Let me start off with apologizing about sounding too crass. Yes FU money literally refers to F-you. Now, in the way I am using it we would like to give it a place in the financial world. FU money is the money needed to basically say “F-You” to work, or to anything that has control over you through money. It is hard to see, but let me show you the power of FU money.
The Power of FU money at Work:
Oftentimes, people are tied to jobs because it pays for our expenses. I totally understand. Being able to work, gives me the opportunity to save money, invest money, and spend money on things that I enjoy.
This is essentially life. When you have enough money to be able to do all these things without working then that is called Financial Independence.
We are not talking about financial independence. This money is before you hit that. We are all tied to employment. There is nothing stopping us unless we have enough money.
FU money gives us the ability to leave a certain job, and not have to worry.
We all have emergency funds that help fund us until we can get back on our feet. How much money do you need to essentially work anywhere for anyone?
That is when FU money comes in. It gives us the ability to work for anyone anywhere. No longer do we have to work for a high-stressed job. The time of always having a job is not needed, and we even have the ability to pick what we want to do.
So why let work control your life. It is time to take control.
How much do you need for FU money? I think we need to think more about Coast FI to get us there. This is the amount of money you need to basically coast to financial independence.
How much is that you say? Some say getting to $100K to coast is good enough. Charlie Munger said “ The first $100K is a bitch.” He is not lying. It is quite hard to achieve.
Once you can get to that number, compounding interest to do the rest. It can literally help you coast to retirement or financial independence.
Coast FI is different for every person. So you will have to do some math.
It will consider a couple different items:
- Your time until you retire
- Your spendings
Like the 4% rule you will need to know how much you spend each year.
Let’s do some math.
Coast FI# = FI# / (1 + Expected Growth Rate) ^ # of years till retirement.
If you really want a better explanation of this formula, The Fioneers have come up with a great post about it. How to calculate Your Coast FI Number.
So we need to find out what our FI# will be. So basically take your yearly expenses times that by 25, and that will equal your FI #
Expenses X 25 = FI #
Then determine the growth rate. I like to use 7-8%. These are quite conservative. Then subtract the year you plan to retire by your age. That will give you the # of years left till retirement.
So if I plan to retire at 54. I am 34 now, That will be 20 years from now. My FI# is about $625,000 which is 25 X $25,000. (Now this is not how much we spend. It is an example)
Growth rate will be 8%.
625,000 / (1.08)^20 = $134,092
So all I need is $134,092 and I can just cover my yearly expenses and not have to worry about investing any more money.
With knowing this amount of money you can reach your Coast FI # and then have enough money to FU money. The power of F-U money can give you many more options.
Why FU Matters?
In the personal finance sphere, many people talk about FU money. It has a lot to do with the FIRE movement and helping people have more control over their money and situations. Those that are trying to achieve financial independence and retire early strive to save more and work on how to build wealth.
FU money is part of this equation. Achieving FU money gives us power to break that paycheck to paycheck cycle. We are able to learn concepts such as pay yourself first, which teaches us about saving first every month then pay the bills after what is left. It forces us to be frugal and to help us with monthly expenses.
It allows us to not have to work about all the expenses. You may have passive income streams that helps give you options. As we continue to track our spendings and our net worth we are able to see a difference in achieving our financial goals. Being able to fund our basic living expenses allows us to not be controlled by money any longer.
The Control of Money:
Money controls what we do and where we go. It always has. We have to be able to take control of our money.
It is time to make money work for us. With FU money already working for us, we will have more control of what we can do. Through compounding interest, time takes over and continues to build wealth upon wealth. That money helps to buy us back our time.
Time is our eventual goal. There will be time to do what we want. Time is something that once it is gone, it is hard to get back.
When I was in my 20s, I could do anything. As I am aging, my body does not behave as it use to. As time passes by, I seek to want more of it.
The power of FU money gives us back this control over our money and therefore allows us to use our time. No longer will we be controlled by money, but this time we have the control.
You want to start a business then start it. If you want to go on vacation you can do that too. We have options. Our money is now working for us, and therefore we have complete control.
FU money gives us options:
I love having options. Being able to not worry about money is something great!
All of a sudden options have opened up. Options for employment. There are options of where to live.
In the book The Simple Path to Wealth, JL Collins talks about FU money. He was sitting on the couch as his daughter asked him “ are we poor?” The news was showing depression like bread lines and Jim responded. “No, we’re just fine.” His daughter responded “But you don’t have a job.” Jim responded “ That’s no problem, honey. We have money that’s working for us instead.”
JL Collins had been let go of his job in a downturn. Did he worry? Nope. He had money working for him.
Live and do what you want
FU money gives us power to live where we want.
Living in Taiwan is great and cheap, but if we were to move closer to in-laws in Australia we could.
Money working for us is better than working for money.
We can move wherever we want. All we need to do is bring in enough money to cover the expenses. Let that FU money continue to compound and grow for us.
How do we get this FU money to work for us?
It is said that owning assets is better than a job. I do believe that.
The ability to own income-producing assets can really help with having options. Putting your money to work by buying income-producing assets is what everyone needs to do.
Oftentimes, we will buy liabilities like game consoles, eating out, buying fancy cars, and big houses we simply cannot afford. Why not buy assets that bring in income.
That is what I want to do. My FU money is in index funds. They bring in a respectful 8% annually per year. That is enough to get me through to my 60s. I want that sucker to compound.
What can you buy that will produce income?
- Real Estate
- Peer-to-peer Lending
- Parking spots
Anything that is an asset that brings in some income is something that can help build up your FU money.
Time to build the FU Money Fund
It is time to make some goals. This is the time to make action. When you are younger you have more time on your side. So it is time to start that FU money fund. It is time to buy income-producing assets.
Let’s take some steps today.
- Make a goal.
- Define how much is enough to be FU money for you.
- Let the power of FU money guide you through life.
Some Last Thoughts:
The Power of F-U money gives you back your control over money, time, and where you want to be in life. Allow it to give you back power in order to determine your trajectory in life.
It is up to you. Make the choice now to create your fund to give you options.
You may not be striving to become independently wealthy right now, but you can take steps to create options in your life.
I must apologize for the crassness of this article. The term FU is not the best term, but it really gets down to the point.
How are you making better choices to change your life?
” Spend less than you make, stay out of debt, and invest the rest”
I’m Steve. I’m an English Teacher, traveler, and an avid outdoorsman. If you’d like to comment, ask a question, or simply say hi, leave me a message here, on Twitter (@thefrugalexpat1). Many of my posts have been written to help those in their journey to financial independence. I am on my journey, and as I learn more I hope to share more. And as always, thanks for reading The Frugal Expat.