By Adam Jusko, ProudMoney.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sometimes when people think about becoming rich, they think of “F*ck You” money — the amount it would take to be able to go into work Monday morning just long enough to say “F*ck You”, walk out with your stuff, and never look back. The amount that constitutes “F*ck You” money is different for everyone, but basically you need a sum large enough to be able to live comfortably off the principal and interest for the rest of your life.
I have a couple of problems with the concept of “F*ck You” money, though. Number One is the idea that we are all inherently dissatisfied with our work lives, that “The Man” is constantly breathing down our necks and finding our performance wanting. (As The Police once sang, “Every single meeting with his so-called superior is a humiliating kick in the crotch.”) While work may sometimes be a drag, the average employee is probably treated better today by his/her “superiors” than at any time in history.
Number Two, if you think the (negative) motivation of saying “f*ck you” to a boss is going to lead you to ever actually having “f*ck you” money, keep dreaming. Because unless you win the lottery or have a mysterious rich dead uncle, dreaming about this scenario is all you’ll ever do.
So… a proposal. Can we change “f*ck you” money to “f*ck yeah!” money? Can we make this pot of gold that we’re dreaming of be the positive result of our efforts at earning/saving/investing instead of some random stroke of luck? Can we look forward to saying “f*ck yeah” in personal victory instead of “f*ck you” in some sort of revenge fantasy?
There’s a bit of an online blog community around the concept of FIRE, an acronym for Financial Independence, Retire Early. (The hub of this community is probably Rockstar Finance.) These bloggers are people who are planning for their eventual freedom not by getting filthy rich and flipping the bird at someone, but instead by earning/saving/investing as much as they can today, living below their means, and plotting a course that will give them the choice to leave the work world on their terms, on their timeline. They might be dreaming, but very often they are dreaming with a solid plan. When their FIRE day comes, the feeling will be much more “F Yeah!” than “F You!”
(IMO, some FIRE people go to extremes in their sacrificing today for freedom tomorrow, but perhaps once you start to see the FIRE getting closer, it becomes something of an addiction.)
There’s an adage that says something along the lines of “If you took all the money in the world and divided it evenly, before long it would work its way back into the pockets of the people that have it today.” Without getting political, there is undoubtedly truth to it. Some people work their tails off, strategize, take calculated risks, and end up with a “F*ck Yeah!” ending, while others let life push them around randomly and end up dreaming of a miraculous, hateful “F*ck You”. Yes, it’s more complicated than that, but wishing for good things to happen without thoughtful, directed action isn’t the right course no matter where you may be starting from.
So that’s my proposal. Don’t hope for a “F*ck You” moment. Instead, start down the path that leads to a satisfying, sustainable “F*ck Yeah!”