Unless you are one of the very few people in the world who never has to work for money, you have probably help a job to some point. I dare say, more than one job.
The luckiest of us really enjoy or feel extremely passionate about their jobs.
I have a number of jobs since being in school. I learned from a young age that hard work got you places, never to shy away from it.
Throughout university, I worked weekend nights as bar staff in a club, dealing with drunk students and late work hours, all while working a 2nd job as a hospital porter (orderly) on weekday nights and trying to study an complete a challenging degree. My parents were always supportive and would have financed my college years had I asked, but I was learning to be a self sufficient man. They put a roof over my head, so I could at least pay for my own socializing. It took it’s toll but I persevered.
Graduating with honours, I was ready and eager to jump head first into my new career. I always knew that medicine was tough, but I tricked myself into believing the hardest part was over. After all, most people who dream of being doctors, never make it past the first stage of getting into Med School.
Turns out that it was a constant uphill battle, in a field of study that I did not enjoy. However, I misread the signs of this, always blaming my fatigue, or disinterest on external factors, such as my part time jobs.
Once I started working full time, I slowly discovered the error of my ways. Long, unsociable hours, poor pay, a stressful and sometimes hostile work environment (you can’t expect other nurses and doctors to be upbeat and chirpy when they
hate their jobs are tired as well).
Yet I still persevered.
Despite most people thinking you need a certain personality for high pressure jobs, I was always very laid back and never stressed the little things. I was living with one of my best friends and he could see me slowly, but surely, become more and more burdened by a draining career. Anxiety crept in and destroyed my beloved sleep, disinterest became the cornerstone of my life when I couldn’t be bothered doing anything or going anywhere. In simple terms, I was depressed. I just did not know it.
Why am I sharing this? No one really cares about all this! Get to the point!
One of the most crushing things about depression is the feeling of being totally alone. So when I realised, I started talking about it. People were coming out of the woodwork to share or relate to what I was going through.
This was where I noticed work as a common cause for a lot of people. Pouring your energy and time into a vocation that you hate, takes everything out of you so nothing I left for the thing you love in life.
By the time this period of depression had come about, I was well into my reading around Financial Independence and started searching my brain for that idea, anything, that I could use to improve my life now. I could not keep going in the way I was.
F-You Money: The Holy Grail
F-You Money is exactly what it sounds like. It is the money a person needs to tell another to feck off for whatever reason. For many, it is having a fund available for immediate use should they ever wish to leave an employer or, like myself, want to move away from a draining career.
Only you can decide how much F-You money you need. It is the amount of money you need to cover you for a specific period of time (again, your choice). This gives you a power in your job to do what is best for you.
I first heard about F-You money from Jim Collins, first on his blog, then fleshed out in his book “The Simple Path the Wealth.” He talked about wanting to travel in his 20’s but his boss refused to give him enough time off. He had $5,000 saved, which was more than enough for the trip and a few moths expenses.As a result f this money, he was ready quit his job then and there which his boss didn’t expect. In the end, his boss gave him more time off, because he did not want to lose this employee. $5,000 doesn’t sound like a lot in the grand scheme, but this was his F-You money that gave him bargaining power.
A lot of people on the path to FI use the F-You money term interchangeably with financial independence. They are not the same, although very similar.
Financial Independence is permanent F-You Money.
F-You money is freedom for a certain amount of time, depending on the amount of money you have. As with the example above, 5 grand is enough F-You money for a few months, where 5 million could be considered F-You money for life (for most).
Calculate what your F-You money is
For me, F-You money is that which will allow me to leave a bad work environment. I figured through my shift in career, this is a minimum of 3 months living expenses. That won’t break the bank and shouldn’t slow down my FI journey.
If I decided on a year of living expenses, it might delay me reaching FI by a year or so, seeing as I will keep these in something low risk, such as a savings account rather than equities. I think 6 months is a happy medium, but again this is a personal decision. No one size fits all.
Having this F-You money simply relieves financial pressures on you, as soon as it has been saved. You can prioritize this as your first goal to reach, and everything after goes into your investments, or whichever vehicles you use for savings.
Focus on You
Financial independence is first an foremost about yourself and the loved ones around you. You are not doing it for anyone else’s benefit, certainly not for your employer or the likes.
This sounds selfish, I know. But I am preaching selfishness. To begin with.
Only when you are happy in yourself, can you turn your efforts outwards. It sounds a little odd when you say this, but an analogy I heard before and I think rings true; one alcoholic cannot help another get sober, while they are both still actively drinking. Same with happiness, how can you hope to help others be happy, if you are miserable yourself?
You may never have to use F-You money until the day you reach FI, but hitting that target should never make you hesitate to use your savings to help improve your situation.