A Ruckus

This is a guest post by Dave, who is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any. Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.

I follow a blog that a guy writes as he travels all over the US in his camper van. I’m moderately jealous of the freedom he has, as a freelance musician touring various small towns and boondocking in some really nice settings, whether it’s the Sierra Mountains, the Pacific Ocean, and a myriad of small towns all over the place.  He is currently living in a 90 square foot space, which includes a shower, a 3-burner stove, a full size bed, and a fridge with a freezer.  In the past couple of weeks, he raised quite a ruckus on his blog by announcing that he was going to be getting rid of his “massive” van and downsize to a much smaller Volkswagon van, which cuts his square footage by a third, loses his shower and reduces storage area available.

Where his blog normally gets about 15 to 25 comments per day, the day he talked about changing his rig around, there were 80+ people who chimed in yeah or neigh over his decision.  The general consensus was that the idea was a little nutty, but people wished him the best and are interested to see how it goes.

I found it amusing that the response the van guy got was very similar to the reaction I received a few years ago when I announced my financial intentions.  Whether friends or family, we mainly just got an eyeroll as a response.  When I started writing for this blog a few years ago, I gave the link to pretty much everyone I knew – I think that maybe 2 read on a regular basis (maybe they’re like my wife, and were sick of listening to my arguments on random topics and awkwardly “funny” wisecracks).

As we move closer to our financial goals (at this point paying off our mortgage), we get more excited about the possibility of financial independence.  The closer we get though, the less we tend to share our financial achievements with our families, as it seems to be getting more plausible that our plan may actually allow us to achieve early financial independence – we either get a “that seems pretty risky” from one of our families or a “must be nice to be that rich” from the other side – hence the reason we leave this part of our life silent…..plus nobody likes a braggart.

Personally, I like to challenge the “normal” and appreciate guys like the van-blogger who is pushing the envelope.  When I initially read Jacob’s Early Retirement Extreme it was more of an “ah ha” moment than anything, and lead me to find blogs like this one and finally to set out my own plan to attain financial independence.

So, I continue to raise my own private ruckus, in virtual anonymity.

If you are on a path to early retirement, do you tell your family and friends?  What kind of response do you get?


8 thoughts on “A Ruckus”

  1. keep it quiet and blog to your hearts content- I retired at 46 and it seems like family and friends are either jealous or just dont understand being free to do as you like- I often get suggestions of jobs or things I should do to get employed! Just do what makes the most sense to you and enjoy every minute of it.

  2. About 5 years ago I made the mistake of letting some family and friends know of my intention of stopping work in my early 40’s – I will never forget the chorus of eyerolls and headshakes and snickering and comments suggesting quite clearly that “it cannot be done”. To be fair, I didn’t mention that we had achieved a 70% savings rate and that we were saving between 4k – 5k every month – part of me wanted to share this, to prove I could pull this off. But the fact is, I will never share the details of our personal finances with anyone (anonymous internet excluded of course). These days, with our incomes a little higher and our debt gone, our savings rate is approaching 80%. Things are happening fast for us.

    Now here I am, 5 years later, and just having turned 40 and I am quite seriously considering making 2013 the last year that I work… I do wonder what the reactions will be this time. 😉

  3. As my ER plan was shaping up in 2007-08, I told only a few people about it. They included my ladyfriend, my best (male) friend, my dad, and my most trusted coworker. Nobody else, until I actually ERed.

  4. Telling family & friends is not a good idea. There is undercurrent jealousy, sarcasm and then there are expectations that you should pay for their holidays, their meals, etc…. Then they ask how to do it and their reaction is “ew….. I wouldn’t do that…..”. Lie low under the radar is best policy. Why subject myself to potential negative comments? My parents ER’d at 36 &46. It’s been 34 years for them and I only hear negative comments about them through the grapevines and see brown nosing in front of them. So, distasteful!

  5. I read that blog too and made a comment about the van. Also read ERE and I’m sure you read Mr Money Mustache too.

    Enjoyed this post. I always find it interesting how we have a knee-jerk reaction to something unfamiliar and immediately dismiss it. Wouldn’t it at the very least take a few minutes to question the person and find out how it was done?

    Case in point: I’m vegan and all vital signs that are important–A1C, BUN, weight, blood pressure, cholesterol–would put me in the top 95% in overall health. But I’m immediately dismissed.

  6. We have told a few, but not in such specific terms. Internet and blog followers excluded! I find as we achieve more and more success, we say less and less. It seems people get jealous, which makes no sense but I guess that’s life!

  7. I have the hardest time with this. I have so much thought, planning, and sacrifice into being able to retire before turning 40 (I’m 32 now) and I want to be able to share it with friends and family, but they either can’t relate or feel I am attacking their way of life just by choosing to be different. I want freedom! I’m not trying to undermine anybody.

    I really like your blog. Thanks for the great content. Cheers!

  8. I’ve found it best to explain to people I’m looking to have the OPTION to retire at 50 (living in Toronto with a kid and a house is hard to retire at 40). They seem to get that. Plus it gives me an out if I change my mind! 🙂

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