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Something better than a ‘Fuck off fund’

Every woman should have a ‘Fuck off’ fund!” the article says. Save a sum of money that you can live on for a few months, in case you’re ever in financial hardship, and your lack of funds means you end up stuck in a shit situation.

I’m sure many of us have been there – you accept things you’d otherwise reject because you don’t have the cash to tell people to fuck off. A job with a skeezy boss. A partner who hurts you. Things which, by all rights, you should never have to put up with. But you look at your bank balance and go ‘huh, I do not have the resources to get by if I leave my job right now.’ Or you want to leave your partner because they’ve done something unforgivable, but you know you can’t make the rent on your own.

Sometimes you put up with staying because you don’t have the money to leave.

Financial independence is an incredibly valuable thing. I learned this lesson fairly early in life. Financial independence, as well as being a ticket into somewhere good, is also a handy ticket out of a bad situation.


Financial independence is not possible for everyone. Whether through illness, job prospects, sheer bad fucking luck, not everyone can be financially independent. I’ll go further and say that given things like the wage gap, expectations on women when they have children, and a whole bunch of other things – financial independence is harder for most women to attain than most men. Men are rarely told that they should strive to stand on their own two feet financially: it’s something we just assume for them. They are not told to have a ‘Fuck off’ fund, because we assume that in most situations they’ll be the ones with more money. And that’s still not true for all of them: whether through illness, job prospects, sheer bad fucking luck, etc.

So when I see lots of people sharing an article and saying ‘women! You MUST have this! You MUST have adequate savings so that at any point you can drop it all and leave!’ I am torn between wanting to punch the air and wanting to weep. Because as a goal this is surely a good thing – to be independent. To never get stuck in a position where you’re dealing with abusive bosses or abusive partners because they can’t afford to escape.

But we know this already. Even without a powerful and emotive article urging us to the practicalities, we know this.

So take out the things that we already know: money is helpful. Money is important. Money can signify not just material things to buy but escape, freedom, salvation – however you want to put it. Money is often a significant factor in things like relationship abuse, or putting up with bosses who break the law by sexually harassing or bullying their staff.

If you take out the things that we already know, what are you left with? What’s the message of this article?

The message is: it’s your responsibility.

If you’re trapped in a shit job, or a horrible relationship, and you cannot possibly leave… it’s your fault.

So then the people who couldn’t save… or the ones who saved and their shitty partner took all the money away from them… or the ones who saved and then got sick and had to pay out thousands on medical bills… or the ones who saved and then got pregnant in a country which gave them no access to abortion… or the ones who saved and still didn’t save enough… they still cannot fuck off.

And in the meantime support services are getting cut, politicians are arguing about giving you ‘incentives’ to work, or discussing whether it’s right that you should be given free healthcare or access to abortion, and you think – ‘hmm. Somewhere in here I have to do all this, and also save for a fund in case their threats to remove access come true.’

It’s a short step from the fist-pumping, emotive, motivational speech that urges you to “Have a ‘Fuck off fund’!” to the tutting when you fail: “Why didn’t you have a ‘Fuck off fund’?”

And you’ll try to explain that it’s not that easy, but by that point it’s too late. Because you didn’t have a fund, and you couldn’t escape. And you’re callous and lazy and you lack foresight.

Save for a ‘Fuck off fund’ by all means: I do. But let’s not forget that it’s not possible for everyone.

That the people who need a ‘Fuck off fund’ the most are the ones who will never, ever have one.


  • RB says:

    God, I can’t agree with this enough. The people who write about having ‘fuck off funds’ are the same people who write about how they chucked their job in and went travelling, and ‘how everyone can do this!’ – ignoring the fact that you need to be in a good place to start off with, have no other obligations and have understanding employers who can give them notice/leave/references etc. Think Sports Direct would let someone go travelling then welcome them back with open arms?

    I’m in a vaguely similar position; I’m really not enjoying my job at the moment and am looking for another one – meanwhile I’m doing poetry and stand-up in my spare time because that’s what I really enjoy. Those fuck-off fund kinds of people would say to me “Just quit! Follow your dreams!” etc, but I CAN’T. I have rent and bills to pay and have hobbies that don’t pay regular amounts (or at all) and I’m self-aware enough to know that I haven’t developed to that level of success to be drawing a salary from it. But point this out to someone like that and you’re labelled part of the ‘system’.

    You’re taught that you’re either independent or you’re not, a lot of the time, whereas it’s much more complicated than that. I am independent as I draw a salary but I’m restricted in this job and I’m not in a position where I can fuck off without looking back. If only these people realised the nuances of that.

  • When I married in the eighties we settled in Ewell so I had to relocate my business. I lost my tuition clients, but it didn’t really affect my business clients. However, my husband wanted me to work from home and it was very difficult to resist his demands, but I did and thank providence I didn’t cave in. My business was good enough to be profitable and when things got really bad at home I packed a suitcase and kept it in the office cupboard. I also started to think about what would happen if I left. I had funds and the wherewithal to survive, just nowhere to live, but that is quite easily dealt with when you still have the proceeds from the flat you sold after marrying. Richard ran a successful business so I was never under pressure to amalgamate bank accounts. I’m sure not many people would be able to keep that independence, but they really should.

    I was still stupid enough to not leave before things got too bad and even more stupidly I told him I was leaving him and stayed in the spare room. It resulted in him breaking down the door that night, seriously assaulting me and violently raping me to boot. Later that night I crept out the door and A&E, after treating me, sent me to an abuse hostel. You can read about the end of the relationship here (, but be aware of rape trauma.

    My financial foresight saved my day, really, and I was able to operate from my Ewell office until I was able to buy a shop and flat unit in west London.

    I could easily have shut down my business when we married and put our funds into joint ownership. It would almost have been sensible owing to his business being multi-million and mine being quite small. I made the choice to keep it all separate partly through always being independent and partly through luck.

    Girls, and men, too, always have something put away. There are good tax free savings ISAs out there. Do it by standing order, don’t be tempted to leave it to chance. Promise yourself it is going to get to 6 months wages then keep it there. Never let it go. You’ll have time to sort yourself out whether from the abusive partner or the domineering boss. If the former, do not hesitate to then sue him for your share of mutual wealth and if the latter there are plenty of ways of getting financial recompense for dismissal by intimidation.

    GOTN, I do apologise for this being so lengthy, but once I got started there seemed to still be so much to say. Break ups, changing jobs and moving homes is so incredibly stressful.

    • Girl on the net says:

      Hi Angela – I’m so sorry that you went through this. It’s totally appalling and I’m so glad that you managed to get away from him.

    • Azkyroth says:

      I’m glad that you got out of that situation, but I would like to gently suggest that the experience of someone who owns their own business isn’t a good benchmark for how “girls, and men too” in general should expect to set their lives up, a point addressed rather directly in the OP.. :/

  • This post felt like a fist clenching in my gut.

    Financial independence is so important, but it shouldn’t be. I spent six months trapped in a bad situation due to money and unemployment and the consequences of getting out left me with debts I’m still wrestling with nearly two years later. :(

    • Girl on the net says:

      I’m so sorry, that’s awful. I agree that it shouldn’t be important – ideally there’s one giant ‘fuck off fund’ provided by the state, that gives people adequate support for when they get into difficulty.

  • Sue says:

    Thanks for writing this. A lot of women are struggling to just pay the rent & bills & feed themselves & their kids. A fuck off fund in those circumstances is an unaffordable luxury. I don’t want a society where freedom from abuse is just for those who can afford it.

  • OMG, GotN, I love everything about this post. I saw that article this morning and gave it the scowly face. Truth? I am an ultra saver who DID have a fuck off fund. I was raised to save and started pumping money into a Roth account a week before I turned 19. I saved and saved and in time I landed a job where I made a good amount of money to save even more huge sums of money, and used some of it to buy my first condo at 25 years old. And then…cut forward several years. There’s a gunshot hole in the condo lobby window, I have been physically assaulted in the lobby by a random person trying to break in, I have a restraining order against a stalker neighbor down the hall, and my condo is worth a whopping 20% of what I owe. Bonus, I refi’d (not for money, just to get a better rate), so I am now liable for that portion of the loan. So what do I do? I walk. I totally did. I paid off a huge chunk of that refi’d loan so I couldn’t be dragged to court and then moved into an apartment with a wonderful landlord who saw I had a stable job and was ridiculously fiscally responsible (as my credit revealed, save for that one foreclosure) and was happy as could be even with a large chunk of said fund gone…but wait! Not six months later, I have a blown head gasket on a car which cost several thousand to repair (because I sure wasn’t getting a car loan on that credit). Then, I end up with a cat in the emergency clinic not once, but twice. Something else happened that year that’s slipping my mind, but omg it was horrendous. Grand total I dropped that year? $27,000. Poof: there is no more fuck off fund. You have nailed it—some people can’t have it. Life happens. As a friend of mine says, “We are all one financial emergency from being on the other side of ‘financially secure,’ so we really shouldn’t be judging one another for it.” Yep. That.

    Wonderful rant; it sparked all sorts of thoughts (obviously). Loved it! :) Thanks for sharing this post. XX-Jade

    • So sorry to hear that it didn’t work out for you. The ‘economy’ can wreck the best laid plans. Luv xx

    • Jo says:

      Right – even if you have a degree and a stable job and have no dependents it can still be impossible to save money… many of us are one accident / disaster / unforseen event away from poverty. Like GoTN said, the people who need access to resources the most usually have the least access to them; there are systemic structures and laws in place to make sure it stays this way.

  • SpaceCaptainSmith says:

    Yeah, this is one of those articles (the one you linked to) that’s meant as helpful and empowering, but just comes off as victim-blaming. The implied message is “Oh, those silly girls, spending money on dresses rather than saving it away!” I’ve thankfully never been in that situation of dire poverty and utter dependance on another, but I imagine that those who have would have not take kindly to this ‘advice’.

    In fact, the article may even be dangerous by suggesting that unless you have a ‘fuck off fund’, you can’t run away. But that’s not true; for all the cuts that have taken place, refuges and support services for abuse victims still exist. For anyone reading this, you don’t need $1000 in your pocket to make a break for it, though it certainly helps; if you know where to go, you can walk out with literally no money and zero income, and people do.

  • Bev says:


    • Girl on the net says:

      Yes, for sure. And if that is too difficult/politically RADICAL then at the very least adequate support in the form of an NHS, refuges, benefits that are liveable without food bank supplements, etc etc etc.

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