Saving enough money to retire early and finally taking the plunge can be a long process. But there’s a lot that motivates early retirees to stay on track — like the prospect of having more time and a more flexible lifestyle.
But there’s one more thing that motivates them, and it’s an unexpected, yet well-known offensive phrase: “Go f— yourself.”
In the financial independence and early retirement subreddit r/financialindependence, user jasonlong1212 shared his story in 2017 of how he achieved financial independence by age 38 with more than $1 million in investments. And a lot of people responded with “Go f— yourself.”
To an outsider, that may seem crass and rude. But really, it’s an inside joke in the early retirement community that some exchange as a way to encourage and congratulate.
“Stop reporting the ‘go f— yourself’ comments, everyone. If you don’t realize, it is an inside joke in the FIRE [Financial Independence and Early Retirement] community meant as a form of congratulations. We’re not entirely without humor here. Congrats OP, and go f— yourself!” wrote moderator bo_knows.
As early retiree Mr. Crazy Kicks, who retired at age 34, explained to Business Insider, when it comes to writing about personal finance and early retirement, it’s hard to share experiences without someone thinking you’re “showing off.”
“For example, when I write about how the financial decisions I’ve made enable me to take a month out of the year to go surfing in Costa Rica, my friend is more likely to say ‘go f— yourself,’ rather than ‘well deserved,'” he told Business Insider. “Obviously, I’m just trying to share how an exciting early retirement is possible on a limited budget, and he ultimately takes it as motivation to achieve financial independence and do the same.”
He added: “The thing is, my surf trip might not be the most pleasurable thing to read about first thing in the office on a Monday morning. Hence, ‘go f— yourself’ from my friend would really be a way of saying ‘well done, you made me a bit jealous, thanks for the motivation.'”
Justin McCurry, who retired at age 33 as a self-made millionaire likens the phrase, in this context, to the ultimate expression of jealousy. “You congratulate the person, then insult them because you’re jealous of what they have achieved,” he told Business Insider.
“Bo_knows is a moderator and he’s asking people to stop reporting it since it’s a known joke and not meant in a cruel or nasty way at all,” he added. “Kind of a weird thing they do over there, but each little tribe has their own rituals.”