I’ve written before about how friends and family don’t always support or understand the goals behind being frugal and retiring early.
My parents were in town recently for holidays, and my father asked me if I was “ok” from a financial standpoint. We recently had a second child and he’s worried about my financial stability.
– “you’re ok financially, right? You would tell me if that weren’t the case, right?”
– “yeah dad, I’m ok, actually I’ve been thinking that I could probably quit my job in a few years, and be at home”
– “Well, that’s a tough decision to make, you know. If you work from home, your kids will not understand that they can’t disturb you when you’re working, your uncle was working from home for a while, and his young kids did not really understand the difference when he was working and when he was available”
My mother added
– “you better have a good safety net if you want to start your own business, especially since you’re the only income in the family”
I didn’t try to go deeper in the conversation, for several reasons. First of all, I do not want to brag about the possibility to retire early, until I’m very, very sure this is going to happen. I’m still a few years away, with many reasons this could fail. Secondly, it felt obvious to me that my parents were not hearing what I was saying. Because I said I’d “stay at home”, they assumed I would be working from home, potentially on my own business (I’ve mentioned my side income as a website owner to them a couple times). They did not hear that I was saying I would stop working.
As a matter of fact, I had mentioned early retirement to my father in the past, he said I should be careful: “Many employees at General Motors thought they could retire early, then their company crashed and they had no money left”. Yes dad, that’s why not all of my money is in my company stock, but in diversified ETFs.
My parents, like 99% of the people I know, just cannot imagine a world where someone could retire at 40. But I’m on track to retire before 40 (I should check, but I think I should be able to retire around 38 at my current savings rate), and I can’t help but wish I knew what I know today, when I was in my twenties. This would have allowed me to retire maybe around 30.