Financial independence is a common dream. Most people don’t like working daily to survive, although some enjoy their labor. But what happens if you are gifted with a large amount of inheritance money, enough to make it possible for you to quit your job and retire? Should you tell your friends about your good fortune or remain mum?
If they do ask, since it will be evident that you no longer hold a job, what should you say? How can you avoid the jealousy of others in this situation? When a popular Internet forum member shared their story of jealousy and anger from their friends, the users were ready with answers.
1. The First Rule Of The FI Club
Hands down, the most popular answer was not to tell anyone about your situation. One even said you should ask your friends for money since you just “lost your job.” in an answer straight out of the film Fight Club, the stoic answer is the first rule of FI Club (the Financial Independence Club) is to not talk about FI Club.
2. Are They Your Friends?
A big question for forum members about this situation is whether or not the people who are so curious about your finances are your friends. People who care more about how much money you have in the bank are likely not as interested in you as a person. They tend to have ulterior motives, including a tendency to ask for loans. It is something to consider.
3. Practice Stealth Wealth
Others added that the move was to practice stealth wealth. Stealth wealth is a concept where a wealthy person lives below their means and keeps a lid on how much money they have. They don’t make flashy shows of wealth or large purchases and diversify their assets. People who practice stealth wealth avoid “lifestyle creep” or spending more money as they make more money.
4. Sidestep and Stay Firm
It is your right to be private about your finances if you want. You aren’t required to answer every question asked of you, especially if doing so makes you feel uncomfortable. When the question comes up, you can always sidestep the truth.
5. Have A Plausible Story At The Ready
You can also give people a plausible story to answer their nosy questions. Some stated that this means you are lying to your friends, which is true, but it is a white lie at best. If you think about it, people always tell their friends half-truths. A user recommended telling people that they are financial advisors to a select group of clients or saying that you have developed a side business that suddenly took off. One mentioned that you could call yourself a freelancer. Another person advised telling people they were fired and asking them for a loan. A question like that is likely to end the conversation right then and there.
6. Never Talk About Your Finances
Friendships have rules and parameters, and a particularly great piece of advice on the forum is to not talk about your finances, period. If other people want to talk about theirs, that is fine, but you can always ask them to refrain since it is a topic you don’t enjoy. Friendships mean different things to different people, so this is a reminder that you can make the rules with your relationships.
7. Don’t Quit In The First Place
Another perspective is that you shouldn’t quit your job at all. If you are still working, no one will ask about your money. To others, if nothing has changed, there’s no reason to ask any questions in the first place. Keeping your job will keep you active, lower your profile with identity thieves, and you will continue to earn more money which isn’t a bad thing.
This exciting answer gets you out of working your day job. If asked, you can tell people you got a generous severance package and then do volunteer work or pick up a more enjoyable career. You can always take a trip and tell people you are looking for a cheaper place to live.
9. FIRED At Age Forty Two
A mother of four told how she retired at age 42 and how her friend asked questions about her money. When personally asked, she responds that she doesn’t have large amounts of money but has enough money. The secret is that she didn’t make large purchases, consistently lived below her means, and has made wise investments since she was 20.
10. Friend Filter
The best answer was to tell the truth about your situation and let that truth act as a filter for the people who love you and are your real friends. In other words, you should let the garbage take itself out. This forum member said, “Good riddance. I’m not going to shout it from the rooftops, but I’m also not going to lie about who I am and what I’ve done with my life.”
This thread inspired this post.
This post first appeared on The Cents of Money.
With a passion for investing and personal finance, I began The Cents of Money to help and teach others. My experience as an equity analyst, professor, and mom provide me with unique insights about money and wealth creation and a desire to share with you.