Funniest FIRE Reactions

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On a recent sunny day, I was picking up a friend at my former MegaCorp headquarters building to go out for lunch.  I was pulled up in front of the visitor entrance in my sporty, summer car with the top down.

I must have looked pretty relaxed sitting in the convertible when a woman – who looked like she worked there – walked over and joked, “Just curious – could I have your job description, because I want YOUR job?!”

I simply smiled and said I used to work at MegaCorp but now I’m a full-time goof-off.  She looked at me with surprise and headed into the building with a smirk and a thumbs-up. It was probably the funniest reaction I’ve ever had to my early retirement lifestyle in the last two-and-a-half years.

Afterward, I was interested in the funniest reactions that other people had gotten in response to their FIRE lifestyle, so I queried the crowd in the forums on early-retirement.org and Reddit.  Here are some of the funnier reactions people have gotten:

“But you are too young to retire! What will you do when you get old?”

“I’d rather have fun with my money than save it for retirement”

“Well, you must be getting help from your family then.”

“That’s nice, but what will you do all day?”

“It’s funny how everyone wants to spend a million, but no one wants to save a million.”

“Be careful because Wall Street fees will eat up all of your investments”

“I can’t retire because I live paycheck-to-paycheck and still like to splurge sometimes.”

“You’re doing well in life, how can I be you? … because I’m tired of being me!”

“Do you have a reverse mortgage? Should I get one of those?”

“Retired? Who would have ever hired YOU in the first place?” 🙂

“If you aren’t 65, how can you possibly retire before Social Security allows it?”

“Are you single?”

These are a few of the most interesting comments people shared. There is a negative pathos in some and others make you concerned about people’s financial literacy.

What’s the funniest reaction that you have ever had about retirement?

Image Credit: Pixabay

19 thoughts on “Funniest FIRE Reactions

  1. Super! I’m looking forward to more comments. I pretty much had the same you already listed, except one: “How bored are you?”, to which smirked and replied, that I hadn’t had a single boring day in my 2 years of financial freedom.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I have had several connections in a close to FI position asked me that in fact and thought long and hard about this and simply came to the conclusion that being FI is not for everybody. One needs to have:

        1) dreams
        2) hobbies
        3) passion
        4) and a passive income stream

        Today I believe, that only if the four above factors are fulfilled one is able to pull FI/RE off successfully without going back to work.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I get your point, but I would say we get what we settle for in life and some people settle for too little. With all due respect, if one isn’t figuring out what their dreams, hobbies, and passions are, they are in effect saying that their employer values their time more highly than they do themselves. That would be sad. I completely get that some people find their work very satisfying – I had a terrifically enjoyable career – but most people are not in that position. Even in the best of circumstances, I think if you let your career dominate your life-view, you are missing a lot. Make sense?

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  2. Comment from a wife to her husband (both retired in their 40s from Wall Street jobs): “He retired even earlier than us!”

    Comment from the husband of an old family friend to his wife after learning I already retired: “Wow, do you know what that means? He’s worth at least 10 million!” I found the comment odd because I knew most people at that holiday gathering were worth well over 10 million. This is the SF Bay Area, so decamillionaires are a dime a dozen.

    Comment from my kid’s classmate’s grandfather: “Time to get back to work!” when I told him I live in a simple house (rather than a mega-mansion).

    People I’ve met in other countries mostly think it’s very normal to retire. People from my area mostly think it’s silly that I retired, because they love their jobs and also I left a LOT on the table.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Funny comments! One similar one I heard was when the wife of my old boss punched him on the arm and asked, “ When do WE get to retire?!”

      Liked by 1 person

    • Being in the Bay Area has to be fascinating with all of the wealth that has been made there. I have a few acquaintances through board work who hit it big in Silicon Valley. One remains as Chairman of his very well-known company and both keep very busy with start-ups and giving their time & money to education and philanthropy.

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      • Yes, they mostly keep going even if they hit it big. I met the CEO of an anti-drone company during a flight home a few months ago. He had the same comment about how Silicon Valley execs rarely stop working, and he was receiving advice and seed money from several ex-CEOs including the ex-CEO of Cisco. He said the environment is very different from his home country Germany, where colleagues retire never to be heard from again. His comment to me when I told him I retired, “Come on, why would you do that?” At the same time he jokingly said his (gorgeous) wife would have left him if he didn’t take time out for the vacation. We were returning from Mexico.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The “funniest” comments I’ve seen are not “ha-ha” funny. They are looks of incomprehension or even fear in the eyes of former colleagues. In our society, personal identity is often defined by work. So a thought of early retirement causes feelings of anomie. A few ask: “What’s it like?” I answer: “Saturday.” Even fewer ask: “What’s that like?” I answer: “Depends on how you feel about Saturdays.” Doing (or not doing) what you decide, unrelated to “making a living”, is a small step for man, but a giant leap for mankind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it’s very much like Saturday. That’s a nice, simple analogy. Since almost all of my friends are still working, I often say I feel like I am skipping school – permanently!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: The Sunday Best (10/7/2018) - Physician on FIRE

  5. About your ‘preachy’ comment.. Many people follow the prescribed plan of : you go to school, you go to college, you get a job, you get married / a house, you have kids ( maybe you get a boat or a vacation house/ rv), you keep working until retirement age, etc.
    The idea of someone not wanting the ‘American dream’, makes people uncomfortable. GenX & ‘Millenials’, who don’t want to have kids ( or not just yet), who aren’t in a rush to buy a house (because jobs don’t last a career, and maybe you need to move to a different state and it’s way easier to break a lease than sell a house). Who aren’t in a rush to get married even if remaining monogamous (because they watched their friends paremts, and their parents divorce), and good heavens don’t want to work until traditional retirement age, are confusing!
    It’s like the Matrix…we on the FIRE path have opened our minds to other ideas and possibilities. And that scares some people.

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    • Agree – The American Dream’ can mean different things for different people, but people on a path to FIRE n Arch to a different drum and that results n a lot of these odd reactions!

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  6. “Are you single?” I love that one. I hope they are asking because you are so smart, rich and wise that they want to date you or pair you up with someone. Somehow I think they are implying only single people could be FI?
    Awesome list.

    Liked by 1 person

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