What is FU Money and How Do I Get Some?

Have you ever wanted to rage quit your job? 

Sometimes our work environments can become so toxic that we dread going in every day, and if we didn’t need to pay our bills, we’d say, “Screw this, I quit!”

FU money gives you that opportunity. 

What is FU Money?

FU Money is a non-vulgar (even though everyone knows what we mean) way of saying we have enough money not to deal with the BS. 

You can imagine what the “FU” in FU money stands for, right?

“FU – I don’t need this job!”

And that’s precisely what FU money is. It’s having enough money that we don’t need to deal with a stressful situation at work. We don’t need to deal with a toxic boss or busy-body coworkers. 

We can nope out of a horrible work environment whenever we want.

Don’t want to read the post? Watch the video instead!

 

 

Who Needs FU Money?

Everyone needs FU money. Employers have power over us because we need our jobs to survive. We need to pay the rent and put food on the table.

Even people who love their jobs and can’t imagine doing anything else need FU money. You never know when a beloved boss will be replaced with a horrible one or whether your workload and mission will change. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if you had the power to walk away at any time? FU money gives you the financial security to say no to a job that expects too much of you or treats you poorly. 

FU Money Vs. Emergency Funds

Although an FU fund is similar to an emergency fund, there are a few crucial differences.  An emergency fund is for one-time emergencies, like the car breaking down or paying the deductible on a hospital visit.

Ideally, you should have three to six months’ living expenses in an emergency fund, which should sustain you for a short time if you unexpectedly lose your job. But generally, an emergency fund won’t be enough to provide long-term, stress-free support if you quit your job.

That’s where FU money comes in. It’s having enough money to sustain yourself even without a job. It’s a whole lot more than just six months of living expenses.

FU Money and Financial Independence

FU money spawned from the fire movement, but it’s not the same. People with this kind of money still work because they like their jobs or enjoy work. The extra money is just a bonus -they are financially stable without their jobs.

Having this extra money gives them the ability to work with less stress. People with FU money never have to worry about losing their jobs. They never have to stay in a toxic position just to pay the bills. 

They can leave whenever they want and pursue whatever they want out of their careers. Unfortunately, that’s a freedom that most of us don’t have.

The Freedom to Walk

I can’t stress how important the freedom to walk away from a toxic job is. And unfortunately, most of us don’t have that freedom.

Employers know – so they take advantage. They expect workers to come in when they are sick, deal with angry, verbally abusive customers with a smile, work extra hours, do the work of three people after downsizing, and the list goes on and on. 

Most of us grin and bear it because we need the money.

But could you imagine how different things would be if people had the power to say “No” and walk away from these outrageous demands? Work would no longer be miserable. Employers would have to take care of their employees. Businesses that preyed upon their workers’ need for a paltry paycheck would dissolve.

That’s not a bad thing. If a business relies on exploiting workers to be profitable, it shouldn’t be in business anyway.

It Sounds Like I’d Need a Lot of Money – How Do I Get it?

Yes, it’s a lot of money. Having FU money is very similar to being financially independent.

The difference is if you enjoy working, you don’t need quite as much because, in theory, you will eventually get another job.

So, before determining how we get it, let’s define how much you need.

How Much FU Money Do I Need?

Generally, people who are pursuing FU money want to work. They are that rare breed of financial independence seekers who like their jobs, find meaning in their work, and want to continue doing it.

You can check out my quiz on what type of financial independence is right for you to see if that’s your type of fire. You’ll likely end up with Coast Fire or Passion Fire if you want to keep working.

But that also means you don’t need as much money to be at your desired flavor of financial independence.

Ideally, you should save for retirement and reach your Coast Fire number first. This way, you will have enough money in retirement savings to maintain your standard of living when you reach full retirement age.  Knowing you won’t be destitute when you can no longer work is a massive stress reducer.  

Consider Your Short-Term Needs

Think realistically about what you would need if you quit your job. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Would you still want to work, or would you consider retiring early?
  • How long would it take to find a new job if you’d prefer to work?
  • Would the pay be similar, or would you likely have to accept less?
  • How much money do you need to live while you’re looking?

I can’t answer these questions, but I can tell you that you should probably have enough money saved to live for at least a year. 

And when I say live, I don’t mean survive.

FU money differs from an emergency fund; it’s not just holding you over and getting you through it. It’s supposed to give you options. You should be able to live utterly stress-free for that year (or however long you will want to).

Calculating Yearly Expenses 

To determine how much you need, add up your monthly expenses. Remember to include your credit card debt, student loan debt, or any other random expenses you might have. Next, add any quarterly or yearly costs, like insurance and taxes.

Include money in your budget for non-bill necessities, like food and entertainment. Add all these things together to determine the minimum amount you need to live for a year.

But that’s not all.  Add a bit extra to be safe from financial emergencies. They always arise at the worst possible time. 

Don’t worry if you don’t want to do the math right now – I already did it for you! 

Americans’ average cost of living for a year was about $56,000 in 2022. Your situation may vary based on factors such as where you live, your family size, and your personal debt. It’s also vital to consider inflation, as the rapidly rising prices of 2023 taught us. 

How Do I Get FU Money?

I’m sure you realize how much money this will take – so the big question is, how do you get there? 

Like most things in personal finance, you can do three main things to build your FU money: Save money, invest more, and increase your income. 

Saving Money

It always starts with saving money. You can do thousands of little things to spend less.

Partners in Fire provides a variety of well-researched resources on saving more money.  Here’s a list of posts with unique ideas to help you save money on various things. After perusing all these things, you should be able to develop a solid savings plan and cut back on things that aren’t important to you. 

How to save money:

Most people can find at least one thing in these posts to help them evaluate their spending habits and increase their savings.

Budgeting and finding ways to save are the first steps in gaining control of your finances. Once you master that, you can build wealth with investment returns. 

Investing

The next step is investing. Interest rates on savings accounts have increased recently but are still too low to beat inflation. Investing in the stock market is the best way to build wealth

But the question is – where? Where can you safely invest your money so it will grow and allow you to escape a toxic job?

No investment is guaranteed. We can never know what the future holds, and even something that seems like a sure thing can fail. Still, investing is the best way to grow your money.

No risk, no reward, as they say.

My favorite holding in my investment portfolio is Vanguard’s Total Market Index Fund. It is as diversified as possible, which helps mitigate the risk a bit. When investing, be sure to consider growth potential and volatility

Some funds may be better for growth but carry more risk, whereas others might not give you sky-high returns, but they offer less volatility. A mix of both is ideal for a well-rounded portfolio. 

You can also sign up for a service such as MorningStar. Their premium service helps investors put their money to work for them. They monitor the markets and help you find the investments to help you reach your financial goals

 

Investing for FU Money vs. Investing for Retirement

Your FU money needs to be invested in a non-retirement account. You need to be able to access your money penalty-free before you reach full retirement age, and you don’t want to risk your security in retirement by withdrawing these funds early. 

That being said, you must have an FU fund and a retirement account. One tool that you can use for both is a Roth IRA. This investment vehicle allows you to put after-tax dollars into a retirement account and enable it to grow tax-free. You can withdraw your contributions without penalty before full retirement age, but you can’t remove investment gains. 

If you choose to use a Roth IRA for your retirement and FU fund, be sure you aren’t risking your retirement by withdrawing. It’s also vital to read the fine print about your specific account and the tax implications of withdrawing before you do so. 

I prefer to maintain my FU money in a non-retirement brokerage account to avoid risking any retirement income. Everyone’s situation is different, and if you need help determining which is best, you should speak to a financial advisor. 

Increase Your Income

The final step in gaining FU money is increasing your income. You can achieve this by producing multiple income streams or moving up the career ladder. 

Starting a side hustle is the best way to create multiple income streams. If you don’t know where to start with that, check out this fantastic course – Launch Your Side Hustle. It’s comprehensive and filled with everything you need to know about making money. If that doesn’t convince you, check out the review.

The other way to increase your income is by improving your skills and getting better jobs. You can make more money by getting a promotion at work or job-hopping to other companies. To do this, you need to continuously update your resume and apply for any opportunity that could enhance your career.

There’s a ton of competition, so taking courses or getting additional certificates may benefit you. Numerous online platforms specialize in career advancement and adult learning – check them out to see what’s right for you. 

Making a Financial Plan

Although these steps are the same for everyone and pretty straightforward, your personal financial situation is unique and probably a bit complicated. 

To achieve your financial goals, whether getting FU money, retiring early, or just some type of financial security, you need to make a financial plan. Your plan must consider many things, and everyone has different answers to the essential questions. 

Check out our video on making a financial plan for tips to get you started, and download our free mindmap to financial freedom, which will help you develop your plan!

 

A Bonus -Fixing Society

There’s one last thing about FU money that needs to be addressed – and I alluded to it when I mentioned people having the collective power to say “No.”

There is a way to get FU money at the societal level.

We shouldn’t accept some of the things that we, as a society, have accepted. No one should have to tolerate a toxic work environment to put food on the table. Companies shouldn’t be able to exploit workers who have no other options. 

These things shouldn’t be happening.

The 20th-century solution to these problems was to unionize. And guess what – it worked! Workers were protected from unfair practices, we fought for and won the 40-hour workweek, and safety at work became a priority. 

Unfortunately, I don’t think unions are the 21st-century solution to this problem. Companies will either relocate or automate instead of paying more to hire union workers. 

However, there are other ways to solve the problem. A UBI would give employees breathing room to quit a toxic job. It’s basically the equivalent of ensuring all Americans have access to FU money – a policy I wholeheartedly support. 

From FU Money to Financial Independence to UBI

Critics will say that people should work and save to become financially independent if they want the privilege of FU money. And my argument is yes, not having to work is a huge privilege that people generally have to sacrifice and save to achieve.

I’m with you on that.

However, given our current system, not everyone can reach financial freedom or retire early. Not everyone can save money from every paycheck or even access bank accounts.

The poverty trap in the US is genuine, and so is the systematic racism that keeps certain groups stuck there. It’s disingenuous to assume that everyone can save, dig out of debt, and build FU money when there are literally people who can’t.

Partners in Fire is about helping everyone achieve financial independence, and part of that is promoting policies that would give everyone the same ability to pursue it. Giving everyone a little FU money would help, and a UBI is a great way to make it happen.

Finance is Political

I understand that many finance writers will try to separate the political from the finance. In a culture with so much political infighting, sometimes it’s better to appeal to everyone to ensure they get the vital information they need about reaching their savings goals. 

However, personal finance is deeply tied to political policy, and ignoring that reality would be a disservice. 

Not everyone will agree with my methods or takes, which is okay. Hopefully, we can find a way to meet in the middle to solve some of these problems inherent to our system. But we will never get there if we aren’t willing to discuss it and provide potential solutions. 

Back to FU Money

So anyway, back to FU money. Now that you have all the necessary tools go out there and get yours! Start saving and investing so that you can leave a job you hate.

Give yourself the freedom to say F*** YOU! 

4 thoughts on “What is FU Money and How Do I Get Some?”

  1. I walked away from a stressful corporate job ten years before I had planned because I had more than enough money to say Farewell U, that is what that stands for isn’t it? In my case I was financially independent on top of having FU money. I found that once I realized I had more money invested than I would ever have time to spend then the small things I didn’t like about work became huge. That’s one thing about having FU money, it reduces your tolerance for BS even if you generally like your job. So it can lead you to retiring early even from a good job. That’s not a bad thing but it is something you should prepare for, its more unsettling than you think. And even if you plan to work maybe three or four more years just to have a little surplus money your employer will notice the change in your attitude. If they rely on intimidation to manage you they may terminate you because intimidation stops working on people with FU money. I told them I was leaving because neither they nor me could stand the working arrangement once they realized I was bullet proof.

    • HAHAHA farewell you is exactly what is stands for! Those are really good points that I hadn’t considered about FU money – thanks for adding them!

  2. I was enjoying this post until you made it political by saying systemic racism and suggesting that not everyone has the ability to reach FI…where does it say everyone has the RIGHT to reach FI? I am white and am a minority at work, and I work for the Federal Government. UBI is not the answer. Living below your means is the answer. I pay enough in taxes to support a single mother for a half a year on welfare. I was a single mother, never on welfare, put myself through school, brought my kid with me to night classes, worked full time. I am tired of people making excuses and saying that they can’t live a decent life on their wages. Minimum wage wasn’t meant to support a family. If you give them UBI then they will still make the same excuses. UBI is just minimum wage and/or welfare for everyone, whether or not they want to work. They don’t know how to live below their means. What needs to be taught is that someone who makes minimum wage is not entitled to have a new car or the $200 sneakers, and to realize that minimum wage is not meant to support a family, etc. I could go on, but I will probably get blasted for the things I just said, so I will just stop. I don’t need any replies. I will no longer subscribe to this blog.

    • Hi Tracy, I appreciate you stopping by and giving your opinion, even though we disagree. Our world has lost the ability to have respectful discourse over disagreements, and I think that’s sad. You are always welcome to ready my posts and offer your dissenting opinions, as long as it stays respectful. I do disagree with you on UBI – I think that with the threat of increased automation, it will be necessary someday to prevent mass rioting. I’d rather start implementing it now to prevent that. I also truly believe that the entire point of these advances in humanity is to make life better and easier for people -all people not just the few in the 1%.

Comments are closed.