Author Topic: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?  (Read 6621 times)

BiCu

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What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« on: September 12, 2020, 07:02:12 PM »
Are you just honest and say that you are retired?

Do you say that you are an investor? That you work from home? That you are an efficiency consultant?

For FIRE’d parents, do people insist on telling you that you are a stay-at-home parent instead of retired even if your kids are in daycare or school?

If your spouse still works, do people think you are a leech?

If you are honest, how do you stay protective of your time and keep family members from expecting things from you in the middle of the day just because you do not have a conventional job? Do people bother you for money once they find out you are retired?

MDM

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2020, 07:16:37 PM »
Yes.
No. No. No.
No.
N/A.
No family close by. ;)  No.

IslandFiGirl

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2020, 07:30:28 PM »
I'm in my 40's, I don't really say I'm retired.  I just say I got really burnt out at my job, worked all the time and am taking some time off from working to spend time with my kids.  Nobody, not even my kids know that I could probably never go back to work and be just fine.  I can't see any reason to say that, because the truth is, something crazy could happen and the market could totally screw me and make me feel like I do need to work again. 

I've always been really independent, and I don't give a crap what people think of me, if they have an opinion, whatever, I don't care, I have friends and people I love and they know I am a good person and don't care about whether I have money or not.  So nobody has really tried to commandeer my time and if they did, I wouldn't let them.  It would be nice to be able to be like yeah I have a boat load of money so I don't need to work, but I don't have any interest in dealing with people thinking I'm just gonna be throwing money around because money makes some people WEIRD!  Nobody got time for that!

Frankies Girl

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2020, 07:57:06 PM »
Casual meeting/people I don't really know and don't care to get into my personal details:

I tell people (if they ask) I do freelance work as an artist. If they want to ask me about a gig (it's happened a few times!), I tell them my schedule is pretty full and I don't think I have room at the moment for any new work or I'm on a break due to burnout. And then change the subject.



Friends/sort of close-ish family

I tell them I'm doing occasional work (I am, just not paid) but for the most part adjusted my living expenses and invested wisely and I no longer have to depend on a job to pay my bills. If they would like more information about what all that means, I would be happy to give them some reading suggestions, but otherwise I won't bore them with the story.



Close family/friends

They know about FIRE, they know I am FIREd, and they can ask me for whatever but if I'm busy or not interested in doing whatever the whatever is, I'm going to be polite but firm about my boundaries. Just because I don't trade my time for $ anymore doesn't mean it's not valuable to me - in fact it's the exact opposite in that it is even more valuable and I have a finite amount of it. I also don't deal with people that like using manipulation, guilt trips or whining or other nasty behavior to weasel work/favors/$ from me if I don't want to do it. Pull any of that crap, you've likely ended our relationship.




Not a parent. Also don't give a flying pig about what anyone thinks about me, so I give my pat answers and don't bother getting into details. 9 times out of 10, no one wants to know more than superficial info about you anyway so flip the convo back onto them and they'll not even bother to ask any deep dive questions anyway.


Trudie

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2020, 10:18:18 PM »
I tell people we took early retirement.  This is easy for people to fathom because my DH is 59.

But, life became much easier after we moved from the small college town where we were living with no anonymity to a new, more populated town.  We were able to just present ourselves as retired and people accept it.  Plus, I’ve met other early retirees.

I would be as honest as you can without revealing financial specifics.  In the end, it’s your reality you’re living, not someone else’s.

Dicey

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2020, 02:13:21 AM »
1. Are you just honest and say that you are retired?

2. Do you say that you are an investor? That you work from home? That you are an efficiency consultant?

3. For FIRE’d parents, do people insist on telling you that you are a stay-at-home parent instead of retired even if your kids are in daycare or school?

4. If your spouse still works, do people think you are a leech?

5. If you are honest, how do you stay protective of your time
5a. and keep family members from expecting things from you in the middle of the day just because you do not have a conventional job?
5b. Do people bother you for money once they find out you are retired?
1. Hell, yes!
2. None of the above. I say I'm retired and I say it with pride. I worked my ass off to get where I am.
3. N/A
4. He does and I am not. He wouldn't be FI without me. Who cares what anyone else thinks? I know how much money i brought to the table and so does he. No one else matters.
5. Why wouldn't I be honest? I manage my time any way I want. My goal is to say "How did I ever have time to work?"
5a. Never happens, possibly because I don't call them in the middle of the day looking for something to do.
5b. Only the sibling who bothered me for money before I retired. My answer is the same now as it was then. She even got a decent chunk of change when our parents died a few years ago, but now it's all gone. Not giving her money is one of my better investments.

One of the true joys of achieving FIRE is not having to give a flying fuck what anyone thinks about anything I do, except my husband.. IMO, based on this list, you seem to care way too much about what other people think.

BiCu

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2020, 05:30:08 AM »
IMO, based on this list, you seem to care way too much about what other people think.

Yeah, that's probably true. I think I have a chip on my shoulder because sometimes people make rude comments about how lucky I am that I married a future doctor. My husband is in his last year of medical school currently, but we will be nearing 40 by the time he breaks six figures (what with residency and fellowships and all) - if he even wants to ever practice as a doctor.

The truth is that I have made the majority of the income, saved the majority of our money, and have been responsible for managing our investments (mostly real estate), which is what makes FIRE'ing possible for us.

I probably should stop acting like the entire sex-equality movement rests on my shoulders, but I am very sensitive to these comments and worry that they will only get worse if I am not employed at a traditional job (even if I do tell everyone it is by choice).

herbgeek

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2020, 06:22:47 AM »
I retired at 58, my spouse at 60, so saying the retired word is easier.  Anyone who knows me knows I have been frugal all my life, and had a decent income (engineer) all of that time.   So family knows I have extra money, they just don't know how much.  And I don't feel the need to share that information.

I have this eyebrow thing when I look at people who make ridiculous requests, so no, no one is asking me for money. They know better.  I also mention that since we have no children, most of our money will be going to our old age care. 

We are not conspicuous consumers: we do not have a second home, boat, RV or the like so I guess outside people assume we don't have much.

toocold

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2020, 08:53:28 AM »
I say I'm semi-retired.  My wife was a SAHM, so I guess technically, I'm now a SAHF.  I wouldn't mind either way.  Of course, I could say I manage my properties.

Car Jack

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2020, 09:13:21 AM »
I haven't stopped working, but I can see making a game out of this.

What do you do?

me:  "I'm not allowed to talk about it.  Let's just say that I solve difficult problems".


flyingaway

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #10 on: September 13, 2020, 10:07:07 AM »
If I don't want to give money or help to some people, I will just say that I am retired and on a fixed income.

Dicey

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #11 on: September 13, 2020, 10:09:37 AM »
Wow, your story sounds a lot like @lifejoy's! She's a busy mom with two little kids now, so she doesn't post much any more. However, she used to be a prolific contributor. I believe a lot of her musings are still in the archives. I doubt she'll see this bat signal, put you can try looking for her posts. I think you'd find them helpful.

ETA: I just checked, you're in luck. Find her on the member list, then go to "Show Posts". It's a very large black hole, but she is an excellent writer and you will enjoy the journey.

And @lifejoy, if you see this, you are missed!
« Last Edit: September 13, 2020, 10:16:51 AM by Dicey »

rockstache

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #12 on: September 13, 2020, 10:22:09 AM »

And @lifejoy, if you see this, you are missed!
+1!

bmjohnson35

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #13 on: September 13, 2020, 10:30:34 AM »

Family and friends know my situation.  I don't have a standard answer for strangers, but I usually say that I am presently unemployed. It usually stops there. If the conversation continues, I state that I am unemployed by choice. 


o2bfree

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #14 on: September 13, 2020, 12:42:20 PM »
Quote
Are you just honest and say that you are retired?

Yes. I guess I'm old enough, 58, for people to think that it might be ok for me to be retired. But there are still people who say, "You're too young to retire!", or I can tell by their response that they think that. I sort of expected people to be more curious about my early retirement and ask questions like how did I do it and how do I pay for medical insurance? Sometimes I get the feeling they think I got a big inheritance or am mooching off someone, so I'll throw in that I'd planned early retirement for years and feel fortunate that my plans worked out.

The main question people ask is, "So what do you do all day?"

Quote
Do you say that you are an investor? That you work from home? That you are an efficiency consultant?

Nope. Might at some point though, maybe say I'm a personal finance manager.

Quote
For FIRE’d parents, do people insist on telling you that you are a stay-at-home parent instead of retired even if your kids are in daycare or school?

No kids here.

Quote
If your spouse still works, do people think you are a leech?

Spouse is retired. He retired a few years before me so some people probably thought he was a leech.

Quote
If you are honest, how do you stay protective of your time and keep family members from expecting things from you in the middle of the day just because you do not have a conventional job? Do people bother you for money once they find out you are retired?

My mom is 91 and I'm the only child near her, so it's a given that I do things for her during the day. That's better than doing them on the weekend when places are usually so much busier. Other family members nearby don't ask me for things. Haven't had any requests for money since I retired, though my deadbeat brother hit me up for money, beer, and a place to crash a few years ago. Answers were 'no' on all fronts. He doesn't live in the area anymore, thank god.


Paul der Krake

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #16 on: September 13, 2020, 01:08:13 PM »
I look way too young to tell people I am retired. Current unemployment is over 20% here so it would also be tactless. So I just say I am in between jobs, which is an accurate description.

soccerluvof4

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #17 on: September 14, 2020, 06:00:46 AM »
I just tell the truth and it was maybe a bit of a surprise to some when I Fire'd at 50 and the DW was 46 but now almost 56 and DW 52 its not really a big deal. The one change was after about a year my DW Didnt really like being retired and felt in her own mind she wanted to contribute by finding something to cover Healthcare and make a little money. Fortunately, she found something flexible and that she loves and probably will never retire. It works for us and adds a layer of safety with the Healthcare for now.

But to your question the first year we just told people were retiring burnt out and see how it goes can always go back to work. After the first year I am fire'd and the DW works pretty much for insurance and some extra spending money. No one blinks an eye. Nor could I care. I do occasionally say I do some day trading if someone is pushy or uppity and I make a big purchase and can tell there wondering so much. I do actually have an account which is about 1% of my portfolio I just by spec stocks for fun.

RainyDay

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #18 on: September 14, 2020, 07:13:44 AM »
The truth is that I have made the majority of the income, saved the majority of our money, and have been responsible for managing our investments (mostly real estate), which is what makes FIRE'ing possible for us.

I probably should stop acting like the entire sex-equality movement rests on my shoulders, but I am very sensitive to these comments and worry that they will only get worse if I am not employed at a traditional job (even if I do tell everyone it is by choice).

I hear ya!  Even if you don't really care about other people's opinions, it can still be tough to take when people make rude assumptions.  And how to respond politely?!

I'm in sorta the same boat...my SO makes waaaaay less than I do, so it's my salary that pays for our nice lifestyle and the house is solely mine.  So it's super annoying that his mother introduces me as "SO's live-in girlfriend."  Like I'm the one living off his generosity! 

DoingMe

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #19 on: September 14, 2020, 08:55:45 AM »
We retired 7 years ago (age 55).  We have always told people we are retired.  I'm pretty proud of the fact that, with the combination of hard work and some luck, we are able to live our lives without renting out a significant portion of it to an employer.

At first, a few people tried to read deeper into it ... taking some time off before the next job ... is someone sick?  But that didn't last too long.

We have had the "you're too young to retire" reaction.  My response is "Oh, how old do you have to be?"  That has always stopped the conversation in its tracks.

We have also had one or two people ask how we did it.  I generally start out by saying "You know all that money you make?  Don't spend it all!" and see how it goes.  When the conversation gets into saving large chunks of money, most people tune out.  It's more work than they are willing to accept.  They are looking for the "easy" answer ... inheritance ... bought Apple stock at 25 cents a share ... etc.

I don't think most people have any idea how much money we have.  I suspect they really don't think about it one way or the other.  We spend our money much the same as we did before retirement (i.e., we aren't buying expensive cars or vacation homes, etc.)  We haven't had anyone ask to borrow money.  No one did before we were retired and no one has since.

verntc

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #20 on: September 14, 2020, 09:03:25 AM »
Ha! I posted a similar post last week about identity post-FIRE and how to explain what I "do". And yes, when I was freshly FIREd right before the pandemic and still socializing I struggled with what to tell people. Usually I just said that my husband I had recently retired from biotech where we had gotten a bit burned out so we could have more time in life and are flipping a couple houses to see how we like it. Most people responded that they would love to do something like that and most could not comprehend how it was even possible to do that. Esp. at our ages (37 and 45) and with a small child. As a side note, I find it so surprising at how saving money is not really a popular idea in practice for people.

I feel for you! It is very hard to just stop caring about what others think and how they react to your story. I think it is ok to worry about it and eventually work towards being more comfortable with the situation. It is a tough transition!

I did get some good feedback early on from a friend who had FIREd (my only one!) which helped prepare me. She said not to expect anyone to understand what we did and for some to even be hostile about it because we did not fit the mold anymore. It was something I had not expected. But it makes sense.

SwordGuy

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #21 on: September 14, 2020, 09:22:38 AM »
The truth is that I have made the majority of the income, saved the majority of our money, and have been responsible for managing our investments (mostly real estate), which is what makes FIRE'ing possible for us.

I probably should stop acting like the entire sex-equality movement rests on my shoulders, but I am very sensitive to these comments and worry that they will only get worse if I am not employed at a traditional job (even if I do tell everyone it is by choice).

I hear ya!  Even if you don't really care about other people's opinions, it can still be tough to take when people make rude assumptions.  And how to respond politely?!

@RainyDay , why ever do you feel the obligation to be polite to people who are intentionaly being rude to you?

Accidental rudeness is one thing.  Intentional rudeness is quite another.

Sample response to accident rudeness:

"Oh my!  You seem to be assuming we are very poor!  How delightfully mistaken!    We're just frugal, not destitute."

Sample response to intentional rudeness:

"Were you attempting to snub me because you think I'm poor?   That's a very rude thing for someone to do, not to mention laughably wrong.  Tell me, what kind of insecurities do you have that motivate you to try to hurt other people in order to feel better about yourself?   Or would you prefer we turn it into a party game and make guesses?   How delightfully entertaining that could be!"  (Clap hands in delight.)   

People who snipe at you with put downs -- like all snipers -- don't like it when the spotlight of unwanted attention is focused directly on them.   

MadBikePoet

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #22 on: September 14, 2020, 09:36:15 AM »
Everyone out there: you DO care what other people think of you! That’s why you clicked on this forum post. You also care about people who care about what others think of them. Unless you are a sociopath, you care about people.

So, you need to tell your story in a way that you are comfortable with and be authentic to yourself!

I retired at 44 and look young for my age. I was cagey with my responses at first but gradually progressed to being blunt. The amazing thing I learned on that journey is the more I just put it out there, the more I realized that it gave me some valuable information about the person I was speaking with. For some people, it broke their concept of reality too much to believe. Others were curious. So, the other amazing thing that happened was that being blunt opened a door to be able to connect with those people who were genuinely curious.

And now those connections and that growth have resulted in me starting my own business as a financial coach, which is now a whole new amazing journey!

Good luck everyone, and NEVER be apologetic about who you are or what you have achieved!

reeshau

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #23 on: September 14, 2020, 10:35:38 AM »
...the more I just put it out there, the more I realized that it gave me some valuable information about the person I was speaking with.

+1.  This is a key thought, and if you approach any awkward situation with this perspective, you will find that you aren't the one feeling awkward about it.

RainyDay

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #24 on: September 14, 2020, 12:04:23 PM »
The truth is that I have made the majority of the income, saved the majority of our money, and have been responsible for managing our investments (mostly real estate), which is what makes FIRE'ing possible for us.

I probably should stop acting like the entire sex-equality movement rests on my shoulders, but I am very sensitive to these comments and worry that they will only get worse if I am not employed at a traditional job (even if I do tell everyone it is by choice).

I hear ya!  Even if you don't really care about other people's opinions, it can still be tough to take when people make rude assumptions.  And how to respond politely?!

@RainyDay , why ever do you feel the obligation to be polite to people who are intentionaly being rude to you?


Swordguy, you are right, and perhaps I should have said something...but we're talking about my quasi-mother-in-law here.  I chalked it up to a generational thing, and perhaps some embarrassment on her part if she had instead said something like, "my son is living off a woman."  It didn't seem worth it to possibly offend a lady I generally get along with fine. 

Dicey

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #25 on: September 14, 2020, 01:58:47 PM »
I'm in sorta the same boat...my SO makes waaaaay less than I do, so it's my salary that pays for our nice lifestyle and the house is solely mine.  So it's super annoying that his mother introduces me as "SO's live-in girlfriend."  Like I'm the one living off his generosity!
Oh, I feel for you. I'd be looking for a comeback that sounds sweet but makes the point.

Something along the lines of "I'm so glad [insert her son's name here] loves the house as much as I did when I bought it XX years before we met". I'm a bit more of a bull in a china shop, but I'll bet someone could come up with a suitable rejoinder. There is no way I'd stand for that treatment. Left unmanaged (politely, of course), I suspect his mother will only get snarkier to you.


RainyDay

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #26 on: September 14, 2020, 02:36:47 PM »
I'm in sorta the same boat...my SO makes waaaaay less than I do, so it's my salary that pays for our nice lifestyle and the house is solely mine.  So it's super annoying that his mother introduces me as "SO's live-in girlfriend."  Like I'm the one living off his generosity!
Oh, I feel for you. I'd be looking for a comeback that sounds sweet but makes the point.

Something along the lines of "I'm so glad [insert her son's name here] loves the house as much as I did when I bought it XX years before we met". I'm a bit more of a bull in a china shop, but I'll bet someone could come up with a suitable rejoinder. There is no way I'd stand for that treatment. Left unmanaged (politely, of course), I suspect his mother will only get snarkier to you.

Dicey, that's pretty good!  I never think of POLITE things to say in the spur of the moment.  I'm really good at thinking up not-polite responses (but rarely say them out loud). 

ilsy

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #27 on: September 15, 2020, 07:14:00 PM »
I'm in sorta the same boat...my SO makes waaaaay less than I do, so it's my salary that pays for our nice lifestyle and the house is solely mine.  So it's super annoying that his mother introduces me as "SO's live-in girlfriend."  Like I'm the one living off his generosity!
Oh, I feel for you. I'd be looking for a comeback that sounds sweet but makes the point.

Something along the lines of "I'm so glad [insert her son's name here] loves the house as much as I did when I bought it XX years before we met". I'm a bit more of a bull in a china shop, but I'll bet someone could come up with a suitable rejoinder. There is no way I'd stand for that treatment. Left unmanaged (politely, of course), I suspect his mother will only get snarkier to you.
+1

Retire-Canada

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #28 on: September 16, 2020, 02:42:49 PM »
If I am meeting you for a few seconds of my life [grocery store cashier] I'll tell you I work from home. If I am going to know you a bit more in depth than that [dentist/MTB buddy] I'll tell you I work from home part-time. I might say I am semi-retired if we talk a fair bit. If I know you well I'll tell you I am retired. Basically none of those are lies, but the more I know you the more accurate the picture of my life you'll get. My goal isn't so much to keep people in the dark as it is to not have to have the same boring conversation that would occur if I told everyone I met I was retired.

TartanTallulah

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #29 on: September 17, 2020, 12:53:08 AM »
I tell people, completely straight-faced, that I'm a sponsored full time athlete. I retired from work to concentrate on my training, but have an arrangement whereby my old employer, a major national organisation, supports me financially in return for a small time commitment.

Malcat

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #30 on: September 17, 2020, 04:48:26 AM »
Are you just honest and say that you are retired?
I was only briefly retired, but yes, I simply stated that I was retired. I only retired from my profession for medical reasons, but I could afford to, so I didn't bother explaining that unless I felt like talking about it.

Do you say that you are an investor? That you work from home? That you are an efficiency consultant?
Oh goodness no. Although, I *am* professionally an expert in efficiency, funnily enough.

For FIRE’d parents, do people insist on telling you that you are a stay-at-home parent instead of retired even if your kids are in daycare or school?
No kids, so no, but I have joked about becoming a stay at home parent to my pets.

Yes, people will judge you if you stop working and refer to yourself as retired if your partner continues working, and especially if you have kids. But that only matters if you choose to be concerned about the judgement.


If your spouse still works, do people think you are a leech?
Maybe? I certainly think that of some of the non-working spouses I know, so I'm sure someone could have thought that of me. I suspect more that they assumed my SO maybe felt bait-and-switched, since I was the much higher earner when we got married and then just a few years later ended up with zero income.

If you are honest, how do you stay protective of your time and keep family members from expecting things from you in the middle of the day just because you do not have a conventional job? Do people bother you for money once they find out you are retired?
The same way I've always been protective of my time, by saying no when people ask me to do things I don't want to do. I'm not afraid of awkward conversations though, and people know that, so those who are afraid of them are extremely cautious with me, and those who are equally direct aren't surprised when I am.

I've been asked for money and simply said "I'm not comfortable with that, but I'll happily sit down with you and help you go over your finances" (I did this professionally as a side hustle)

I have lent some money to family, but only when I was okay not being paid back. I've been paid back some of it, but that's totally fine.


The previous poster is correct that everyone cares what people think, it's just a matter of how much you care, what you care about, and how you let that care impact you.

I'm not immune to being pissed off by people's judgements, of course I get agitated when people make shitty conclusions about me. It's annoying and feels unjust.

The difference is that I accept it as a suboptimal, but totally normal part of life that neither should or can be controlled. It's like someone cutting in a line, it's aggravating when it happens, but I'm not going to give it much thought beyond in the moment and I'm certainly not going to change my own behaviour over it.

Sure, it's annoying that people jump to the conclusion that doctors are rich and that the women who marry them are lucky lottery winners. Hey, it's just as annoying *being* the supposedly rich doctor and having people say to my DH "whoa, how do you handle her making so much more than you, I couldn't do it", as if my income is about as attractive as syphilitic lesions all over my face.

How you let that affect you is on you though. No one put that chip on your shoulder, having it is a choice.

Besides, if you somehow manage to magically avoid that form of judgement, trust me, they've got all sorts of other things lined up to judge you for.

Trying to avoid judgement from others is an enormous and pointless energy suck. Remember, their judgements are on them, not on you.

So you can either try to edit your own story to avoid judgement, or you can acquire the inner okay-ness with the fact that humans judge and that's annoying, but normal.

Ockhamist

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #31 on: September 17, 2020, 08:13:54 AM »
I have a friend who retired young who, when asked, simply says that he is "gainfully unemployed" and then changes the subject.

I think the thing that most makes people believe him is the fact that he makes it very clear that he does not give a flip whether they believe him or not.

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #32 on: September 17, 2020, 09:58:12 AM »
I have a friend who retired young who, when asked, simply says that he is "gainfully unemployed" and then changes the subject.

I think the thing that most makes people believe him is the fact that he makes it very clear that he does not give a flip whether they believe him or not.

It's an interesting phrase, but I wonder how many people might take that to mean he is somehow perpetually on welfare of some sort.

ilsy

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #33 on: September 17, 2020, 10:45:32 AM »
When I was REd for 5m and before I figured that I annoy my family too much when I don't have a job, I used to say to random people who asked me what do I do that "I'm in research." Which was kind of true and still is, I could be in re-search of a new property or a new boyfriend, or just researching stuff on Internet, like a new recipe. I would then redirect the question to them and become extremely interested by what they do. I guess some of them might think that I'm a spy, since I speak with an accent.

If some people manage to get back to what I do, and keep pressing and guessing and a simple "pretty much" answer doesn't work, I tell that I'm a "mystery shopper but I can't tell them which shops, off course" (which is also not a lie).

Margie

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #34 on: September 17, 2020, 10:53:00 AM »
The truth is that I have made the majority of the income, saved the majority of our money, and have been responsible for managing our investments (mostly real estate), which is what makes FIRE'ing possible for us.

I probably should stop acting like the entire sex-equality movement rests on my shoulders, but I am very sensitive to these comments and worry that they will only get worse if I am not employed at a traditional job (even if I do tell everyone it is by choice).

I hear ya!  Even if you don't really care about other people's opinions, it can still be tough to take when people make rude assumptions.  And how to respond politely?!

I'm in sorta the same boat...my SO makes waaaaay less than I do, so it's my salary that pays for our nice lifestyle and the house is solely mine.  So it's super annoying that his mother introduces me as "SO's live-in girlfriend."  Like I'm the one living off his generosity!

I could be way off here but I wonder if she says that so people know you are not just some causal gf...but rather you are his life partner...someone he shares all the fun and all the responsibilities of life with.  It's obviously no one's business what anyone's actual relationship is but it does matter somewhat...people like to see how everyone fits together...This is my cousin, my husband, my son, my daughter...etc...

charis

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #35 on: September 17, 2020, 11:49:52 AM »
The truth is that I have made the majority of the income, saved the majority of our money, and have been responsible for managing our investments (mostly real estate), which is what makes FIRE'ing possible for us.

I probably should stop acting like the entire sex-equality movement rests on my shoulders, but I am very sensitive to these comments and worry that they will only get worse if I am not employed at a traditional job (even if I do tell everyone it is by choice).

I hear ya!  Even if you don't really care about other people's opinions, it can still be tough to take when people make rude assumptions.  And how to respond politely?!

I'm in sorta the same boat...my SO makes waaaaay less than I do, so it's my salary that pays for our nice lifestyle and the house is solely mine.  So it's super annoying that his mother introduces me as "SO's live-in girlfriend."  Like I'm the one living off his generosity!

I could be way off here but I wonder if she says that so people know you are not just some causal gf...but rather you are his life partner...someone he shares all the fun and all the responsibilities of life with.  It's obviously no one's business what anyone's actual relationship is but it does matter somewhat...people like to see how everyone fits together...This is my cousin, my husband, my son, my daughter...etc...

I also read the label as an indication of the seriousness of your relationship, not a comment on who's living off of who. And I highly doubt anyone else is hearing it like that. 

We aren't FIRE, but if we did and told our families that we saved 60% of our income for many years to retire early, it would cause a serious rift most likely.  These are people who simply bleed money, finance vacations and flights to visit family and seemed to expect us to do the same, and/or engage in excessive gifting.  We never directly said we couldn't afford it, it was typically a scheduling problem re vacations/travel, but the truth won't go over well.

Ockhamist

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #36 on: September 17, 2020, 12:58:28 PM »
I have a friend who retired young who, when asked, simply says that he is "gainfully unemployed" and then changes the subject.

I think the thing that most makes people believe him is the fact that he makes it very clear that he does not give a flip whether they believe him or not.

It's an interesting phrase, but I wonder how many people might take that to mean he is somehow perpetually on welfare of some sort.

Probably some, but again, he's quite clear that he does not care.  And you don't have to talk with him long to realize that he's not hard up.

Loren Ver

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #37 on: September 17, 2020, 01:15:11 PM »
Are you just honest and say that you are retired?

Usually.  Most people are pretty shocked given I'm in my late 30s but eh.  Its kinda fun :).  It has knocked a few people for a loop.  If they are just chatting to chat and I am busy and say are you X, Y, Z, I might just answer "something like that" and move the topic along if I don't feel like doing followup questions.  But for people I actually know, they know we are retired.   

Do you say that you are an investor? That you work from home? That you are an efficiency consultant?

Retired.  If they ask how, then via investment (as opposed to real estate or inheritance etc).  In my back pocket I do have " Strategic and Financial Advisor for Ver Industries" though I have never had to use it. 

For FIRE’d parents, do people insist on telling you that you are a stay-at-home parent instead of retired even if your kids are in daycare or school?

No kids, HURRAY! 

If your spouse still works, do people think you are a leech?

Husband is totally a leech, though he is retired too.  :D.  Luckily he is a cute leech.

If you are honest, how do you stay protective of your time and keep family members from expecting things from you in the middle of the day just because you do not have a conventional job? Do people bother you for money once they find out you are retired?

Since most people work during the day, they mostly leave us alone.  Saturday and Sunday are big days for people wanting to do the things since that is when they are free.   We guard our time pretty well, just like when we were working, and the people we chose to associate with are respectful of us, our time, and our money. 

Now that we are retired, there are more request from friends to have help getting their financial houses in order.  I find that fun, so I am willing to help with that if they are willing to put in the work to make it happen.  Win-win.

elaine amj

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #38 on: September 22, 2020, 11:04:08 PM »
I retired at 39 and look much younger than my age. In certain scenarios, up to 10-20 years younger.

Based on advice here, I was reticent about announcing retirement - basically just told close friends and family. 2 years later, my FB still states my old job.

For many months, I just dodged the subject when asked. But then DH kept announcing it proudly far and wide. So I started getting more comfortable with it. Very soon, I was telling everybody that asked but stayed quiet if not asked.

After FIRE, I took up aquafit and line dancing on weekday mornings. All mostly senior activities so I'd get curious questions and it is funny to see the shock since I look super young. Mostly I said stuff like I discovered I liked the simple life so once I had enough,  I didn't see the need for more. I have never received a negative reaction yet. Nor anyone asking me for money.

Only one older lady has been fascinated enough to ask more. Her friends just shook their heads saying they liked their stuff. I'd just smile and said I spent plenty on everything I valued the most.

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Papa bear

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #39 on: September 23, 2020, 07:21:42 AM »
My dad has been “between jobs” since 1984. 


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Knapptyme

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #40 on: September 23, 2020, 08:31:35 AM »
Are you just honest and say that you are retired?

I broadcasted that fact whenever I could, but most people didn't really believe me.

Do you say that you are an investor? That you work from home? That you are an efficiency consultant?

I did these things when I worked for money. It would not surprise anyone, and I suppose I could use those lines.

For FIRE’d parents, do people insist on telling you that you are a stay-at-home parent instead of retired even if your kids are in daycare or school?

This was really what I was/am. I have young kids. The reason I "retired" was to be with them when they love having me around and still think I'm awesome. Plus, daycare/nanny can be expensive. (Note: my wife and I switched roles for the next season of life. I don't work for money per se, but it allowed us to move abroad and have amazing experiences for our children.)

If your spouse still works, do people think you are a leech?

Nope. Never.

If you are honest, how do you stay protective of your time and keep family members from expecting things from you in the middle of the day just because you do not have a conventional job? Do people bother you for money once they find out you are retired?

The freedom to help people is not a drain for me. Since most of my friends work during the day, there was no problem there. Since my family, other than immediate, lives out-of-state, there was not problem. And people would bother me for money when I was working (moreso with random collections for this or that). I might have less of a problem with people bothering me for money.

centwise

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #41 on: September 24, 2020, 08:51:53 AM »
I had a coworker who FIREd for about five years and eventually came back to work for personal reasons. I knew about it because we had privately discussed the concept of FIRE, but most people didn't know about his financial situation (and rightly so; I still think people's financial details should be considered private information).

The way he handled it was to tell people that he was "between jobs, but I have some savings so we're doing alright".

Edit: He was in the 35-40 range when he FIRED.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2020, 04:07:51 PM by centwise »

spartana

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #42 on: September 24, 2020, 12:58:20 PM »
When I first quit my job (at 36) I said I was taking a long sabbatical. Which ended up being true as I went back to the same job after 2 years off work (for personal reasons not really financial).  When I quit 4 years later at age 42 I said the same thing - taking a long sabbatical from employment to do other things for about 5 years.  I've never gone back to work after more then a decade off so playing the "long sabbatical" card is getting harder.  Although saying I retired early is more acceptable to others once in your 50s then when you retire in your 30s or 40s. 

As far as telling people what I do, I just tell them what I do. None of it is a job or earns income so I have gotten the usual questions about how I've funded my ER all these years. I answer straight up but most people don't seem to believe a person can FIRE and never earn anything again when younger. Especially if you aren't a millionaire trust fund baby, haven't won the lotto, or don't have a sugar daddy or wealthy spouse/benefactor or took the ex for everything in a divorce, or aren't doing something shady or clandestine. Especially single people.

ETA: Dating in your 30s and early 40s as a "retired" person is a totally weird experience too. So many judgements and ideas about who you are as a person, what you do, what you want (his money??) and so on out there. Took a long while for me to actually meet and form a relationship with a guy who is also FIREd pretty young and "gets it".
« Last Edit: September 24, 2020, 01:51:08 PM by spartana »

Rdy2Fire

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #43 on: September 24, 2020, 02:59:00 PM »
I don't really tell people, they all know I am not working and ask "when are you going to get a job" or "are you looking for work" I just say I am not sure and no. I figured at 50 maybe I'll tell the ones closer to me although the real close ones realize it and we just don't talk about it

FIRE 20/20

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #44 on: September 25, 2020, 12:41:52 PM »
Are you just honest and say that you are retired?
It depends.  Most of the time (family, friends, acquaintances I expect to see again or who know my family/friends) I say I'm retired.  With people I'm not likely to encounter again I try to be aware of the other person's circumstances.  I understand that I'm in a very fortunate position that's almost exclusively due to luck*, and other people don't have that luck.  It feels malicious and mean to rub it in someone else's face. 

Do you say that you are an investor? That you work from home? That you are an efficiency consultant?
I just refer to my prior career if I'm talking to someone I don't want to tell. 

For FIRE’d parents, do people insist on telling you that you are a stay-at-home parent instead of retired even if your kids are in daycare or school?
N/A

If your spouse still works, do people think you are a leech?
We FIREd at the same time. 

If you are honest, how do you stay protective of your time and keep family members from expecting things from you in the middle of the day just because you do not have a conventional job? Do people bother you for money once they find out you are retired?
I've never had anyone expect anything or try to take advantage.  I wouldn't be friends with people who would be so rude, and I'd probably shut out family members who did so. 

*By "luck" I mean I didn't choose to be born in a time and country where retirement (much less early!) is possible, with the genes that I have, into a stable home, with skills and abilities that are highly compensated in this place/time, with low desire for luxury items and flaunting status, and with a fantastic partner who shares most of the same luck.  The causes and conditions that enabled me to FIRE early are not of my making so I consider my FIRE status to be due to luck.  I'm not referring to a financial inheritance or anything like that. 

DocToDisco

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #45 on: October 11, 2020, 11:37:55 PM »
I've been F.I.R.E.ed for 10 months now.  It's tricky.  Honestly it depends on who's asking. 

Random person in the Bank Line or Grocery Store:  "I'm off today" (which is not a lie)

Person in my neighborhood who may see me too many times in the middle of the day:  "I'm on sabbatical"

Acquaintance that I have seen in more than 2 to 5 years:  "I'm on sabbatical"

Distant family member who heard rumors:  depends on the rumor, but either I come clean and say I F.I.R.E.'ed or just say, I'm burned out and needed some time off.  They know how hard I worked all my life and I usually get empathy.

Friends but not in my immediate close circle:  Those are the hardest, as I don't want them in my business, but I also don't want to lie. Depending on my mood, I try not to bring it up, but if asked, I just say I quit my job and have enough savings to take a real break.

Funny addition, sort of off topic; but when I first told my aunt and uncle who raised me since I was a young teenager that I was retiring early, their response was "you know you can always move back home" XOXOXOXO

imolina

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #46 on: October 19, 2020, 04:27:11 AM »
I am 44 y.o, and I would like to retire in 2 years, we have enough FI money and my husband has a small business. However, I think I will struggle to answer the questions above.

I am from Colombia but live in Abu Dhabi, so if I tell people in Colombia I am retired they will think I am rich, some people may be jealous, and I will probably be bombarded for requests to loan money. I had already people asking me to borrow money for investments (not even close friends) as everyone thinks we are loaded as we travel a lot with the children. If I say I am at home with the children, they will start commenting that I want an easy life living off my “rich” husband, etc.
Maybe I will say that I work online, but then if they ask specifics, I don’t know what I would answer. or even better, I am on sabbatical, but then for how long?



Dicey

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #47 on: October 19, 2020, 06:37:23 AM »
I am 44 y.o, and I would like to retire in 2 years, we have enough FI money and my husband has a small business. However, I think I will struggle to answer the questions above.

I am from Colombia but live in Abu Dhabi, so if I tell people in Colombia I am retired they will think I am rich, some people may be jealous, and I will probably be bombarded for requests to loan money. I had already people asking me to borrow money for investments (not even close friends) as everyone thinks we are loaded as we travel a lot with the children. If I say I am at home with the children, they will start commenting that I want an easy life living off my “rich” husband, etc.
Maybe I will say that I work online, but then if they ask specifics, I don’t know what I would answer. or even better, I am on sabbatical, but then for how long?
It might be good that you have two years to master the fine art of Not Giving A Fuck what other people think.

Life in Balance

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #48 on: October 19, 2020, 06:50:54 AM »
I am 44 y.o, and I would like to retire in 2 years, we have enough FI money and my husband has a small business. However, I think I will struggle to answer the questions above.

I am from Colombia but live in Abu Dhabi, so if I tell people in Colombia I am retired they will think I am rich, some people may be jealous, and I will probably be bombarded for requests to loan money. I had already people asking me to borrow money for investments (not even close friends) as everyone thinks we are loaded as we travel a lot with the children. If I say I am at home with the children, they will start commenting that I want an easy life living off my “rich” husband, etc.
Maybe I will say that I work online, but then if they ask specifics, I don’t know what I would answer. or even better, I am on sabbatical, but then for how long?
It might be good that you have two years to master the fine art of Not Giving A Fuck what other people think.

I don't know if that is equally possible across all cultures.  Imolina, you may have to decide which is the worst of two evils--the requests for money or the idea of living off your rich husband.  I do think stating you work online or part-time so you have more time with the kids might be a good option since you live quite a distance from your friends/relatives in Colombia. 

Much Fishing to Do

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Re: What do you tell people you do? Do people believe you are retired?
« Reply #49 on: October 19, 2020, 10:53:23 AM »
IMO, based on this list, you seem to care way too much about what other people think.

Yeah, that's probably true. I think I have a chip on my shoulder because sometimes people make rude comments about how lucky I am that I married a future doctor. My husband is in his last year of medical school currently, but we will be nearing 40 by the time he breaks six figures (what with residency and fellowships and all) - if he even wants to ever practice as a doctor.

The truth is that I have made the majority of the income, saved the majority of our money, and have been responsible for managing our investments (mostly real estate), which is what makes FIRE'ing possible for us.

I probably should stop acting like the entire sex-equality movement rests on my shoulders, but I am very sensitive to these comments and worry that they will only get worse if I am not employed at a traditional job (even if I do tell everyone it is by choice).

Yeah, that sounds like a lot of work and worry about what others think and is EVERYWHERE so you can't avoid it.  E.g. your husband might FIRE someday and people think he could do that precisely because of his many undeserved privileges (like his gender, etc.).  There seem to be a ton of people out there who like to the play the 'my life is harder and worse than yours' game and maybe even dislike you for your 'unfair luck'... I say let 'em, maybe it'll make them feel better which is fine with me.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2020, 10:55:45 AM by Much Fishing to Do »