The Retirement Hypothetical

Many look at digital nomads as entrepreneurish types on a sabbatical from real life. In my mind, however, the fundamentals of the digital nomad movement– earning back your time and mobility first– form the bedrock of a wealth script. I suppose that’s part of the reason I was never so worried about the coconut cash conundrum. Being ambitious doesn’t need to mean going fast or placing your bets now, or even having a clear answer as to where the money is going to come from. It can actually look like the opposite. (Slow business movement anyone?)

With wealth scripts the desired outcome (wealth, mobility, and time freedom) are the same, but the approaches can vary radically. Let’s take a look at one I was brought up on in the movies:

FU Money

“F*ck you money” says the way to get lifestyle freedom— to have a wealth of time and mobility— is to go hard at a high-upside career for 5-20 years and, depending on your luck and skill, walk with enough cash that you can live off of the residual investment income.

In other words, you build your foundation with money, then you buy your time and mobility.

F*ck you money then depends on two predictions. First, that the career you’ve selected will continue to have the types of returns it’s seen historically for people of your caliber (and that you’ll realize those returns) and second, that the investment vehicles you select after you get your FU money will return enough income to live off of. If you are wrong in your predictions, the risk you will be exposed to is catastrophic.

Bud looking good and going after his FU money.

Bud looking good and going after his FU money in the classic Wall Street.

A related script is “gold watch” script— working a career over a long term. It isn’t actually so dissimilar from FU money in the assumptions it has at it’s core. In a good case scenario, you’ll spend a lot of time practicing something like dentistry, and then switch gears later in life to become a savvy investor. No thanks!

An alternative – FU Lifestyle

FU lifestyle strategy depends on a foundation of time. If you have enough time— to educate yourself, to build— you’ll be able to build as much currency and mobility on that fundamental foundation as you wish.

Following the f*ck you lifestyle script is simple (and fun!)– there’s only two rules (both of which will be represented by the middle fingers of cute kids):

FU Principle #1

FU Principle #1

#1: Optimize your life to maximize your energy on your enterprising craft. “Enterprising craft” might be taking the hard road to 10,000 hours in any direction that is consistently valuable to others. In order to optimize time, you’ll want to consider paying down your debt, “baselining” your expenses, and taking on apprenticeships that teach you important information and build you relationships on terms agreeable to you (rather than put yourself into profitable but inflexible career tracks).

FU Principle #2

FU Principle #2

#2: Survive. Stay in the game for a decade or more, making the same kind of time investment as your FU money counterpart, but spending it solely focused on building and understanding opportunities.

The two predictions at the core of FU lifestyle script are firstly that you will eventually help to generate one or many opportunities that has the potential bring you wealth, and secondly that you will be able to capitalize on those opportunity when they arise.

Both strategies involve presumptions and risk of course. In FU money you are putting your chips into an industry, a company, a path, very early in the game. In FU lifestyle, you are waiting to place a bet and assuming a good one will come your way.

F*ck you lifestyle requires a sort of conceptual patience and comfort with uncertainty that is not required in either F*ck you money or gold watch scripts. F*ck you lifestyle requires one to trust in a process that supplies no immediate answers to the wealth problem. FU moneyers and gold watchers “know what’s going to happen” years in advance.

FU Money  vs. FU Lifestyle

“FU lifestylers” have many other assurances not afforded to those who choose “FU money”

  1. If you fail at FU lifestyle, you were, at a minimum, spending your time on projects that were interesting to you.
  2. The fundamental posture of “FU lifestyle” is one of “flying your middle finger” rather than “kissing ass until you can fly a middle finger.”
  3. Your investment of time in a craft and projects becomes an opportunity for compounding effects rather than doing one thing, say trading bonds, so you can one day do something completely different.
  4. Although everything in life is a tradeoff, it seems that those pursuing FU money scripts are more susceptible to sunk cost fallacy.
  5. In a word– FU lifestyle is Antifragile.

I’m not totally against an FU money script nor do I think this distinction is super clean. I love kicking around ideas like this, I always appreciate your thoughts.

FU lifestyle appeals to my business partner and I in part because we have builder personalities. We’d rather captain our own DIY canoe than join the Navy and captain a battleship.

Haterz gonna hate.

Haterz gonna hate.

Look at that thing go!