Elizabeth Warren squirreled away money as a young adult to create a f*** off fund, and she recommends that young women (and men, too!) today do the same.
Although she uses the more genteel term "walking-out-the-door money" in a recent interview with Elle -- in which the topic came up after the interviewer explained a new viral manifesto that is advising women to set aside a fund specifically for financial emergencies -- Warren told the magazine that as a young woman, she had a cash cache she cobbled together on the advice of her mother-in-law.
"I got married when I was 19, and my mother-in-law took me aside and said, 'You always need walking-out-the-door money,'" Warren told Elle. "It was a pretty remarkable thing to say back then, particularly to the woman her son had just married." It wasn't easy to get the money together, but when she wound up divorced with two young kids at the age of 29, she was glad she had taken the advice. "When any hard hit comes... having savings means there are options," she said.
The term f*** off fund comes from an article published last month on Billfold.com titled "The Story of a F*** Off Fund" (they dispense with the asterisks in the original) that touched a nerve and went viral, garnering hundreds of comments and thousands of likes. The idea is that if you ever find yourself in a precarious situation, you'll have some money that functions as a financial parachute. It's an emergency fund, really, but it's one that, outside of a true catastrophe, you Do. Not. Touch.
The Billfold story touches on things like sexual harassment at work and domestic violence, which are certainly more common perils for women, but the advice is good for men, as well (and older adults, if they don't have some kind of financial cushion already). A sudden job loss, injury or other crisis can happen to anybody."It's easy to walk fast with your head held high when you know that there's a little money to back you up if something goes on," Warren said, making the point that, while money can't solve every problem, it can give you the flexibility, mobility and independence to solve whatever curveball life has just thrown your way.