Author Topic: Once reach FIRE status how do you describe yourself in social settings  (Read 6531 times)

ksuhawkeye

  • Apprentice
  • *
  • Posts: 6
  • Karma: +5/-0
This is broader question but similar to Sam's topic about why guys say they are retired early vs. stay at home with kids.  I often have wondered what I will tell people in social setting when they ask me what I do or who I work for once I have reached FIRE status.  I can see how you answer this question being a start of long probing conversation or even slightly awkward especially for someone who reached FIRE in 30/40s against social norms.  Do those of you who are there have go to lines likely simply "I'm retired" or "I'm investor" or something fancier and more creative?  How about if you want to answer the question without causing a million follow up questions? 

lepong02

  • Apprentice
  • *
  • Posts: 5
  • Karma: +5/-0
Re: Once reach FIRE status how do you describe yourself in social settings
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2018, 07:54:31 AM »
Glad you brought this up. I've been experimenting with different responses but I think it'll eventually depend on whether I'm interested in taking the conversation further. Sometimes people may just be polite and have no intention to have a conversation.

Scenario:
1. I want to be left alone - "I'm taking a break from work and thinking what to do next."
2. I want to brag and feel important - "I'm semi-retired / I'm retired / I sacked my boss"
3. I am interested in getting to know the person or they are friends who I know care about me - "I'm running a social enterprise project. But it's a small start-up. How about you? What have you been up to?"

Essentially #1 and #3 my intention is to focus on the other party cos it's really not about me. Then again if you want to entertain yourself then experiment with different lines and just go with the flow. Hey, you've reached FIRE status. Might as well have fun. ;)

Sam

  • Shogun, Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 600
  • Karma: +97/-4
  • Always curious
Re: Once reach FIRE status how do you describe yourself in social settings
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2018, 08:18:12 AM »
I tell everybody who asks that I'm a stay at home dad now. I'm very proud of being one, and if people engage me with more, I share the reasons why my wife and I gave up our careers to take care of him for the first 5 years before kindergarten.

Nobody has told me I'm crazy. It's either a positive reaction or a longing for them to do the same.
Regards,

Sam

ksuhawkeye

  • Apprentice
  • *
  • Posts: 6
  • Karma: +5/-0
Re: Once reach FIRE status how do you describe yourself in social settings
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2018, 01:13:29 PM »
Thanks guys appreciate your responses.  I figured some might have different answers depending on mood and/or willingness to engage in further conversation.   Sam - I hope I get to FIRE while my kids are still young enough to be able to be able to claim being a stay at home dad.

Money Ronin

  • Aonisaibushi (Amateur Samurai)
  • **
  • Posts: 69
  • Karma: +22/-0
Re: Once reach FIRE status how do you describe yourself in social settings
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2018, 07:50:48 PM »
This is a great question.  My wife maintains her traditional corporate job which helps with our "cover," even though it is not financially necessary.  I manage our investments including real estate (via a property manager) and take the very occasional consulting gig.  We try to maintain the same lifestyle as we did before we became financially independent.  Our additional time goes to the kids--we have very little "free time".  Until I can retire from my kids (maybe never), I'm not retired.  But there are other reasons I don't tell ANYONE that I'm retired or financially independent:

1. My young kids (I don't want them to feel entitled or misunderstand the importance of hard work)
2. Parents (I don't want them to worry that I've made a mistake by giving up a normal job)
3. Siblings (I don't want them to be jealous)
4. Friends (I want them to think I'm the same person and continue to hang out)
5. Alumni Associations (I don't want them asking for more money or time than I already contribute)
6. Accountant (He sees my income decrease compared to my employed years but he doesn't comprehend all the increases in my net worth)
7. Wife (To her out net worth are numbers on a spreadsheet--they're not real to her; I make sure I contribute my fair share around the house and then some while she holds down the regular job)
8. Mortgage banker (He's a friend and the only other person that knows my finances as well as me.  He's somewhat of a mentor so I don't want him to think I'm a slacker)
9. Other people (there on a need to basis and they usually don't need to know)

1-8 have some inclination of what's going because I do tend to be "available" more frequently than normal people, but other than that I don't display my wealth.  For everyone else, instead of "retired," I think the following "covers" are far less ambiguous and more interesting:

1. Trophy husband/Gold digger (when I want to let the ladies know I'm taken)
2. Stay at home Dad (when I want to be the devoted father and family man)
3. In between jobs (when I don't want to be ripped off by a repair person)
4. Real estate investor (when I'm looking for real estate deals)
5. Property manager (when I come in contact with tenants)
6. IT worker (when I want people to fear the impending boredom that further questions will entail)
8. Independent consultant (when I want people to ask more about what I do)
9. CEO and Founder of executive consulting agency (when I'm trying to land a consulting gig)
10. Financial guru (no one's buying this one--maybe I need a Ferrari or a personal finance blog)

Sam

  • Shogun, Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 600
  • Karma: +97/-4
  • Always curious
Re: Once reach FIRE status how do you describe yourself in social settings
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2018, 07:38:09 AM »
Great points Money Ronin! Thanks for sharing.

The kids point is huge. I want to show by doing.

From the FS principles:

4) Know that you only deserve what you have earned. There is no better feeling than working hard for your success. Pity the people who have everything given to them. Let go of your need to compare. You will never fully know how hard they tried or didn’t try to achieve their results. Eradicate entitlement.
Regards,

Sam

Kendall

  • Apprentice
  • *
  • Posts: 30
  • Karma: +6/-0
Re: Once reach FIRE status how do you describe yourself in social settings
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2018, 07:53:21 AM »
When I reached FIRE status I originally described myself as retired. That did not sit well with some people. Various responses were "You're too young to be retired", "Wow, you must be rich!", "So you can help me do (free labor)". Also maybe I was taking advantage of my partner's generosity, since I'm a guy and supposed to be a breadwinner?

I dropped the retired label like a hot potato. Besides, it is not very accurate. Now I am "self-employed". No, I don't pay FICA tax and my income isn't "earned" but that is my business.

ksuhawkeye

  • Apprentice
  • *
  • Posts: 6
  • Karma: +5/-0
Re: Once reach FIRE status how do you describe yourself in social settings
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2018, 07:58:07 AM »
When I reached FIRE status I originally described myself as retired. That did not sit well with some people. Various responses were "You're too young to be retired", "Wow, you must be rich!", "So you can help me do (free labor)". Also maybe I was taking advantage of my partner's generosity, since I'm a guy and supposed to be a breadwinner?

I dropped the retired label like a hot potato. Besides, it is not very accurate. Now I am "self-employed". No, I don't pay FICA tax and my income isn't "earned" but that is my business.


Kendall, I like "self employed".  It is simple, generic, true, and in most circumstances will be an acceptable answer by the other party.

jm0365

  • Apprentice
  • *
  • Posts: 2
  • Karma: +1/-0
Re: Once reach FIRE status how do you describe yourself in social settings
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2018, 08:59:18 AM »
When I reached FIRE status I originally described myself as retired. That did not sit well with some people. Various responses were "You're too young to be retired", "Wow, you must be rich!", "So you can help me do (free labor)". Also maybe I was taking advantage of my partner's generosity, since I'm a guy and supposed to be a breadwinner?

I dropped the retired label like a hot potato. Besides, it is not very accurate. Now I am "self-employed". No, I don't pay FICA tax and my income isn't "earned" but that is my business.


Kendall, I like "self employed".  It is simple, generic, true, and in most circumstances will be an acceptable answer by the other party.

The problem I get with "self employed" is that people ask a lot of follow up questions about your "business." I go for Real Estate Investor. People generally don't ask too many follow up questions.