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Money can’t buy happiness, but the absence of money can cause unhappiness.
Money buys freedom: intellectual freedom, freedom to choose who you vote for, to choose what you want to do professionally.
But having “f*ck you” money requires a huge amount of discipline. The minute you go a penny over, then you lose your freedom again. If money is the cause of your worry, then you have to restructure your life.
We tend to picture "f*ck you" money as a minimum hurdle. What's your "f*ck you" money amount?
$100K? 1M? $5M? $100M? Everybody has a different answer.
"F*ck you" money, in our heads, is a singular point. Once we cross it, life's problems melt away. When you have X amount of money, you can say "no" to things that you don't want to do. Nobody owns you. Your life is wholly yours. You have the ultimate degree of freedom.
The reality isn't filled with straight lines that we can extrapolate forever. Reality is messy, full of nuance.
The reality of "f*ck you" money isn't a singular point to cross, but a range to stay between. A dollar too much, and you descend back below that threshold. The formula is reversed, and additional wealth comes at the expense of additional freedom. Sure, you might be "rich" financially, but you don't have "f*ck you" money.
As your income grows, outside circumstances lose their grip on your life. If you have $50,000 saved up, you can weather seven months of unemployment, afford to repair your truck's transmission, and cover emergency medical expenses.
If you have $50,000 saved up, you can quit your job and take a leap of faith to try something new.
If you have $50,000 saved up, you have options.
Did billions of dollars make Elon Musk miserable? Did Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, and Jeff Bezos suffer failed marriages because of their $100B net worths? Not necessarily. However, the traits that made them so successful both financially and professionally have also made the other aspects of their lives a living hell.
No one is superman, and we are all limited by time and energy. If you invest maximum effort into your career, your personal life has no choice but to suffer.
Life is defined by opportunity costs. The opportunity cost of reaching the pinnacle of professional success is often a lacklustre family life. It's not necessarily that money destroys relationships, but the dedicated effort needed to achieve this success comes at the expense of other (often family) aspects of one's life.
A singular drive to succeed professionally often yields a life where one's only success is in their profession.
But it's not just the opportunity costs associated with the success that plague the ultra-rich, it's the magnification of every aspect of their lives.
Past a certain point, freedom of speech is a casualty of personal success.
Money affects the dynamics of one's interpersonal relationships as well:
If you are "publicly rich" (think athletes, authors, movie stars, politicians, etc.), you no longer have a private life. Everyone wants a piece of the public figure, for better or worse.
If you are "privately rich", you still run the risk of sacrificing other areas of your life for the sake of success. You could have all the money in the world and be a prisoner to your ambitions. What good is $100B if all of your relationships are in shambles? Money can't buy true friendship, camaraderie, love, or desire.
After a certain point, your inflating financial assets become toxic liabilities.
The ultra-rich, like the impoverished, find that their decision-making processes are largely dictated by circumstances outside of their control.
A lack of money makes you a slave to your wages. Too much money makes you a slave to your net worth.
F*ck you" money is pure, unadulterated freedom with no strings attached.
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