The difference between FU money and FU, money!

How to Think

The difference between FU money and FU, money!

When it comes to FU money, one thing is pretty clear; it’s great to have it. But how much money do you need to have FU money? Let's talk about it!

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The difference between FU money and FU, money!

When it comes to FU money, one thing is pretty clear:

It’s great to have it.

There’s awesome comfort in knowing that if things get bad enough at work, you can give your job the middle finger and blissfully live off your nest egg for a while … or hell, maybe even retire.

But what happens when we add some punctuation into the mix?

FU money gives you the freedom and flexibility to up-and-quit virtually any job with the knowledge that your savings will support you.

However, placing an adorable little comma after the FU part changes the meaning of the phrase entirely.

Let’s examine the difference. It’s fun.

FU money vs. FU, money


I like to use descriptors traditionally used for food to describe every day, non-food related topics, and this one is no different.

Man screaming with a text overlay that reads, "FU Money vs. FU, Money"

FU money is delicious. It’s like mashed potatoes and gravy, or those slightly burnt (only slightly!) portions of pie crust. It may not be gourmet, but it’s comfort food to the max.

It means you have enough money that you can stop working full time (or even working at all) and still live comfortably, at least for a while. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you can flat out retire.

But the term FU, money (with a comma) changes the meaning. It becomes something more akin to, I don’t know, a gourmet meal of the best damn piece of steak/fish that you’ve ever had, coupled with the creamiest risotto and topped with one of those fancy edible flowers..

It also means that you can basically curse at your money because you have more than enough relative to your needs. It is one step up from FU money.

FU money is a way to have control over your financial life, rather than the other way around.

After all, it’s better than saying F ME, money. Too many people fall into the trap of letting their money control their very livelihoods. Those who have F Me can’t even think about quitting their jobs because they don’t have enough money to support their current lifestyle.

They eat dusty rocks every night for dinner, not gravy-soaked mashed potatoes. Even stale bread would taste better.

In other words:

FU money = Fuck off, Mr. Boss. I’m done here!

FU, money = Fuck you, money. You don’t control me.

F Me, money = I’m fucked.

What amount of money is “FU Money”?

Person climbing mountain with text overlay reading, "Do you have enough money to quit your job today?"

FU money typically amounts to much less than people think. If you live below your means, it is relatively easy to accumulate FU money.

And remember, FU money is about financial independence for a period of time, not necessarily enough for your entire life. If you can quit working for the man and live your life without money stress for six months, that’s a remarkable achievement. Most people can’t do that.

Check out this Quora discussion on what FU money is. It’s a fun read, and a couple quotes immediately jump out at me:

Michael Wolfe says:

“The minimum for f--k you money is enough that you will never have to work again but with a reasonable lifestyle: nice house, health care, vacations, enough to send your kids to good schools, etc.”

Though I disagree with the “never have to work again” part, I do agree with the general sentiment.

Jon Mertz writes:

“When you need to walk away from a company, this pot of money provides a basis to make a transition to a new one.”

To me, Jon’s comment hits the nail squarely on its head. Please note that the new “job” could be retirement instead of another company.

Learn how I retired at the age of 35

FU, money: The REAL goal

This is the category for financial badasses, where money is so immaterial relative to your lifestyle that you don’t give it a lot of thought.

Do note, however, that “relative to your lifestyle” part. People with FU, money don’t have to be multimillionaires. Instead, it simply requires a large enough net worth and a frugal enough lifestyle to live for several years at a time without worrying about your bank account.

You might not have the car of your dreams. And you probably don’t have the house of your dreams, either. But your passive income streams are solid and defined. Your lifestyle is frugal and well below your means. You are not super wealthy, but you also don’t worry about money for a second.

In other words, you don’t work for money — you make money work for you.

You are a financial badass and you curse at your money. Look at you, you badass.

What About F Me Money?


F Me, money is not good money. It means that money controls your life. You’re probably living paycheck-to-paycheck and beholden to a full-time job in order to maintain your lifestyle.

Related: How to avoid lifestyle creep when you live around rich people

Keep in mind that the majority of us start out with F Me, money.

As youngsters fresh out of high school or college, you begin our accumulation phase without a lot of money and, thus, you are forced to work full time, even if you think our boss is a prick.

You could find other work if you wanted to, but your ability to rage-quit by spitting obscenities as you gracefully walk out the door to the envy of your co-workers like a fucking superhero isn’t quite there yet.

Money can easily fuck you at this stage.

Especially if you buy a brand new Porsche. Screw that.

If you are in this position, working 60 hours a week and still too broke to pay off your credit cards, here are some business books and audiobooks to check out. They’ll help you straighten out your personal finances so you can start making money work for you:

And if you’re not much of a reader (which, if that’s the case, congratulations on reading this far into the article), Dan Lok also has a great podcast and YouTube channel that are worth checking out. His no-nonsense approach to building wealth is valuable for anyone who wants to stop saying F me and start saying FU.


The goal is to acquire enough wealth over time that your money slowly transitions from F Me money to FU money. If you’re especially frugal and live sensibly, you might even get to the FU, money stage.

For the record, my wife and I are squarely in the FU money category, though our pen is gracefully poised and ready to mark the comma.

What about you? Which category do you fall into, and how far do you think you are from reaching the next level?

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Steve Adcock
Steves a 38-year-old early retiree who writes about the intersection of happiness and financial independence.