Being Able To Say “Fuck You” Is The Ultimate Financial Luxury

I’m a basically upstanding citizen. I pay my taxes, vote, and yield to pedestrians. I wait patiently in lines, give up my seat to pregnant women on the bus, and recycle. I pretty much go with the flow, follow the rules, avoid rocking the boat.

But deep down, beneath the compliant, docile persona most people see most of the time, is a fierce anti-establishment streak. I question authority, challenge the status quo. I’m relentlessly skeptical of authority and have deeply held convictions, some of which are considered downright radical. Case-in-point: I have a very large tattoo of a controversial political symbol on the side of my torso. That’s a lifetime commitment to immoderate politics, folks. But don’t get me wrong: most people never know that they’re encountering my oppositional side, if they encounter it at all. I tell The Man where to stick it, I just do it quietly, below most peoples’ radars.

It occurred to me recently that perhaps my interest in straightening out my finances is actually a manifestation of my desire to be able to basically say “fuck you” to people or institutions if I truly feel the need to. In fact, I think that being able to say “fuck you” is the ultimate financial luxury. Think about it: if you have no debt and a fat savings account, you can say “fuck you” to:

- A boss who asks you to compromise your values

- A husband/wife who’s making you miserable

- A landlord who’s shirking her responsibilities

- A car that’s giving you grief

- Any person or situation that you feel is taking advantage of you or sucking up your time, energy, or happiness

Our finances can trap us in situations or tie us to people that we loathe because we don’t have the money to walk away or get out. Or, they can give us the ability to say “fuck you,” cut our losses, and move on.

I think, when I really boil down my whole motivation for paring down my debt and building up my savings and investments, what I really want is not necessarily to be a millionaire. I don’t want to own a million properties or expensive jewelry or take a tropical vacation every year. What I want is the ability to say “fuck you” whenever I need to. I don’t want to feel boxed in by a maxed out credit card and an empty savings account. I want to stand up for myself, to be able to act swiftly and meaningfully if I’m being made go along with something I don’t agree with or am in a situation which is causing me unhappiness. I want, in a really tangible way, to feel empowered by my finances instead of controlled.

Because I do have that streak, that “fuck you” streak. What about you? 

Image credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/

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Comments

Being Able To Say “Fuck You” Is The Ultimate Financial Luxury — 15 Comments

  1. I right there with you….I have my emergency fund and then I have an FU fund (most people label it freedome fund, or something of the sort, but mine is labeled in my ING account FU fund). I need the freedom to say FU if i need to (and I have).

  2. Hi,

    I’m the pain in the ass who argued with you several posts ago about your pension :) (I’m sorry about that! I really hope you didn’t take it personally).

    Anyway, so, I read this post and burst into melodrama girl tears. Because I am a teacher, too. And I am currently doing the FUCK YOU. (Yes, I know, I know. A teacher? Doing this? Also, figuratively, not literally.) But 3 years ago, I couldn’t have IMAGINED a time when I would be able to do this–nor could I imagine I’d be in a situation bad enough to warrant it. But now? I can. It’s still the scariest thing ever, but the money is in the bank, the expenses are hacked to the bare minimum, and I can do it.

    It’s amazing. More amazing than making the last debt payment.

    Happy to tell you the story via email if you want more details–I’m leaving you with an anonymous old email to protect my identity for obvious reasons. Seriously, keep scraping together the fuck you fund, because it is literally life-changing.

  3. To be honest, if pressed, I would say it no matter my situation. I would not ruin my life for the sake of money and all of the potentials you listed could very easily make life completely miserable.

  4. I find this really interesting especially as you essentially work in public service.

    Personally I value financial independence because it gives you options (as you say, in regards to the house you rent, the car you drive, the job you have) but I haven’t really thought about it in this particular context – though I like it.

  5. You know, I never really thought about it like this… But you’re right! I was able to give a giant FUCK YOU to my career, and it was amazing. I’d love to be able to do it more often. Fantastic post!

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