Early retirement for someone under 50 can be a bit of tricky thing because you have to decide how the answer the question: what do you do for a living (or one of variations of that question)? Because the question comes up in all sorts of casual meetings with people and can cause some issues for the retiree. Because are you suppose to answer with ‘I’m retired’ or ‘I’m working on hobby X’?
It comes down to how do you tell someone that you are retired when you still look decades away from the standard picture people have in their heads of what you should look like? And then you often end up having to explain the idea of FIRE and saving lots of money up early in life and then living of your investment income rather than a job income. Then face the confused or blank stare of someone who just doesn’t get it.
Initially I thought I would tend to hide the fact I was retired before 40 from complete strangers because I didn’t want to have an argument with a complete stranger on: you are too young to be retired or you must have won the lottery or what ever other misconception people would have about it. I didn’t save my money for ten years to meaningless debates with people I will likely never see again.
But then once faced with the question a few times I started just telling the truth: I retired last fall from engineering to focus on writing. Which then typically leads into a conversation on what I write and what projects am I working on. (By the way, I just passed the 200 page mark on the new retirement book and I hope to finish the first draft soon.)
Despite writing this blog it isn’t like I really advertise what I’ve done. I still run into to people that don’t know I’ve made the change despite having left work about 18 months ago. I did it and I’m moving on with my life. Yet it sort of feels good to just tell people I meet that I am retired and not having to come up with some vague answer or white lie to cover my tracks so to speak.
Oddly enough the reaction from most people to date has been more focused on the writing side of my life than the early retirement. It’s like they can’t understand the one that well so the focus on what they find more comfortable discussing. I will of course answer some questions on the early retirement side of the house but often there isn’t as many as I expected.
So what do you tell people about your retirement? Or what do you plan on telling people?