I’ve been saying it for about a year to a few friends – “I’m going to retire in 5 years.” They usually give a chuckle and then ask what I’m going to do with all that time on my hands? I usually respond jokingly at this point with, “Probably travel the world.”
Does Anyone Take Me Seriously?
Actually, I have one friend that has taken my words to heart along my journey. The rest, not so much – and honestly, that’s okay. As a result, I stopped bringing it up to my other friends. The external flame fizzled a bit, while the flame inside kept growing. Now I throw out the occasional feeler if someone seems interested in escaping the rat race.
I recognize that talking about money can be a touchy subject – especially “early retirement”. A lot of people look at you with a glazed look. Its a confusion as if they don’t understand the words you’re speaking. Either that, or they think you’re just nuts. There really is a stigma and financial independence rejection.
Seriously though, I listen to several FI podcasts and they all discuss the same issues. Financial independence doesn’t resonate well with the general population and as a result people reject it. Also, people in general don’t understand the ideas behind achieving financial independence or retiring early. They think you need to be rich in order to get there or that it’s so far ahead they don’t care to even talk about it.
Do People Not Care To Achieve Financial Independence?
It seems like there are varying factors. I think the biggest issue is that people are generally conditioned to think that you should work your entire life until you’re 65. I used to think that way too. After all, I’m now 35 and feel lucky that I’ve adapted these philosophies in my late 20’s. Prior to that, it was pure ignorance. Even if someone had told me to put money away it probably came with deaf ears.
I think most people I know just don’t get it or don’t want to hear it because they can’t think past this year let alone this week. As a result, they don’t even give me a reasonable chance to explain it. Again, I don’t want to be super pushy either. After all, it’s their life. Who am I to tell them what to do?
It’s an urge to share knowledge.
When you know that most of your friends could be financially free in 10-15 years why wouldn’t you want to tell them? Even if they decided it wasn’t truly for them, I’m sure they’d be in a much better position financially moving forward if they just followed the general guidelines toward financial freedom.
It’s especially great that there’s an online community of individuals all FIRE‘d up and ready to go, but it would be nice to have a few more friends on board. Everyone paves their own life path though and I have to respect that. After all, my friends matter to me.
My message hasn’t gone completely unheard. One brother has become more interested in putting money away. That’s a huge accomplishment for him. I’m really glad that I’ve been able to get through to a family member and not just to say I got through to a stranger.
The other brother has a very opposite opinion. I was quickly shot down almost as soon as I had revealed my master plan. I had to re-adjust my explanation to fit something that made more sense. It’s never been brought up again.
Focusing my attention on the ones who listen
My girlfriend is on board after a bit of reluctance and has made huge leaps over the last few years. She might not care as much as I do, but she’s paved her path too. Since she’s on her way to become a doctor, the Physician on FIRE is a perfect blog for her to follow. It helps that there’s a community of people doing it that are in her field. It really sets the tone for the people that are willing to listen. As a result, it becomes tangible.
“Look at all of those people who achieved financial independence!”
I understand not everyone will share my enthusiasm and that’s okay. It’s really that I want a tiny party with a few of my closest friends. Personally, I don’t know any early retirees yet, but I’m glad to lead the pack on this one within my social circles.
Trying to lead by example
The reality is, I’m not joking and it’s only a handful of years away – if that. With the latest bull market and recently leaving my job I may in fact be financially independent. It all depends on how markets perform in the future so only time will tell.
I’ve been working on financial freedom for quite some time without really realizing what I was planning for. If I had to give it a word before I knew about financial independence, it would be ‘options’.
- First – I graduated college in debt and had accumulated credit card debt. (Close to $30k in total debt) This number was drastically reduced by the fact that I went to community college for my first 2 years and didn’t buy my books through the school programs. I saved thousands in books by buying on Ebay instead.
- Second – Found a job to pay off said debt. Took me 6 months to find a job out of college. I practically lived in the middle of nowhere for 18 months to get the experience I needed. I’ve never been a fan of debt. (Even with gambling tendencies)
- Third – Took me four years to pay off college and my other debts.
- Fourth – Began to save, but at the same time re-assess my work situation.
- Five – Gave up working for a company and went independent. (Doubled my salary)
- Six – Have been saving, investing and learning. (Current Status)
- Seven – My heaven and future goal, financial independence!
What will I tell people when I’m “Retired”?
To be determined. I think it’s going to take some gradual explanations. Maybe at that point I’ll be more into real estate and I can say I’m a Property Manager or something like that. Technically, I’m already a landlord so it’s not too far off.
“The hell with it, I do what I want!“
If you’re trying to achieve financial independence or retire early, what do you tell people?