Dilbert and Bogart On “F#(& You” Money

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Trying to think of a good name for your retirement fund? Here’s a funny Dilbert comic about a colorful option:


In fact, the origins of the term “F— You Money” can be traced to actor Humphrey Bogart. The following quote is attributed to him:

The only good reason to have money is this: so that you can tell any SOB in the world to go to hell.

There is also this story from some biographical accounts of his early years:

Long before he was Hollywood’s most famous tough guy, Bogart began his acting career on the stage. After serving in the United States Navy during WWI, he got his start playing a handful of very juvenile roles in drawing-room and country-house comedies. In 1920, he scored a leading roll in the comedy “Cradle Snatchers” and received a bevy of positive notices. It was during this time that he was said to have kept $100 dollars in his dresser drawer at all times, calling it his “F” you money. Instead of taking a part he didn’t want, he could just say “F” you.

I looked it up and $100 in 1920 was about $1,000 in today’s dollars.

I like Bogart’s definition better. He basically says “I’ve now got the financial independence to be picky in how I spend my time.” You don’t need a million bucks. Even a smaller sum of money tucked away can make a big difference in your mood and outlook on life. The first $25,000 I saved up freed me up to pursue my real passions and make the next $250,000.

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  1. But didn’t the name really become popular after Burt Reynolds said it in “City Heat”?

  2. I know it wasn’t the first usage, but i am quite fond of its use in Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson.

    one of the main characters, has a spreadsheet that updates his value of f-you money as the financial markets change around the world

  3. Great post, how true though! The beauty of financial freedom to anyone to F***U

  4. If you read the book about this called (I think) “The Number”, they refer to the term “F you money” all the time.

    BTW, the book is a boring read.

  5. It’s a great concept. In fact, I just saved up $25K and walked away from a job that I didn’t like. Now, I have time to pursue much more satisfying ways to make money and maintain that whole work/heath/social/family balance to life.

    Still, you shouldn’t take the F-YOU too literally. Let the money get you out of a crappy situation, but don’t burn the bridge with a grandiose F YOU on the way out the door.

  6. @Oscar, you don’t want to be grandiose, per se. But you can be cool and styling with it.

    See how it’s done here:

  7. Good point Oscar.

  8. Jeff Medrano says:

    Hah, this post is great. I think I will stuff $100 in my sock drawer now.

  9. If you quit your job, how does your F-You money cover your healthcare costs?? COBRA is expensive and can eat up your savings very quickly.

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