The Power of FU Money

The Power of FU MoneyFU money… the dream of many a worker around the world.

If you’re not familiar with the concept, FU money (aka F-you money) is the idea that you’ve accumulated enough bankroll that you can tell your boss “f*** you” if needed.

Maybe you’ve just had enough and can’t take it anymore – you just want to quit and do something else.

FU money gives that power… that flexibility.

Perhaps you’re ready for a career change.  On the other hand, maybe you want to take a mini-retirement – a break of sorts.

FU money can help.

Now don’t get me wrong, FU money is not necessarily financial independence.  It can be, but it doesn’t need to be.

You might not have enough money to quit your job forever (if that’s your goal) like financial independence (FI) provides.  However, FU money definitely gives you a little more choice in your life.

If you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck or you’re stacked with consumer debt, you’re not there yet.  On top of that, making changes to get there when you have these anchors in your life can be extremely difficult.

If you’re in that boat, you need to buckle down and get rid of that albatross from around your neck.  I know the struggle – I’ve been there, done that.  Even if you’re not on the journey to FI or don’t have a strong desire for having FU money, removing that hurdle can give you a cushion for emergencies.

If you’re already in a better position financially, congrats to you!  Hopefully, you’re already FI, but if not, I implore you to at least work toward FU money.

Why, you might ask, is that so important?

I’ll tell you why – because this past year is when I finally realized that we actually have FU money and it’s been eye-opening, to say the least.

Once I realized that I don’t need my job as much as they need me, things have changed in a couple ways…


The power of FU money at the office

The Power of FU Money - The power of FU money at the office
Working like a dog for “the man”!!

At work, knowing I have FU money has given me more confidence to question things.  I’m still respectful to my boss (the owner of the company).  I owe him for everything he’s done to get me where I am today.

He hired me with no experience and took a chance on me.  I’ve been there for over 18 years and he’s always treated me well.  For that, I’m very grateful.

However, not everything he says is going to make sense to do.  And that’s Ok.  Not one of us can make all the right decisions… ask Mrs. R2R – she thinks most of my decisions are wrong!

The difference is that when you live paycheck-to-paycheck, you tend not to question what your boss says as much due to fear of losing your job.  If you take the money worries out of the equation though, that fear seems to dissipate.

That’s a good thing for everyone.

My boss respects that I’m not just a “yes man.”  Keep in mind though, that on the periodic occasions when I do question certain things, I’m doing it respectfully.

I obviously feel better stating my thoughts.  Sometimes he backtracks and makes a change in his decision and sometimes he doesn’t.  If he sticks by his decision, I still just do it.  I’m not trying to be insubordinate, just smarter about how we do things.

That’s better for the company as a whole to grow more effectively.  One person can’t be right all the time and, as a smaller company of around 40 employees, it’s important to be careful in steering the ship.

He calls me into his office more often just so he can run thing by me first before making some of the bigger decisions.  This makes him stronger and it makes me stronger.

The power of FU money.


The power of FU money at home

The Power of FU Money - The power of FU money at home
Home sweet home… I’d like to spend a little more time there with my wife and daughter!

Mrs. R2R dropped down to part-time after our daughter was born.  She stayed in that role for a handful of years until they decided they needed someone full-time.

They were eliminating the part-time position and creating a full-time position in its place.  They offered her the job but she didn’t want to work full-time so passed on it.

She no longer works there (she got a nice severance though!).  Instead, she decided to try starting her own side-hustle.

She’s now become a personal assistant of sorts for the neighborhood.  As many side hustles tend to go, this is starting off relatively slow (but faster than I anticipated) and will hopefully continue to grow over time.

My point to this is that having enough FU money has given us the flexibility to make this choice.

She’s able to get our daughter ready for school in the morning.  She’s able to drop her off at school and pick her up as well.  Moreover, when our daughter has off school, it’s no longer a worry of figuring out who’s going to watch her.

All those chores that seem to be a pain for working couples to find time for (grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking, etc.) fit in a little easier now.

Now, you might be thinking, “Didn’t this affect your journey to FIRE?”

And the answer is yes, it definitely made a difference.  Living off and saving for FIRE on one income is harder.  It’s doable, but still harder.

But that’s Ok.  We’re still planning to reach FIRE by the end of 2019.  And FU money has allowed this journey to be a little less stressful along the way.

Although the idea of FU money was something I was always aware of, I never realized we had it until recently.  I’ve been so focused on reaching the end goal that I failed to realize exactly how far we’ve now come.

The path to financial independence provided that.  As I said, we’re not FI yet, but this stepping-stone of FU money sure feels damn good along the way!

So if you’re just starting on the route to financial independence and you’re getting frustrated because it seems to be ages away, know that certain aspects get much easier the further you get on the journey.

Have you reached or do you dream of the FU money milestone?

Thanks for reading!!

— Jim

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38 thoughts on “The Power of FU Money”

  1. I was never a fan of the term and initially, I thought it was because of how crass it was. This post made me think a little deeper – I disliked it because it implied that without FU money you were beholden to other people.

    You couldn’t speak openly and honestly to your boss or manager for fear of reprisal. You couldn’t take risks of any kind until you had financial freedom. It’s a way of thinking about life that may be accurate for many but very restrictive if you’re constantly working towards a finish line that isn’t actually the end.

    So while I respect many parts of the FU money concept, I think that initial “state” of subservience in pre-FU is a subtle acceptance that I find dangerous and very limited.

    1. Love the viewpoint, Jim! I definitely get it and it may be a little different depending on both the individual and the place of employment. I’m the type of person who’s not afraid to say what’s on my mind. At my work though, there’s a bit of an old-school mentality – the boss says, “Here’s the job to do – now go do it” and that’s the end of it.

      And that’s where I think the power of having some money in the bank makes a difference. It’s definitely not the end-all-be-all, but it helps shun that awkwardness of saying the wrong thing.

      If you’re at a place of employment you really love, there’s probably a lot less of that subservience you’re talking about. In my specific case, though, I don’t enjoy my work any more. I’ve been there for over 18 years and it’s gradually gone from love to hate. I’d move onto to something new, but because I’m so close to FI (2 more years), I’m just riding it out.

      In the meantime, knowing that losing my job isn’t going to cause my daughter to starve or us to lose our house has made an impact for me while there.

      — Jim

      1. Some organizations are top down and don’t make their people feel safe, which is why people hate their jobs, and those organizations tend not to last very long. 🙂

        Yes, having a bit of a safety net does make life a lot easier, that’s for sure.

  2. Right there with you Jim. As for the other Jim, wallethacks, I have to disagree. It’s not subservience. A boss didn’t say jump before and you said how high… but there is a certain internal aspect of always asking how will speaking up impact my career. Once you hit a certain point it’s kind of like so be it.

    1. We’re definitely seeing eye-to-eye on this FTF. I was never feeling subservient in the past, but most folks absolutely have that worry of “how would I make ends meet if I lost my job?” Without that as a major worry any longer, it becomes easier to speak up on things that you might not necessarily have felt comfortable saying previously.

      — Jim

    1. Definitely a lot more freeing than is was knowing that losing my job could make things fall apart financially. I see my side hustles starting to grow and I’m getting antsy to get to the “finish line” so I can spend more time on those projects… like a Master of My Own Destiny! Hey, you might be onto something!! 😉

      — Jim

  3. Never really thought about all the ways it could help besides quitting!
    The fact that you can change your perspective at your current job and at home is huge.
    Thank you for the input and getting me to think a little differently

  4. Had to laugh as I read about Mrs R2R challenging you (thought to myself, “Hmmm, she must have FU Money”! LOL.

    I’ve always viewed FU money as an interim step on the road to FI. It’s nice to achieve, but I’d have to really dislike a work situation to quit with “just” FU money. It does give you that option, and it gives you a bit more leverage, but in my mind it’s more of a milepost than a destination. Good post.

  5. Great post Jim! It all starts with FU money!

    You make some very good points about being respectful — I worked with some very disrespectful people over the years, and I honestly have to say they’re one of the reasons I became FI.

    Love that title graphic! 😉

    1. So true, Mr. Tako – nothing drives me more nuts than someone with a lack of respect. And, unfortunately, that’s not something that you can easily control at a workplace.

      I wasn’t really sure how well the featured image would be received, but it just seemed to be a good fit for the post. 🙂

      — Jim

  6. YES!! I took a job this year that sounded AMAZING on paper, but 2 months in I couldn’t believe the dysfunction of the team and the immaturity of the c-level exec I was working for. Even though the salary, bonus and stock package was amazing, no amount of $$ would have made that circus acceptable.

    I graciously excused myself after 2 months at the company and never looks back. I don’t regret that decision for a hot second and if I didn’t have FU $$, I would still be there in misery.

  7. My husband also calls it FU money. It’s a great feeling to know that you don’t NEED to work there if you don’t want to. I think it gives one a sense of power, you get a bit more ballsy and aren’t as afraid to share your mind (as you have experienced with your boss).

    People can be annoying to work with, FIRE would be great 🙂

    1. I don’t think FIRE will be the solve-all, but I do think that as money becomes less of a concern, you gain a little more strength to do what you think is right.

      And, haha, yes, there always seems to be some annoying people at every job, isn’t there? 🙂

      — Jim

  8. Great post! I’d also add that having a stash makes me more confident in day to day situations as well because I know I have something to fall back on.

    Recently my condo hot water tank burst and my tenants are living in a hotel. While a pain in the butt, I’m not anxious that it will ruin me financially. Talk about piece of mind!!!

  9. I’m with Jim. That term never resonated with me.
    If you’re not happy with your job, then move on and find a better fit.
    Even at the worst point in my career, I never thought of my stash that way. There is no need to be confrontational with your boss.
    Maybe Move On money? 🙂

    1. I hear you, Joe – I don’t generally call it FU money myself (didn’t even know I had it until recently!). Regardless of what you call it, having built up some extra money can give you a little more confidence in your job.

      Move On money… it does have a little bit of a ring to it! 🙂

      — Jim

    1. Definitely a fair statement, Caroline. Hopefully I didn’t offend with the term (though I didn’t make it up). Maybe we should come up with a better name for it – got any creative ideas?

      — Jim

  10. It would take more than that, but thanks for checking:) I agree we should come up with a better name, I can’t think of anything right now but maybe you can ask all the readers?

  11. Great post! You’re right, FU money can come in various forms.

    I remember being 24, wife in graduate school, and having a boss two levels up threaten my job because I elevated an ethical/moral issue through the chain. I walked out of that meeting saying “I will never be in this position again”. I wish I had the knowledge and courage to side-hustle my way to riches, but moved to another leadership chain and ramped up my savings rate.

    Now I’ve achieved FI and have a bit longer that I want to work to hit a few professional milestones, but its fun watching my boss turning to me in meetings to verify things or get information, probably because I have the reputation of telling people the truth vs what they want to hear.

  12. Great article Jim! As someone who went though a job that I was not satisfied with anymore, it was nice to have a little FU money. Not enough for FIRE but enough where I could look at my life and make a career change where it didn’t hurt my family. I was able to change careers and move closer to family and friends. It worked out in the end to were I now am in a career that I love and lets me spend more time with the family, have more of a leadership role and now is paying way more than if I stayed in my previous career choice. Love your articles and looking forward to more.


  13. I’m financially independent, but definitely not FU money (I think FU money is like $1 billion). I think I first came across this term when I read Liars Poker, and I loved it! Funny as hell, but completely true.

  14. I love this post Jim! I often think in terms of FU money and not just to tell the boss FU, but how FU money affects everyday life and your interactions with the world. I was raised very poor and had money insecurity( is that a thing?) that lasted until about 1 year ago( I’m 46) and hampered my career opportunities( I stayed in jobs too long and took a lot of S*%^ out of fear). Earlier this year I passed 1.3M in net worth and realized that I needed to start living my life w/o financial fear. Completely changed my outlook and attitude.

    1. Thanks, Chris and congrats on the net worth! I like that term “money insecurity” – it’s definitely crazy how having some money in the bank can make such a difference for working folks.

      — Jim

  15. I have recently found because as I get closer to FI, I am experiencing a feeling about my job and career that I hadn’t expected. The less I NEED my job for money reasons, the more I realize I actually like it. I wake up in the morning and head in to work energized because my remaining time there is getting short, and there are still so many things I want to accomplish. It has been such a shift for me mentally, I am now thinking I may actually choose to stay awhile after I hit the age and $ mark I have set up as my ‘quitting time’. I don’t know for sure, but that’s the beauty of it – I have options.

    In case you’re wondering, my personal situation is that I started the road to FI late – around 40 – but I have a solid salary, frugal lifestyle, supportive wife, lot of DIY skills, and the 401K was already pretty well funded. I am currently a little over halfway to my goal figure, and projected to hit it in 3 years at the age of 50, investing about 2/3 of my salary.

    And I actually like the term FU Money. One of my bank accounts literally has that as its online nickname.

    1. Now, this is a great story, Tom! Congrats on building up your cash stash and enjoying your job – that’s a perfect combination!

      Love the FU Money name for the bank account – that’s hilarious and probably pretty satisfying as well. 🙂

      — Jim

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