What is FU Money and How Do I Get Some?

"FU Money"

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FU Money. That’s really what we all want, isn’t it? But what exactly is FU money – and how much does it really take to be able to say F@$% It!?

What is FU Money?

FU Money is a non-vulgar (even though everyone knows what we really mean) way of saying we have enough money to not have to deal with the BS. I’m sure you can imagine what the “FU” in FU money stands for, right?

FU – I don’t need this job!

And that’s exactly 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.

Who Needs FU Money?

I think everyone needs FU money. Employers have so much power over us because we need our jobs to survive. We need to pay the rent and put food on the table. Life is freaking expensive!

Wouldn’t it be nice if you had the power to walk away at any time? If you had the financial backing to say no to a job that expected too much of you? That’s what FU money is, and why it’s so important.

FU Money Vs Emergency Funds

It does sort of sound like FU money is similar to an emergency fund, so what’s the difference? In my mind, and emergency fund is for one-time emergencies. These might be things like the car breaking down, or paying the deductible on a hospital visit.

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

And 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

At its core, FU money is a form of financial independence. People who have this kind of money are still working, because they like their jobs or they enjoy work. The extra money is just a bonus -they could afford to live without their jobs.

FU Money
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Having this extra money gives them the ability to work with less stress. They never have to worry about losing their jobs, and they never have to stay in a toxic job just to pay the bills. They have the freedom to leave whenever they want to, and pursue whatever they want out of their careers. Unfortunately, that’s a freedom that most of us don’t actually 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 actually 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 a downsizing, 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 to 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 go under. That’s not a bad thing. In my opinion, if a business is relying on taking advantage of workers to be profitable, it shouldn’t be in business anyway.

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 basically the same as being financially independent. But if you enjoy working, it doesn’t have to be quite as much. So, before we determine how we get it, let’s first talk about defining how much you need.

How Much FU Money Do I Need?

Generally, people who are pursuing FU money want to work. They are those rare breed of financial independence seekers who like their jobs, who 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. Most likely you’ll end up with Coast Fire or Passion Fire if you want to keep working in some way.

But that also means that you don’t need as much money to be at your desired flavor of financial independence. I would definitely recommend reaching your Coast Fire number, so that you don’t have to worry about your traditional retirement, and then start thinking in the shorter term.

 Think realistically about what you would need if you quit your job. Would you still want to work, and how long would it take you to find a new job? Would the pay be similar, or would you most likely have to accept less? How much money do you need to live while you’re looking?

I can’t answer these questions for you, 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 is different than an emergency fund, it’s not just to hold you over and get you through it. It’s supposed to give you options. You should be able to live completely stress free for that year (or however long you will want to).

How Do I Get It?

I’m sure you’re realizing how much money this will really take – so the big question is how to you get there? Like most things in personal finance, there are three main things you can do to build your FU money: Save money, invest more, and increase your income.

Saving Money

It always starts with saving money. There are thousands of little things you can do to save money and I’ve written about it at length. Here’s a list of posts, each with unique ideas that will help you save money on a variety of things.

I’m sure that everyone can find at least one thing in all of these posts that will help them save a bit of money. You can also use an app like Trim, which will track your spending and tell you where you can make cuts.

Click here to sign up and lower your monthly bills!

Finding ways to save is where you start building your emergency fund and your FU money.

Investing

The next step is investing. Interest on savings accounts has been historically low for the majority of my adult life. The golden age of savings accounts, where you could grow your money over time, are over. More than likely, you won’t even beat inflation with a savings account, so you need to be investing.

But the question is – where? Where can you safely invest your money so it will grow and give you the ability to nope out of 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 and all that, right?

My favorite investment is Vanguard’s Total Market Index Fund. It is as diversified as you can get, which helps mitigate the risk a bit. You should also look into Growth vs Value funds, and decide which option is right for you. It might turn out that you need a little bit of both. 

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 that will help you reach your financial goals. Check them out

 

Increase Your Income

The final step in gaining FU money is increasing your income. In my opinion, the best way to do this is through a side hustle. If you don’t know where to start with that, check out this amazing course – Launch Your Side Hustle. It’s incredibly thorough and filled with everything you need to know about getting started and making money. If that doesn’t convince you, check out the review, or you can just grab your spot here.

The other way to increase your income is by improving your skills and getting better jobs. This can be through a promotion at work, or by job hopping to other companies. In order to do this, you need to continuously update your resume and apply for any opportunity that seems like it could enhance your career. There’s a ton of competition, so it may benefit you to get some additional certificates. Check out all the certification programs that Emeritus offers –  they have tons of certifications in a variety of fields. Something is bound to help you advance your career. 

A Bonus -Fixing Society

There’s one last thing about FU money that needs to be addressed – and I kind of 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.

What I mean by that is 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 in order 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 work week, and safety at work became a priority.

Unfortunately, I don’t think unions are the 21st century solution to this problem. Instead of paying more to hire union workers, companies will either relocate or automate. So, what can be done to give people the power?

UBI

A UBI is the 21st century solution to these problems. It would give employees breathing room to quit a toxic job. It’s basically the equivalent of ensuring that all Americans have access to FU money – and that’s a policy that I’m onboard with.

From FU Money to Financial Independence to UBI

I’m sure that many of my critics will say that people should work and save 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 for. I’m with you on that.

However, given out current system, not everyone has the ability to reach financial independence. Not everyone has the ability to save money out of every paycheck, or even access to bank accounts to save that money in. The poverty trap in the US is very real, and so is the systematic racism that keeps certain groups stuck there. It’s disingenuous to assume that everyone can save and get FU money, when there are literally people out there 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 bit of FU money would really help with that, and a UBI is a great way to make it happen.

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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.

    1. 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.

    1. 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%.

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