Latest posts by FIRECracker (see all)
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“Why are you still travelling? Isn’t it boring by now?”
“Ditch your portfolio and become a real-estate investor like me! I own 3 condos and I’m buying another one.”
“You’re missing out on all the housing gains! Everyone knows houses go up forever!”
“Just wait until you have kids! You’ll never travel again and you’ll HAVE to buy a house.”
“Why aren’t you having kids? Do you really want to be barren for the rest of your life?”
Believe it or not, these are actual questions/comments my “friends” have asked me, over the years, whenever we return home to visit family. And the question about being “barren”? That came from a dude. *eye roll*
Now that it’s barbecue season, that means you’re going to be having a lot more social/family gatherings. Which means you’re probably going to get bombarded with a lot of these types of questions—especially if you’re a rich, sexy, rebellious renter like me.
So to give you some ammunition against desperate idiots trying justifying their life choices by putting you down, I’ve compiled a list of the most annoying comments and how you can respond to them:
Five Things Haters Say At Social Gatherings
1) Calling You Selfish
People who call you selfish have made some questionable life choices and they know it. But rather than looking inward and asking themselves the harsh questions they should, they choose to lash out at others in order to justify their own lives. God help them If it’s ever proven that they are not, in fact the heroic figure in their own life story but instead are a bumbling moron that just did what everyone else did out of FOMO.
In order to keep from that from happening, they’ll say things like:
“You’re so selfish for not buying a house…”
“You’re selfish for quitting your job…”
“You’re selfish for not having kids…”
“You’re selfish for having too many kids…”
These people see themselves as martyrs, heroically sacrificing their own happiness for the greater good. And since they are the heroes in their own heads, basically any decision you’ve made that is not in perfect alignment with theirs is selfish. This allows them to put themselves above you as morally superior, thereby reinforcing their own heroic nature.
When confronted with this, your immediately instinct is to fight back and prove them wrong with facts and numbers. Maybe you pull up a study showing all the contributions child-free people like Newton or Oprah made to society. Or you show a graph proving that the stock market beats housing over the long term.
First of all, stop right there.
I get what you’re trying to do, but here’s the thing. You’re assuming they are logical and want to hear the facts. They don’t. They’re emotional, and even more importantly, they’re not interested in a debate because they’ve already made up their mind. Facts don’t work on them.
So don’t waste your breath. Instead, it’s far more fun to tweak them. You’ll never convince them that you’re not selfish so you may as well embrace it.
“I am selfish! How astute of you to notice. I have to admit, it’s pretty awesome. You should try it sometime.”
I then point out that every time they make a mortgage payment, part of their money gets paid to me because I own bank stocks and thank them profusely for helping me travel the world and live my dream. Then I down my drink and run off cackling. Good times.
2) Talking Down to You
People who talk down to you LOVE feeling like they’re smarter and more experienced, even though they often have ZERO experience and, more importantly, ZERO accomplishments in that area.
They like to say things like:
“You think you can actually retire? That’s stupid. The stock market is dangerous and you’re going to run out of money.”
Coming from a guy who’s drowning in debt and thinks an ETF is some kind of car, this is pretty funny.
But they don’t want you to know that. They rely on artificial signs of status like “I’m older than you” or “I have an MBA” and somehow think that automatically means they know what they’re talking about.
So rather than trying to defend your own knowledge and experience with, again, facts and figures, I like to lay bare their own ignorance and watch them flail about like an upended turtle.
“Yeah, you’re probably right. You’re obviously so much better at this than I am, I could probably learn a thing or two from you. So tell me, how did you decide how much to pay for your house? What’s your portfolio invested in? Are you more heavily weighted in domestic or international equities? What are the average MERs?”
Soon it will dawn on them that they don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground, and the more probing questions you ask that they don’t have an answer to, the dumber they look. Eventually, these people pull the ripcord on the grilling by pretending to hear someone calling their name and beat a hasty retreat, avoiding you for the rest of the party and (hopefully) the rest of recorded time.
3) Obnoxiously Bragging
These are people who spend the entire time bragging about the one good move they made and Will. Not. Shut. Up. About. It. These are the people who bought a house that went up in value and uses the word “equity” in every second sentence. Or bought BitCoin that skyrocketed in value and are now all “crypto this” and “crypto that.”
Over the past few years, we’ve met a number of millionaires. And here’s the thing: people who are rich, confident, and are secure in their abilities don’t brag about their wealth. In fact, they often keep a pretty low profile.
The ones who go around telling people “I’m super rich” or “I’m super smart” may not be lying (about the rich part), but they’re not smart. They got lucky and they’re terrified that they’ll be discovered as frauds.
These people may ooze confidence on the outside, but inside they’re scared shitless. So they work every party, every social gathering, every meet-up and try to get as many people on board with whatever they’re invested in as possible. They’re like a Ponzi scheme. Their investment only makes sense if there are more people lining up to buy. That’s why Home Boners are endlessly trying to convince you to buy houses. If everyone lost interest in housing, their house would fall and then their bet wouldn’t look so great anymore.
And as we all know, becoming Financial Independent is all about “Becoming” not “Getting” FI, and since they haven’t learned how to keep the money, whatever fortune they happen to luck out on won’t last.
Whatever you do, don’t argue with this person. This person is not allowed to question the asset they’ve put all their eggs onto, so you’ll never convince them with sound or reasoned arguments. Instead, they’ll just argue with you more and more in an attempt to convince you. Nor should you pretend to agree to get them to go away. If you do that, they’ll literally pull out their phone and call their real estate agent, or ask you go log into your laptop so you can buy Bitcoin “right now, before it’s too late!” They desperately need you to buy so if you feign interest they’ll just get more obnoxious.
Instead, the best way I’ve found of dealing with them is to simply congratulate them on being so smart, and then since they’re so unbelievably rich they should be able to afford to buy everyone a round of drinks.
“Great, good for you! Next round of drinks is on you! Everyone, let’s hear it for Richard!”
When you do this, watch how fast the blood drains from their face. A normal rich person may shrug and play along, or politely decline, but an obnoxious braggart will panic because, and this is important, they don’t actually have any money.
All their wealth is locked up in some stupid illiquid Ponzi scheme and they can’t get it out.
So rather than be outed as being effectively broke, they will get embarrassed and beat a hasty retreat.
4) Dismissing Your Hard Work
These people love making up excuses to dismiss your accomplishments, so they don’t have to do anything to change their lives. They want your results but are too lazy to do the work to get there. It’s much easier for them to say things like:
“Yeah, but you can do this because you don’t have kids.” When you point out that other people have do it with kids, they’ll retort with “but they’re probably not good parents” or some shit like that.
“Yeah, but what’s the point of investing? The government’s just going to take it away.”
“Yeah, but who wants to eat cat food like a loser?”
These people are what I like to call “Yeah-Buts” because they like to start every sentence with “Yeah but…” followed by some stupid, contrived excuse why they can’t do what you did even though they totally can. They just don’t want to.
Don’t bother trying to argue with Yeah Buts, but because it’s a never-ending game of Wack-a-Mole. For every excuse you dispel, two or three more will pop up in their place.
And while there are a few fun ways to toy with Yeah-Buts, at the end of the day they’re trying to excuse themselves from making any changes. They see you kicking ass and pulling ahead while they’re stuck in the slow lane behind you, and rather than learn from your success they just want absolution for being so far behind. So I like to just give it to them.
“You know what? You’re right. Getting rich and retiring isn’t for everyone. And clearly you’re happy doing what you’re doing, so that’s great! I’m happy for you.”
The longer we’ve been retired, the more we realize haters hate because of themselves not you. No matter how confident, how self-righteous, how condescending they seem, the reality is that they’re terrified.
They’re terrified of being wrong and are so unhappy they’re desperate to drag you down with them.
They are the type of people who tell you that you look “unhealthy” when you lose weight. Or dismiss your accomplishments when you achieve your dreams. Or try to scare you into staying when you manage to break out of your corporate prison.
One big advantage of traveling is we can easily get the HELL away from these people as quickly as possible.
I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather spend time with curious, genuine people we meet all over the world than insecure assholes.
But if for any reasons, you can’t get away from these people (maybe they’re family, neighbors, or you’ve known them for forever) use the ammunition above. They’ll either cut it out, or stop hanging out with you. Either way, win-win!
So regardless of whether you want to take the high road by ignoring them or stoop to my level (it’s fun down here in the gutter) by trolling the trolls, at the end of the day, the best revenge is living a kick-ass life.
What do you think? How do you respond to the haters in your life?
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