The F word is powerful, yes? It’s one of those words that when used sparingly and at just the right moment can really get the message across. Anyone who REALLY knows YesWoman understands this is a skill she has yet to refine. If Murphy’s law is accurate, we will have a handful of moments in life that will require a pivot, a re-write, or other existential summoning. When those moments happen, we will need the power of F-U money.
Like it or not, we are bound by the constraints of money. Money is not inherently good or bad but it does allow or disallow freedom. When we are not constrained by money, we are free to say no to those without our interests in the forefront of their mind. Conversely, we are free to say yes. We are free to make choices in our lives that can get us out of an unfortunate set of circumstances and propel us into a new chapter of life. Unfortunately, many of us do not have this luxury. We are not taught that money is a tool for freedom. Instead, many of us are not taught about money at all and what we pick up along the way are lessons of consumerism and debt.
A 2017 report in MarketWatch found that half of American households currently live paycheck to paycheck
- 19% have $0 saved to cover an emergency expenses; 31% have less than $500 in emergency savings
- Not surprisingly, about 49% of Americans are “concerned, anxious or fearful about their current financial well-being”
- Interestingly enough, low income is not always to blame for financial hardship. Only 1 in 5 people (20%) facing financial hardship fall below the poverty line and make less than $40,000 per year
So, what happens when a child gets sick, a parent needs to be cared for, or a job loss occurs? Or more uplifting, what if we decide we want to change careers to fulfill our life’s purpose, a hard-working child is accepted to a prestigious university, or we simply want to visit that place we have always dreamt of while it’s still physically possible? Without savings and investments, these possibilities are severely limited.
Our lives are small flashes on the time continuum. We are gifted a certain, limited number of days in which to create meaning and enjoy purpose. We can be sure that no human’s goal is to be enslaved to any person or organization during that short lifespan. In theory and instead, we would all find our passion young, be matched to the education style that best supports it, work as an apprentice under a master in that field and go on to create significant contributions before retiring to a comfortable life of enjoying community service and other passion projects.
In reality, a typical person’s life looks more like a one-sized-fits-all approach to education, filling in the blanks with “undeclared” or “undecided”, landing in a job to make ends meet, working 40+ years to keep up with societal and familial demands, retiring in our mid-60s with little savings, dependent on social security and good fortune to keep us from financial ruin. This cycle is not the only way to live. We can live a life of purpose and richness that does not mean shiny objects and exclusive clubs.
Living richly means being surrounded by love, waking up and going to sleep in peace, having quality goods but only what is necessary, keeping a simple and exquisite home, traveling to places and meeting people who expand your understanding of the world, having space to breath and time to reflect. There are hundreds and thousands of small things that make a life rich, most of which cost nothing. The most sacred of these are time and freedom. This is why we need F-U money.
Although we have not yet reached our FI (financial independence) number and have yet to “retire”, we have reached a level of wealth that would not only keep us afloat in an emergency or job loss, but one that could enable a mini-retirement in the event something happens that we cannot foresee. We have the ability to fully fund and control our lives. If we decide the employer who writes our paycheck is no longer a healthy space to create, we experience a medical emergency or other crisis occurs, we can pivot.
It is impossible to explain the feeling, the shift in attitude, and level of confidence a financially free person ascertains when they realize they have the power. It is one of those “you will know it when you feel it” phenomena. Something forever changes in the moment you realize that no one has the ability to demand an action in their favor in exchange for economic currency. The world shifts on it’s axis.
F-U money is about having enough in our coffers to pay for our necessities without “clocking in”. We can use our F-U money to have Freedom, live Fearlessly, and have the Flexibility to say yes…or to say no. The power of these F words have the ability to change our lives…and we DO NOT have to use them sparingly or at just the right moment. So, get loud and start dropping F-bombs, we only get one life.
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