Paulette Perhach is a journalist who has been published in The New York Times, Slate, ELLE, Marie Claire, and Cosmo.
She catapulted to fame as an accidental personal finance writer after she published an article called The Story of an F-Off Fund.
This article tells the same narrative twice: in Scenario A, the protagonist in the story doesn’t have any emergency savings, and in Scenario B, she does. Paulette wrote this as a work of narrative fiction that vividly shows the power of an emergency fund, or as she rebrands it, an F-Off Fund.
This story went viral. More than a million people read it, it was translated into multiple languages, and it landed her a book deal and a major profile in the Seattle Times.
But we don’t talk about that until the end of the interview. Instead, we start our conversation by discussing something that happened 27 years ago. When Paulette was 8 years old, her parents declared bankruptcy. They lost their home; at one point Paulette recalls eating barbeque sauce on bread. If there’s someone who understands the significance of not having emergency savings, it’s Paulette and her family.
Unfortunately, the story takes an even more tragic turn from there. You’ll hear about that in the upcoming interview.
In spite of everything she’s been through — or perhaps because of it — Paulette decided that she was not going to waste her life in a cubicle.
When she became an adult, she worked a series of low-paying but enjoyable jobs, then she volunteered for the Peace Corps, then she got a well-paid gig to cash up for a bit, and then she went into full-time freelancing.
She’s hiked through jungles and watched eclipses and volunteered with the Peace Corps. She’s been on crazy adventures in far-flung places. She endured unimaginable pain and it’s because of those challenges — not despite them, but because of them — that she knows her one precious, wild life is too short to spend under fluorescent lights, drinking stale office coffee.
Many people who pursue financial independence are looking for a fully-funded lifestyle change. But Paulette made an unfunded change.
She’s made every decision by putting her life first, and then forcing her career to follow. She chases her artistic passions and figures out her finances along the way, often with mixed results.
What can we learn from her resourcefulness? Find out in this episode.
- The Overnight Resume by Donald Asher
- Regrets of the Dying by Bronnie Ware
- Essentialism by Greg McKeown
- Welcome to the Writers Life by Paulette Perhach
- Instagram: PauletteJPerhach
- Twitter: @PaulettePerhach
- F**kOffFund.com (with that first word spelled out)
- The Story of a F**k Off Fund (the article that went viral with more than one million readers, translated into multiple languages)
- The Ecuador Chautauqua: AbovetheCloudsRetreats.com
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