Why Early Retirement Makes You an A**hole

It’s really amazing the vitriol that the FIRE community generates when they are exposed to the main population.

That’s impossible, You can’t do that!
You’re a bum!
Must be nice to be a filthy rich spoiled brat!

All of us in this community tend to reply:

Hey, it’s not that hard, you just have to want it and make it happen.  Anyone can do it.

Well, then why exactly does everyone get upset?

It’s simple, but not really easy.

It seems like just yesterday we were (un)happily trudging along in our jobs, just minding our own business.  Then I came across the FIRE community and I couldn’t help myself, it was something that I felt was designed just for me.

So, I dove in head first, reading books and blogs and it just clicked.  Mrs. WoW, on the other hand, took a little more convincing.  She didn’t immediately take to it and definitely had some doubts.  Fortunately, she jumped on board and is just as FI minded as I am now.  Looking back now, we know we started a little later than we had wished, but we have made some amazing progress in a few short years.  But, it isn’t always easy, simple yes, but not easy.  So, we tell people:

You just gotta earn more than you spend.  The bigger you make that gap, the quicker you are done.

And we’ve taken to it.  We slip up from time to time, but we stick with it.  Just keeping the eyes on the goal, makes it worth while.  It’s hard, and yes we went out on a brewery tour this past weekend.  But, it really is pretty simple, and the more you can take yourself out of it, the better.  Plus, if it was easy, everyone would do it!

Why are we so judgmental?

I’m not a mean person, at least my mom tells me that.  But, I’ve found myself really looking at the way people live.  We go over to friends houses, and after we leave, we end up making comments about how much crap is everywhere.  Or, I find myself just nodding along as people complain about how expensive life is, when they just bought a $7,000 piano (because it was on sale!) so their kids can take piano lessons.

What?!!?!?  A $7,000 piano.  And she claimed it was a great deal!??!

So, yeah, we’ve changed our priorities over the last couple of years.  We used to be dining out all the time and bar hopping.  Now, we find ourselves looking at huge houses and asking,

What exactly do these people do with all that space?

We look at all the crap that people own, and comment to each other, “Wow, that’s a lot of shit, how much money do you think they waste?”  It’s become more than just money for us as well.  The Mrs. even started to compost, and recycle way more than we should.  We’re also trying to get rid of single use things and at least attempt to make the world a little better.  And, yes, we even have a roommate… the box.

Why I think people are really offended…

So, being judgmental is bad, I mean, we genuinely like our friends and family, so we keep quiet and these observations become a little inside jokes in the Kingdom of Waffles.  But, here’s what I think really sets people off. It’s a discussion Mrs. Wow was telling me about recently:

Person A: “I can’t wait until we get all new furniture for our house. I bet you probably want to get some new stuff too?”
MrsWoW: “Nah, I’m happy with what we have.”
PA: “But you’ve had that stuff forever.”
MW: “I guess there’s just other things I’d rather spend my money on.”
PA: “You’ll understand when you buy a house and are not just renting anymore.”
MW:*smiles and nods, knowing full well that we are not expecting to buy a house any time soon*   “Well, we’re saving it so we don’t have to work and we can just spend a lot of time with our family and friends. We just value that more than new furniture”
PA: “I like to spend time with my family and friends, and just because I buy new furniture doesn’t mean I don’t!”

I think this speaks volumes about what people think when they hear about this way of life. It seems like everyone deep down wants these things, but, they really just can’t figure out how.  And, since we’ve figured out how to achieve what is deemed impossible, they get pissed. When you mention you value your time more than your shit, they can’t seem to handle it, because I think it makes them feel superficial and shallow.  Or, maybe they genuinely do feel like their crap is worth more than their time? Staring down the barrel of a life sentence in a cube farm, is daunting and frustrating. This has got to be part of what fuels the trolls and IRP.

Mention it, then just keep my mouth shut…

For me, that’s pretty hard.  I love to rile some people up, and I love to have very spirited discussions.  Just ask MrsWoW’s mom, I love to push her buttons.  But, this is something that I just can’t bring myself to discuss with people so openly.  Hence this blog, and our joining this great community.  We get it… you get it.  There’s a common understanding and it makes things so peaceful.  Do we like having nice things?  Yes.  Do we want to slave away for years on end to have them?  Decidedly, NO!

As for the other folks, the best we can do is attempt to explain how we have changed our point of view. Shockingly, some folks have actually understood and started their own journey.  But if they don’t get it, I just shut up, then oooo and ahhhh over the new crap they just bought. Then go home, check our personal capital account and continue on our path. It might make me an asshole, but you know… I think I’m ok with that.





  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach April 11, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    God you’re such an A-HOLE!!! 🙂 You? Push buttons? I could never see that. 🙂 hee hee! Yeah, I definitely feel the same way sometimes. Not so much an a-hole, but an outlier. I think I’m 100…no maybe 200% ok with that! 🙂
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…March Rewind: My Net Worth Revealed

    • Mr WoW April 11, 2017 at 1:09 pm

      Oh come on… you know you are as well. Just that you think differently, and can seem to live your life the way you want to makes you that way.

      “How can you do it? Why don’t you value things the way I do?”

      “Ehh… I’m fine, thanks”

  • FinancePatriot April 11, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    I have told a few people that I am planning on retiring at age 40. The only response I have gotten is, “you’re too young to retire.” Ummm, this isn’t an age restricted thing, it’s an Algebra equation. When the math works, or you think the math works, you retire early and live off of investment income.

    I guess I don’t understand why this is such rocket science. I once had a guy tell me, “we leased a Kia to save money.” This was a banker. Question, “why don’t you just keep your old car, have a paid off car instead of leasing every 3 years instead of leasing a cheaper vehicle?” His response, “I can’t do that.” This is a guy who, at the time, lived two miles away from his office, when he wasn’t working from home.


    • Mr WoW April 11, 2017 at 1:07 pm

      Yeah, every time we bring this up, it just seems so difficult for people to understand. It’s really not all that hard. It’s a bit like banging your head against a wall. It’s really not rocket science.

      I don’t get it. I guess it just makes us different, rude and mean. That’s ok. I’m content with it.

      Thanks for stopping by…

      • FinancePatriot May 2, 2017 at 12:06 pm

        I am somewhat friends with my spendy and younger next door neighbor (at my age younger is 36). I texted him to let him know, well sort of brag, how little our AC was running, and the temp upstairs was set to 80 and downstairs to 78. His response was “cheapass.”

        This is a guy who, after his divorced, admitted to me he was spending more than his income and raking up credit card debt “to date?” He also recently had a $2,000 repair set back on his AC unit. I might be smug, but I simply replied, “huh, I make ends meet.”

        Needless to say, he didn’t feel compelled to respond.
        FinancePatriot recently posted…Finding your frugal compromise without destroying your relationship

        • Mr WoW May 2, 2017 at 12:10 pm

          LOL!! I don’t get it. I guess the dots just don’t connect for some folks? Weird.

          Oh well, I’m sure you’re content with being smug all the way to the bank.

  • Mr. Need2save April 12, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    We still slip a bit and get crap we don’t need or underutilize (that power meter that measures how much energy a device uses seemed like a good idea at the time).

    But it has become more exciting to get rid of stuff rather than get more stuff. We are looking forward to an upcoming community yard sale that the local church puts on. We have a mound of things to get rid of. And if it doesn’t sell, off to the Salvation Army as it’s not coming back into the house.
    Mr. Need2save recently posted…Income Taxes // A sobering look at 30 years of paying taxes

    • Mr WoW April 12, 2017 at 7:39 pm

      We’re in the same boat. It becomes fun now to see what we can get rid of. And which part of our closet/garage we want to clean out next. It’s a great feeling and such a mindset change.

  • Mustard Seed Money April 12, 2017 at 6:55 pm

    I still remember when I was talking to someone at work and they told me I was selfish to think about retiring early. That I was needed in the workplace to dispense advice. I just shook my head and said I can’t wait to move on 🙂
    Mustard Seed Money recently posted…Are You Afraid To Retire Early?

    • Mr WoW April 12, 2017 at 7:41 pm

      You are such an awful person, how can you not want to hang around an office all day? Listening to people gripe about how much they hate their lives? You awful, awful human being 😉

  • Mark May 11, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    Great article. Pushing the mother in law’s buttons is the best! It is an interesting human phenomenon that we get upset or defensive when we see someone living outside of our personal paradigms.

    • Mr WoW May 11, 2017 at 2:37 pm

      It is fun to watch her get flustered. Luckily, both of her lovely sons-in-law like to push her buttons. It’s all done in love of course.

      It is quite amazing that people simply can’t fathom living outside of their own tried and true way of life. It’s also quite amazing how visceral their reaction is!

  • Ron Cameron November 3, 2017 at 8:20 am

    We thankfully haven’t got the “You’re an asshole” response yet, but I pretty sure some people are thinking it. It’s easy to come off the wrong way. But when you’re going against our societal grain, what can we expect? WE’RE FREAKS!!! Haha.

    The funny thing is, when we explain to people we’re FI only one person has actually asked -how-. I don’t know if they’re in shock, or they don’t care, or what. But my friend told me they were doing something extraordinary, I’d be the first to ask them “How are you doing that?”. And I wouldn’t call them an asshole.

    Probably. 🙂

    • Mr WoW November 3, 2017 at 10:59 am

      I think that’s hilarious. I think you hit the nail on the head. Most people are just too caught up in they’re own crap to pay attention to much else.


  • Random Questions with Waffles on Wednesday March 18, 2018 at 4:56 pm

    […] could easily go on and mention one great post after another, but I’ll let you see for yourself just how enjoyable the WoW’s actually […]


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