Can't afford to leave your job, relationship, or awful roommate? A F**k Off Fund will help.
Picture these all-too plausible scenarios: You’ve finally found an apartment, only to discover your housemate seems hell bent on making your life miserable. Or you realise your job is slowly sucking out your soul. Or you’re certain your relationship is donezo, but you live together and you can’t afford to move out. You could put up with these things and pray for a natural resolution… or you could dip into your F**k Off Fund.
A woman’s F**k Off Fund is an amount of money she’s saved up to plot her getaway when sh*t hits the fan. It’s ‘financial self-defence’, or the 2018 equivalent of saving for a rainy day – and loads of women are getting on board. The term was coined by writer Paulette Perhach in a 2016 article for money website the Billfold. Paulette started her own F**k Off Fund after racking up thousands of dollars in credit card debt and dealing with both an abusive boyfriend and a creepy boss.
You want to be – no, you will be the kind of woman who can tell anyone to f**k off if a f**k off is deserved, so naturally you start a F**k Off Fund. You save up a F**k Off Fund of $1000, $2000, $3000, then enough to live half a year without anyone else’s help. So when your boss tells you that you look nice, asks you to do a spin, you say, ‘Is there some way you need my assistance in the professional capacity or can I get back to my desk now?’
The term has caught on because it speaks more to real life than the proverbial ‘rainy day’ or the abstract idea of an ‘emergency’ somewhere down the line can. You just never know when (or why) you’re going to have to f**k off and leave your job, your partner, or your accommodation, but at least you know that if it came to it, you could. Any woman who is employed and in the position to save money can and should start a F**k Off Fund, but if you’ve never even thought about saving before, it may seem like a mammoth task.
Karen Goodliffe, director of the women’s financial advisory service HerMoney, says you can save up a good F-Off Fund by starting fairly small. “The amount we always suggest for emergency funds is three to six months’ net salary, or three to six months’ expenses. Not many people would get to six months – most would probably be closer to three – but at least you have a buffer there. Have the money go out the day you get paid with a standing order or direct debit.”
The money is ideal for f**king off (or telling someone to f**k off), yes, but as Karen points out, it can also cover you in case you fall ill and can’t work, as not all employers give sick pay. So it’s a very sensible decision all round, but how much should you even be putting aside? Well, we know that ‘millennials are buying too many lattes’ is a tired old refrain, but really, if you’re serious about having a F**k Off Fund, you might have to start forgoing some of those lattes. Says Karen:
People think they can’t start a savings plan because they’ve got so many outgoings, but if you begin with €100 a month, that breaks down to €3.30 a day, which is not huge money. You just have to cut down on something you buy every day – like coffee, or if you’re always buying lunch, start bringing it in.
“Get a budget calculator or a spreadsheet going so you can see what you’re spending on each month. Guaranteed, there’s going to be something you can knock out. Looking back will show where you’re leaking money, or where you’re just not being savvy.”
Once you’ve figured out what you can save per month and which parts of your budget need a trim, you need to think about where to put your money. Karen suggests choosing an easy-access account – you won’t get much by way of interest, but you’ll always be able to get a hold of some funds in a pinch.
We know what you’re thinking: While it is good to have quick access to your money in case of emergencies, it’s bad if you find yourself lusting over a gorgeous dress in Topshop the week before payday. So we’ve got two words for you: Be. Strong.
“The secret is: Don’t touch it. Just leave it there. Don’t use it like an overdraft as you’re getting closer to the month’s end,” warns Karen. “Be disciplined with it. Obviously, if an emergency happens, that’s what it’s there for.” If you think you might be likely to dip into your F-Off Fund for bits and bobs, consider saving into a different bank or Credit Union – this will make it a lot harder for you to get your sticky hands on your savings. It might be difficult to get into the swing of things at first, but it’ll all be worth it when you’re watching your fund grow, says Karen: “Slowly you’ll start to see it building up, and you’ll feel this weight coming off your shoulders and think, ‘If things get bad, I can do something about it.’ It’s very good for you mentally as well.”
This might all seem like a load of doom and gloom and whataboutery, but Karen suggests that when your F**k Off Fund is sorted you should start a separate fund for fun stuff, too. “Once you’ve got your emergency fund built up, then you can start looking at saving for short-term events like changing your car or going on a holiday.”
You can’t be fully prepared for everything life might throw at you, but you can put away a few bob a month to cushion the blow. And then you can f**k off if you want to.
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