Do your friends know about your early retirement plan? Do you wonder what they would think?

I’m on holidays right now, with 3.5 weeks off in the beautiful warm weather that we get here in Australia at this time of year, and it really is something that I could get used to.

Yesterday I took our two little girls to a local swimming pool and was chatting to two friends (who also brought their daughters) about my time off work. Neither of them had any real time off over Christmas, and they were jealously asking how my holidays were going. I of course told them that they were going brilliantly, and that I could really get used to this not working thing.

I then went on to say that I could just do what I was doing that day or a couple of the preceding days, during which I spent hardly any money. I pointed out the lack of money required to enjoy life, but I’m really not sure that either of them actually appreciated what I was talking about. I think they thought I was commenting on how apparently cheap it was to take your kids to the pool (one commented on how it only cost $8.10 for him and his two girls), but I was more getting at how if you own your house, have no other debt, and have your living costs under control, then it really doesn’t cost that much to live.

Of course, neither of them would be able to tick any of the three boxes I just listed above (and they wouldn’t know that I tick all three of them either) and it makes me (and my wife) wonder about how our friends will take it when I say that I’m retiring.

I’m sure it will be a big shock, and that they will think something is wrong (like I’m getting fired or I have cancer or something) so we will really have to think about it when the time comes.

I’ve always been a bit of a money man I guess (they know I invested in real estate at a young age), and since I’m an accountant they pretty much assume that I am very tight with my money. When I think more about it though that is generally what non-FI people do when faced with people that have their finances under control – just label them as “tight” as if what they were doing is somehow wrong. That way they don’t have to feel bad that they are nowhere near the same point financially.

Some of my family (my parents and one of my brothers) know that our goal is to retire at a young age, but that’s about it. So there are therefore plenty of people that I’m sure will be quite shocked when the time comes. I have told some of the other Partners at work that I am not working forever and will just work until I have enough, but I think their assumption about when we will have enough is something like 20 years (which would make me 52), but little do they know that by my calculations it should take me less than half that time.

Even though they will be shocked, if they had ever looked in my office they would see a quote that I have kept from one of those old-school calendars with a page you flip over every day. Never mind that the quote is from 2013, but I plan to keep that quote pinned on my wall until the day that I retire, and with hindsight people would be able to see what it means to me:

Christopher Morley

“There is only one success – to be able to spend your life in your own way” – Christopher Morley (1890-1957)

Of course, no one has ever asked me about the quote, and I will be amazed if someone ever does. People only ever see what they are looking for…

Anyway, what about you? Do your family, friends and work colleagues know of your plans? Or do you find that it’s best to just keep them under wraps?

How have people reacted when you’ve finally told them that you are retiring? Or how do you think they will react when you actually tell them?


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