #29 on: June 11, 2016, 02:34:16 PM »
I'm FIREing in Oct 16 and since the paperwork has gone in, I'm now quite open about leaving. People seem very concerned about what I'm  going to do with myself. My initial responses that were variations of 'have a break', 'whatever I want', or 'not much' didn't go down very well.

I now seem to have perfected a suitable response which people seem to be ok with. I tell people that I'm taking a year to de-stress, work on my health, renovate my house, work on the garden, travel and spend some time with my son before he goes to school. After the year, I'll see if I want to do any consulting or coaching etc.

With this response I seem to be providing a list long enough to suitably fill my time. People latch onto one thing or another and the conversation moves on without awkwardness. It's sad that it's necessary, but so be it.

I simply say I'm going to experience what a lot of space and time feels like. Things will come to me to fill that in and I don't need a list. I want to feed my soul. Once you get spiritual they drop off.

After all, there question is really their fear, not yours (unless it triggers something in you).

Also, when I told my dad he enthusiastically said DO IT! He's never been happier since retiring at 47 (? I think) and my brother at 49. They have been out playing while I was working! Hard to do and motivated me to FIRE.
« Last Edit: June 11, 2016, 02:57:19 PM by Rollin »

Matilda

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #30 on: June 12, 2016, 09:41:41 AM »
I appreciate the comments so far.  I FIRE in August; my wife will continue to work two days a week.  I plan to stem any adverse reactions from friends by getting really WEIRD, i.e. developing all the areas of my personality that have been oppressed/repressed for the past ten years by the cubicle life, suburbia, and a bus commute.  This may appear to outsiders as a severe mid-life crisis, but it's my life and it's only lived once.  Strategy: supplant jealousy or concern with mystery and excitement.  It helps that we are relocating.

I like the comment about giving everyone food.  I think that is a useful tactic.

Good Lord FIRE will be incredible.

This has to be the best plan ever!  Distract everybody from the fact that you're FIRE by re-focusing them on your general strangeness?  Brilliant!  I would love to hear what oddities you're planning to embrace once freed from the daily grind. 

Dicey

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #31 on: June 12, 2016, 10:50:33 AM »
This is always about them, not you. The fact that you are doing something they have no hope of achieving makes them feel bad/nervous/insecure about themselves and their future. Their worries for you are really just verbalizations of their own insecurities. Losing a few people you thought were frIends is a small price to pay for freedom.

Throughout life, one makes new friends when one moves, changes schools, graduates into the workforce, gets married, has kids (or not), etc. Imagine a person who starts college two years early or the occasional pro athlete who skips college to go straight to the pros. They manage in their radically different new worlds and you will too. In FIRE, you will make new friends and they will have much more in common with you and your new lifestyle. Now, that's something to look forward to. Go you!

tj

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #32 on: June 13, 2016, 10:28:52 PM »
Thanks so much all for the feedback! 

Your post Evgenia sounds similar to quite a few of my friends. 
After years and years of stressful work where I would tell my friends horror stories of managers screaming profanities and threatening people, only one friend said it was good that I was out of there and should take a break.  Although that sentiment only lasted a couple weeks. 

I had no idea that workaholism was so firmly entrenched in North American society that people seem to think the only reason they are on the planet is to be good little worker bees.  Are there other places in the world where work is just one aspect of life and they have so many more facets to their daily life?

My experience was that New Zealand and Australia both had a much more laid back culture regarding careers and their approach to work-life balance.  I'm actually considering a working holiday in New Zealand to see what it's like to live amongst that culture for a year vs. just passing through as a tourist. The amazing scenery doesn't hurt either.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #33 on: June 17, 2016, 08:10:22 AM »
I agree with the comment "this is about them not you".  I am going on 15 months in and when asked what I was up too (amongst family and friends) , I simply have and still replied we have decided depending on our investments to try retirement. I make hints that were not rich by any means, indicate freedom is the greatest prize to have and occasionally look to see if anything interesting job wise is out there. I found in a quick amount of time people went from wondering how we did it to mostly wishing they could do it. Definitely haven't lost any friends over it because my life as they see it hasn't changed other than really downsizing our house and even that most people have been like "I wish we would do that". Its like sales....covering the objection before it comes up!

Spitfire

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #34 on: June 17, 2016, 09:10:11 AM »
That sounds like an exhausting conversation.  I'm just gonna tell people to shove it.

Ah yes, the old "you mad bro?" I will likely be doing the same.

dragoncar

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Re: Friends' Reaction Post FIRE
« Reply #35 on: June 17, 2016, 10:17:40 AM »
That sounds like an exhausting conversation.  I'm just gonna tell people to shove it.

Ah yes, the old "you mad bro?" I will likely be doing the same.