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.
Then I usually respond jokingly at this point with, “Probably travel the world.”
Does Anyone Take Me Seriously?
I do have one friend that has taken me serious along my journey. The rest, not so much. It helped that he had been reading Mr. Money Mustache’s blog for a bit. I stopped bringing it up after a while to my other friends. My external flame fizzled a bit, while the flame inside me kept growing. Sometimes, I’ll still throw out feelers.
I see now that it’s a touchy subject. A lot of people look at you with a glazed look – a confusion as if they don’t understand what you’re saying to them. Either that, or they think you’re just nuts! There really is a social rejection of financial independence.
Seriously though, I listen to all of these FI podcasts lately and they all discuss the same issues. It doesn’t resonate well with the general population. People 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 they really not care?
It seems like varying factors. I think the biggest issue is that people are generally conditioned to think that you work your entire life until you’re 65. I used to think that way too. After all, I’m 32 and feel lucky that I’ve adapted these philosophies early on. Prior to that, it was pure ignorance. Nobody told me any better and I never tried to crunch the numbers myself. Had someone tried to talk about it, I like to think I would have listened.
I do think that once I call it quits in the corporate world some will become more interested. I wish they would be interested now though.
I think most of the people I know just don’t get it. The problem is, they don’t even give me a reasonable chance to explain it. 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 FI.
It’s great that there’s an online community all FIREd up and ready to go, but it would sure 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.
Focusing my attention on the ones who listen
The message hasn’t gone completely unheard. My one brother is becoming more interested in putting money away and that’s a huge leaps and bounds for him. I’m really glad that I’ve been able to get through to him and not just to say I got through to someone. My other brother not so much. 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.
My girlfriend is on board after a bit of reluctance. She might not care as much as I do, but she’s started to pave her path too. Since she’s in her residency 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. I think that really sets the tone for the people that are willing to listen. 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. I just want a tiny party with a few of my closest friends. I don’t personally 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. I’m just cleverly planning my breakout from my financial prison. I’ve been working on it for quite some time without really realizing what I was planning for. If I had to give it a word at the time, 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 or something and I can say I’m a Property Manager or something like that.
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?