Discover more from Rediscovering the Known: Things I Learned Late
Fuck you money doesn’t mean you need to be rich
Why your savings are stored time.
After clashing with my co-workers at my corporate job last year, I decided to pull the trigger and quit. Did I have a new job? No.
I had been working on a side project, but this was far from profitable and thus unable to cover my expenses.
I did it anyway because I knew I had fuck you money.
The term fuck you money means having enough financial independence to be able to say "fuck you" to unfavourable situations or people.
Financial independence is great as it can help you reduce stress, give you a sense of security and provide freedom to choose what you want to do.
For many, the term however feels out of reach. This piece for instance assumes you need enough to retire forever:
I’m far from being rich enough to retire forever, that’s why I was working after all.
So what if we think small?
What if fuck your money enabled you just to buy some time. Not all the time for the rest of your life. Just some.
Just enough to quit your job and take time to find a new one, if you don’t like your boss. Fuck-you-boss-money.
Others take more time off to start a business. Fuck-you-corporate-job-money.
Some lucky souls will take a few years out of their 30s and travel with the grey nomads. Fuck-you-hamster-wheel-money.
Whatever you do, size it to how much you have.
The important thing to realise is that money can buy you many shiny things: status symbols, a fancy car, Uber Eats all week, but it can also buy you good old time.
This took me a bit to realise: Money can buy you time.
And most importantly, it’s not binary. You don’t have to be rich and retire for the rest of your life. You can start buying as much as you need or as much as you can afford.
When I got into this situation with my job, I had a good understanding of my financial parameters. I was tracking our expenses and knew how much we had been saving. The formula below was thus very simple to calculate and I encourage everyone to have at least a rough understanding of your own financial parameters.
Here are the basics:
time you can take off = savings - expenses
This is really all there is to fuck you money. Understanding these two parameters will allow you to calculate something like your runway.
How long can you survive at your current expenses before having to get a job again?
Let’s say you have $30k in the bank and spend $3k a month. This will allow you to buy yourself 10 months of time.
It could be enough to start a business or take some time off to rethink career choices.
Think of it like this: savings are stored time.
Of course, you can add endless levels of complexity such as passive income or the fact that you also need to save for retirement, but most people don’t even think about their savings in this simple way.
Start with the basics. Your savings and expenses add more complexity later on.
Just being aware of your stored time account and what impacts it, can help you a great deal in your life.
The parameter I’m always trying to tweak is how to get more stored time into my account. The FIRE movement (Financial Independence, Retire Early) covers a lot of ground and I highly recommend it.
The basics to saving up more (= more time) are blatantly simple and will be obvious to most:
a) Lowering your expenses - spend less and keep more.
b) Increasing your income through a pay raise, a second job or passive income on your investments.
The point of this post is really not to get into the specifics of what the FIRE movement has worked out in great detail (a & b above).
The point is to be aware of the two parameters; savings and expenses and how they impact the free time you have at your disposal.
Only if you are aware of them can you start influencing them and start working towards increasing them.
Always make sure to have a bit of fuck you money left. Having it gives you peace of mind.