You get up two and a half million dollars, any asshole in the world knows what to do: you get a house with a 25 year roof, an indestructible Jap-economy shitbox, you put the rest into the system at three to five percent to pay your taxes and that’s your base, get me? That’s your fortress of fucking solitude. That puts you, for the rest of your life, at a level of fuck you. Somebody wants you to do something, fuck you. Boss pisses you off, fuck you! Own your house. Have a couple bucks in the bank. Don’t drink. That’s all I have to say to anybody on any social level.John Goodman, The Gambler
Defined by some as being consumer-debt free and having at enough money in the bank to last you for at least six months with no money coming it, the notion of f#ck you money sounds quite appealing.
What’s the point of having f#ck you money? Well, besides the obvious, that you can say f#ck you whenever you feel like it, for any reason at all, there are a couple of added benefits to reaching this level of financial independence.
There are two requirements for success in any area of your life: clarity of purpose and freedom from outcome.
And they both relate, at least to some extent, to your level of financial freedom.
Clarity of purpose
Let’s say you want to start a business. It’s always been a dream of yours. Let’s say you have a 9-5 job that pays the bills. You have to pay rent/mortgage, you have to feed yourself, buy clothes, all that stuff.
It’s difficult to be clear on what you want to do in such a situation. If you quit your job and start that business, you are going to have to sell yourself short in order to pay the bills, especially if the business isn’t doing well.
If you compromise yourself, you compromise your vision.
You lose track of what you want to do, where you want to go. The destination loses its importance because you will have to accept any job that provides a bit of financial relief, and most of them will take you away from the vision that you want to achieve.
Let me give you an example: I write fiction. Yeah, I really do. It’s why I started blogging in the first place. But I never quite managed to sell enough books to be able to make a living from it.
I have a sense of where I want to go, but I do not have the financial resources to stop earning any money at all in order to afford the time it takes to write a new book, release it, promote it, and then wait for sales to become meaningful enough for me to make a living out of it.
Also, another example is the fact that for a long time the vast majority of my income came through selling advertising directly to my blog readers. It took almost two years of working on The Art of Blogging, creating online courses and e-books, and selling them in order to finally be able to stop doing that.
In these two instances, the direction that I wanted to take for my blog was not an option because I didn’t have the financial resources to simply say, “f#ck you” to all sorts of offers that took me further away from my end goal.
People are often stuck with a 9-5 for the same reasons. It pays the bills. But they also lose clarity of purpose.
After years of blogging full-time, it’s become increasingly difficult for me to focus on my fiction writing. I no longer have the same drive and passion because I have wasted a lot of mental energy on constantly having to postpone taking action.
Freedom from outcome
What if you start a business and you just don’t have any sales for your first three months?
Most of the online businesses I founded failed because I didn’t have enough money to persevere long enough for them to take off, while also struggling to come up with the time that I needed to refine the end product into something more appealing to customers.
But if you have enough money to last you a long time, you don’t care that much if you fail or succeed.
Think of all the people that enjoy wealth. Think of all those who are liked by others. Odds are, they don’t care that much about wealth or being liked by others.
They are free from outcome.
They are able to work on their dream for as long as possible, develop the vision, and refine the steps they take in order to make that vision come true.
Okay, okay, but how do you end up having f#ck you money?
It’s as simple as that.
You create wealth by always doing your best to earn more money, by adding more value, creating more content, or helping others, and then you keep that wealth from dissipating by spending less than you make.
It’s not rocket science. It’s not magic. It’s discipline, and in some ways, you wish it were some complicated thing, because discipline, albeit not complicated, is hard.
So, yeah, that’s how you build wealth. It takes a lot of discipline, it takes a lot of courage to say no to a lot of “opportunities” to spend money, and it takes a lot of patience. It just is how it is.
The truth is that the stories you read about the actors and celebrities and athletes that go broke are cautionary tales because it’s never a brilliant idea to become rich through so-called non-financial skills. Besides, that’s not even a viable option for most people.
You wouldn’t want to give up all worldly possessions to become a monk now, would you?
To give up everything in order to become the best at something.
That’s what is required of you if you want to dedicate yourself to becoming so good at a certain field that you earn an insane amount of money off it.
The majority of people, however, build wealth through financial discipline. That’s what I am doing, and I used to be so carpe diem that I’d spend money on all the things that I didn’t need on the promise that I could always make more money…
And, yes, I’d never have more than one income stream, never saved or invested.
Now, everything I do is either me investing in something that’s supposed to make me more money, or me saving money. I am primarily investing in my self and my ability to create content, because I do believe that content creation is one of the best ways to build wealth in this interconnected world.
I will end this post by making one more point in favor of having f#ck you money: people can feel it.
No, seriously. People can feel your financial neediness, almost smell it on you, and they will pay you as little as possible to do as much work as you can until you can’t work anymore.
I know, because this has happened to me, and the truth is that I was so desperate for the money that I didn’t even see what was going on.
Money trouble is serious trouble, and it even annihilates your ability to be self-aware enough to realize what’s going on.
After all, most of all aren’t after money, power, or fame. We want freedom. We want to feel in charge of our lives.
And you can’t be the master of your destiny if you have to rely on someone else paying your bills every month, whether it’s your boss or your parents.
So, yeah, if you want to be free, if you want to develop the inner confidence that allows you to have clarity of purpose and be free from outcome, then you need to become financially independent.