Beyond a specific amount, f*ck-you money can be a state of mind. One that you can acquire well in advance of the corresponding bank account. One that’s founded mostly on a personal confidence that even if most of the material trappings went away, you’d still be happier for standing your ground.
The truth is being your own man, being self-contained, having fewer needs, and better, resilient skills that allow you to thrive in any and all situations- that is real wealth and freedom.– Ryan Holiday, 21 Quotes That (If Applied) Change You Into a Better Person
If you want peace, independence, strength, or power- one key to that is fuck you money.
Fuck you money or FIRE (financial independence, retire early) is a pretty simple concept. If you have enough money in the stock market, that you can safely withdraw the amount you need every year, you won’t ever have to work again.
It is one of the greatest gifts or evils in the world thanks to capitalism. Compound interest considered by Einstein as the 8th wonder of the world or described by Benjamin Franklin:
“Money makes money. And the money that money makes, makes money.”– Benjamin Franklin
Here’s one example.
Let’s say I wanted to help my parents retire by giving them $2000 every month for the next 30 years. If I gave them $2000 every month, it would cost me $720,000.
But if I had $600,000 in an investment account with an average annual return of 4%, I could withdraw $2000 per month potentially forever.
Of course, the market might dip, there are taxes and inflation, so if you really wanted to be safe – you could double the initial investment to $1.2 million, but the idea is the same or simple. Once you have enough money- it will make money forever.
The same concept goes for retirement.
Based on my idealistic spreadsheet math, $3 million in the bank with a 4% average annual return, you could withdraw $80,000+ year, maybe even $120,000, forever.
And that is the “fortress of fucking solitude” that John Goodman talks about in The Gambler.
Is this achievable by anyone? Probably not but this is something that most Americans can achieve. It might be one of the key reasons that makes “America great”.
The sad thing though is that I’m pretty sure that this is only possible through the exploitation of people, some modern-day slavery, whether in our own country or in other countries, and it is at the end of day, unsustainable. Eventually you will run out of people to exploit. Maybe then we’ll be able to exploit robots, who knows. But eventually, you’ll run out of resources to exploit too. You can’t grow forever.
But if you want to pretend to not know any of that and live without those concerns and find financial freedom- this is the way.
I have been building towards financial freedom for a long time, on my own terms. I have made sacrifices and turned a blind eye to my participation in the destruction of the environment and the exploitation of people. I hope that when I achieve financial freedom, that I’ll be able to change that.
Anyway, the only way to achieve this is by having money to put in the bank. That means spending below your means. It means when you make more money, you don’t spend more, you save more. And if you want to spend more or save more, you probably need to make more, before trying to save more.
We are able to save more than half of our income but that’s only possible because it’s so easy when you make so much.
Based on my spreadsheet math, if everything keeps going the way they are, we’ll hit our fuck you bastion within the next decade if not sooner.
If you compare it to some of my colleagues who are making millions per year, it feels small. I mean I thought we were doing okay until we went house hunting and felt really poor.
You can’t compare. You need to know how much you need and why. And what you’re going to do with it when you get it.
For a long time, I didn’t know what I wanted, but now I do.
I found more clarity this year.
I figured out what’s important to me and what brings me joy.
And I figured out what I needed to do in order to not only maintain my joy but to increase it.
I still don’t know jack shit. I’m probably going to make a lot of mistakes on the way. I’m not perfect. But clarity is a plan and it’s easy to follow a plan once you get one.
So if there’s anything that I recommend for anyone – it’s to find clarity.
If you are not happy, figure out why.
Figure out what you need.
Sometimes the only way to figure out what you want, is to achieve it, and to discover that it’s not what you wanted at all.
But at the end of the day, you have to try. And you don’t always need a plan to try, but having a plan will help you a lot.
I hope you can find your wealth.
And when I read this in 10 years, I hope that I found my wealth.
And if I have any kids or grandkids, and if you read this in a couple of decades, I hope that you find your wealth too.
Nothing will make me happier than to see you pursuing your dreams and goals with or without your fuck you money.
If you are, I will always be proud of you, unless you’re going down the Hitler track.
And I guess just in case, remember, after you achieve your fuck you money, if you are ever fortunate to be in such a position, you need to right the wrongs that helped you get there. You need to give back to your community and your society and change the ills that make it unequal and unjust.
Because this system is unsustainable, unfair, and unjust.
You need to help make it sustainable, fair, and just.
It might have never ever been that way in the history of humankind – so that’s my or your challenge, but I am confident, that we will be able to achieve it.
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”– Nelson Mandela