Sometimes there is some deep level wisdom coming out of Hollywood and there is certainly something to be learned by this short one minute snip from the movie The Gambler. I agree 100% that the position of fuck you would be a great position to be in, but I want to clarify that it doesn’t mean that you are now free to be an asshole, it means you can better spend your fucks on things that actually matter to you. It means that you are now free from the psychological burden of debt and 21st century servitude.
There is a completely different outlook on decision making when it doesn’t involve money. It’s freedom. Even if you choose to work at the same job, live in the same house, drive the same car and eat the same food – it would feel entirely different if you only had this choice because of the lack of money.
I’ll give you another example using frugality, it is much easier for a person with boat loads of cash to practice frugality because it’s their choice (they don’t have to if they didn’t want to) versus a person who lives below the poverty line because that is their circumstance. Do you understand what I’m saying? It’s the freedom to choose without monetary consideration that makes FU money so powerful. The burden of debt is lifted from your shoulders from a position of FU. My wife’s boss once said that the best employees are the ones with debt, the more debt the person has the better the employee they are. No FU money, no choice. What position do you want to be in?
Let’s talk a little more about how much money you need to build your very own personal fortress of fucking solitude. Is it $2.5 Million like the gambler suggests? Or is it closer to $500K or somewhere in the middle? One thing that I can tell you with certainty is that if you carry any consumer debt on high interest credit cards you need to crush that shit immediately. Don’t treat it any other way than the emergency that it is – at this point your fortress is made out of kindling and it’s currently on fire. Take care of the debt right now.
For all you debt free folks the answer to the questions is in the 4% rule. Once you have taken care of the debt and own your house (or pay a decent rent ratio) and have a couple of bucks in the bank you are moving in the right direction. There is a great early retirement (FU) calculator online called FIRECalc. It’s a brilliant calculator as it looks at total portfolio failure rates over time. “If your retirement strategy would have withstood the worst ravages of inflation, the Great Depression, and every other financial calamity the US has seen since 1871, then it is likely to withstand whatever might happen between now and the day you no longer have any need for your retirement funds.”
In short, if you die before your portfolio does – it’s considered a success. Let’s say your house is paid off and you currently plan for a 30 year period of FU. You currently spend around $2,000 per month on the basics with a bit of room for some luxuries and you have $675,000 saved. Based off the 4% rule (not including any other income or retirement benefits) your success rate would be 100%.
Here is how your portfolio would have fared in each of the 118 cycles according to FIRECalc. The lowest and highest portfolio balance at the end of the 30 year period was $24,422 to $4,105,318, with an average at the end of $1,501,171. FIRECalc found that 0 cycles failed, for a success rate of 100.0%.
With a stash of $675,000 you most likely will die with 1.5M in the bank and as high as 4.1M. I know there are a lot of people that would die happy knowing the last check bounced and there are others that would like to donate to charity or set up funds to support future generations. Using a process like this you can plan for whatever works best for you and your situation.
How much do you need to build your fortress of solitude? Figure out you basic spend and use FireCalc and the wisdom of FU to make it happen.
And the nice thing about FU money is that no one said that you have to stop earning income and retire to a life of eating Doritos on the couch, getting fat while watching Judge Judy or some other soul sucking daytime TV show. On the contrary you can still work doing whatever you do, or start a side gig, maybe consult in your industry and make more money, lots more money if you want but you get to do this however you please and on your own terms. Whatever it is, having the freedom to choose is the ultimate level of fuck you.