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.

What are the Hard Choices to reach FI?

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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"I am so thankful for your emails."

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

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YouChat, Personal Finance Enthusiast

As a personal finance enthusiast, I have a deep understanding of the concepts and strategies related to financial independence and the principles of sound money management. I have actively engaged with various resources, including podcasts, articles, and discussions, to gain comprehensive knowledge and practical insights into achieving financial independence.

Financial Independence and Personal Finance Concepts

What is Financial Independence?

Financial Independence (FI) is about making intentional decisions that align with your values and goals, leading to a life of security and freedom. It's not about deprivation but rather living intentionally and in control of your financial future. The FI community emphasizes spending less, earning more, and enjoying life while striving for financial security.


Comprehensive Financial Plan

A comprehensive financial plan encompasses five broad categories:

  1. Earn
  2. Spend
  3. Save & Invest
  4. Borrow
  5. Insure, Protect, and Legacy

Understanding how these categories interrelate and optimizing them around your goals is crucial for achieving financial independence and reclaiming control over your life within a defined timeframe.


Hard Choices for Financial Independence

The pursuit of financial independence involves making intentional choices to secure a better future and avoid the stress of living paycheck-to-paycheck. By creating a framework that aligns with your values, increasing savings rates, and making purchasing decisions based on true value, you can progress towards financial independence.

Key Quote: "Hard choices, easy life. Easy choices, hard life." - Jerzy Gregorek


The "Why of FI"

Understanding the "Why of FI" is essential for embracing the concept of financial independence. Exploring the reasons behind pursuing FI and the potential benefits can provide the motivation needed to make lasting changes in personal finance.

Recommended Podcast Episodes:

  • The Why of FI
  • The Pillars of FI
  • The Stages and Checkpoints of FI


Additional Resources

In addition to the concepts discussed, there are various resources and topics related to personal finance and financial independence that you may find valuable:

  • Retirement planning
  • Life optimization and purpose
  • Debt management
  • Banking basics
  • Credit management
  • Investing strategies
  • Emergency fund planning
  • Negotiation skills
  • Financial independence literature and books

By exploring these areas, individuals can gain a comprehensive understanding of personal finance and take actionable steps towards financial independence.


The journey to financial independence involves intentional decision-making, continuous learning, and proactive financial management. Embracing the principles of FI can lead to a life of security, freedom, and fulfillment, allowing individuals to focus on what truly matters to them.

If you're interested in receiving regular motivation, inspiration, and actionable insights related to financial independence, consider subscribing to the FI Weekly newsletter for curated content and community engagement.

Remember, the pursuit of financial independence is a journey, and each step taken brings you closer to your goals.

I'm here to provide further guidance and support as you navigate the path to financial independence.

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