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Old 02-03-2013, 12:14 PM
 
Location: Loudon, TN
5,644 posts, read 4,757,271 times
Reputation: 18879

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I was fortunate to work for a great company for 25 years and, after working my way up to a great salary, I was eligible, and financially able, to retire at 51. During my last 2 years of working, I was incredibly stressed out and spending a lot of my nights lying awake worrying about work. I decided to retire to simplify and de-stress my life. My husband retired also at the same time.
I realize that this is a difficult financial time for many folks, including some of our friends and family. Having the luxury to give up such a good job was great. But I also took a huge reduction in income, so it wasn't done lightly, or without a lot of soul-searching.
Now I find it very awkward when people who don't know me, some people who are clearly older than me by 10-20 years, ask what I do and I say I'm retired. I can actually see their eyes look away for a second while they are taking that in. I'm 53 now, but have zero wrinkles and color my hair, so I look about 45. I'm not trying to brag about being retired, I'm just replying to their question honestly. Sometimes people will comment on why I retired so young, or even make comments in a snide voice like "well, that must be nice to be able to afford that!", or "I'll probably never be able to retire now".
Should I say something different when asked what I "do"? I've tried saying things like "I don't work anymore". With this economy and so many out of work, it seems like people resent that I gave up a good job when they can't find work. I don't want to give my life story to my dentist or people at social gatherings, so what can I say that's simple, without drawing a bunch or comments or questions?
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Old 02-03-2013, 12:32 PM
 
Location: North Fulton
1,039 posts, read 2,033,738 times
Reputation: 600
No, I would not worry about what other people think; sometimes I have done the same and get self-conscious. It sounds to me like some of them are jealous of your situation. I think it is awesome you could retire early.

You could be vague and say you work part-time or volunteer your time, but why lie? I would brush such comments off and move on to other people who are not so judgmental about your great situation.
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Old 02-03-2013, 12:36 PM
 
Location: Loudon, TN
5,644 posts, read 4,757,271 times
Reputation: 18879
I do want to be sensitive to the fact that others are struggling.
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Old 02-03-2013, 12:41 PM
 
Location: New Haven, CT
1,033 posts, read 3,399,873 times
Reputation: 901
Who cares what people think. You retired at a younger than average age, good for you. I think most people that get around the retiring stages in life, they kinda have to work or are still able bodied enough to keep working anyway.

Some people retire very wealthy and still have to do something even though they are set forever.

I used to be a deckhand on a ship, My captain was a retired container ship captain. He was retired and pretty wealthy and got a job working on a small cruise ship company that i worked for. He was grossly over qualified but he still had to do something. His last worry was money.


So I think people give you weird looks because they question themselves what they would do if they had the free time travel? work? start a business?
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Old 02-03-2013, 12:41 PM
 
Location: Western Colorado
11,053 posts, read 12,400,665 times
Reputation: 25951
It's not YOUR fault others are struggling. For some reason, people who worked hard and are successful are now looked down on. Congrats and good for you. Enjoy yourself.

I retired at 58 after 35 years. I have people tell me the same things you're hearing. I'm not going to go on some misguided guilt trip because I started young, stuck with the same career, worked hard, and invested wisely.
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Old 02-03-2013, 01:22 PM
 
Location: Queens THE REAL international city
2,386 posts, read 5,437,317 times
Reputation: 2826
No, you don't have to change your tone or say anything different. You're not throwing it in their face, they're ASKING YOU what it is you do and if they get jealous that you retired young, oh well. You've done what you've done in life and you're responsible, its not your fault. Its not like you've got anything for free. Don't make apologies for being retired, its not your fault you got your ish together.
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Old 02-03-2013, 01:28 PM
 
Location: Loudon, TN
5,644 posts, read 4,757,271 times
Reputation: 18879
Oh, I don't feel guilty, Jim. I worked hard and made the tough choices to achieve what I did. I just am wondering if there is some other thing I can say that doesn't invite so many comments and awkward questions. My favorite comment that I get all the time is "You are SOOOO lucky". I smile and say nothing because I try never to be smug, but I want to scream that "luck" had nothing to do with it. I have a lot of advice for people who want to do the same, but I don't think it polite offer up unsolicited advice.
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Old 02-03-2013, 02:14 PM
 
Location: Southern California
5,407 posts, read 8,103,583 times
Reputation: 5040
No, don't worry about what other people think, whether it's strangers, relatives, friends, etc. What's important is that you worked darn hard & deserve all the good things that come your way. And if a person, especially a stranger gives you a snide comment, reply back with an squally snide response. So if they say, "It must be nice to retire", have some kind of quick comeback. It could be as simple as saying, "It sure is!"

And who cares how young you look. If I were you, I'd continue dying my hair & looking as good as I can. Give them all really something to talke about!
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Old 02-03-2013, 02:19 PM
 
3,279 posts, read 6,579,268 times
Reputation: 8308
Good for you for being able to retire so young. You don't have to explain yourself to anybody. If people are bothered by your early retirement, that is their own damn problem.
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Old 02-03-2013, 02:24 PM
 
2,612 posts, read 4,753,415 times
Reputation: 3943
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheShadow View Post
I was fortunate to work for a great company for 25 years and, after working my way up to a great salary, I was eligible, and financially able, to retire at 51. During my last 2 years of working, I was incredibly stressed out and spending a lot of my nights lying awake worrying about work. I decided to retire to simplify and de-stress my life. My husband retired also at the same time.
I realize that this is a difficult financial time for many folks, including some of our friends and family. Having the luxury to give up such a good job was great. But I also took a huge reduction in income, so it wasn't done lightly, or without a lot of soul-searching.
Now I find it very awkward when people who don't know me, some people who are clearly older than me by 10-20 years, ask what I do and I say I'm retired. I can actually see their eyes look away for a second while they are taking that in. I'm 53 now, but have zero wrinkles and color my hair, so I look about 45. I'm not trying to brag about being retired, I'm just replying to their question honestly. Sometimes people will comment on why I retired so young, or even make comments in a snide voice like "well, that must be nice to be able to afford that!", or "I'll probably never be able to retire now".
Should I say something different when asked what I "do"? I've tried saying things like "I don't work anymore". With this economy and so many out of work, it seems like people resent that I gave up a good job when they can't find work. I don't want to give my life story to my dentist or people at social gatherings, so what can I say that's simple, without drawing a bunch or comments or questions?
People are trying to get to know you a little by asking about your job, but saying "retired" just confuses them instead. It is strange to be "retired" at 51. It's hard to even understand how that can work - usually retirement means you started taking some kind of pension or something, and that usually doesn't happen until 65. If you got some kind of unusually early retirement deal, then I'd actually say that. Like, "well, I worked for X for 25 years and then took early retirement. These days I'm really involved in...." That gives a succinct answer and then gets the topic away from your early retirement an onto something more pleasant that you are actually interested in.
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