On Wednesday, author Paulette Perhach shared a piece entitled "A Story of a Fuck Off Fund"—a reminder that saving money isn't just about buying a house someday or sending a kid to college; it's about maintaining your dignity and safety when something in your life goes to shit. Because things in your life will go to shit. If they didn't, we'd all be driving still-running cars made in 1905 and partying with our great-great-great-great-great grandparents because people weren't dying. Actually, life would probably still go to shit because the Earth would be overcrowded and we'd be forced to murder others in order to make space for our children. Anyway, you need a "Fuck Off Fund."
Perhach discusses how having this "Fuck Off Fund," as she calls it, gives you the power—now, tomorrow, whenever—to walk away from life's really shitty situations. That situation could be a creepy boss, an abusive boyfriend, or whatever other crap comes your way that makes it necessary to fuck off far away as quickly as possible.
While Perhach writes from the perspective of a woman, this is something everyone needs. While I currently spend my days making jokes about crushing anxiety and discussing heartbreaking obituaries, I used to work as the senior editor of a personal finance site. In my time there, the Fuck Off Fund—or fuck you fund, or emergency fund, or whatever you want to call it—was the number one thing I recommended to people. I didn't just recommend it because it's financially smart; I recommend it because I've been there. I know what it feels like to stay in a broken relationship because I couldn't afford to move out. And I know how wonderful it feels to be able to tell a boss who sent me furious emails about low-stakes shit at 11:30 pm that I was quitting.
Perhach has some good suggestions on how to approach the fund, but I wanted to give some additional, specific suggestions on how to make it so. This way, whether you're male or female, you can tell anybody to fuck off.
1. Make a budget.
Making and sticking to a budget isn't fun, but neither is paying a $20 fee every time you overdraft your bank account. Use Mint. It's free, and it can link with all of your bank accounts, loans, and credit cards to track your debt and spending automatically, all in one place. And for fuck's sake, make sure you budget money in for fun stuff. You're more likely to splurge and blow your budget if you don't have any wiggle room for enjoyment.
2. Open a savings account just for your Fuck Off Fund.
The ideal place for your FOF would be a savings account that's linked to your main checking account (so it's easy to deposit funds into), but isn't at your existing bank (so it's not too easy to transfer them out again). Online banks Ally and Capital One 360 are both good options for this.
3. Put money in that thing.
Even if all you can afford to stash in your Fuck Off Fund is $5 every paycheck, put money in it regularly. Every $5 you save is a goddamn foot-long sub you can eat when you're looking for a new job. If you receive a regular paycheck via direct deposit, set up an automatic transfer so every time you get paid, some money goes into your Fuck Off Fund without you having to make it happen—you're more likely to save that way.
4. Don't touch it for shit that isn't worthy.
Your ability to leave a job or a relationship with dignity and/or in a blaze of bridge-burning glory is more important than a vacation. It might not feel like that at the time, but that's the whole point of this thing—you're protecting yourself from something you don't want to believe will come true. When it does come true—and it will—you'll be happy it's there.