Freedom - in terms of time - is priceless.
Amen. That's my goal.
Perhaps by the time one achieves this freedom, their best work is behind them.
I think SpaceX is a great example to the contrary.
While on a personal level, the money Musk had was FU money, on a company level, SpaceX has been operating out of the poor house.
It saddens me a little when people get 10^7 dollars and then show a complete lack of imagination in how they deploy it.
Arc is just a fun project he worked on, and has yet to prove itself, especially now that another Lisp-dialect is taking the spotlights.
Is it just me who is having similar thoughts?
1. Pick a company you don't hate
2. Get hired
3. learn their codebase inside and out
4. DON'T QUIT
Pretty soon you will be the only person around who knows about system "X" and they will be glad to keep you around past 65. My office is filled with COBOL programmers that took this path. Hell, we even recently hired a guy in his 60's, because that's just how old COBOL programmers are.
Alternatively you could get your MBA and go the CTO/VP of engineering route. This seems better to me, (as a backup plan to startup failure).
For me I think the reality is that I expect computer literacy to continue to increase, while some slick abstractions will be developed in the next 25 years. Granted, software developers will still be in demand, yet there'll be more labor available in the market, and much of it will be more accessible which will drive down salaries a bit as the labor supply starts to catch up with demand. I also lack a formal degree, though real-world experience and self-teaching myself most of a CS and Mathematics undergrad curriculum has prevented that from becoming a problem.
Also, I'm watching my 60+ year-old parents go through it. They sold their house to free up cash. I had to bail them out (for 18 months) when I was 22-23 for a non-trivial amounts of money, since no one else could've helped them out. My uncle and aunt are in the same boat. My sister is ridden with debt. Parents of neighborhood kids are going through similar motions (selling the house to free up cash).
* Save at least 35% of my net pay every year. Already done, shooting for 40% now. Goal is 50% (at current income level/standard of living). Credit is a tool that I do use to my advantage at times, but it's rare. Most everything is cash, including major purchases (i.e. car).
* Develop something to provide a 2nd income stream of at least $850/mo that only can go into savings. That's real money over the long haul.
* Minimize purchases of durable goods. I expect 15 years out of the car (only buy a car that makes you smile every time you get in it). My furniture will outlive me. I get 5-ish years out of clothing (and don't own much). Electronics either need to last 10+ years or have high resale value.
* Plan to change careers in 17-20 years, especially if there's tangible demand in a new field. Mostly since I expect to be bored. Barring that, time to get a "real" engineering degree.
Don't bet on it. There are tons of failed examples of attempts to enable plug and play programming (connecting pre-made components together), and it never scales. The devil is in the details.
Granted, more complex problems will always require more complex solutions. I don't see anything like this changing where I work (quantitative finance), but it'd be more of a concern for those working at J-Random Cardboard Box Company.
I'm not against planning for the future, but at-least for me, living as frugally as you say you are would simply be too boring/depressing/mundane/etc. given my current (or short term) salary. Perhaps I will feel the pinch of this later in my life, but I definitely want to "live in the moment" as much as I possibly can - and for me, that involves spending some money (I have no doubts that others can do so without money too).
Granted, my income increased substantially over the years. My foundation expenses haven't increased, I've just cut down discretionary spending and buy things that last (i.e. avoiding buying cheap junk because it "saves money now" when it costs more over time because it has to be replaced). I actually spend less than I did 5 years ago.
There's ways to be cheap that are still smart and don't make you feel like your cheating yourself for the sake of frugality. Video games are just as fun when they're 2-years old and can be had off of eBay for $10 as they were when they were brand new and $60. I wait for consoles to be price cut. I can upgrade iPhones every year because I can get 90-95% of the upgrade cost covered by selling the old one on eBay. I spent a lot on an LED-backlit TV years ago, but it looks so fantastic (after 4 years) I don't see myself replacing it until it dies, rather than upgrading every 3 years like my friends have since the late 90s.
If I really wanted to, I could limit my expenses to 35% of my net pay. But then that would be short-changing myself. 35% used to be the average savings rate in China.
That said, I'm pretty sure there are some CS professors that are 65; if they can hold that gig we should be able to crank out software (I hope)!
I don't have a great deal of money, but I do have enough coming in that most months I end with more than I started, and don't have to worry about starvation, foreclosure or eviction, and spend a fair amount on books and gadgets.
It's not a very exciting life, but I enjoy it most days, and it's been years since I had to listen to anybody telling me what to do.
there's no concept of tenure outside of academia, though :/
Unfortunately (fortunately?) I don't think that in 37 years, I'll be seeing a lot of systems that were installed in the 00's - the mentality these days is more about interconnection and interoperability than it was in the 70's.
That said, I'm a systems administrator, not a programmer. There'll still be servers in 30 years, they'll just probably glow blue and float around the data centre unbounded by gravity, or something equally crazy.
I think that's a thing of the past, as plenty of people have found out in the last two years.
Let's assume for the sake of argument that Americans earning the minimum wage are living in "extreme poverty" (which is not true in my opinion, but let's be conservative).
The median household income in US is around U$50k.
So the median household is already living above poverty. You alone can earn more than $50k as a junior programmer. You probably have above average programming skills, and will eventually earn 100k if you get a job in a big company and stick to it.
You don't even need to live too frugally. You only need to pretend your income is $50k -- you'll still live at least well as the median household -- and sock the rest away in very conservative investments.
If that's your plan, then you are depending on Social Security or whatever social programs are available when you retire.
I'm going to make it happen. Somehow.
I understand that everyone's financial situation and aspirations are different. YMMV.
Seriously though, when are you going to start a company? There's at least 4 of us (Kevin M, John H, Dave N, me) working on 3 startups in SF. Join us!
Is it just me who is having similar thoughts?
I do believe that, at this point in my life, the only realistic shot I have at living out my dreams for the future is to build a successful startup. So you are definitely not alone. :-)
PS: My father was a 63 year old programmer the day he died, and believe me he was well paid and in high demand.
If you are looking to emigrate from a 'third world' (what a ridiculous term) country to a wealthier one it can be quite hard. If you already have family or friends somewhere that can make the process considerably easier.
I think it's pretty much a given that Australia and New Zealand will accept you if you (a) speak the language (b) have a profession and (c) no criminal record. When I goto the local playground sometimes I wonder if I'm not in a suburb of London, such is the amount of English accents I hear.
This is why BC and Alberta were thriving when the Canadian dollar was worth more than the US dollar and the price of oil was sky-high, while Ontario was suffering. That said, I'm not sure of the larger implications to the Canadian economy as a whole if the US tanks. It may be simple to move to trade with China, though it may not.
And that is after you get here.
Two outstanding mortgages and a single stream of revenue (that will certainly diminish over time) is hardly better off than just having a high paying corporate job where you don't have to go into the office very often.
Now, to point out why it is even more comparable than what you get out of it, I could liquidate those assets and have FU money (for want of a more elegant term) in a relatively short time, but as I wrote I'd rather have cash flow than cash so this is a conscious decision.
Weight Watchers and a few others have angled after the domain name for serious cash but I'd rather hold on to it for now since I'm better at managing my money and my free time when I have less of the former.
If I ever decide to change that I will probably arrange for an auction house (probably moniker) to sell off the domain and/or the rest of the assets.
That's a long way off though.
The value of those assets outweighs my debts 20 to 1 or better, in the mean time, by not liquidating the assets I've managed to make more on them than I would have ever made if I had sold out years ago. Sometimes selling is not the right option. The downside is that you have to maintain your assets, but in my case that is probably less work than it would be to maintain a pile of money.
Also, the single stream of revenues is the one associated with one website, in one corporation. I own three of those and quite a large number of websites and have a stake in a few others as well as some investments in reasonably successful startups.
On another note, I mentioned my divorce in passing, FYI, I left all the easily liquidated assets (two debt free houses and a bunch of money) with my ex wife (voluntarily) because I think my income potential is higher than hers if it should come to that. Our son lives with her, I figure if it makes his and her life more secure that's the right thing to do. So I already was out of debt and chose to go back in to it out of my own free will in the fairly sure knowledge that it would be a temporary situation.
Recently I bought back the half of the company that she got as part of the settlement as well so now the situation has slightly changed from the way it was before and I still need to work out all the implications of the change.
I admire your ability to generate passive income. Very few can do that without actively working every day. Don't discount the benefits of cashing out should your revenue begin to dwindle. You can still get the benefits of cash flow vs. cash without owning a business.
I know, but it might take a different mentality than mine to pull that off successfully. Less money to spend keeps me from doing stupid stuff.
I don't think it's right to say there are competing definitions, as if they're both equally right. I think there's a correct definition a) "set for life" and a wrong one b) "set for now". These are two very different concepts, so using the same term is causing confusion.
Someone in this thread said "I have FU money for a year", which makes absolutely no sense. This shows how misusing the term can cause confusion.
If you live (relatively speaking) from hand to mouth, and you walk into a negotiation for a small amount of work, it doesn't take much money to be able to say No and mean it; enough money to last a week may be FU money.
It might make sense after all, I can think of several situations in which that is perfectly valid.
For instance, if you have only a year left to live (an extraordinary amount of people die every year, fully 1.6% of those alive today will not be alive next year).
The younger you are the more money you'll need to last you 'forever' (or at least, until that guy with the hoodie and the scythe shows up). I'm 45 so if you're considerably younger than I am you'll probably need more of it. But having 'FU' money for a decade in your prime and then having to go back to work when you're say 55 is probably a lot better than the reverse, retiring at 65 when you're older and physically less capable seems like the wrong way around to me. Get some mileage out of your life while you can enjoy it to the fullest.
The common theme among all definitions of FU money seems to be freedom from fearing we'll go hungry and relief from risk averse behavior like holding on to an unfulfilling job.
Is FU money more satisfying when we've earned it ourselves rather than winning it (inheritance, lottery, marriage, fraud)?
I hear so, and anyway that is my only possible channel of ever having that much money. But as far as I know, people who inherit money, win the lottery, marry into money, or defraud people of money don't feel bad about having the money.
It has survived both, the first by changing from an advertising driven model to a subscription model, the second because I'm in close contact with someone that owns and operates and IPSP so I could switch on a moments notice.
I probably aged a couple of years for each of those.
Technically the period between '95 and '98 (the pre-camarades days) was license driven, I've written about that elsewhere: http://jacquesmattheij.com/content/story-behind-wwcom-camara...
I disagree that reading is being unproductive. You want to see what unproductive is really like, track down and watch an hour of "Maury" or "The Jerry Springer Show" on TV.
Creating from what? What well of knowledge do you have to dip into if your mind hasn't been stocked by reading first? And if all you do is read for a goal, then you are cheating yourself.
I can't stress enough how this is a good business advice.
Never mix up business money and your money.
You'll eventually be able to pay yourself well when business does well. Don't take too much from it at the beginning. Cash flow is paramount to success.
I think I might even use your article as a reference in future because oddly enough a lot of people don't seem to quite get what I'm talking about when I try to tell them what me dream is. "What, not have a job? How? What would you do? You have to work" etc. etc.
To me, I don't have FYM, despite meeting your threshold 8x over. It would not be easy for me to replace my current income at another job. (I'm 7+ years here, know our tech and business inside and out, and am paid pretty fairly for that, but that doesn't mean that I have nearly the same value to another company, something that headhunters who call have a hard time grasping when I tell them my comp range.)
It also doesn't have to be your employer: it can be anyone you're financially tied to in some way.
I can't give a comprehensive survey of everyone who's made FU money, but take Tim Ferris for example. He's not a whiz at building websites: he just knew to cash in on selling brain supplements online when that stuff was taking off.
Edit: I should point out that I don't think FU money is exclusively about being able to say "FU" to a jerk. I emphasized that aspect just to invert the comment I was responding to. FU money can also just be about ditching a career you're not that interested in (but may be highly skilled at, and otherwise locked into).
In fact, the people that have 'fuck you' money (that I know) tend to be pretty rude to people that are simply trying to make their lives a little easier, such as people waiting tables or running a store. You can instantly tell from the way they treat those 'below' them in stature (if there is such a thing anyway, my grandmother used to say about such people that they smell just the same on the toilet) whether they're nice or not.
As a rule, if people are rude to others that are in a 'lesser' position to them then you can do without them just fine.
The people I know with FU money have generally been really nice - there was this one kid in college who was an asshole, but he's the exception, not the rule. Most will go out of their way to help people, and are always polite to waitstaff etc.
Maybe I've just been lucky. I've found that the comment someone made in the original thread holds pretty true. ("Whatever type of person you were before FU money, you'll be more of afterwards. If you were a jerk beforehand, you'll be more of a jerk afterwards, while if you were a nice person beforehand, you'll be a nice person afterwards.)
It hasn't affected me much, I still work, I'm still kind to strangers and waitresses. You're rule is good, but something tells me those people you know would be the same in any situation.
That's exactly why the rule is good, it allows you to pick out people like that. In other situations they will be the same (they can't help it) but it won't stand out so much.
Some people try to impress others by bossing people around or showing they can afford to be rude, for me that's a total turn-off.
The really interesting thing here is that the really wealthy are usually quite modest (at least, those that I've met, which is not a very large sample).
Just debadge them, and 99% of people won't know that you have the high end version.
Audi S line is kinda good too, but they really dropped the ball this generation. The S4/S5 are barely making enough power to compete with the 335i. The upcoming RS5 should fix that, but Audi is probably going to charge so much for those, that the $60K M3 will look like a bargain by comparison.
The S4 and new S5 are v6, which means they probably aren't as painful on the mileage. This is the biggest reason not to get an M.
I could probably see your point if it was a Zed Shaw article, but even then it seems that reasonable people should be able to look past any vulgarities if there's useful information to be found.
May I suggest: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=george+carlin+se...
Emergency fund not good enough? Savings plan too serious? I'm going fishing too thoughtful? The best that an essay has to offer on setting aside money for situations unforeseen is to reference it by FU money? Newsflash, its called a savings plan, retirement fund, IRA, mutual funds, mattress money. It's been done before and the only difference is calling it something vulgar in order to connect with the new generation of people. Anyone seen Idiocracy? That's where it's heading.
And to think. "I'm" the one insulting Jacques. Unbelievable.
The tone in both of your responses is way worse than the thing you're taking issue with. Your ignorance just makes it worse.
Also, I think for most people, it sounds humorous and whimsical. Unless you also refrain from mentioning hamburgers out of concern for vegetarians' sensibilities, I don't think it's anything to get upset about.
He said, "Grow up people," which is not very respectful.
Those are two apparent reasons.