Brutal Honesty

Occasionally in life I feel the need to be absolutely brutally honest with people.  I usually don’t do it to hurt the other person, but rather make a point strongly.  I find I can be misunderstood at times because I was trying to be too nice about my wording.  I never suspected that my financial situation would actually cause me to be more brutally honest with people.

Since realizing I technically don’t need my day job I’m giving myself permission to be more honest with people.  At work is likely the biggest change, where I don’t have a problem telling someone: no or being honest in the fact I won’t get to something until next week or even next month.  Yet I’ve also noticed it in other conversations.  Recently I was discussing retirement with a family member and I was point blanked asked: when do you want to retire?  Up until now I have always said something like: “Oh, 55 would by nice,” since I’ve never been comfortable taking about my dream to retire at 45 with family.  That day I actually said “50 or less.  Heck 45 would be ideal.”  I think my family member thought I was joking.

Which is a hazard of dreaming big with my financial goals.  People really just can’t wrap their heads around the concept that it is possible to retire at 45.  They fail to understand I’m seriously trying to get there and yes I’ve done the math and it is a real possibility.  So while even being brutally honest with people I confuse them.  Not really because I was unclear, but rather they are not willing to accept the truth.

So in the future I’ve realized being honest is the right way to go.  Not everyone will get it, so I won’t have to explain myself to everyone.  The reality won’t likely hit them until I actually quit my day job, which is fine for me.

4 thoughts on “Brutal Honesty”

  1. I found the same thing happened to me 3 or 4 years ago when I realized I could live a loooong time on savings without a job. For the work thing, you’re not being a sycophant because you don’t need them anymore. You don’t need anyone’s approval because you have options. The cash cushion also gives you self-confidence in general. Having relationships (or a job) without any kind of fear and desperation underlying it is awesome.
    One thing I’ve noticed though is that you will piss people off that still have to work when you get close to or are early retired. Oh well, sucks to be them.

  2. In my last few months of working, the toughest part for me was keeping a straight face when I heard others in my division joke about retiring themselves. I would sit there in our management meeting thinking to myself, “If only you knew how close I am to telling you *I* am about to retire!” [Only one person, my best friend at work, knew of my plans. He was not going to leak anything to anyone else.]

    They all knew I was unhappy working there, as I had reduced my weekly hours from 20 to 12 in the 17 months preceding my retirement. So my retirement announcement did not really surprise anyone.

    I did work hard in my last few months because I wanted to get a big project done before I left. But I wasn’t going to go the extra mile like I used to in years past.

    Several people I knew retired in the last year or so of my working just before I retired. I desperately wanted to tell them about my plans but did not want to leak them. Some of them I stayed in touch with I would later tell once I made my announcement public at the office.

    As for people outside my work, I told them about my plans. They were all happy for me. Some were jealous but I did not mind or care. Many of those outside of my work benefitted from my full retirement because I would be able to see them more often (i.e. hobbies, volunteer work).

  3. So my two cents is that you do start mentioning your plans to friends and family. Even just, “if I could work it out, I’d be retired by 45” type of thing, just to plant the seed.

    What I found is that when I retired at 44, some people were kind of worried that I’d lost it, that I didn’t know what I was doing. Most knew of my plans for years, so didn’t feel like they had to worry about me. But especially with family, who has a tendency toward worrying, I would start getting them used to the idea long before retirement.

    That way, when the day comes, they say, “Oh yeah, he’s been planning that for a long time, he’s worked it all out,” instead of “I know, I just don’t know what he’s thinking!”

  4. @jacqjolie,

    Your right about the cash helping to boost confidence. When the threat of losing your job is gone it’s amazing what you can do.

    @ Syd,

    Actually that’s a good point that I didn’t think about. I would worry people is I don’t somewhat prepare them for the fact. I can almost hear the “you throwing your life away” speech from my father.


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