When you run web sites themed on financial independence, you pay close attention to search engines, particularly Google. Curious about whether the term “financial independence” was making any headway against the incumbent term, Retirement, I entered both phrases into Google.
The results were about what I’d expect: 258 million results for Retirement but a decent showing of 18 million for Financial Independence.
And what about our pet contraction for Financial Independence, or Findependence? You had to ask, didn’t you? 43,600 results but the good news there is most of these hits come directly from Yours Truly and related enterprises (books, ebooks, websites and references to the term in other media).
Wikipedia’s definition still rules
Going back to the more popular term, Financial Independence, in previous blogs I’ve pointed out that the top search result is an excellent definition from Wikipedia. Whenever I wish to explain what exactly Financial Independence is, and how it differs from Retirement, I point readers to that entry. Two entries down (at least, when I search: results may vary for those who have not performed this search before) is the Financial Independence blog I write for MoneySense.ca
Reddit has a subreddit on Financial Independence
Also high on the search is Reddit’s Financial Independence subreddit, which it has paired with Early Retirement. Off to the right, Reddit has an FAQ, which explains upfront that “This is a place for people who are or want to become financially independent (FI), which means not having to work for money.”
Reddit goes on to point out that “Financial independence is closely related to early retirement (ER) — actually not working for money” and that “FI/ER can be accomplished by a frugal lifestyle and sensible investments. The purpose of this subreddit is to discuss FI/ER lifestyle, no matter if you’re retired or not, or how old you are.”
It notes that achieving financial independence requires “hard work and healthy attitudes towards money, but also a degree of privilege. Some people inherit financial independence! Be mindful of the ways in which you are lucky.” It also lists some related blogs, forums and resources.
Oh, and if you subscribe to this particular subreddit, you will be classified as an FI.er, of which there are more than 65,000 subscribing to the subreddit. The day I wrote this blog, some 237 “FI-ers” were browsing there.
Frooger a better term than FI-er
But the term FI-er doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, does it? In my own book on Financial Independence (Findependence Day), I coined the term Froogers to describe extremely frugal people who have set themselves the goal of Financial Independence. Frooger is itself a contraction of another term I invented, called Frugality Guerrilla. So, FIers, feel free to appropriate the term Frooger.
The day I was poking around the subreddit, the most popular topic being discussed was “What’s your number?,” with 149 comments. It began with the suggestion that $1 million in capital generating $40,000 a year might be a good baseline level to establish Financial Independence. At one point, a commenter talks about your “FI date.” Hey, maybe I’m biased, but isn’t Findependence Day a better phrase for the same thing?”
I would make these points myself directly at Reddit but one of their rules is you can’t begin a new post if you wrote the piece yourself. I will therefore throw myself at the mercy of one of the FIers to post a discussion of this blog on my behalf.
Jonathan Chevreau runs the Financial Independence Hub. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org