Chatting with Friends – Odd Comments & Snappy Remarks

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When I talk to friends, family and neighbors about my (mostly) secret plan to escape MegaCorp next April and live a life of early retirement, I’m starting to notice that the reactions people have result in one of about a dozen predictable comments.

Most people (90%) are nice and say “good for you, that’s amazing”.  But other times – a small percent of the time – the reaction is a bit odd. That is, a bit skeptical. A bit envious. A bit defeatist.  With these folks, I generally look to change the topic. I might have a snappy remark in my head, but most of the time I keep those to my “inside voice”. It’s better that way, because this is what I’m really thinking:

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For the most part, these aren’t people who have faced real hardship in their lives.  All seem to have had their opportunity to enjoy a terrific slice of the American Dream (but didn’t necessarily live below their means & save for the future).

Someone made this observation to me recently … When someone hears your plan, they immediately think of their own situation. Your news is a bit of an immediate benchmark that puts a mirror on their plans and what is working or not working in their lives. What comes out of their mouth next simply reflects their own circumstances: how long they need to work, any worry about debts, possible struggles at work, lack of money know-how, or unwise past spending or investments.  The younger you are, or closer in socioeconomic level determines how harsh the light is.  It becomes harsher the older we get if we haven’t prepared for our future.

Again – most people are very nice & quite interested to learn more about early retirement and what you are planning to do next.  It’s the odd comments that throw you for a loop though.

What reactions have you gotten to your plans to reach FIRE (financial independence & retiring early)?

Image Credit: Pixabay; Quotes from MrFireStation.com

18 thoughts on “Chatting with Friends – Odd Comments & Snappy Remarks

  1. I love the comments – we have told very few people too. It was funny, we first mentioned it to my parents maybe 2 years ago – and they thought they were crazy. Now, after seeing our ‘plan’ they are super excited. But, we have learned that it is difficult for some peers and co-workers to understand, I think because it does make them look at their life and be like “where did all our money go?” That is why we started just talking about it as a “lifestyle change”. People can seem to better understand our desire to live a simpler life where family and not work is the focus.

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  2. I’ve sort of briefly mentioned the possibility to a few people and they always just discard it. “You’ll need more than that to retire.” or “Ha ha. Retiring in seven years WOULD be awesome, wouldn’t it?” like it’s a joke. Can’t wait to see the reactions when you DO IT!

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  3. The biggest response I get goes something like this…I could never do that. I’ll be working until I die. I might also be working until I die, but I’m also doing everything possible NOW to ensure my work after financial independence will be a choice, not a chore. I’ve come to the realization that we are truly a small subset of the population. In my experience, most people buy into the American Consumerism Dream of working, spending it all, and only being able to retire when you’re old and your body is failing. No thank you!

    Awesome post!
    Mrs. Money Monster

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    • Yes – “Affluenza” is alive and well in the USA. A lot of experts claimed that the Great Recession would temper this generation’s desire for indulgence & excess, but I think these desires run deep in our consciousness. (Insert Donald Trump comment here)

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  4. “When someone hears your plan, they immediately think of their own situation. Your news is a bit of an immediate benchmark that puts a mirror on their plans and what is working or not working in their lives. What comes out of their mouth next simply reflects their own circumstances”.

    I agree wholeheartedly with this, and I often find the most typical examples come out of the mouths of people that are in their late 40s or early 50s with a disappointing amount of wealth to their names. I want to say that they’re already way older now than I will be when I retire, but I obviously I only do that with my inside voice. If I said it out loud I’m sure it would provoke a pretty harsh response!

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  5. Most of the comments I receive are similar. I think the most often heard is: I’ll probably have to work until I die. Wow – that truly sucks for you. I am afraid of one of us dying early because we worked too long and the stress took its toll. Ridiculous.

    I am encouraged with how many people are in this blogging community with similar goals. It’s a “safe haven” to say exactly what we’re thinking…. our fears, our excitement, our anxieties, our realities. It’s awesome to see you all.

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