Do You Have a F#ck-Off Fund? Here's What It Is (and Why Women Should Always Have One)
We know money can’t buy happiness -- at least not when you pour it into material possessions and status symbols. Using your money that way often leads to a lot of regret and remorse, and won’t make you feel fulfilled or satisfied.
But you know what money does provide you without fail?
Choice. Flexibility. Freedom.
That why I always tell people -- especially women -- that they need a F#ck-Off Fund.
F#ck-Off Funds Provide Flexibility and Freedom to Make Your Own Choice
A F#ck-Off Fund is a pool of money that you can use whenever you’d really like to tell someone to… (well, you get the idea) but usually don’t have the option to do so.
That could be because that person is a terrible, abusive boss that makes your life miserable -- but you need that paycheck from your job, so you stay put and keep your mouth shut.
It could be a bad relationship that you know you need to leave -- but you’re financially dependent on the other person in some way, so you feel stuck.
It could be any number of situations that people find themselves in for a number of reasons. Anytime you feel limited or immobile in your life, a lack of funds to make the moves you know you need to make is often to blame.
That’s where the F#ck-Off Fund comes in. (And if you don’t like the profanity? That’s okay. You can call this cash reserve anything you want. Conventionally, it’s simply called an emergency fund -- but giving it an empowering label may keep you motivated to create it for yourself.)
If you had an amount of cash set aside that you could use to float yourself enough money to pay for your fixed expenses and bills for a period of time, you could confidently walk out of an abusive office without having another job lined up right away.
You could pack your stuff and leave a relationship that’s no longer good for you because you can pay to live on your own for a few months until you figure out your next step or find a roommate to split some costs with you.
I know money isn’t everything. But the money you have available not just for emergencies, but for scenarios in life where you just need to make a new choice, sure does give you a lot of power to make a change when you’re free from financial restraints that may otherwise hold you back.
Women Are Especially Vulnerable to a Lack of Choice
Don’t get me wrong: everyone should have a little bit of money stashed aside for themselves when they need to use it as leverage to get unstuck (or even to get out of downright dangerous situations). But I say women should always have a F#ck-Off Fund because, unfortunately, we seem to be more likely to need it. That’s thanks to a wide host of factors that range from cultural conditioning, societal norms, and straight-up sexism.
We’re more likely to be victims of domestic abuse or violence. We’re more likely to face discrimination in the workforce (or just intolerable working conditions due to sexual harassment) or struggle to break through glass ceilings to get better positions (and equally-paid jobs).
We could spend all day hashing out the reasons why women need to prioritize this (“a man is not a financial plan,” anyone?) but the bottom line is that you need a cash reserve in your name that you can easily access.
A F#ck-Off Fund allows you to rely on yourself, and not on the hopes that someone else will save you, take care of you, or give you the opportunities you want.
How to Build Your Cash Reserve Fund
Okay, you got it -- you need a F#ck-Off Fund. But how do you go about building one?
First, set yourself a goal. Most emergency reserves should hold at least 3 to 6 months’ worth of income. This might sound like a massive amount of money, but you don’t have to create this overnight.
Start small. Contribute $20, $50, $100 -- whatever you can reasonably afford to set aside -- to a cash savings account that you can access whenever you need it. (This means avoid something like a CD and opt for a high-interest rate savings account or money market account. I personally love CapitalOne360.)
Once you decide on how much you can set aside each month, set up an automatic contribution from your checking account to your savings account and treat that transfer like a bill you pay yourself each month. This ensures you’ll slowly but steadily build your fund up.
It might be helpful to pretend like this fund doesn’t even exist. You don’t want to be tempted to spend it on anything else. In fact, don’t think of it as money -- think of it as your future freedom, your key to get out of any situation you need to change or take control of.
I know we all have a lot of feelings when it comes to money. But whether you feel positively or negatively about your financial situation, there are a few things none of us can deny:
- Money provides you with choices.
- Money is a tool you can use as leverage; it’s freedom, because if you’re not reliant on anyone else for money -- be that a significant other, a parent, or a job -- you can live your life as you choose.
- Nothing about your financial situation will change unless you take action -- and you CAN take action to make a positive impact on your personal finances.
The best time to create your F#ck-Off Fund was yesterday. But that’s okay, because the next-best time is right now. Start today, with what you have (even if it’s a tiny amount). The small steps you take right now will add up to a massive amount of freedom for you to enjoy in the future.
Kali Roberge is a personal finance writer who contributes to JUGs to explain how freelancers and entrepreneurs can make the most of their money, and writes about mindful living through intentional spending on her blog GoingBeyondWealth.com. You can find her @kaliRoberge