The difference between FU money and FU, money!

Published March 2, 2016   Posted in How to Think

When it comes to FU money, one thing is pretty clear – it’s great to have it. There is awesome comfort in knowing that if things get bad enough at work, you can give your job the good ol’-fashioned FU and blissfully live off of your stash of cash for a while…or hell, even just retire.

But what happens when we add some grammar into the mix? FU money gives us the freedom and flexibility to up-and-quit virtually anything we do for a living with the knowledge that our savings will support us. 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.
Do you have enough money to quit your job today? FU Money!

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. 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 can effectively put a stop to full-time income immediately and still remain financially independent, at least for a while. It doesn’t necessarily mean or imply that you can flat out retire.

But the term “FU, money” (with a comma) changes the meaning to something more akin to, I don’t know, perhaps a gourmet meal of the best damn piece of steak/fish that you’ve ever had, coupled with the creamiest risotto and topped with those creepy edible flowers – pretty much every night. It also means we can summarily curse at our money because we have so much of it relative to our needs. It is one step up from FU money.

FU, money is our way of expressing control over our financial life rather than the other way around. After all, it’s better than saying F ME, money. Too many people have fallen into the trap of letting their money control their very livelihoods. Those who have F ME, money often do not have FU money. They are eating 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.

How FU money works

Deceptively, FU money typically amounts to much less than people may think. If we live below our 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 the rest of our lives. FU money for six months is a remarkable achievement for most people.

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 said “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.

How FU, money works

This is the category designed 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, the “relative to your lifestyle” part. FU, money group participants need not be multimillionaires. Instead, it simply requires a large enough net worth and a frugal enough lifestyle to enable living for several years at a time without checking the ol’ investment accounts.

Basically, you have money figured out to the point where you’ve effectively made it your bitch. Your money works for you. 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 – not for a second.

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

How F ME, money works

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

Keep in mind that the large majority of us start out with F ME, money. As youngsters fresh out of high school or college, we begin our accumulation phase without a lot of money and, thus, we are forced into the position of required full-time work even if we think our boss is a prick. We can find other work, but our ability to rage-quit by spitting obscenities as we gracefully walk out the door to the envy of our co-workers like a fucking superhero isn’t quite there yet. Money can easily fuck us at this stage.

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

But the goal is to, over the years, acquire enough wealth that our money slowly transitions from F ME, money to FU money and, if we are especially frugal, FU, money. It requires living sensibly.

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?

We track our net worth using Personal Capital


35 responses to “The difference between FU money and FU, money!”

  1. LMAO! Great post Steve. A great way to start my Wednesday. It’s a shame to think so many people fall into the F Me, money bucket. We are finding our way in the FU money category. We would certainly want to reach the FU, money level but have some shorter term goals to knock out first like making sure our three children get off to good starts.

    • Steve says:

      Hehe, thanks Brian, appreciate the comment. This was a fun one to write, for sure. 🙂 And it definitely sounds like your priorities are right. Family first, always.

  2. Mr. SSC says:

    I’d say we’re in the FU money category in that we have enough saved we could live for a time without working. If we were strong enough in the FU, Money category, we could even go the rest of our lives possibly, without working. I don’t think either of us are ready to cut that drastically into our lifestyle quite yet though. So, that puts us back in the FU money category I guess.

    If the right opportunity came along, we could definitely walk away from our current positions and pursue it, even though it would be a drastically reduced salary. We also don’t believe the hype with needing the latest greatest newest biggest, fanciest car/house/clothes/etc…

    Man did I ever fit that F Me category in my younger days. Especially when I saw that I could get a nice paying job after grad school, I started living like I made more than a grad student makes, and it racked up pretty quickly. I shudder now just thinking about it. Glad I got out of that trap and mindset and am fortunate to be where I am today.

    • Steve says:

      We are pretty much like you guys, Mr. SSC – we could do it, but don’t want to yet due to the lifestyle that we’d like to maintain post-retirement. But, the FU money is definitely there…if need be. 🙂

  3. Tawcan says:

    Totally awesome post Steve. Too many people fall under the F ME, money, unfortunately. More financial education would certainly help in that respect.

  4. I love your irreverent terms for these concepts. Way more fun than the nicey-nice ways we typically explain this stuff!

  5. amber tree says:

    How one comma can make a small difference!

    We are not yet in the “FU, money” territory. We have a plan to get there.

    We do have FU money that one day might allow us to go part time, travel the word for a year, start a bussines… And that is a great feeling already

    • Steve says:

      You’re darn right it’s a great feeling – in fact, just having FU money is a great feeling, too. It means you’re doing a LOT right and you are already ahead of the large majority of people out there in the 1st world.

  6. Jack says:

    I consider “FU, money” to be an attitude, not a number. It’s the attitude that lets you get from the chaos of “F Me, money” to “FU money” – when money doesn’t control your life, but you control it and put it to work towards those goals that matter most to you.

    Most equate it with a certain lifestyle. But I equate it with a certain personality type and way of approaching life.

    • Steve says:

      There is a lot of attitude at play here – no doubt about that. With the right approach, going from FU Money over to FU, Money need not require a ton of additional cash. Instead, how bad do you want it?

  7. I feel like I spend a lot of my life with F Me Money. Not because we’re living paycheck to paycheck exactly, but because we’re constantly putting out some fire that keeps me from putting away as much money as I’d like. As since we’re behind on saving for retirement, building up savings, paying more on our mortgage… Each time something comes up, I just think Fuuuuuuck me, not again!

    • Steve says:

      Completely understand, Abigail. Everybody’s circumstances are different, and it certainly can seem like one step forward, two steps back. But eventually…eventually. 🙂

  8. Jason says:

    I have to say that I am probably with the F ME Money….but I hope to transition to FU money in 7 years.

  9. We are squarely in the “FU, money” category now Steve. It is completely new ground for us and we still are navigating through this financial experience. It has only been a couple months and it will take some time to find the new normal.

    My life has seen this progression from the “F ME Money” stage where I had to work to make all our payments and pay for our lifestyle. That was my least favorite stage. The “FU Money” stage we reached a couple years ago when our passive income could sustain us for the rest of our lives. The last stage we are in now is “FU, money” and we are simply building some huge reserves, saving for the bucket list, and having money to fund future purchases. I think that at the most we are less than a year from leaving our employers.

    • Steve says:

      That’s awesome, Bryan! I know you have some passive income real estate ventures that are kicking butt for you, which is fantastic. Achieving FU, Money status is my next order of business. We aren’t far off! 🙂

  10. You rang? 🙂 One day I hope to add that comma! Hell, just having FU Money would be nice for starters. One day, one day…

    Very entertaining post! It very much defines most typical FIers, retirees and consumer suckers (suckas?)… and the first step towards becoming sensible, as you say, is to stop fucking yourself over.

    • Steve says:

      Hehe, yup, I rang good sir. And well said, the first step to becoming sensible is to stop fucking yourself over – over and over again. 🙂

  11. So. Awesome! I love that your pen is gracefully poised to make the comma :-). I would say we are very close to the FU Money stage. We have a lot of money in cash and assets and are starting to have a couple small passive income streams. But we have some low interest rate student loan debt still lingering (will be gone within the next 2-3 months though!). I think we are getting there. Great post!!

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Dee! Passive income streams are amazing things, aren’t they? That is one area that I need to work on improving myself. Our main one at the moment is capital gains from investments, but as we all know, those aren’t guaranteed! 🙂

      • http://www./ says:

        Do I understand this properly? I have never used QB extensively. I have worked in public accounting for over 20 years and have always used another software program. I am preparing myself to buy QB 2010 but if I cannot e-mail financial data back and forth with my clients, is the purchase worth it?

  12. bamfmoney says:

    I think I made money my bitch. Retired this year, market drop didn’t cause me to lose any sleep.

    • Steve says:

      Congrats on making money your bitch and retiring this year. Yeah, what a year to retire…but if this didn’t make you blink much, I think you have exactly the right attitude to see this through!

  13. I love this! Although we are definitely still int he F ME, money phase, we’re well on our way to changing that status. The first step is awareness. Now that we know about these categories, we can put in the effort necessary to change our life.

  14. Mrs. FI says:

    This is great. A mix of expletives and grammatical tips and tricks – you don’t see that very often 😉 The hubs and I are just barely in the FU Money category and not even close to choosing the type of pen we want to use to make that comma. But congrats to you for being so close to the next level! Can’t wait to see where your FU Money takes you and thanks for the fun read!

    • Steve says:

      Hehe, thanks Mrs. FI. I love including expletives into my writing for something a little different than the normal blog post you might read. They add dynamic. 🙂

      Thanks for reading!

  15. Love this, am having a good chuckle
    I’ve been in the F ME category, now in the FU money and moving towards FU, Money.
    Great concept.

  16. I love the comma! We are also in the FU money category, which was especially helpful when my husbands old company said FU to him (and many others) with layoffs 2 years ago. But I had never before thought about how that statement changes drastically when you add the comma and hope to someday be making that grammatical change to our situation as well.

    • Steve says:

      You and me both, SFF! Commas are good people, especially when they mean our money is no longer a concern for us. Good grammar is always something positive to strive for, yes? 😉

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