How to Respond to Trolls

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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.

They don’t.

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.

Everybody wins.

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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80 thoughts on “How to Respond to Trolls”

  1. Great post, it remind me of this book called “when I say no I feel guilty” by Manuel J Smith, I would highly recommend it.

    1. I was thinking the same thing, Ricardo. Seconded on the recommendation. The book is dated in some respects, but assertiveness training is so helpful in life.

  2. Thank you for posting this, FIRECracker! You’ve articulated precisely what I’ve encountered at my Chinese-American family gatherings, though not for FIRE per se. (That’s a goal I’ve kept quiet to myself.) Instead, these comments have been directed at those of us who do anything out of societal expectations. I feel like your comments are applicable to any of us who “question the status quo” as you’ve often written in your earlier posts/interviews. The most insidious thing about #2 is that when it’s coming from family, it is often said under the guise of “I’m just trying to help you,” and that isn’t always easy to respond to.

    I have a feeling that in addition to your FIREy lifestyle, it is your sense of knowing what you want, that drives those “haters” mad. While they’re busying doing “what they’re supposed to do,” convinced that it will lead them to “what they want to do,” you guys actually took the time to think about what you really wanted from life, and made it happen. (After all, it’s not like you sat around waiting for life to change; you just worked hard to make the changes you wanted for yourselves.) In reality, those “haters” have no clue what they want to do, and they’re probably terrified of facing the possibility that they have spent years working hard doing something that will not lead them anywhere closer to figuring out what they want from their own lives. As you said, these comments are just a reflection of their insecurity; those who are truly your friends will support you and wish you the best without expressing their so-called “concern” for your life choices.

    1. Very insightful comment, Jessica! I definitely feel you on the family giving unwanted advice, disguised as trying to “help” you. It’s like the answer to a question nobody asked and more often than not it’s the that that “knowing what you want” freaks people out. I have heard a quote from somewhere about “the saddest people are those who don’t know what they want” and in some ways that is true.

      Stay strong at those family bbqs! It does get easier over time as they see that you’re perfectly happy living your life on our own terms.

  3. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
    I love you for writing this.

    It does take a level of extreme independence, confidence and leadership to go against the mainstream. You are a badass.

    The brave need supporters not critiques(Seth Godin).

    Complaining or criticizing is easier than finding a solution for people aka trolls. I try remember that naysayers are terrified/unhappy.

    Nothing is easier than to denounce the evildoer, nothing is harder to understand him(Fyoder Dosteryovesky).

    1. Right on, Nikko! Complaining is always easier than doing. But doing actually yields results. Once you have results, doesn’t matter what the haters say.

  4. A lot of people are trolls without even realizing it. But being OK with them just having their own (misguided) views is hard personal work on the FI side. Definitely a quality part of *becoming* FI.

    And if you’re a Swifty, there’s a catchy song for this =P

    1. I didn’t even know “Swifty” was a thing! Cute!

      “Haters gonna hate, hate hate…” #TaylorSwift4Ever

  5. Whoa, I just realized that I don’t have haters in my life. We just came back from visiting friends and families in California and nobody behaved like this. We were happy to see each other and just enjoyed catching up.
    I get occasional trolling comments at my blog, but it’s easy to ignore those.

  6. I feed on hate. When I get hate, that means that our message is being heard outside of the personal finance community and that’s ultimately a very, very good thing.

    I think two main concepts are in play, here:

    * Opinions are like assholes…everybody’s got one
    * Hate is very often the outward manifestation of jealousy

    While I don’t necessarily believe that everybody who hates me is simply “jealous”, I also know that a lot of people ARE, and that’s their way of expressing it. I used to do it too way before I accepted that FIRE was achievable for us. I did all that same shit, so I know exactly what they are going through (at least from outward appearances).

    But really, everyone out there has an opinion on, well, everything. Sometimes those opinions are well-founded. Other times, they aren’t. Basically, I just don’t care. If I did, I’d be frustrated and irritated every day of my life, without question. I’d be constantly in tune with what other people are saying and feeling, and I just wouldn’t be able to be myself.

    So yeah, screw that. If someone wants to hate me because of the choices we’ve made, let ’em. No big deal. Hate’s a personal problem…and a problem that I never want to have.

    1. Preach it, Steve! Love your attitude against the haters.

      “Opinions are like assholes…everybody’s got one”.

      So true.

  7. As a blog writer, I get my fair share of trolls criticising my lifestyle. Mostly I just ignore them. Life’s too short to worry about what some random idiot on the internet said about me.

    As far as friends and family go, we haven’t told them we’ve reached multi-millionaire status. I don’t want them asking for handouts or offering up the criticisms listed above. Stealth Wealth just makes it much simpler.

    1. Stealth wealth!!! Love that lol!!! Quietly saving and investing away!!!! Much better than loud and broke!!!

  8. Ignore them!
    You can easily get rid of toxic people around you and you don’t necessarily need to travel:)
    I have become a lot more selective about who I hang out with as I get older. Life is too short.

    1. I’d say it’s easier to cut toxic friends out of your life, but with family it’s a bit more challenging. Being selective is a good strategy. We’re lucky that we’ve been able to meet so many more genuine friends on our travels.

      1. I hear you, even with my entire family being on another continent, I still have to put up with it once in a while:)
        Not sure if it is luck as much as being genuine yourself:)

  9. Great list here, Kristy. It’s always been true that the person who criticizes endlessly is laying bare his own flaws and insecurities, not those of his target.

    Figuring that out has helped me a lot, because as an extrovert I’m naturally sensitive to criticism.

    1. I hear you, DbF! Being an ambivert, it’s easier for me than it is for an extrovert, but I’m glad you figured it out!

  10. 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?”


    I was hoping you would have some comebacks to those questions in your post.

    1. Those questions fall under the “talking down to you” and “obnoxious bragging” categories. Use strategies I mentioned above.

  11. Personally, even though I have saved up enough money to retire early, one reason I (single, not married, no kids) haven’t taken the plunge is because of family (parents, close relatives, etc.).

    I want to see them regularly and vice versa. So geographical arbitrage just wouldn’t be an option as a long term life style. Also, my parents’ ages are getting up there; they are going to need more and more help, in terms of financial and emotional support, and I want to be there to take care of them the best I can.

    1. Makes sense. FI doesn’t require geographic arbitrage. The travel and retire parts are both optional. And some people do a mix, by having a home base and travelling periodically through the year. The important thing is that FU money gives you options. As I mentioned before, FI in FIRE is mandatory, everything else is optional. Glad you are FI and have options. Well done!

  12. Everyone is allowed to live their life the way the choose, or at least they should be. I know a family with 8 children, and another with none, they are both both wonderful families.

    And people who say money is a sin, need to reread the Bible, there are dozens of messages about prosperity, wealth, and fruitfulness.

    Your #1 responsibility, is to take care of yourself, how can you help anybody else if you don’t ?

    Rock On….


    1. “Your #1 responsibility, is to take care of yourself, how can you help anybody else if you don’t ?”

      So true. Like the airplane safety videos–always put on your own mask before helping someone else with theirs.

  13. Wow – I don’t know if I live in a twilight zone or what, but I share my retirement plans (and plans to never have kids) with everyone and only one person in my whole life has ever said anything troll-y to me. My friend told me “You’ll change you’re mind” about kids. I told her that’s rude, explained why and asked her to apologize. She did and she’s never said anything like that again…though she did tell me she’s a bit afraid of me now. Fear is a vital friendship ingredient…right? ?

    I don’t know if I’m just not paying attention or more people fear me than I realized 😉 …or they just know I don’t give a fuck and don’t even try. No idea! But I feel like I’m missing something since your friends/acquaintances these things to you.

    I guess I need to branch out and find these people so I can use all of your (AWESOME) tips above ?.

    1. “Fear is a vital friendship ingredient…right? ”

      Bwahahah. Love it.

      I’m so happy for you that you have so few frenemies and so many good friends! It’s even better when you don’t need my tips! Cheers to good friends!

    2. My biggest fear is when I get old, nobody will love me, at least if I have a couple of kids,
      to torment.

      Single people, or even married couples that choose not to have children, tend to create their own family thru friendships. Jan Arden is quoted as saying friendships are the most important or valued in her life, and we need to cultivate and keep these friendships alive.

      I also need someone to push my wheelchair… but i will probably forget who they are by then anyway.

  14. I moved to another area at work and unlike my last work group, I haven’t discussed my financial situation or my 7 figure investment portfolio and lack of debt. I used to talk about it because I wanted to help others get to FI but I thought I’d shut my piehole in the new place. Everyone has an MBA and dresses to impress where I am now. I come in jeans and casual. No MBA either to my name. The funny thing is how they all ask me how much debt I have. When I mention I don’t have any outside my car at 0% financing, they have to pause for a moment while they try to figure out something in their head. You sure can see the steam sizzling off their head for a good 10-15 seconds. Somehow, I don’t think they know what to make of me.

    They. Are. So. Confused. ?

    We walk among you but you don’t know who we are. LOL

    1. I treat it like I treat my Religions beliefs, when they ask, I am ready to talk, and not afraid to, but your right, if they don’t ask, don’t tell. They have their minds made up that the leased BMW is a necessity, and its Gucci, or get out…

      Here, we want to hear about how you achieved your 7 figure portfolio, elsewhere, and at your work place, it could be taken as bragging.

    2. Love it! Their F*ck-over-ability index sucks and your doesn’t. Cheers to that! When the boss needs to dump shitty projects on someone, your name isn’t going to be on that list!

    3. “We walk among you but you don’t know who we are.”

      So true.

      We are the Millionaires Next Door. Drive average cars. Dress very casually. When our neighbors see us wearing ratty clothes while we DIY our house repairs, who knows what they think of us. But we laugh all the way to the bank.

      And we thank God that our frugality resulted in FIRE before the major health crises came.

      We were able to take care of our parents, and we’re able to take care of ourselves because we spent less than we earned and invested the difference.

      And when people are obnoxious or snobby to us, I just look at them and think, “My net worth is probably much greater than yours.”

      “We walk among you but you don’t know who we are.”

      1. Oh yeah, he does it from time to time. I tend to be snarkier than him. Usually he just ignores them and forgets about it within seconds.

  15. A few more to your list…

    1) You must be commies and that’s why you have so much red on your site. Commies must die!!

    2) If everyone retired early the economy would collapse! Keep slaving away like everyone else pleeeeaaaaseeee!

    3) Remember the wise words of your greatest president ever George W. Bush, when the shit REALLY hits the fan “just go shopping”. What a lovely man, and not a reptilian alien at all!!

    4) Better yet, borrow lots of money and then just go shopping! p.s. buy a house (or two) while you are at it.

    5) You are worth shit unless you have at least two SUVs parked in the drive (and better still a Hummer).

    6) Traveling is for losers. That’s my argument. Period.

    7) The world REALLY needs more kids, so get breeding! Just lay back and think of good ole U-S-A!

    8) You really ought to be in BitCoin cos it’s seriously cool, and investments are for wrinkly people and lamerz!

    9) You have a blog so you are NOT RETIRED!!!!!!!!!! Liarz AND lamerz!!

    10) I’m all trolled out….phew trolling is exhausting…


    1. LOL. You’re right, trolling DOES look exhausting (A+ for the effort!). Shocker that they never managed to accomplish anything.

  16. Love this post. In Sweden, #2:ers from Codfreezes exemples are quite common (”everyone should take resposability to consume our planet to zero in order to keep the wheels spinning Q4 as well!”). Alignement to average is virtuous and you should not attempt to do things that could not be achieved by the rest of the population because that is perceived as unfair.

    Found this blog via ChooseFI podcast (J Collins episode) and I love it, you write so well and the topics are both intriguing and inspiring. Chapeau for all of this knowledge at such a young age.

  17. Here’s an easy one I’m surprised you haven’t thrown out there for the people who criticize your investment knowledge:

    “Wow, you know so much about finance. Tell me, how old were you when you became FI and retired from the workforce?”

    ARB–Angry Retail Banker

  18. I don’t think I have any haters, that I know of. Only a few know of my debt free journey and map to living abroad/with location independent employment. I may have a few because hubby and I make it a priority to travel, but I haven’t felt it to my face. I loooove all your responses. Hilarious!

  19. Yes, yes, so much yes. I just had another 15 mins of fame with Yahoo Finance and biz insider features and along with that comes the ignorant trolls. One guy is convinced my kids will be starving and living on the street very soon because of my selfishness of not working in spite of a paid off home and $2 million bucks in my accounts!! And we spend <2% of that portfolio to fund all living expenses.

    Fortunately several long time blog readers have successfully argued with the troll and I haven't lifted a finger:)

    The troll eventually figured out it was simply a matter of a different understanding of the facts. In this post-truth world we have today in America, that is to be expected. Alternate facts and alternate truths are just as valid as actual facts, truth, and understanding.

    1. “Fortunately several long time blog readers have successfully argued with the troll and I haven’t lifted a finger:)”

      Go RootofGood Nation! Love it when readers attack the trolls for you.

  20. I like the description “Stealth Wealth” which is what I guess I have been for years, saving carefully, determined to be able to retire in my 50s if I wanted/needed. I never spoke much about what I was doing, and frankly, wondered how everyone else was managing to pay for homes, kids and vacations I couldn’t afford because I was saving toward Financial

    We are now FI and RE, but only by a few years shy of 65. DH needed to work 4 years past my retirement because he did more of the usual before we married (houses, cars and kids).

    I also avoided having children. Today, when younger women ask me, my answer is simply “No Regrets.” I knew my decision was the right one early. Dear Abby, a nationwide columnist asked her readers: If you knew then what you know now, would you have had children? Over 70 percent (I think it was 74 percent, but it’s been too many years to be certain) said NO. They loved their children, but the expense, time, work, worry and abuse just wasn’t worthwhile. So I stuck to my inclination to be “barren” and yeah, I got all the trolling you have heard.

    The only one you haven’t mentioned is: “Who will take care of you when you are old?” During college I was an intern at a Hospital. I worked with the Social Worker, processing transitions from Hospital to Nursing Care Facilities, End of Life Planning, etc. Lemme tell you, the people without family but with money were fine. Most people had families who were serious problems for the patients, either trying to save assets for their own inheritance rather than spending their parent’s savings on their parents, or acting out their own dramas when the patient needed to save energy to heal. I made a note and bought long term care insurance when I turned 50, and won’t have to worry about being without family as I age.

    1. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story! Yeah, people get really triggered when others don’t go along with their life choices. Glad you’ve been able to ignore the assholes and it’s working out great for you!

  21. “…logical and want to hear the facts. They don’t.”

    For those rare few left who do care about facts and clear thinking, I have just read and am now recommending “Factfulness” by Hans Rosling 🙂

  22. Do people still use the word barren?? Can’t believe someone said that to you.

    I have thought about this in relation to my blog. I haven’t gotten a nasty message yet, but my blog is newish and I’m sure it’s coming at some point! As someone who is very much not thick skinned, I wonder how I’ll handle it. I’m sure it gets easier but I bet the first one will feel stingy. Ultimately though, it’s really not about you, it’s about them. And most people are awesome.

    1. “Do people still use the word barren?” I know right? The 1800s called, they want their word back.

      Don’t worry about the haters, you’ll grow a thick skin over time. As you said, you just need to remind yourself it’s about them, not you. And it’s true, most people are awesome so we shouldn’t get a rat’s ass about the 1% of haters.

  23. I can relate a little here. I’ve got a family BBQ coming up and I have a particular auntie that now has a habit of asking why I haven’t bought a property yet. She’s considered as the more financially savvy person amongst the family and hasn’t seemed to work out that a half a million for a small home around London isn’t affordable for young people. Especially considering I don’t have a partner. Yes, I’m pursuing FIRE and if I dumped my entire portfolio I could probably buy a large portion of that house with cash only thanks to investing but she doesn’t know that and I’m not going to do such a silly thing.

    1. Nice work standing your ground, Richard! I can completely understand how annoying it is to hear family members ask, over and over, again “why haven’t you bought house”. That’s why I gave up fighting with them and just lived my awesome life instead. They’ve since come around and stop asking because they can see how happy I am all the time.

  24. Firecracker, this helped me so much! Thank you 🙂 it’ll definitely help me and my girlfriend when we become FI and encounter people around the world who might fall into these categories. Also, it helped me reframe and be aware of my own tendencies as well and to make sure I don’t become the very asshole I try not to talk to lol. Overall thank you! Looking forward to your book! Haha.

    1. Very good point, Jack. It’s also good to look at ourselves, every now and then, to make sure we’re not hating on others by accident.

      Best of luck on your journey to FI!

  25. Great post! You nailed the various types of vermin out there that are too lazy to change their life so they hate on yours.

    1. On the plus side, their laziness is our gain 🙂 The lazier and spendier they are, the more dividends and capital gains we get! So yay for laziness?

  26. I think that people are jealous that you have done something different in life instead of following the normal path. They need to validate their own choices by questioning your choices. The prestigious degrees and fancy houses don’t mean much if you can’t live a fulfilled life. Thanks for being a role-model and ignoring the trolls!

  27. If we are stupid trolls, we should hang out with stupid trolls only.
    If we are rich smarts, we should hang out with rich smarts only.
    Always fly with birds of the same feather.
    And that’s why I am here.

  28. What an appropriate article. Thanks for penning this down Firecracker.

    I come from a Singaporean Chinese family and a lot of familial expectations revolve around getting married, having kids and having a long successful corporate career, of which none of the above falls close to what I’m looking for.

    I’m at the tail end of executing Project Django Unchained and have almost nine toes out of the gates of corporate hell right now, and while I have a set of supportive and rather modern parents, the wider set of aunts and uncles are rather traditional and never fail to use every opportunity at social gatherings to tell me to follow the crowd.

    My method is to pretend listening to them and just nod in agreement, and then go back to doing my own thing. But I sure wish I can deploy some of the above tactics. It’ll sure be fun!

    Best regards,

    1. Pretend listening and nodding is a great tactic to use on nosy aunties/uncles. I have deployed it at many family gatherings.

      Glad your parents are supportive, even if other family members are not.

  29. That’s so true about the negativity coming from the trolls’ own insecurities, and not your decisions. You guys keep trucking along and doing what you do best! It sounds like everyone still needs a good dose of “mind yo’ feckin’ business.” 😉

    I’ve gotten my fair share of nasty comments, largely from one family member in particular. She had to work incredibly hard as a kid and had a very rough life. I didn’t have it easy in some ways, but my upbringing was privileged and I really had it good. When I told her about our plans to pay off debt and that I would freelance full time, she wasn’t having it. I’ve never seen someone be so angry about another person’s happiness.

    In hindsight I realize it was more about her feeling jealous that I’m able to do these things so young, largely due to my privilege (and a small touch of luck and hard work). Just gotta brush it off and keep doing what you know works. 🙂

    1. Yup, that sounds like jealousy all right. Though, I do understand how hard it is to feel happy for others when you’ve had a rough childhood. But ultimately, how you react to adversity determines where you end up.

      I’m glad you can see it’s about them and not about you though! Brush it off and keep going is the way to go!

  30. Hey firecracker, nice post as usual.

    It really can be quite annoying when a person wants to get ahead in life and makes the effort to accomplish their dreams only to have naysayers come along and try to derail you. That is why I am grateful that there is such a place as this where its possible to come together with like minded people and learn how to troll the trolls. 🙂

    1. Trolling the trolls is super fun! 🙂 So I guess I have the trolls to thank, otherwise how can I develop this awesome new skill?

  31. Hi, is it possible that some friends/family are really not trolls or haters but are genuinely concerned that you can continue to have a comfortable lifestyle? Sometimes criticisms or counterpoints are offered by those who have done extremely well or have made excellent alternative choices to the ones you have made.

    I’m early retired for over 11 years now, own a home and rental properties as well as a stock portfolio, have zero active income, but an annual household budget of over 150k. I find your blog entertaining, but often disagree with points you make in your writing (e.g. your negative views on real estate and corporate jobs), have a lifestyle very different from yours, and have been retired for much longer than you – I retired one year before the financial crisis. Once in a while I comment on your articles to present a different perspective which I think would provide your readers a fuller picture based on real experience, but you can get pretty defensive. I’m not a troll, just someone who wants to present more viewpoints for early retirement hopefuls to consider.

    1. “Hi, is it possible that some friends/family are really not trolls or haters but are genuinely concerned that you can continue to have a comfortable lifestyle?”

      If you think a man calling a woman “barren” is “genuine concern”, I feel sad for you.

      1. Wow, that was a defensive reply… I said “some friends/family”, I wasn’t referring to your friend who said the “barren” comment. It is your choice, not mine, to be friends with that person, so please don’t associate his comment with me. I don’t care whether you choose to have kids or not, although I’d be interested in the financial aspect if you do have kids later.

        I was referring more to the financial choice of early retiring as a couple with only $1 M at a market top, and you consciously chose not to simply change companies or jobs (you say all jobs are the same, but I disagree – I’ve had jobs that paid me to travel all over the world, and location-independent jobs), chose to be life-long renters, chose to geo-arbitrage in low cost of living countries. In your 20s, 30s, and maybe even 40s, you can roll with any setbacks, but it gets harder after that. Lots of things could change: kids, divorce, health issues, 50+% market corrections with long recovery, runaway inflation, or you might just get tired of traveling or living in low-cost countries, or miss living close to family once the parents need assistance. You guys will likely be just fine with all your income from passion projects, but I’m a little concerned about readers who can’t figure out how to open a brokerage account or buy an ETF.

        1. You seem very passionate about “helping” readers without actually offering any concrete suggestions. Despite the fact that we offer a step-by-step FREE workshop breaking down exactly how to buy ETFs, you seem to be completely ignorant about that. Maybe try actually READING the blog before jumping to conclusions?

          I highly recommend you start your own blog. It might help you iron out those jumbled thoughts and provide actual solutions rather than bitching about other people’s choices or responses without reading.

          1. You misunderstood. Yes, you have a workshop that breaks down step-by-step how to open a brokerage and trade ETFs, that’s why I said many of your readers don’t know the basics of investing. Many treat your blog like gospel, I hope you will stick around to lead them through the next downturn after they’ve followed your path.

            I wouldn’t choose to retire at 30 with only $1 million, so my story wouldn’t sell very well. People would much rather hear your story because it’s easier and more achievable. Jury is out on whether it’ll be enough to fund the next 60 years of life changes.

  32. This was hilariously accurate and very on point!!! Great post I do some of these things already but you def gave me some more ammo for other situations! Love this blog keep doing what you’re doing and thank you!

  33. So, honest question here. I too dream of reaching FI and maybe not traveling the world constantly as you do, but certainly travel is one of the things I want to do. BUT. When I’ve taken longer trips (which, let’s be honest, top out at around two weeks) I get pretty tired of traveling by the end. Could be a few things going on with that. It could be a function of the intensity of packing it all in on vacation (because I have to get my money’s worth, right?). It could be a personality difference, and I’m just more of a homebody. So, DO you get tired of traveling? Did you when you were working, vs. now? You guys did intense vacations when you were working — however I think your work situation was toxic enough that I’m not sure the psychological end of vacation dynamics were quite the same as mine are. That said, you’ve experienced travel both ways. Obviously if I reach FIRE I can be one of the folks with a home base, if it turns out that traveling is not so much for me, but when I saw the list of questions in the lede I was wondering what the answer to that one was and whether slow travel helps mitigate the issue.

    1. All great questions. In terms of vacations versus the long term travel we do now, they are completely different. One involves running around and seeing as many sights as possible, the other is laid back, living like a local and much easier on the wallet. I prefer slow travel WAY more. We only do 1-2 sightseeing things a day now. And some days, we just stay in and write, and then go to a spa the next day.

      I think the balance that works for us is 1 day work on passion projects, then 1 day sightseeing or spa-ing.

      But it really depends on your personality. If you don’t enjoy travelling and would rather stay home, that’s okay too. FIRE doesn’t mean you have to retire or travel, it just means you have options.

      I would say, try slow travelling (take a month off and only visit 2-3 places. Make sure you stay in 1 city for at least a week.) and see if you like it. If you don’t then, there’s no shame in staying home 😉

  34. Believe it or not we have haters regarding our push for adoption. For example, my brother-in-law (because I talk about our journey on my blog) stated that my wife and me needed to focus more because we have done a fair amount of traveling over the past 3 years while pursuing IVF. My wife wanted to reach through the screen and choke the life out of him (and still more). I didn’t respond because he is a jackhole, but I did want to scream at him and ask what the hell do you think we have been doing for the past 3 years and moving further on in the process. Nowadays I try to ignore most of them (including the yeah buts).

    Sorry to get personal. It was the only example I could think of.

  35. After a person achieves “side hustle millionaire” status from affiliate marketing and blogging, I think it’s a really good idea to go into real estate as a steady and passive source of steady income. I always hated getting up in the morning and going to work, but I did what I had to do.

  36. Hey FIRECracker,
    Ok, so you’ve written a blog about trolls and haters. Now, can you please do a blog on your Lovers and Supporters?
    I think it’s only fair that way 😉

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