Friday, October 16, 2009

Fuck You Money

I was having coffee with a work-friend of mine last week. He is in his fifties and spent the first thirty years of his career in business making a lot of dough. His motivation wasn't the superstar lifestyle or hob-nobbing with the wealthy. Nor was it to just to achieve a particular score on the board.

Rather he wanted what he terms `Fuck You Money'. Enough cash to be able to say and do what he wanted. Never to have to answer to anybody again in his life. To express himself and be himself. He set this goal fairly early on in the game. He tolerated colleagues and environments which weren't really `him'. But he knew what he wanted and that the sacrifice would be worth it.

Don't get me wrong, this guy isn't in any sense retired. He works hard, but does only the work he chooses. On top, he also studies, travels and takes an active interest in his kids.

While my path will be different a big part of me identified with him. I too would love to get to a point where I have the total freedom my friend enjoys. For many of us, only a late and lucky retirement brings these kinds of benefits. How wonderful to enjoy them with twenty odd good years left in you.

I guess this is what `Fuck You Money' is all about. I wonder if that is the real privilege of becoming wealthy. Not the toys it can buy you, but the liberty it can bring.

8 comments:

rharris said...

Completely agree with your friends ethos Craig - my view is that there are times in your life and mainly in your career when you realise that work (however wholesome the outcomes) does not truly define you; there are more important things including children, hobbies/interests and most of all independence (to me anyway). I believe that the vast majority of us dont actually like or agree with the system we live in (we are "done to, not with")- we simply conform to it because we have to - but only a small number have the true freedom and independent self sufficiency to not be affected by the pressure of that system - i love the phrase your friend uses "fuck you money" (i guess you knew i would like that Craig!) - i would like to get me some of that fuck you money and enjoy my retirement when i am younger and fitter.

Rob Fountain said...

Whilst I share the desire for the freedom being touted here, I'm not sure I do agree with the willingness to seemingly do anything in order to achieve it. For your friend it has worked, but it could so easily not have. How many slave in jobs they dislike, making untold sacrifices for decades all with an early retirement in mind only to be done over by a heart attack or other unforeseeable health condition? And in the achievement of his welath did he take an active interest in others for the twenty years he was making his dough? I doubt it. I have a close relative who works devilishly hard, is permanently frustrated by the world he operates in and it is a big world as he is overseas as much as he is at home. He is late forties, has no mortgage, is close to financial security already... but he puts his son to bed at most 4 nights a month, his wife he passes by through the week and communicates only to vent his stress. If that is what you have to do to gain that financially-funded freedom, well I say this loud and proud: fuck you money. I'd rather live now than chase you. That is the choice I freely take and I'm happy with my decision.

Craig Dearden-Phillips said...

I find myself agreeing with both Rob's. Like Mr Harris I relish the freedom FYM entails. Like Mr Fountain I am not sure I could defer the life I want for another 15 years or put money at the front of my agenda for that long. While my friend has made his money in a pretty honourable way (he isn't in investment banking!), I can probably safely say he was looking primarily at the financial rather than social upsides of what he was doing.

rharris said...

I can see all perspectives and view points here (and just to be clear my career and private life has many social upsides or objectives); i found myself agreeing with the "on my terms" sort of philosophy and there is nothing in the commercial world that suggests that people who achieve FYM have to abandon all family life or principles while they do it. The other issue for me is that FYM doesnt necessarily mean millions of quid - its about the cut of your cloth.
nice blog - anybody know how to get rid of the delete bin at the bottom of my reply? set up a google account and not sure how to amend settings or get rid of the delete bin! Thanks

Craig Dearden-Phillips said...

I think the delete bin may be a feature of my site so I can get rid of nasty comments!!

Am about to go knocking on residents doors to find out what's on their minds. I do this every Friday and I have to say it is the best part of the (Councillor) job.

Rob Fountain said...

I suggest that you don't use the phrase 'Fuck you money' during your canvassing.

For the record I fully concede that it is not a clear either / or decision. Indeed I've recently found a level of financial freedom that is a long, long way from millions of pounds, but compared to the last decade of my life it is very liberating. Likewise, there are those who earn gazillions and have healthy lives away from work. I hate those people!! Happy weekends one and all.

Craig Dearden-Phillips said...

Lovely to have some exchange on the site - thanks to you both. It is very encouraging to be read and responded to!!!

fadzlan said...

While I agree some may take extreme approach as Rob mentioned, there are also people who have better standards of what kind of journey they are willing to take in order to reach their destination.

Success requires some sacrifices, but we can only sacrifice so much. Sometimes in order to get what you want, you need to look past the sacrifices for opportunities, so you don't have to sacrifice what you don't want to sacrifice.

Which in itself, may be better, IMO.