Sustaining The Good Life

Lifestyle Philosophy For Financial Independence and Environmental Sustainability

5

Radical Personal Finance: Live From a Position of Fuck You

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I recently watched the movie “The Gambler,” with Mark Walberg.  I didn’t really like the movie in general, but I loved one particular scene.  In the scene below, a loan shark played by John Goodman says to Walberg’s gambling addict character, “I’ve seen you up half a million before.”  Walberg replies, “I’ve been up $2.5M before.”  Then comes my favorite line in the scene below:

“You get up two-and-a-half million dollars, any asshole in the world knows what to do.  You get a house with a 25 year roof, an indestructible jap economy shit box, you put the rest into the system at 3-5% to pay your taxes, and that’s your base.  Get me?  That’s your fortress of fucking solitude.  That puts you for the rest of your life at a level of of “fuck you.”  Someone wants you to do something, ‘fuck you.’  Boss pisses you off, ‘fuck you.’  Own your house, have a couple bucks in the bank, don’t drink.  That’s all I have to say to anybody at any social level.”

So basically, John Goodman, or rather the script-writer who came up with this beautiful monologue, is directly paraphrasing my two blog posts: “Financial Independence Can Help You Live on a Higher Plane of Existence,” and “The Honda Fit is the Ultimate Utilitarian Vehicle.”   It’s great advice, whether it comes from me or a gruff loan shark in a mediocre movie about a gambling addict!  However, I have just a few points of clarification.

You don’t have to have $2.5 million to live at a level of “fuck you” by Goodman’s definition.  Rather, I calculate that you need at least $235,000.  The break-out is as follows:

1) $150,000 for a good 1,000 square foot house in a small city or college town.

2) $75,000 to yield $3,000 per year at 4% to pay the taxes.

3) $10,000 for a honda fit.

However, I’d personally want a better cushion than this to personally live at the “fuck you” level.  My numbers look more like:

1) $150,000 for a good 1,000 square foot house in a small city or college town.

2) $575,000 to yield $23,000 per year at 4% each year.

3) $10,000 for a Honda Fit.

That’s a total of $735,000, and you can then truly say “fuck you” to pretty much anyone.  That’s more than the minimal $235,000 number above, but it’s still much below the $2.5 million cited in “The Gambler.”  However, the best part is that you start to feel better and better as you reach these various levels of financial independence – knowing that you are not dependent on staying in the good graces of anyone – your boss, your family, or your customers – to ensure your own sustenance.  I believe this kind of freedom – financial freedom- allows one to live a much more authentic life.

What do you think?  How much money do you need in invested assets to be able to live at a level of “fuck you?”

 

 

Radical Finance Guru • May 21, 2015


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Comments

  1. Patrick Anthony February 14, 2016 - 6:50 am Reply

    3 million at 1.5% in stupid savers will only yield a gross of $45k, so one has to be debt free to be on the fuck you program. DON`T exceed the need and drink cheap beer.

  2. Patrick Anthony February 14, 2016 - 6:50 am Reply

    3 million at 1.5% in stupid savers will only yield a gross of $45k, so one has to be debt free to be on the fuck you program. DON`T exceed the need and drink cheap beer.

    • Radical Finance Guru April 10, 2016 - 11:28 pm Reply

      Thanks for your comment, Patrick. I think that a more reasonable sustainable rate of return on an index fund investment is 3%, so at $1M invested one could withdrawl $30k each year. There are a lot of smaller cities and towns in the US where that works…and you can drink craft beer.

  3. Ken August 31, 2016 - 4:17 pm Reply

    Your number of $735K seems to be a very bare minimum level of f*ck you. The house and car are are paid for and the annual budget is $23K. How much does health insurance cost?

    2M + the house and the indestructible Jap economy car will yield 80K for expenses and that should be reasonably comparable to salary and benefits packages. A 3% (dividend only) yield is 60K. At 5M this is now 150K and you can look at your professional soul-sucking job and ask why you are still doing this. At 10M you can now compare the fees you are paying your financial advisor to your salary and benefits package and wonder why you are not doing this yourself.

    F*ck you has different levels.

    • Radical Finance Guru October 2, 2016 - 3:06 am Reply

      Thanks, Ken. I agree that the $735k number is a bare minimum. However, the point is not that one would retire, but rather that one could in fact say “F you” and walk away with a very secure base to live from. Maybe the person with “fuck you” money wants to get a part-time job, start a part-time business, work part-time in a job related to a hobby, etc. With the bare-bones level of financial independence, there are broad, creative possibilities for how one lives life. Said another way,a net worth of zero is wildly different from a paid-off car and house and $735k in income-bearing investments. I could argue that this difference is as profound as that between a slave and a free citizen.

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