It has been eight years since Paulette Perhach’s article, A Story of a F**k-Off Fund, went viral. Yet, the idea behind it continues to resonate with women around the world today. With the new year and renewed chances for better financial practices, 2024 needs to be the year you begin building your f**k-off fund.
What is it?
First off, what is a f**k-off fund? Perhach began her story by outlining a situation: a girl, fresh out of college with all the wildest dreams and ambitions. Slowly, she gets whittled away by circumstances in her life: pressured into upkeeping a certain lifestyle, an abusive partner, gross sexual misconduct at the office by a boss—situations that, at a younger age, she thought she would be able to stand her ground and walk away from. Alas, life and financial problems get in the way of her doing that. Instead, she grits her teeth and carries on, enduring everything while falling into a deeper hole.
Press pause. That doesn’t sound like an ideal life at all. Perhach then restarts the story: instead of trying to match the lifestyles of others earning more than her, she spends less than she earns. She thrifts furniture instead of splashing on brand new ones at IKEA. She eats out less. She doesn’t buy that expensive dress just to look good for others. She saves her money—little, by little. When her partner starts becoming abusive, she can leave him and get her own apartment. When there’s gross sexual misconduct by her boss, she can opt to leave her job. All because she has a little nest egg called her “f**k-off fund”. She can tell these people—and the unfortunate situation—to, well, f**k off, and live life on her own terms.
It’s unfortunate, but it’s a situation that enough working women around the world face. We may be more gratified than ever, but still very financially vulnerable. As inflation goes up, our financial stability goes down. In a 2023 survey by GoBankingRates, 26% of the surveyed women said that their primary financial goal is to cover basic expenses; nearly half of the surveyed women (47%) mentioned that the lack of money is their biggest obstacle to reaching their financial goals. Another survey by BankBazaar showed that in 2023, only 57% of the surveyed women are actively building a retirement fund—an 11% decrease from the same survey done in 2022.
A good number of us haven’t been raised with healthy financial habits either. As a result, we enter adulthood with all this adult money and all the childish impulse. It’s only when we’re too deep in debt that we realise something needs to change. The same GoBankingRates survey said that 29% of the surveyed women avoid thinking about or dealing with their finances, and 21% said that they are fearful of making financial decisions because they are not confident in their ability to manage money.
So, how do you get out of this rut and begin establishing your f**k-off fund?
At its core, a f**k-off fund is just a savings account. For those who live from paycheck to paycheck, it may seem daunting to put aside a sum of money that could be used to survive for the month. To this, we say: start small. Even if it’s just RM100 or RM200, put that money away immediately after you get paid every month—you will eventually see it grow.
Another way to get started on this fund is to track your expenses. Noting down what you spend on will show you where your money goes—and you’ll soon see just how much those “treat yourself” moments are costing you. You can do it old school and write it down in a notebook or use an app (we like GoodBudget, ExpensesOK, Spendee, and Monny). Knowing where your money goes is power, and allows you to spend wisely.
Bt you know what’s better than holding out on takeout coffee every day? Having the freedom to let go of what’s not serving you, because you have a f**k-off fund.