Always Have an F-You Business

My family and I took a little vacation to Florida last week, and we had the pleasure of free wifi (at least for Apple TV) on our flight.  I sampled The Morning Show at 35,000 feet and fell in love with it.  In case you’re unfamiliar, the show stars Jennifer Anniston and Steve Carrell as lead anchors of a national morning show.  Carrell’s character is fired in the first minutes of the show as a result of workplace sexual misconduct accusations, and the plot focuses on the aftermath of the scandal.  Needless to say, we now have an Apple TV subscription at home; I just finished the show’s first season.

One thing that struck me while watching was everyone’s desperation to keep their jobs.  Morals are heavily compromised, families are ruined, and stress over the looming changes are all consuming.  I thought, ‘Well, I guess if your job is that good, the idea of losing it could be unthinkable.’  Then I started to think back to the days when I had a traditional job.  At numerous points, the future of the company was unclear.  I watched a number of co-workers be asked to pack their bags.  Hell, I even needed to be a part of one or two such meetings in which the news was delivered.  The idea of getting “let go” is extremely stressful.  Sure, you can find a new job, but how quickly can you do so?  Which will come first . . . a new job or the depletion of your savings?  What happens when there’s not enough money to pay the mortgage?  You don’t have to be a nationally televised anchor woman to get a little desperate at the prospect of being forced into that situation.  I think most people in their careers have done things that go against their principles in some way and have felt forced to shrug it off because “it’s my job.”

JL Collins is the author of a very famous book in financial circles called The Simple Path to Wealth.  In it, he continually stresses the importance of “F-You Money,” a concept he first heard described in James Clavell’s Noble House.  In the original reference, the heroine of the story wants enough money ($10 million to be exact) to be able to live the entirety of her life however she chooses.  Collins has a somewhat different take.  Specifically, he says: 

For me, the pursuit of financial independence has never been about retirement.  I love working and I’ve enjoyed my career.  It’s been about having options.  It’s about being able to say “no.” It’s about having F-You Money and the freedom it provides.

I love this concept, and I’m not a saver by nature.  When my husband and I were first starting out in our early twenties, we decided we would each begin saving $50 per paycheck (which amounted to $200 total per month).  We fought so much that period was one of the lowest points of our marriage.  But we got the hang of it eventually.  And now, I think taking Collins’ concept a step further is even better.  Have an F-You Business.  If you work a traditional job, start a business on the side.  If you have a successful business, start another one on the side.  While investments can provide an income stream, a successful business provides a better one. 

I know our articles here are typically about Building Your Brand, which means most of our readers are already entrepreneurs by nature and probably fully embrace this concept.  Still, maybe this post is just a reminder that it’s time to start thinking about your next venture. . . .