Dealing with casual insults from family

How to explain ERE, arranging family matters
enigmaT120
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Re: Dealing with casual insults from family

Post by enigmaT120 » Wed May 31, 2017 11:34 am

GandK wrote:
Tue May 30, 2017 8:31 pm
(b) if you're sitting around with so much money that you don't need to expend effort any longer in order to get it, your charitable giving has not been what it ought.
That never even occurred to me. Interesting idea. I hope I don't adopt it.

IlliniDave
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Re: Dealing with casual insults from family

Post by IlliniDave » Wed May 31, 2017 12:19 pm

Sclass wrote:
Sun May 28, 2017 9:42 pm

When I announced my retirement and explained my means to my closest friends and family it hit them like a left hook KO blow. People I thought were very close to me began to distance themselves. Of course they knew what I was doing all along, they just couldn't accept it gracefully. It has been lonely but I still prefer to be on my own after the shallowness of my friendships was revealed.
This seems very foreign to my expectations, so maybe I should beware of the possibility a little more. But then again, for the most part I truly don't care what most of the people I currently associate with day-to-day think. I actively disassociate my self from people who tend to be judgemental, so maybe I engineered a more receptive audience by accident.

I haven't been shy about sharing my intent to check out. I've even inspired a couple other people to give ER serious consideration. Maybe because I'll be 55 makes it generally more acceptable along with the aging parents several states away "excuse". Of all the people who I've mentioned it to, only a couple of female acquaintances have reacted negatively, and I think that was not so much about my age when bowing out but rather the part where I close up shop and head more than 1,000 miles to a place where there are no Joneses, (180 degrees opposite the direction to the nearest beach), and therein foiling ideas they'd been entertaining. It sounds a bit arrogant to say that, I know.

I've been a little more careful around my family, but they seem generally favorable too since intertwined with all of it is me "coming home" for at least part of the year. Of course I'll probably do a little sandbagging on the lifestyle front--because of their politics if they decide I'm a "rich b@stard" I'll be sentenced to listening to political snark for the rest of my life. Better to play up the sub-median "fixed income" angle ;) .

Salathor
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Re: Dealing with casual insults from family

Post by Salathor » Wed May 31, 2017 1:23 pm

Tyler9000 wrote:
Sun May 21, 2017 3:25 pm
Have you considered that perhaps you're projecting a Scrooge-like unhealthy relationship with money? I'm not saying you should spend more, but maybe you should be more cognizant of how you present your lifestyle to others. Stop talking about frugality and start talking about the positive things you do with your life.
Great quote. This is something that I need to keep in mind, as well. My wife and I both love to talk about frugality, and my brother is even more on-board with ERE than we are (he's on track to FIRE at 31ish, while we're looking at 34 or so), but I think my parents need a little easing in (although my dad retired at 45 without knowing anything about the concept of FIRE.

I need to switch gears away from talking about NOT SPENDING to talking about ACTIVITIES that don't require spending. This is difficult when so many people talk about spending as a positive option. I recently rode to the city dump with a friend and he pointed out three-four restaurants in town that I've never noticed, and he commented that he'd like to eat at all of them. I've lived here seven years and never thought about any of them once.

Maybe I need to start "being the change I want to see" and just pointing out free, fun things throughout the day.

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Sclass
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Re: Dealing with casual insults from family

Post by Sclass » Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:11 am

IlliniDave wrote:
Wed May 31, 2017 12:19 pm

I haven't been shy about sharing my intent to check out. I've even inspired a couple other people to give ER serious consideration. Maybe because I'll be 55 makes it generally more acceptable along with the aging parents several states away "excuse".
I help manage my mom's care. It is kind of like my new job now. This is a way to explain quitting my job. It works on some people. "He's leaving to look after an aging parent. Great guy that Sclass. " Right.

With siblings it is complex. The act of moving closer to my mom has made them upset. I'm no psychologist but I think it is a sibling rivalry thing. At the end of the day even though they don't want to, they cannot leave their jobs and lifestyles to look after my mom's affairs. Worse, acknowledging that I am further diminishes their perceived efficacy. Seriously, these people are hyper competitive from the womb. On top of that, they want to bow out of any responsibility for helping my mom.

So by saying, "cool Sclass, thanks for looking after mom" suggests they are not. That cannot be in their world. I think. I'm just guessing. I get the idea they avoid me because they are avoiding responsibility but also because it's a blow to their ego that they just cannot do what I've done...or been drafted to do.

I think one sibling simply wont acknowledge I have money or that I don't have money or that I actually take care of my mom. It's a coping mechanism...I think. Like if she doesn't face things they aren't happening. This is the sister who has been hyper competitive since our births...she's better than me in everything in her mind and has spent a lot of effort trying to establish that. Somehow she cannot really win this one, that is, I'm either the loser who doesn't work, or the guy who lost his (infererior to her) career to take care of mom. But not both. Because that would mean she's not doing something very well compared to me. It's really odd. I haven't really gotten my mind around it. Just thinking out loud here.

Good luck with things. I generally didn't react to what people thought either. But, I sure have noticed people distancing themselves. I've also noticed the bad mouthing behind my back. At the end of the day people are envious animals.

IlliniDave
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Re: Dealing with casual insults from family

Post by IlliniDave » Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:30 am

Sclass wrote:
Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:11 am

With siblings it is complex. The act of moving closer to my mom has made them upset. I'm no psychologist but I think it is a sibling rivalry thing. At the end of the day even though they don't want to, they cannot leave their jobs and lifestyles to look after my mom's affairs. Worse, acknowledging that I am further diminishes their perceived efficacy. Seriously, these people are hyper competitive from the womb. On top of that, they want to bow out of any responsibility for helping my mom.

...

Good luck with things. I generally didn't react to what people thought either. But, I sure have noticed people distancing themselves. I've also noticed the bad mouthing behind my back. At the end of the day people are envious animals.
Maybe you are more observant than I am, and things are going on around me that I don't pick up on. My family are not an overly competitive bunch, so in that I am lucky. I am also the oldest of the siblings so me being the "responsible one" fits their outlook. Either way, I live 600+ miles away from them right now so I don't think I bubble up far in their attention queue. In the end, I guess I won't know until I get there. Envy is something I wouldn't be surprised to encounter. Especially from one of my BILs. About all I can do is be respectful, and not show up looking like the dude in the card and throwing money around. :mrgreen: Being 400 miles away at the cabin a good chunk of the warm season (when family obligations allow) should help--outta sight, outta mind.

This is slightly off topic, but related. I was speaking with one of my aunts a couple weeks back (the one who sent me the card). She retired from a tenured position at Syracuse at 69 and moved back to the old home town two years ago. Her net worth is probably $2M, give or take, no spouse or kids. She drives a 12-year-old Toyota and wants to buy a new one, but says she's afraid to because she doesn't want people (i.e., my siblings, their spouses, and their kids) to think she has money because she thinks (not completely without reason) they will start looking to her to function as a bank for them. She is stressed over how it would look to tell them to buzz off while she's driving a shiny new car around. She didn't ER, obviously, but the moral of the story is that it can definitely be awkward and stressful to be the financial outlier in a family. I fall somewhere between her and my parents/siblings, so maybe I'll escape notice.

halfmoon
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Re: Dealing with casual insults from family

Post by halfmoon » Thu Jun 01, 2017 9:57 pm

I've been following this thread and trying to figure out why it hasn't been an issue for me in 37 years of frugality. I've always been the bossy, opinionated one of the family; that probably helps. Being an accountant doesn't hurt either; my family look to me for financial advice, which only reinforces the bossy/opinionated thing. Then there's DH's FU attitude about pretty much everything.

Regarding friends: most of our friends have also been clients or at least advice-seeking at various times, so they tend to worship at the altar. :lol: We do have one client-based friend who likes to make insulting "funny" comments that slide into off-base ethnic slurs. For example: he calls us 'Jews in a junkyard', which I find offensive (we're not Jewish, which is beside the point) but don't press because he doesn't get it...and also client.

Now that I think about it, my father used to make all sorts of longing comments about how I was supposed to be a lawyer or a Senator, but that had less to do with money than not 'fulfilling my potential'. Funny thing, though: about 20 years ago, he started bragging about the things DH and I had done and telling me that I was the only one of his children who was happy in life.

Bottom line: make yourself happy, communicate your happiness to your family and friends, and don't worry about the rest. No rancor, no need to prove everyone else wrong. Just live well.

Frugalitifree
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Re: Dealing with casual insults from family

Post by Frugalitifree » Fri Jun 16, 2017 1:09 am

bridgebetween wrote:
Tue May 30, 2017 1:39 pm
Fugalitfree,

Welcome fellow Irishman.
Thanks Bridgebetween. I have been on this journey just a short time. Naturally frugal, having stumbled across Jacob's book and the general approach recently I'm an instant convert. The saving and finding ways around over spending are coming along nicely - 80% this month on a relatively low wage. Would love to getting chatting to people living in our country about how they approach investing. Im a complete newbie in this regard and have no idea of the most tax efficient approach, lowest cost etc. Would you be up for pm'ing a little re same?

Apologies if I've taken the thread off on a tangent!

bridgebetween
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Re: Dealing with casual insults from family

Post by bridgebetween » Fri Jun 16, 2017 1:32 am

Yes, PM me here and I will reply.

BB.

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Viktor K
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Re: Dealing with casual insults from family

Post by Viktor K » Fri Jun 23, 2017 3:03 am

I'm quite defiant and happy to express and embrace my differences in opinion, lifestyle, etc. with friends and family, so long as it doesn't turn in to a mess of emotions. If they don't approve, I couldn't care less! If they seem super firm in their evaluations then maybe later I'll have a minor epiphany where I realize some of the logic in their views, but in the moment I'm more than happy to be the odd one out and go against the trend.

However, with strangers or people I don't know too well, even people on this forum, I'm far less expressive, timid, and worried about what they may think and how they may disapprove of what I do or say.

I don't know why this is. Anyone else like this?

I think this is why I like being in China. I can just loud-mouth freely on the metro because chances are nigh that anyone around has any idea what I'm saying :D

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Sclass
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Re: Dealing with casual insults from family

Post by Sclass » Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:46 am

I just finished up a vacation visiting my most critical aunt.

We hadn't seen each other in a couple of years so I thought I'd better have her out for dinner. This is the lady who cannot accept that I'm FI while at the same time burning with jealousy that I don't have to work like her children of similar ages. It is a wonky contradiction.

She basically raised me a few years as a kid along with her sons so we have kind of a mother son relationship. Except I'm not quite her real son. It's a complex relationship.

Anyhow she jabbed me over dinner by basically interviewing my cousin about his current career achievements and turning her head periodically to ask, "and what are you doing Sclass?" Not too bad. I just shrugged and said "I live. I do some leather craft for myself...um restore my junk car. Uhhh...I walk around in the Cleveland national forest. Um I ride my dirtbike."

She finally got frustrated and yelled, "What are you doing for money!" She quickly gathered herself and calmly said,"For work to support you two?" I didn't answer because I'd told her many times over the past five years I lived off investments. She still cannot accept it.

I felt like a kid in front of my mom. Like she's asking me where I got a gumball and I said I found it under the gumball machine and she still keeps asking where I got the penny to buy it. No matter how many times I tell her no money was involved she just keeps asking about the penny. Where did I get that penny? How come I get to chew gum?

Then I realized I just have to live. I have to move on. There's no changing her or my cousins.

The other thing I realized is my eighty year old aunt is senile and showing signs of dementia. She has reverted to a default program. She can't accept anything new. It was like listening to a very good condition broken record and not knowing it's a recording. That realization was sad. It was like my own mom with dementia who cannot understand my FI either. Mom sometimes mumbles to me, "Have you seen your brother Sclass lately? I worry about that boy. Did he ever find another job?"

So after all that I'd say just live. You don't want to trade places with these folks. Be happy you are you. The insults and jabs are a good problem.

You want to be different. This is part of being different.

mathewsmith12
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Re: Dealing with casual insults from family

Post by mathewsmith12 » Wed Jun 28, 2017 6:13 am

Viktor K wrote:
Fri Jun 23, 2017 3:03 am
I'm quite defiant and happy to express and embrace my differences in opinion, lifestyle, etc. with friends and family, so long as it doesn't turn in to a mess of emotions. If they don't approve, I couldn't care less! If they seem super firm in their evaluations then maybe later I'll have a minor epiphany where I realize some of the logic in their views, but in the moment I'm more than happy to be the odd one out and go against the trend.

However, with strangers or people I don't know too well, even people on this forum, I'm far less expressive, timid, and worried about what they may think and how they may disapprove of what I do or say.

I don't know why this is. Anyone else like this?

I think this is why I like being in China. I can just loud-mouth freely on the metro because chances are nigh that anyone around has any idea what I'm saying :D
I find I'm the complete opposite! I don't mind expressing this to a stranger, but the thought of expressing this to a family member fills me with dread :o :lol:

Did
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Re: Dealing with casual insults from family

Post by Did » Wed Jun 28, 2017 6:27 am

My parents came over to Ireland to visit last year. We were having a drink in front of the fireplace in our small, stone cottage. There was talk of my brother, who would think nothing of spending 5 thousand or more on a week's entertainment. For example, he recently rented out a boat and skipper for a week for AUD$10,000. Anyway, I said, and here I am in my cottage in rural Ireland drinking my homemade wine which cost 1 euro 20 cents.

Dad looked at me and said, well you've brought that on yourself.

He was right, of course. I did bring it on myself. His mistake was not seeing that my statement was one of pride, not self pity.

Farm_or
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Re: Dealing with casual insults from family

Post by Farm_or » Wed Jun 28, 2017 9:12 am

Great thread. I've learned a few things from the multitude of perspectives.

Fear of letting loved ones down. My family and peers fill two extremes and everything in between. There is the aspect of extremely high expectations of me. The group that has benefited from the vicarious pride in my achievements. Then there are the group that have benefited economically.

It has been my understanding that all their criticism of my "early retirement" is selfish on their part. One group fears of not having good recent events to brag on, the other group fears that they won't be able to borrow more money!

Society likes to work the work horses to death. And for stupid, consumerism programmed reasons. I suppose that I am a bit ​guilty of that myself? Expecting high output from those with a history of producing and letting the lower producers slide.

I had one friend describe my transition as "going native". Jacob's analogy of Plato's cave fits so well!

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GandK
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Re: Dealing with casual insults from family

Post by GandK » Wed Jun 28, 2017 10:05 am

Did wrote:
Wed Jun 28, 2017 6:27 am
Dad looked at me and said, well you've brought that on yourself.
:lol: That's priceless!

sl-owl-orris
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Re: Dealing with casual insults from family

Post by sl-owl-orris » Wed Jun 28, 2017 3:39 pm

Yeah, family expectations. You can never satisfy them.

A few years ago, when I was looking for a job just after graduating and still struggling with depression, I was also in the process of reevaluating my life values. At that point, having worked full-time and part-time in several places before, I started to suspect that I may not be cut for the traditional full-time job. My husband started to mention the idea of early retirement and I started toying with an idea of working part-time to cover the core expenses (housing, food, etc) while spending the rest of the time working on generating passive income to cover travel, retirement etc.

I made the mistake of saying in passing to my brother that if I could choose, I'd rather not work. He picked on it and started questioning me. He seemed really alarmed, so I quickly retracted, as I didn't want him to worry. I realised that saying controversial things like that without gradually preparing people first may not be the best idea and I thought that was the end of it. I was wrong. The next day I had a frantic call from my parents, who wanted to straighten my ways. They were adamant that I should find a full-time traditional job and not even mention that there may be other possibilities. I just nodded along and felt very lonely. Until that point, I used to share a lot with my family and I would have never thought that doing things differently (or even briefly mentioning an idea) could be fought off so aggressively.

Ever since then our relationship deteriorated, since I started to do things my way and they are nowhere near trying to understand my viewpoint. We send messages with birthday wishes and trivial stuff, but we stopped sharing any deeper thoughts. I don't even call them anymore because we seem like strangers and I don't need to hear how disappointed with me and my life choices they are. It was and still is painful, but I feel better when we have no direct contact.

Needless to say, for the past few months I've been getting jobseekers allowance (might as well get back some taxes I had paid), and now I'm about to start a new job and they have no idea. Maybe I'll tell them in a while, once I get settled there, maybe I won't.

Apart from my husband, no one knows about my ideas on life, plans on retirement etc. Some of the very few close friends have a vague idea, but it's more through observation of our lifestyle than sharing. I do get frustrated when people I care about have money issues, but all I can really do is lead through example and share things like "when I was in a similar situation, I did such and such and the results were great, so you may consider trying it as well", but in the end it's up to them to follow.

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