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When I told my Mom I was a millionaire, her response was “So what? You don’t even have a house.”
To most people, becoming a millionaire is a pipe dream. Especially if you had my kind of childhood—the kind where a can of coke was the most precious thing in the world.
But when I announced to my parents we’d achieved said pipe dream and are retiring to travelling the world for a year, it didn’t go over well.
My Dad said simply, “It’s not enough.”
This surprised me, given that him and I are engineers. Engineers don’t rely on feelings. We Math Shit Up. So when Wanderer offered to show him the math to prove that $1 million was enough and Dad simply brushed him off, I was speechless.
Dad followed up his dismissal with a harsh: “You need to go back to work.”
In hindsight, looking back, I shouldn’t have been surprised. In Chinese culture, age is wisdom. It’s inconceivable that a younger person would know more than their elders. Younger people have less wisdom so what you say should not be taken seriously—regardless of whether it’s backed up with math or facts. Western kids might get to have open discussions and debates with their parents, but as a Chinese kid, forget it.
As an adult, I never cry (except when there’s a REALLY good deal to be had), but that day I bolted from my parents’ house with tears streaming down my face.
After that, my parents and I hardly talked for a whole year. I would write them from Europe periodically, telling them I was still alive, but that was the extent of our contact. Every now and then I would get a panic e-mail from my Dad, telling me to get a job.
I ignored him. After a decade of struggle, I was finally living the life of my dreams and I didn’t need anyone’s permission to love my life. Not even my Dad.
Flash forward 3 years…
“How’s the book writing going?” My Dad asked when I called him a few weeks ago from Germany to wish him happy Father’s Day.
“Um. Good,” I said. “It’s about 80% done.” I took a deep breath. Here we go. He’s going to tell me how happy he is that I’ll be done soon so I can get back to more important things—like settling down and having kids like a normal, non-insane person.
“It’s going to be great. I’m so proud of you.“
I blinked. Wait. What? My hands were shaking so hard I almost dropped the phone.
“Sorry, Dad,” I said, my voice breaking. “Can you say that again?”
“I’m so proud of you.”
My eyes felt wet and my vision went blurry all of a sudden. Shut up. I wasn’t crying, you’re crying. There was something in my eye.
So apparently, he’s been reading this blog every day for the past year. Specifically, this article where we reported having even more money than when we retired. And friends/family have been asking him non-stop, seeing my face in the news, calling him and asking “is that your daughter?”
Here’s the thing about Chinese parents. They will sacrifice everything for you. They will wear the same threadbare clothes for the past 20 years and ride a rusty old bike to work so they could take every penny saved to give you a better education. They will toil through hours and hours of frustration and boredom to help you get ahead, never taking even a second to think about their own happiness.
But they will NEVER EVER tell you they love you. Forget about hugs and kisses. And telling your kids “Good job!” or “I’m proud of you?” HA! Positive reinforcement?!? That just makes kids weak and homeless!
Or at least, that’s what I thought. Turns out, all it takes is to become a millionaire, break a national record, become an international news story, and get a book deal with the biggest publisher in the world. So, you know, it is possible!
Dad then went on to say that he now believed that what we’re doing will help “many other young people,” and that many of his friends are asking when they can buy our book for their kids.
He’s even following our investment workshop and investing in low-cost index ETFs! Instead of losing money to shitty mutual funds like he did in the past, his new portfolio has gained 8% in the past year!
Three years ago, I thought accomplishing my childhood dream of becoming a novelist and signing books in New York was the best moment of my life.
I was wrong.
Getting published is easy. Impressing an Asian parent? Now that’s insanely hard.
Ever since retiring, we’ve gotten reader e-mails talking about being judged by friends and lack of support from family on their path to financial independence. They have the fear that once they quit, their family and friends won’t approve.
I get it. I’ve been in your shoes. We’ve experienced vitriol in many forms—from the thousands of haters on CBC, Yahoo Finance, The UK Independent, etc. to racist e-mails, commenters bashing us for our “horrible life choices,” to even losing friends in real life.
But now, 3 years later, we’re richer, healthier, and still living the dream. Our confidence has grown and we no longer need to justify ourselves to anyone.
As a result, this confidence has unexpectedly converted that vitriol into curiosity. Friends and family no longer argue with us in a desperate attempt to validate their life choices. Instead, they ask us questions about finance, investing, and our experience living the nomadic life.
But all of that pales in comparison with our latest accomplishment—to appease the most difficult person to appease of all—the Asian parent.
To do that, we couldn’t convince him ourselves. We had to let our results do the talking.
So if you’re afraid of pursuing FI because of judgement or lack of support from family or friends, you have 3 Options:
1) Give in
2) Reason with Them
3) Let Your Results Do the Talking
If you prioritize your relationships over everything else in life, you might be tempted to go with this option. By giving in, you give up your dreams but help make someone else feel better by validating their life choices. This might earn you praise in the form of “I’m so glad you see things my way!” and “Isn’t it better to follow the herd? Safety in numbers right?”
But this option, while easier at first as the path of least resistance, has the greatest consequences in the long run.
According to Bronnie Ware, a palliative nurse who wrote the book “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying”, the number one regret she heard from her dying patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives is:
“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
Living an unfulfilling life because you were afraid of what others think of you is something you will have to face on your deathbed.
So if you take this route, you have to honestly ask yourself: Will you be okay with that?
Reason with Them
Your logical brain will tell you that presenting your points clearly will help friends and family understand the unconventional life you’ve chosen. They’ll get to see your point of view and stop feeling so defensive. If you break down the math and use logic, they’ll HAVE to see that you’re simply making choices that work for you and that in no way invalidates their choices. That should work, right?
As much as we would like to believe we could convince people with facts and logic, at the end of the day, people who aren’t confident or happy lash out because of EMOTIONS. No amount of logic will appease emotion.
So you can try to reason with them and convince them with your pretty graphs and charts, but if you run into a cultural issue like I did with my parents, it won’t matter. Even if they’re supposed to be a logical engineer—like my Dad.
Let Your Results Do the Talking
Since option 1 and 2 were out for us, the only one that worked as simply living the FIRE life and letting our results do the talking.
We didn’t need to convince my Dad that our index investing + yield shield + cash cushion + geographic arbitrage strategy works because we a) survived the 2015 oil crash b) have a bigger portfolio than when we retired and c) have a negative inflation rate due to travelling the world.
Even though we haven’t worked in the past 3 years, our portfolio MADE money and continues to pay us dividends.
My Dad was afraid that I would stop contributing to society once we quit our jobs, but since then our blog has grown to 3.5 Million views in just 2 years, and we frequently get e-mails from readers telling us how we inspired them to increase their savings rate, learn how to invest, decrease the stress in their lives, and discover all sorts of amazing places all around the world. Our track record from Reader Cases proves this.
When it comes to facing haters on your way to Financial Independence, don’t worry. The more confident you become, the less the haters matter. In fact, you even end up converting them from haters to supporters when they see your results, stop being defensive and become curious instead.
And as for the lack of support from family and friends, don’t try to convince them with data and facts. Let your results do the talking.
Trust me. It works.
What do you think? Have you gotten any flack from family or friends on your FI journey?
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106 thoughts on “How to Deal with Unsupportive Family and Friends on Your Way to FI”
Well that was feelyer than normal, but really great to hear. I truly wish I had friends like you two in real life. You have done incredibly well and are an inspiration to many!
Aw, thanks Leona. I agree, it’s great to have FIRE friends 🙂 They’re the only ones who truly get you.
If you two have kids and decide to drop in on your parents more often to visit, I suspect they will especially be happier with your FI decision 😉
(this is probably an effective way to win one’s parents over, though it may be considered cheating, and isn’t for everyone)
Ha ha. I’m so glad the “cheat” worked for you 🙂 Maybe you can give some advice to my friend. She give in to pressure, had the kids, and a few months afterwards, got a call from her mom saying “I’m disappointed you’re not a manager at work, only a lowly engineer. You should get moving on that.”
I love the initial image in this post. Hilarious!
I like following number three: let the results do their own talking.
I had a lot more doubters in the beginning, especially from X colleagues about the viability of Financial Samurai. But after about the fifth year, people are like, Teach me how to do it too!
Glad your dad softed up. That’s wonderful.
Glad you proved your colleagues wrong, Sam! It’s all about the results 🙂
We’re fortunate to have family and friends who, if they aren’t 100% behind us, at least don’t give us any grief about it. Then again we tend to pick and choose whom we tell about that particular goal.
Sorry about that gnat or dust or whatever that flew into your eye. I hope it works its way out soon. Those pesky things always show up just when you least expect it.
Yes, those pesky things have also been showing up lately as I watch the Thai Cave rescue. *sniff sniff* very annoying.
Which reminded me that last I heard they’d only gotten out 8 kids, so I immediately Googled it, and saw an AP tweet: “BREAKING: Thai Navy SEALs say all 12 boys and their coach rescued from cave, ending an ordeal that lasted more than 2 weeks.”
DAMN DUST MOTES CUT IT OUT
“DAMN DUST MOTES CUT IT OUT”
Thank you for sharing this! I teared up and laughed out loud while reading this post. I totally relate as I grew up with the motto “An Asian A- is an Asian F.”
It’s so sweet to hear that your dad said he loves you and is proud.
“An Asian A- is an Asian F.”
LOL. It’s true. We are A-sians, not B-sians 😛
This article was a real emotional roller coaster. I get so filled with rage every time I read “So what? You don’t even have a house.”
Alternative to the final question: how many actively avoid conversations about finance in order to avoid one of the following stupid responses:
a) “You know you can’t take it with you. You need to live a little.”
b) “You know investing is risky blah blah real estate blah blah put in a suite blah blah somebody else paying your mortgage”
c) “Must be nice. I have student loans because of reasons that have nothing to do with going on regular vacations and btw tuition should be free. And I need to have a car payment because something about reliable transportation to work and living in the burbs because through no fault of my own I somehow ended up with 17 dogs.”
So as far as most people are concerned, I am just middle-class broke like everybody else. Yes, I feel you about having to wait until you get your tax return to get an espresso machine. I feel you.
Ha! The espresso machine / tax return comment killed me. Do we hang out with the same people!?
This comment rocks so hard.
“Yes, I feel you about having to wait until you get your tax return to get an espresso machine. I feel you”
EPIC, just EPIC.
Damn you! There’s coffee splatter on my screen again!
I can sense your sentiments. I encounter the same situation. I go for the third option as I have tried the first and second options without success. I will let my decision do the talking.
I have tried all these three options. Guess which option really makes me feel the happiest. I think that this is an obvious answer. I feel more like myself through the third option. I have no regret regardless the outcome of the third option. I know that I am leading a life which truly reflects my value. Every day is like a holiday to me.
Nice work, Ben! When you’re happy with your life choices, no one can take that away from you. Screw the haters!
Really nice and well written blog that I can relate very closely!
As always, so inspiring !!! I love the truism, “impressing Asian parents is almost impossible” I went through hell and back with a career in design made it to a Director role and they finally gave a nod. LOL. I’m not FIRE yet, can’t wait until I tell them I’m quitting work early hahaha. I just hope I can do it when they are still around.
Thanks for all your hard work and inspiring stories Firecracker and Wanderer.
Congrats on your director role, Zoe! No sane Asian parent can possibly disregard that achievement 🙂 Nice work!
Millionaire? Why are you not a billionaire? That is so hilarious. LMAO!
Yes. The snide remarks of co-workers. The disapproval of family. The hate of completely anonymous trolls (living the high life in their parents basement and never seeing sunlight). It’s so enriching…LOL
Trust me, it ain’t just asian parents who disapprove. I’m white and mine are probably worst than yours (Yes, we can compare and yes, I’ll win. No contest). Judgement and guilt have beena part of my whole life. Now with 7 digits in ETFs, they can kiss my ass (on second thought, only with my permission). LOL
We need to start a support group for people with unappeasable parents! #TigerChildrenUnited. I agree, it’s not just Asians.
And congrats on the 7 figure portfolio! You are living the life!
Well, I’ve pretty much given up on my and my wife’s parents. To them, having a job is everything.
To the point that we’ve been disinherited. In other words, they’ve removed us from their will and refuse to leave us any inheritance because of my lack of traditional job.
They’re well aware that we have assets that provide for our lifestyle. Hell, we even have a larger house than they do. It doesn’t matter. Without a job we don’t qualify as ‘good people’ to them.
It’s frustrating, but whatever… that’s how that generation thinks. I could care less about their approval.
Ouch. Who cares about inheritance… but moral judgements…that totally sucks.
Yikes, Mr. Tako! So sorry to hear that.
Good thing you don’t need their inheritance. You have enough money to live multiple lifetimes!
I’m curious…would they feel the same way if they knew the whole story and your actual financial situation? Because what you’ve done is insanely impressive.
Ha! I laughed throughout this whole post.
I, too, struggle with trying to impress my Filipino mother. Expectations are always high so it’s kind of setting up for disappointment. Maybe if we hit FIRE, write a book, and find some other record to break then we’ll be able to grasp that brass ring.
Yeah, impressing an Asian parent is like climbing mt.Everest. On the plus side, everything after that becomes so easy…
Thanks for sharing! I have been lucky enough that nobody has let challenged us or argued with us. We get plenty of empty stares + smiles + a “riiiiggghhhtt”, but I think that has i’s just because the idea goes against the “norm” of society. Once they get past that, I usually get questions on how we plan to achieve it and then a good luck. I’ve only told a small group of family and friends the plan, so we’ll see if the reactions change as more people discuss with us.
Going against the “norm” will always get you empty stares. But I guess that’s the whole point of being an outlier. Otherwise you’re just average. Normal in = normal out.
I’m glad the small group of family and friends you’ve told are supportive though!
That is so funny, you are like the Wonder Woman of personal finance and FIRE and can’t get no respect at home! Well even Gal Gadot’s parents are probably waiting for her to get a 9 to 5 “real” job. Seriously it is cool they get you now and likely got you all along to some extent. I bet a good bit of that insight you bring to your writing has some strong ties to things you learned from your parents. Hey, living life like you are is tough to comprehend for us boomers and I’m sure I’d be nervous if one of mine was living an atypical life even if they were killing it. And while there might be some haters out there for sure, I’ve never heard of anyone hating on you kid!
That’s great, Steveark…
FireCracker = WWoFI
I am so stealing that! 😉
Godfather of FI + WWoFI + GreenLaternofFI (Brandon) + Superman (Pete) = new FIRE Justice League! And while we’re all fighting to save the world, our parents are yelling at us in the background, screaming “GO GET A REAL JOB!”.
Best. Superhero movie. Ever.
Ha ha, that would hilarious if Gal Gadot’s parents were yelling at her to get a real job in the background. I’d watch that. Someone needs to make a parody.
Gal Gadot doesn’t have to get a real job. Look how gorgeous she is.
Ha! My dad just told me to come out of retirement and move to China. He said everyone is making a ton of money in China so it’s time to quit fooling around. Sure, whatever.
I just ignore him these days. It helps that he lives in Thailand so I don’t have to talk to him. Everyone is different.
At least he didn’t disinherit me like Mr. Tako’s family. Well, I don’t think he has anything to pass on anyway… So no biggie.
Tell him I came from there, it’s not that great. No amount of money will make me go back there.
Well, if he’s living the good life in Thailand, just wait for him to get a massage and he’ll be so relaxed he’ll forget all about it. *sigh* I miss Thailand…
When I first found this blog, we made the decision to do what we are doing now within a week. We only told our parents and my cousin. My cousin and my spouse’s parents were all for it. My dad was more supportive than I thought he would be but I have a feeling if my mom was still alive it would have been a different story. We didn’t tell anyone else about what we were doing until after we sold our house and moved. Over the last year or so I have told a few more people about what we are doing but only if I think they will be receptive to it and I think reading your blog will help them out. So far we haven’t faced any first hand backlash. Fortunately most of the people we are close enough to talk about this stuff with are pretty conscious about their spending or at least have decent savings or own real estate that has gone up quite a bit in price due to the BC housing market. Even though I think this blog could help everyone, I don’t think some of my relatives who have no savings and can’t manage their money would be very receptive to something like this and I’m not really close enough to them to have a conversation about this kind of stuff.
Glad you’ve found people who are close enough to you to talk about early retirement, Liz 🙂 Money is definite a touchy subject and too emotional a topic for many people. Sometimes it’s about taking baby steps. From experience, I found out what works best is if the person is receptive to it and wants help. If they’re not at that stage yet, no blog, book, video, etc will help. They have to make the decision to want to talk about it.
Funny, my MIL is here right now, loves the West Coast of Canada compared to Taiwan, well there is lots to do here. Never once lectured my wife on what she should do, but then everyone back home thinks I am a multimillionaire, have 12 cars, and live on a 20 acre estate… ok Mom, where did they get this idea from?
FC, thanks for opening your world to us…
That’s great that your MIL is loving the west coast! Well, if everyone back home thinks that and it’s keeping them out of your hair, embrace it! 😀
I’m glad your parents have had a realization that your decisions are sound and that you’re not careening out of control somehow. It’s difficult to have that level of disagreement with close family. And if you do ever choose to have small people, maybe you’ll factor all this into how you raise them.
Above and beyond everything you said, a lot of people think that what their children do and achieve is a moral reflection upon themselves… that’s an illogical burden to put on anyone, but it seems to be pretty common. Probably a lovely evolutionary trait to ensure the offspring are taken care of…
Keep living your life and sharing your adventures… it sets a good example to a lot of folks.
Thanks for the vote of confidence, Wendy! Yeah, I hear you on the “people think that what their children do and achieve is a moral reflection upon themselves”, this is very true when it comes to my parents (and my culture in general). Now that time has passed, it’s much easier to look at that reaction logically. It gets easier over time when you don’t get sucked into the emotions and look at the results instead.
So glad for you Firecracker, what a lovely acknowledgement from your dad. I am a non-Asian tigermom, and there are lots of props for miracle baby (mb) for good behaviour and hugs and snuggles, I will be very focus on her success (and having good manners).
It will be interesting to see how your parents behave as grandparents. MB has Asian grandparents who are very demonstrative in a way they weren’t with their own kids.
Mr. Tako, so sorry. Not that you want the inheritance particularly, but I can assure you that the parents will need you both someday, maybe soon as ageing issues set in. My parents take up at least twenty hours a week to manage their care. Maybe worth a discussion with them?
I was sorry to hear about Mr.Tako’s disinheritance too :(. From my experience, sometimes discussions don’t yield anything useful. It might actually just come to them reaching out to him only when the ageing issue sets in. It’s worth a try though.
I tried to explain it to my Vietnamese immigrant parents but gave up because it went totally over their head on my FI plans. Like they couldn’t even wrap their heads around retiring early at all. They weren’t mad about it, but that was likely due to their obliviousness. I think if I kept pushing the conversation, they would have much stronger feelings. I am still about 10 years away from FI, but once I get there, I plan on doing some very part-time work somewhere (likely teaching at a community college or something, since I have some experience in this) or score some kind of remote gig and tell them that’s my job. I think it’s just easier this way and it’s not like I’d be lying to them. My siblings seem to be really supportive otherwise!
P.S. This is my first ever comment to an FI blog and I have been following a bunch for over 2 years now!
Thanks so much for following our blog for 2 years! Appreciate it! 🙂
Your experience trying to explain FI to your parents mirrors mine. It’s hard to explain unless it’s tactile and they can SEE you actually doing it. The part-time work sounds like a perfectly reasonable plan to me. As we always say on this blog, the RE part of FIRE is optional anyway.
Glad that your siblings are supportive! Maybe it’s just easier for people in our own generation to understand it.
i had a hard ass dad but he wasn’t asian. he didn’t seem to agree with anything i came up with as a way to live my life on my terms. i never asked, just said: here’s what i’m doing next. i was lucky to have a teacher who dispelled that age and experience thing. he said “sly dog, you might be smarter right now than some of those other teachers, so feel free to question ideas and dogma.”
Wow! That is one kickass teacher! Sometimes if our family isn’t supportive, we have to rely on mentors and friends. That works too. Glad it worked out for you!
One day, a few years before my dad died of Alzheimers and was still communicating, he suddenly said “Sweetheart, I am so proud of you.” It was one of the most important moments of my life. I. Was. In. My. 40s.
Do you have children? Let them know that you love them because of their hearts, and have pride in their good character. Nothing else matters…nothing. Everything else is just stuff.
Mr. Tako and Firecracker: I am someone in their late sixties who reads and is influenced by your accomplishments. Bet I’m just one of hundreds of others who feel the same. Everyone else can kick rocks.
Aww, sorry to hear about your Dad, Sue 🙁 Sweet of him to leave you with such a heartfelt message.
And thank you so much for reading and for your vote of confidence!
Okay, I totally have something in my eye, too. This is AMAZING. Congrats! My dad is similarly withholding, but sticking to my guns with my “wacky” life choices [from going vegan to moving to a tiny apartment to save money] seems to be earning his respect — 2+ years later…
The confidence that comes with walking the talk, like you said, feels like a million bucks (pun so intended).
Results = respect. Way to go, Jules! And yes, it literally feels like a million bucks.
Immediately thought of the final scene in Mulan and what Asian children often do for their parent’s approval. Thanks for sharing such an important story.
Congratulations on your success!
Loved watching that movie back when I was in high school. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!
This couldn’t have come at a better time. Being Chinese myself, and just getting into a big fight with my mom about this topic. I “mathed shit up” for her, but she was unimpressed, even though I’m a quarter of the way to my FI goal. Guess I’ll just have to follow #3 and let the results do the talking.
I feel you, Kevin! It’s super frustrating. But don’t worry, your results will win her over in the end. Way to go on your FI milestone!
It’s not just Asian parents. My (Korean) wife was less than thrilled when I retired about a year ago. She couldn’t understand why I was walking away from ~$150K per year. I, on the other hand, was burnt out and hating work life. Anyway, we’re walking the fur kid one day about a month after I left work, and she’s awfully quiet. After a while, I get brave enough to ask, “What’s wrong?.
Six words – – – “Not enough money; too much husband.”
Actually, the money was fine, she just missed those monthly direct deposits. And, I quickly found several activities to get me out of the house (when working, I was a road warrior, and was often gone about forty weeks a year (sometimes more). My being home was a tough adjustment for both of us.
Oh, I hear you on this one Jeff, my condemnation comes from Mrs Spaceman, not parents or siblings… She has no concept of investing, or FI, throws away money like its confetti, because at the moment she has it, and never lets me forget I am not living up to her standard. Her favorite is “Good enough is never good enough ”
Sorry to hear about the tough adjustment, Jeff 🙁 Sometimes it’s really hard for others to understand how much damage a bad job does to our health and well being. I was on anxiety meds and anti-depressants and my parents STILL didn’t understand. No one will truly get it unless they are in your shoes. But in the end, we have to prioritize our health–no amount of money can ever buy that back.
I’m glad that you found activities to mitigate the situation. Actions speak louder than words. Hope you guys can find the right balance.
Moral of the story, don’t have Asian parents. J/k, glad your folks came around.
LOL. I tried to convince them to stop being Asian, but for some reason it didn’t work. 😛 The good news is that the Asianness helped me win in the end with RESULTS! So all good 😀
I totally hear you. It hurt me when my parents bought me a car when I graduated from med school, but my mother struggled with unwaxed floss because she didn’t want to spring for the the more expensive waxed kind for themselves. (I didn’t especially want a car, since I’d matched to Montreal, but they surprised me with it.)
My dad got brain cancer at the age of 56. I’d take a deep breath and tell him, “Dad, I love you,” and he’d reply, “Yeah.” He didn’t want to say the words. He also never told us we were cute as kids. My mom later said it was because he didn’t want us thinking about how we looked, but actually, it left me wondering how I looked, since I only got negative/occasionally racist feedback from my classmates.
But they loved me. And they were proud of me. They just didn’t want to say it.
It seems super Asian to me that they couldn’t accept FIRE at first, but your dad quietly read along and learned from you both, and now he can even say he’s proud of you.
Glad you got your happy ending. That’s better than a million dollars.
Oh no. So sorry to hear about your Dad’s cancer, Melissa. 🙁
It took me a while to understand our culture of not saying “I love you”, “I’m proud of you”, etc. But when we take a step back and look at our parents’ actions, we can see that they prefer to SHOW their love rather than SAY it. Which is why it’s so powerful when we communicate back to them in the same way — with results, not explanations. Talk is cheap, actions are everything. We can’t change this fact, but we can learn to embrace it.
Kudos on all your exceptional accomplishments! And for the record, you are beautiful–screw the racist assholes in your class. No one cares what they think.
I am literally reading this post as I sit surrounded by my family on vacation, none of which have any idea of our FI plans. I honestly have no idea how they will all take to our news when the time comes, but I like the idea of letting the results do the talking. Glad your dad finally came around, cause you guys are killing it in life and helping so many other people along the way.
Yes! Results for the win!
I do have a house. But boy that’s costing me so many years of FI that I could enjoy. Yes I’m planning to pay it off in 10-12 years right around the time I’m hoping to be FI. But imagine if I could save all that money, I could become FI earlier. And not many people (outside the FI world) really talks about the cost of upkeep. Its a lot of work to maintain a house. And just because your monthly mortgage payment is equal to the rent you would otherwise pay isn’t a good enough reason to buy a house for the aforementioned reason of maintenance and upkeep. If you rent, its all taken care by the property management company. Now I do have the option to sell. But after investing money to whip up the house to our liking, there is the emotional attachment part that makes it difficult to let it go.
My big take away after learning about FIRE is that conventional wisdom isn’t always right. Ours and future generations should be made aware of ALL the options that are available to us and you guys are doing a good job making all this information available to others. I wish I had bumped into your blog before I bought the house. Oh well, atleast thanks to you guys, I now know that I can retire much earlier than I thought was possible.
“there is the emotional attachment part that makes it difficult to let it go.”
Thanks for being so honest about this! I’m glad you’re consciously making choices rather than doing it out of ignorance or following the herd. In the end, it’s your life so what you decide to do has to work for you. We’re just here to provide the math and logic. Glad you’re more confident about your FIRE journey now. Thanks for reading!
So much truth in this post…living up to someone else’s expectations! This is the path to doom whether it be your parents or “the Joneses”. You have to forge your own path in life to be happy. I retired last year at 56 from a $800,000 per year job and yes, everyone thought I was crazy. But I was FI! So this year I started serious weightlifting and bought a riding horse. I plan to compete on my horse soon. I am going against the tide and I may be the oldest rider out there and the oldest geezer at the gym pumping that iron but this is my life and this is for me and I am loving it!!!
Obama.. is that you?
Hahaha! I didn’t know that Obama could ride!
Wow, way to ObW! I hope I get to be as badass and as fit as you when I’m 56!
I really do think people like to judge others not out of concern, but because they need something to talk about. Other people’s “bad” choices are easy to pick apart when it’s not your life! 😉
I’ve had a few Negative Nellies, and I brush them off. Like you said, in the end, the results will do all the talking for me.
Yup! Let the results do the talking! Very easy to ignore haters that way 😉
I’ve been reading for over a year now and I don’t think I have seen anything about having a spouse who does not agree with any of this. How do you deal with that? Divorce is one option but child support and alimony kinda makes the equation for retirement more challenging. Speaking of divorce I have seen nothing about divorced people. Moving to Thailand is a difficult choice when you share custody. Would like to know how others dealt with these real situations.
FC, I really like the idea of having the miss’s participate in writing the blog, numbers are really not her thing, oh, she has a degree in Finance… something is not quite right here…
Alex, yes thats a problem for me, but when I can present it to her in a way she can understand, she sometimes listens. I can see a crack forming, she has said she would like to see the house paid off in 10 years, ok honey, so to do that, we are going to have to stop eating out every other night, and buying clothes. She owns 3 out of the 4 closets in the house. Mostly, I just take the money when the cheque comes in, and punt it into RRSP before she can get to it.
She also liked the fact that I was contributing to “HER” RRSP, not mine. She asked me about this the other day. I contribute to a Spousal plan to do income splitting down the road.
My wife’s family are part of the former royal family of China … when we were dating I (the laowai …) brought over flowers to her and my mother-in-law said, “What a waste of money! You should have brought an assorted fruit basket … that would have been more practical!” … culture shock 101 … 🙂 … So being frugal and saving for retirement is easy with my wife and family …. because of her frugal genes?! 🙂 We lived for years with the parent-in-laws … and in part that is how we saved and became multi-millionaires … though I still teach at international schools seeing it is fun and we have around 3 months of paid holidays for staycations and/or travel … CPO, From the far side of the planet 🙂 Oh and yes, my wife would technically be a princess if the royal family was still in vogue ….
“What a waste of money! You should have brought an assorted fruit basket…”
Ha ha ha. Asian in-laws for the the win! Frugality and telling it like it is = favourite hobbies.
Also, I thought the High Expectations Asian Father meme would say, “Stung by bee? Why not stung by A?”
ARB–Angry Retail Banker
That’s also a good one! I also love “Bees make honey, A’s make money.” and “Why you program in C++? Why not A++?”
An easy comeback from your parents would have been to, “Sure, you have more money now than when you retired because of the last three years of this epic bull market, where will you be at after the next downturn?”
I’m surprised your doubters didn’t point that out.
The real proof will come when you survive that and come out with more than you started with.
You mean like how we survived the 2015 oil crash in retirement and came out unscathed? Try to keep up. It’s called actually “READING the article”. It’s not that hard.
? I don’t know anyone with a portfolio affected by the oil crisis… do you? If you hadn’t mentioned it, I wouldn’t even have remembered it as an event, unlike the financial crisis or the dot com crash.
I hope everyone comes through the next downturn in a good position. I just don’t agree with lots of kudos at the top, nor lots of despair at the bottom. Everyone looks likes a genius at this part of the cycle.
Didn’t expect to get teary-eyed from this. It is easier to please almost everyone else than to please Asian parents sometimes. Congrats!
Are you really a millionaire if there are two people that share the million dollars…..?
Does publishing a kids book count as being a novelist…?
How are you sure you are the youngest retiree. I know someone who inherited enough money to live out his days and hasn’t worked since he was 24….
The fact you don’t think children’s novels are novels and that inherited money actually counts says a lot about you. Just sayin…
Happy to report that Polish parents and especially grandparents are the same!
I don’t think I ever heard “I am proud of you” or “you’re doing an amazing job”, but recently one of my dad’s friend called me by mistake and when I picked up, she actually said he is telling all his friends how well I am doing!!!
So anyway, finishing my PhD while working full time job as a high level executive, side hustling and raising a kid, saving for early retirement (59 months to go!) and leading a social activism movement in which I am regularly interviewed in the news and I still never heard I make them proud 😉
But when I furnish my 4th rental all paid cash, they come and ask how I am doing it. I take it as a compliment.
Yes, I’ve heard that from Polish friends too! Looks like Asians parents and Polish parents think alike! 😀 And I’ll take curiosity as a compliment. Usually just the lack of berating is a enough–actually wanting to know how you’re doing it takes it to a whole new level!
Jeff Bezos framed this issue well in an interview. Basically he said something like, if your going to do something amazing, expect to be misunderstood, even by friends and family. My parents would freak out if I told them I was quiting my job. It’s a normal response and from their perspective, conventional wisdom is the best advice they can give me to lead a richer life. I don’t fault them for that. As you know, challenging convention is what opens up amazing opportunities which you brilliantly figured out early in life.
Yeah, I guess that’s probably the normal response from parents to “I’m quitting my job”. Jobs become such a major part of our identity, it really freaks people out to think they can live without one.
And you’re right, challenging convention absolutely opens up opportunities! It’s just impossible to see them when you’re in the herd.
I have been to China. Am myself Polish, altough living since 14 years in Sweden. It seems Chinese and Polish parents are all the same. My mom told me she was proud of my accomplishments just months before she died (she had cancer). So that’s what takes for Polish parents to praise their children. My father has still not spoken any positive word.
When I speak about my plans of FI nobody understands. From my Swedish parents in law I get the typical ”you need to live the life too”, from my father ”what will you do with all this money”, even my boyfriend says that FI is not a plan, that I need a more concrete plan. Being in a relationship with a non-believer is not the simplest task in becoming FI. Although he buys some small parts of it and wants to be able to work less in the future and maybe even move to another country. So we have that in common.
Can’t wait for your book to be published! Al the best on your endavours!
Aww. So sorry to hear about your Mom 🙁
We do have a lot of similarities between our cultures (one of the reasons why I love travelling in Poland). Hey do you have this weird smallpox vaccine scar on your upper left arm too? I’ve never seen anyone in western countries with this, but apparently the communist countries used the older vaccines that gives you a scar. I call it my “made in China” label 😛
Yeah, it’s tough when people you love don’t get your FI plans. But the bright side is that as your FU money goes up, and your happiness level goes up, your results speak for themselves, so after a while you’ll get them asking “why are you so happy all the time?” that’s when it turns from lack of support into curiosity. So hang in there! Your results will speak for themselves!
And thanks for the kind words about our book! It’s been quite the rollercoaster ride but so worth it!
Yes, indeed. I have my devil mark on my upper left arm ? I didn’t know that Chinese have it as well. Funny with made in China label.
It takes some much discipline to continue FI path and not fall into any pits, although me and my boyfriend are good in saving money. I think we save around 45% of our netto income. We have a son now and a big apartment, so we are spending much more than we used. On the other hand we have bigger salaries. If we continue to save the way we do today we will be able to call ourselves FI in 12 years. I think that’s quite ok.
I have that scar but I’m from the States and in my late 40s. Did I just get called old? Lol.
I dont know you and you don’t know me but I’m proud AS F$@K of you guys.
Wow, what a read. I can’t imagine the burden that comes with hardly speaking with your parents. I straight up fist-pumped when I got to the “proud” phone call. #FEELZ
Congratulations on finding success on your own terms, and for inspiring a whole mess of people along the way 🙂
(Also, this comment section is wild. What’s wrong with people? You’re a star, and I can’t wait to get my hands on your book!)
*hugs* It’s wonderful that your dad acknowledged you.
My Chinese parents give me well-meaning advice/pressure as well. I’ve given up on trying to get approval from them (my coach called it “giving up the ghost”) and have been taking option 3.
One thing that does help a bit is to acknowledge that their concerns are being heard. “Mom, I know that you want me to have a house because you believe in the stability. Thank you for caring about me. I’ve considered that option and using index funds is my way of getting stability.” Even if your method is different from their preferred one, I find that my parents back down and aren’t as pushy when I acknowledge their feelings and concerns before I head off in a completely different direction. “Yes, dad, I’ve already considered that factor. Thanks for reminding me.” I’ve mostly developed this patience and approach since I still live in the same city as them and have a weekly dinner with them; I couldn’t avoid them for long – haha.
Thank you for writing this blog and inspiring me (along with many others) that this path to freedom is possible. I really enjoy hearing about some of the cultural aspects some time especially since Chinese culture has some very strong feelings about money and family obligations. Family tithes and “continue the bloodline!” come to mind…. ?
I look forward to your next amazing entry 🙂 <3
I have definitely had lots of judgment over the years from certain family members about my ”questionable” life choices. Moving all around the country. Becoming a vegetarian (gasp). Starting an organic bakery business and not using my degrees in biology and computer science. I do wish I didn’t have to go through the hard phase of them being judgy and difficult. I can’t say it gets any more fun even though I’ve dealt with it my whole life. But you know what? I can look back now even and love those choices I made. I’ve already had a full life and I’m not old. It’s great reading about others who are similar. We have this one short life, go after what you want!
Things family will do on your way to becoming a “side hustle millionaire”:
1. Slander you online and show up to a family even with a gun hidden in the truck waiting for you to do something about it so they have a justified reason of shooting you out of jealousy towards you as your cousin.
2. An aunt will accept a gift such as a box of GUCCI perfume w/ a CRISP $100 bill and give your gift(s) to another aunt who slandered you also and said you were on trial for a crime you never committed.
3. Some family members acting like saints in the church and trying to “prostitute a clean rep & image” before people, when they themselves are nothing more than rotten rascals with many skeletons in the closet.
Feeling inspired and undefeated by the aunt who gave my GUCCI perfume and $100 away to my other aunt who slandered me, I used that in positive thinking as motivation to start a fragrance business. Soon, I’ll be running PPC (pay per click) advertising on Google AdWords to increase sales. People are already inquiring about certain fragrances and how much they cost; a very good thing. So if there’s anything I learned, it’s when family is unsupportive and doesn’t want to see you rise above them and they think they have “1 up” on you, do the transformation business work anyway because [side hustle millionaire] status is right around the corner. And when they think they can control you by telling you not to say this or not to do that, put them in their place by going with your gut feeling. Who are they to tell you what to do? Put them in their place again by using what they did to you and becoming a side hustle millionaire off of it. It’s your gain of learning the hard lessons of life and your gain financially by becoming an “online millionaire in the making,” and their loss by reaping 0% ROI off of their foolishness of acting sideways towards you. 🙂
Who’s the real transformation champion? 🙂
Things family will do on your way to becoming a “side hustle millionaire”:
1. Slander you online and show up to a family even with a gun hidden in the truck waiting for you to do something about it so they have a justified reason of shooting you out of jealousy towards you as your cousin.
2. An aunt will accept a gift such as a box of GUCCI perfume w/ a CRISP $100 bill and give your gift(s) to another aunt who slandered you also and said you were on trial for a crime you never committed.
3. Some family members acting like saints and trying to “profess a clean rep and image” before people, when they themselves are nothing more than rotten rascals with many skeletons in the closet with an unrepentant heart.
Feeling inspired and undefeated by the aunt who gave my GUCCI perfume and $100 away to my other aunt who slandered me, I used her wrongful acts towards me in positive thinking as motivation to start a fragrance business. Soon, I’ll be running PPC (pay per click) advertising on Google AdWords to increase sales. People are already inquiring about certain fragrances and how much they cost; a very good thing.
If there’s anything I learned, it’s when family is unsupportive and doesn’t want to see you rise above them and they think they have “1 up” on you, do the transformation business work anyway because [side hustle millionaire] status is right around the corner. And when they think they can control you by telling you not to say this or not to do that, put them in their place by going with your gut feeling. It’s a sweet feeling today know I’m building off of what people did to me and it’s helping my online revenue to grow and my search engine rankings. I’m ranking much better today in Bing.com, Google.com and YaHoO.com. And when someone has something to say to your face about GUCCI this and GUCCI that, ignore them and know what they did is now putting money in your pocket and they don’t even know it, nor can they do anything about it to stop you from moving forward financially.
Who are they to tell you what to do? Put them in their place again by using what they did to you and becoming a side hustle millionaire off of it. It’s your gain of learning the hard lessons of life and your gain financially by becoming an “online millionaire in the making,” and their loss by reaping 0% ROI off of their foolishness of acting sideways towards you. ?
Who’s the real transformation champion?
Thank you, FIREcracker. I needed this today. Not to compare, but I feel that my devout Southern Baptist parents should meet yours haha. The fact that we’re moving out of our house to an apartment within walking distance of work to avoid a 1-hour commute is baffling to them. My dad is convinced that I need a truck when I’ve never hauled anything in my life. They think that early retirement is selfish, and I can’t convince them that it’s not about sitting on your ass sipping champagne. It REALLY sucks because I used to heavily depend on validation from them, but as I grow more INdependent, the happier I become.
Fine way of telling, and pleasant piece of writing to
take information regarding my presentation focus, which i am going to convey in institution of higher education.
You should put new comments on top instead of the bottom. This gweilo agrees with your father, what if one got divorced? What if one had to go back to work, who would hire someone who hasn’t worked for 10 plus years. And who knows what the future will spawn. Better to work part-time at the very least. I’m happy it worked out for you guys (with the book and TV appearances) but I’d be very cautious to those who are thinking of aping this behavior. As to work, it gets easier as one gets older.
I completely disagree. This attitude is living in an over abundance of cautiousness and maybe even fear. That’s not living. That’s surviving. If they were to divorce then $500k (half their portfolio— or whatever the actual amount is. Doesn’t matter) would be 500 months of luxury living in Tawain. Plenty of time to start a new business, which is something each seems wired to do as opposed to getting a job. Or they could each live like a local in Tawain for a couple of years, reinvest their earnings and be back up to a healthier amount before you know it. There are lots of fall back plans other than sacrificing their dreams.