FU money is something you’ve heard about, but what it means to me differs from what it means to you. Depending on your current situation, perhaps your age or outstanding debts or obligations, it can mean different things to different people. What most people think about FU money is having so much money that they can go into their boss’s office and pee on their desks. They can be like, “Yo, I’m done! I’m out!” That’s what a lot of people think it means. But for me, it means something very different.
My first FU money number
$5,000 was my FU number. My entire life, from as early as I can remember, I thought about money daily. So much brain power was used thinking about how I would pay my bills, including rent or putting gas in my car. So much brain power is occupied with the constant worry about money that it prevents people from doing other things or thinking about more creative or risky prospects.
When I had $5,000 in the bank, something incredible happened. I remember it like it was yesterday. I didn’t think about money anymore. At this point, every aspect of my life and my entrepreneurial endeavors improved. The reason was that I was using less of my brain power and bandwidth worrying about how I would pay my bills. Everything got brighter in my life because the energy that I used for stressing went away. I was able to think more creatively and take more risks. I felt truly free.
My challenge to you
I want to challenge you. What is your number? Make sure your number is realistic because it should be the amount of money that you don’t have to worry or think about money if you lose your job for a few months. Work towards that goal. The pressure and the power that poor have over somebody are unbelievable. It’s stifling. Once you take that off the table, it’s incredible what can happen.
It’s critical for you to stop using all the brain power and bandwidth that is currently being used worrying about money. Once you take that off the table, it’s powerful. You may need to start living below your means or doing whatever you need to hit that number. You will be able to do more incredible things and think more creatively. You won’t be stressed all the time about money.
No matter your number, you need to think about delayed gratification. Do you really need what you are purchasing or want it? Identify the difference between a need and a want. We often think we need something when the truth is we could do without it. But there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself if you can afford it. Refrain from buying things on credit because that will slow your growth toward your FU number.
Adjusting your FU number
When you hit your number, you’ll need to adjust it. I remember when I had my first $100,000 in the bank. It was mind-blowing. I felt like the richest dude in the world. I’d be stressed out if I had $100,000 in the bank now because that’s insufficient. It’s not my number. When I started to make more, my expenses increased.
My personal number now is 5 million. Starting at this age, $5 million in cash or assets allows me to live to 110 years old. I don’t have crazy ridiculous expenses, though. If I had $150,000 a year and didn’t have these businesses, I would live very comfortably. My wife would continue to work, and we would be fine.
Is debt for you?
I don’t believe in debt. Because I filed for bankruptcy, the burden and stress about money were so powerful a pressure that having debt is now unbelievable for me. Bankruptcy was a clean start after my business, and I had accumulated $500,000 of business and personal debt. After that, I didn’t do anything I couldn’t afford. I am very debt adverse. I own real estate, but I pay cash. If I can’t afford it, I don’t do it. This doesn’t mean that that’s the correct answer for you.
Success — getting there and beyond
I don’t consider myself a greedy person. Still, one of the ways that you can measure success is through growth, topline numbers, and personal wealth. I am always trying to improve on these. If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.
Every single one of us is one or two bad decisions from being broke or in jail. I have bled, worked, strived, and given every ounce of my being to figure this out. I have figured some things out and want them to stay. I am ultra-aware of what it looks like on the other side because that is where I came from. I grew up poor and had businesses fail, and I’m not interested in doing any of that again. I won’t take risks, so my moves are calculated.