What would you do with the F.U. money?

Photo: Guano

One of my close friends at work can often be heard saying “man, if only I had the F.U. money.” By that, of course, he means that if he had enough money to not care about losing his job, he could say what was really on his mind and do what he wanted to do.

I did point out to him that if he had the F.U. money, which by his estimate is millions, if not billions, of dollars, he wouldn’t be at work in the first place.

“Not true” he said. “I may not be at this job, but I’d still want to work. The only difference would be that I’d call the shots and I’d make a difference.”

I thought about that for a while and I had to agree that even if I had all the money I could ever dream of, I’d still want to work: I’d want challenges; I’d want exciting things to happen; I’d want to make that difference on my terms.

It has now become a long-running debate over lunches and coffee-breaks. “What would you do with the F.U. money?” Now, we do have a few main rules. One is that you can’t say you’d give away millions to charity, cure hunger and starvation or bring about world peace. As worthwhile as those are, they’re just way too easy to say. You also couldn’t sit on a beach in Jamaica drinking coconut rum and listening to reggae. Again, that’s just way too easy…and really selfish if you ask me.

Personally, if I had a ton of cash and no limits, I’d want to do something extraordinary and memorable. Partly to fulfill that small desire to be remembered long after I’m pushing up daisies. But mostly because I’d want to give something to the world that was truly remarkable. What would that be? A time machine? An island of pure happiness?


One thing I’ve always wanted to do is find out more about our oceans. We know more about space than we do about what’s under the sea. Maybe if I had the big F.U. money I could find a way to traverse the real depths successfully and discover what this planet is all about. An enormous sub that could go deeper, for longer, and hold more people. Of course, science can't defeat the powers of nature right now.

On a less amazing note, I’d love to create a chain of truly healthy, cheap restaurants that combine good food with play and education for children. It’s amazing that most of the restaurents that offer fun-time for kids are places like McDonald’s! What if you could take the family to lunch, eat a really healthy, affordable meal and also let the kids play in a safe, educational environment? Sort of like crossing a salad/sushi bar with a kid’s science museum. And if you didn’t like that idea, well, that’s why it’s called F.U. money.

The big question is, what would you do? I’d love to know. I’d also love to give away a massive prize of cash and gold to the winner, to help them realize their vision, but alas I don’t have the F.U. money yet. I don’t even have the ‘please, can I come in two hours late tomorrow’ money.

More importantly, if you have any amazing ideas on how to raise that F.U. money, don’t sit there and think “what if?” Do something about it. Maybe if we all try, a few of us just might succeed.

Additional photo credit: Jurvetson
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Guest's picture

In November last year, when I realized I wasn't eligible for financial aid, I decided to 'see how much money I could raise' for myself to quit my job and go back to college full time. Why? I want to work in meteorology (my training is in foreign languages - but no degree). If I had a large chunk of cash I'd just do meteorological/climatological studies. I have found that in trying to look for money for this project alone, it is magically appearing, and my fear of job-offer rejection has disappeared. I think I'm learning the 'It's not the destination, but the journey...' moral here.

Great, and timely article!

Guest's picture

The Idea was My sister's but she promised to hire me and I to fund her. We would purchase the largest tract of continuous American forest land possible. And dedicate the space to a fully self sustaining wildernes camp for underprivledeged children. From growing it's own food to generating power. Green would be the theme. Programs for all age groups in camp life as well as "endurance-level" outings for senior campers. After an intial investment we would look to use the property resources. (power timber food) to expand to multiple locations through out the globe. Thus creating an international program. From there the possibilities are limitless. Ah Yes.... to have the FU money.

Guest's picture

If it would only take a small portion of my worth, I'd definitely take one of the first tourist trips to space. Then I'd try to live completely carbon free.

Guest's picture

If I had this opportunity... I would love to open my own business. I have dreamed of having my own business, to pass on to my kid's, ever since I was a teen. I have also had an idea, of helping families struggling with the after affects of drug abuse and rehab. There are a lot of good families that have family members that actually do succeed with rehab... but there are a lot of pieces to pick up from the previous abuse. These families need help to continue their success. And third, I would go crazy helping my two son's with their own entrepreneurial dreams, as well as spoil the heck out of my future grandkids!

Guest's picture

I have actually calculated out how much money I would love to have fall from the sky and land in my lap: $2 million. I figure I would lose a good part of it to taxes, but then I would be able to to a) pay off the mortgage b)finish my education c) pay off the car, and buy a second car d)fund my husband's PhD e) set up the kid's college funds f) travel, particularly with my kids so that they can see how people outside of wealthy America live. The way I see it, it's the perfect amount of money because it's enough to make us financially stable, allow my husband to make the career change to teaching he wants, and I can continue to be a stay-at-home mom, the way I want. But it's not too much to get to our heads. (And if I ever did end up with more than that amount, then I would set up some sort of charity or business to help lower-middle income families that don't qualify for any sort of assistance, but are just barely making it by, living as frugally as possible from paycheck to paycheck - just like me & my family!)

Guest's picture

Hopefully you have interest in charity beyond -other- people thinking it's the right thing to do.

Guest's picture

I've researched opening a charter school, and I don't like how the numbers crunch, nor the continued accountability to the state as far as standardized testing is concerned. I don't want to open a private school because the group of kids I want to serve couldn't afford it.

Sooo...I'd open my own school, a private one, with the tuition being paid in community service.

I kinda wish I was better at grant writing. I'd really like to see this happen.

Love your restaurant idea by the way. I'd totally be there.

Guest's picture

With FU money, I would set my household up to self sufficient, energy wise. I would invest in windmill and solar power and apply it all towards my smallish home in Central New York. I would also have time to help others learn how to apply these qualities to their homes or it could be a small side business for hubby? I would not work, opting instead to have a huge summer garden and the time to can and save for the winter. Basically, I would have my home turn into a 21st century, self contained hippie paradise. I would only work at my church as a volunteer- twice a week maybe. My kids would continue public school- but hubby & I would have time to plan for really adventurous vacations on the cheap- camping, cross country kind of stuff (travel would be in the electric or otherwise green van we would retro fit).

I doubt I would give up the homespunny, secondhand ways I have worked so hard to acquire- I would just spread out my circle of teaching how a bit further.

Guest's picture

This is simple and will help everyone who has to drive in LA. I would put on tons of advertising like PSAs, especially during the most mindless hours of TV, i.e. reality shows.

The PSA would tell people some basics of driving:

1. Use your turn signal when you change lanes, it's built into the car for a reason
2. Me leaving a 3 second gap to the car in front does not mean I left it for you to cut me off
3. A tow truck or stalled car on the side of the road does not mean you should slow down to 5mph to gawk, if you'd like, I'll buy you a picture of the above for your private enjoyment and you can stare at it all day at your leisure when you're not in a car
4. If you insist on being in the fast lane, please keep up with traffic, even if it means going over the speed limit, if you can't handle that responsbility, there are other lanes or local streets for your enjoyment
5. If your exit is coming up, please move to the outside lanes so you don't end up cutting across 4 lanes of freeway to make it
6. Flashing headlights behind you mean YIELD, not open fire
7. Your car is capable of taking most sections of LA freeways at the indicated speed or higher, please don't slow down to 10mph because you think your car will flip over

There's tons of other rants, including certain exits where people always come to a stop even though there's no accident or anything. Everyday I crawl past these exits and then the traffic just magically opens up.

Hopefully, if that even saves the average commuter 5 minutes a day from other empty-skulled drivers, it adds up to 25 minutes a week, or 1,300 minutes in a year... imagine, 21+ hours extra of free time better spent doing anything, including nothing, instead of watching other people waste your life because they can't drive. Heck, even 1 minute a day is 260 minutes a year, or more than 4 hours of your life saved!

But then again, with FU money, I would have a driver or a heli for most things and I wouldn't have to work or keep to much of a schedule so I can avoid most driving all together. Wouldn't that be a dream?

Guest's picture

It's always been my dream to open a sanctuary for elephants. There's one in the US right now, but I definitively think more is needed. This would be a place for zoo and circus elephants to retire in peace and have the life that was stolen from them years ago. I'd definitively be involved in the day-to-day care and managing of the sanctuary, so it's not like I'm proposing just paying for it and then flying off to sunbathe in the Caribbean.

Guest's picture

Ummm, can I have my stapler back, please?

Guest's picture

At least a million would go into the bank, not to be touched. I would run for public office just to bother the establishment. I'd travel the world many times over. Where is he oh we can't find him because with don't have %$###&^ U money? LOL:)

Guest's picture

I would start a foundation that would focus on rehabbing some of the beautiful old brick homes in our city, by using unemployed young people in our community. The young people would be taught the work (bricklaying, carpentry, plumbing, electrical work) from experienced professionals and the resulting housing would be used for low and moderate income homeowners or renters.

Guest's picture

I always have felt that if I had the ability to do this, I would. One thing I would do is take one family a year out of the shelter and give them an apartment, pay their rent for one year and help with finding a job. Most people that are living on the streets are not there because they want to be. If you could give someone a chance at starting over in their life, why wouldn't you. I would also volunteer my time at a hospital with babies and kids who either don't have anyone to care for them or parents that have a job and have no way of staying with their kids. Childrens need human touch for comfort amongst other things. I would also go back to school to get my OT degree to work with autistic kids. And finally, yes I would spend money on my own family. They deserve it!