Financial Independence A to Z | ChooseFI (2024)

  • April 17, 2022
  • Jonathan Mendonsa
  • Tag: Personal Finance, Series, Ultimate Guide

Financial Independence AtoZ | ChooseFI (1)

Advertiser Disclosures.

Choose FI has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Choose FI and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. American Express is a ChooseFI advertiser. Disclosures.

We’ve all heard how difficult personal finance can be. Going through life living paycheck-to-paycheck, chipping down balances of student loans and credit cards, all with the hopes that maybe someday we’ll be able to retire. Sounds pretty awful, right?

The worldwide Financial Independence (FI) community rejects that tired nonsense and changes the starting point. In the FI community, we strive to spend less, earn more, and most of all – enjoy life!

Through 500+ episodes of the ChooseFI podcast and the content featured on this website, we’ve aggregated the resources you need to feel confident moving forward to take action to make your life better today, tomorrow, and for decades to come.

There’s a lot of information, so you’re probably wondering,

Where do I even start?

Well, the BEST news of all is that both we at ChooseFI and the entire worldwide FI Community are here for you. We all remember what it felt like to take that first step on the path to FI and know how transformative this journey can be, so it’s essential that we give back and help others on this journey. We think of this living, breathing guide that you’re reading as the official guide to Financial Independence A to Z.

Whether you just heard about the concept of FI today or you’ve been pursuing it for years, this is the ultimate resource for you. So sit back, relax and start scrolling! Your journey to FI starts here.

Ready player 1?

Financial Independence AtoZ | ChooseFI (2)

What is Financial Independence?

Your journey to Financial Independence starts from a place of making intentional decisions that work for your life. There’s no dogma or “must-dos” to be a member of the FI Community. FI is not about living a life of deprivation; it’s about living an intentional, value-based life.

Financial security is the lead domino for a life of security, which allows you to make decisions from a place of strength.

Join us for weekly motivation, inspiration, and action broken down into bite-size pieces

I want to continue the journey

I want to continue the journey

Once your financial life is secure and on autopilot, you can focus on what really lights you up: relationships, your community, your health, giving back, and much more. But it starts from an understanding of personal finance basics and then the main tenets of a FI-minded life.

Financial Independence AtoZ | ChooseFI (3)

What makes a comprehensive financial plan?

The financial aspects of your life can be broken down into five broad categories that would represent financial literacy, and that’s where we need to start:

Financial Independence AtoZ | ChooseFI (4)
  • Earn
  • Spend
  • Save & Invest
  • Borrow
  • Insure, Protect, and Legacy

We will explore each concept fully but the key is to understand how they affect each other and learn how to optimize them around your goal, which if you are pursuing FI is to increasingly reclaim control over your life to reach the point where working is optional within 10-15 years.

Not being intentional with your finances is making a choice by default, and that ends up looking like the same path as everyone around you: living paycheck-to-paycheck, keeping up with the Joneses, and constantly feeling stressed. Instead, we take action.

One of our favorite quotes is:

“Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life.”

Jerzy Gregorek

And that statement is really not entirely accurate because the choices you make don’t have to be difficult individually, but choices do need to be made.

When you create a framework of a life that doesn’t cost that much, when you can increase your savings rate to 30%, 50% or more, when you can learn to make purchasing decisions based on what you truly value instead of just sleepwalking, when you can feel confident to start a side hustle or negotiate your salary, then you’re on your way.

In this context ‘hard choices’ means making intentional choices based on the goal of Financial Independence – because we know the alternative: constant financial stress for the next 50+ years.

It doesn’t have to be that way. But first, you need to have a “Why of FI” to understand why you’d want to live a little bit differently.

Our Why of FI

So, now you understand the concept of financial independence. But maybe you’re still on the fence about this. After all, building lasting change can be difficult and painful! What makes it worth it to pursue FI?

Here are some of our favorite podcast episodes where we dive into our Why of FI and why we felt compelled to highlight this journey as well critical tips that turn hard choices into more optimized ones:

  • The Why of FI: In this episode we discuss why we pursue this path, why we think it’s a life ‘superpower’ and how it can help you escape the hamster wheel of life decades earlier than most people could ever dream.
  • The Pillars of FI: This episode takes a deep dive into the main parts of FI, which include index investing, affordable housing, the psychology of FI, tax optimization, and more.
  • The Stages and Checkpoints of FI: This episode lays out the stages and checkpoints of FI to keep you on the right track. After all, a goal without a plan is just a wish!

If you, or maybe a loved one, are having trouble embracing the idea of FI, this part is for you:

Here are some more of our favorite Why of FI resources:

Real Households of FI

Our Rich Life Journey to Portugal

Why We Stink at FI But Are Doing It Anyways

Your Money or Your Life with Vicki Robin

Why You Should Pursue FI Even If You Can’t Retire Early

Next, in part 2 of Financial Independence A to Z, we’re going to dive into how and why to start spending less, saving more, and exactly how you can take action.

Subscribe To The FI Weekly

Action, accountability, inspiration, and community. Join the movement. Get started on your Path to FI

Choose FI has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Choose FI and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. American Express is a ChooseFI advertiser. Disclosures.

More To Explore


Are We There Yet? ‘Retire Early’ Case Study | Ep 473

In this episode: calculating when you retire, tracking expenses, health insurance, the importance of planning, and health spanning.

Read More »

Life Optimization

The Cure for the Boring Middle | Fioneers | Ep 472

In this episode: the boring middle, lifestyle design, flow states, moving towards purpose, experiments, and experiences.

Read More »

You Might Be Interested in...

Debt 101: The Ultimate Guide to Debt in 2023

Banking 101: The Ultimate Guide to Banking Basics in 2023

Best Financial Independence Books

Credit 101: The Ultimate Guide to Credit in 2023

Investing 101: How to Start Investing the FI Way in 2023

Emergency Funds 101: The Ultimate Guide to Emergency Funds

100 Ways To Get 1% Better With Your Finances

The “Baby Steps” Of FI

Negotiation 101: How to Negotiate Anything

M1 Finance Review: The Finance Super App

Share This Post

Financial Independence AtoZ | ChooseFI (7)

FI Weekly

Ideas are easy; action is everything. We are a large community coming from different places but what we share is a love of taking action and sharing each other’s wins!

What to expect

Motivation, Inspiration, and Actions taken by myself and the community, as well as the obstacles, struggles and optimizations

I roll them into one curated hand written newsletter weekly.

-Brad Barrett ~Co-Founder and Co-Host of ChooseFI

Action, accountability, inspiration, and community delivered to your inbox every week. Join the movement.


"This is always my favorite email..."

This is always my favorite email and I look forward to it every week!"

- Sarah


"I am so thankful for your emails."

"I know you're generating these for a community and not for me personally, but every time I see this email come in, I hear you say, "You can do it, I believe in you!"

- Kevin


"I not only read all the way through, but I read immediately..."

"I just wanted to let you know that your weekly email is the only one of it's kind that I not only read all the way through, but I read immediately. Thank you so much for the valuable content. I especially like the podcast recommendations."

- Ersin

As an expert and enthusiast, I don't have personal experiences or emotions, but I can provide you with information on the concepts mentioned in the article you provided. Let's dive into the key concepts mentioned in the article:

Financial Independence (FI)

Financial Independence (FI) refers to a state where an individual or household has enough savings and investments to cover their living expenses without relying on traditional employment income. It is about achieving the freedom to choose how to spend one's time and resources, rather than being constrained by financial obligations. FI is not about living a life of deprivation but rather living intentionally and aligning one's spending with personal values [[1]].

Financial Security

Financial security is a key component of a life of security. It involves having a solid financial foundation that allows individuals to make decisions from a position of strength. By achieving financial security, individuals can focus on other aspects of life that bring them joy and fulfillment, such as relationships, health, and giving back to the community [[1]].

Comprehensive Financial Plan

A comprehensive financial plan encompasses various aspects of personal finance and can be broken down into five broad categories:

  1. Earn: This category focuses on strategies to increase income, such as pursuing career advancement opportunities, starting a side hustle, or investing in income-generating assets.
  2. Spend: Managing expenses and making intentional spending decisions based on personal values and priorities.
  3. Save & Invest: Building savings and investment portfolios to grow wealth over time.
  4. Borrow: Understanding and managing debt responsibly.
  5. Insure, Protect, and Legacy: Ensuring adequate insurance coverage, protecting assets, and planning for the future, including estate planning and leaving a legacy [[1]].

These categories are interconnected, and optimizing them can help individuals work towards their financial goals, including achieving Financial Independence within a specific timeframe [[1]].

The "Why of FI"

Understanding the "Why of FI" refers to identifying the reasons why someone would want to pursue Financial Independence. It involves recognizing the potential benefits of living a financially independent life, such as escaping financial stress, having more freedom and flexibility, and being able to focus on what truly matters, such as relationships, personal growth, and contributing to the community [[1]].

Hard Choices and Intentional Choices

In the context of Financial Independence, "hard choices" refer to making intentional decisions that align with the goal of achieving FI. These choices may involve prioritizing long-term financial security over short-term gratification, increasing savings rates, making purchasing decisions based on personal values, starting a side hustle, or negotiating salary. By making intentional choices, individuals can take control of their financial lives and work towards their FI goals [[1]].

I hope this provides a helpful overview of the concepts mentioned in the article. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask!

Financial Independence A to Z | ChooseFI (2024)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Aron Pacocha

Last Updated:

Views: 5655

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (48 voted)

Reviews: 87% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Aron Pacocha

Birthday: 1999-08-12

Address: 3808 Moen Corner, Gorczanyport, FL 67364-2074

Phone: +393457723392

Job: Retail Consultant

Hobby: Jewelry making, Cooking, Gaming, Reading, Juggling, Cabaret, Origami

Introduction: My name is Aron Pacocha, I am a happy, tasty, innocent, proud, talented, courageous, magnificent person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.