After learning about financial independence, most people have a lot of questions. Questions about investing, questions about spending, and general questions like “could I really retire early?”.
With COVID still on the horizon for much of 2021, most groups have an online presence that you can join right now.
Posting on an anonymous forum where anyone can answer (and anyone can see) can be scary! Finding the right group of people should make you feel comfortable sharing your real questions and while receiving accurate, targeted feedback on your most important questions.
If you’ve read about financial independence longer than a few minutes, you will have a lot to add to the discussion too! There are always people joining the FIRE movement who need answers to the most basic questions – one you might be able to answer.
Here’s a look at some of the most active financial independence communities that you can join today.
Financial Independence Meetups
Even with the pandemic, financial independence meetups are still going strong! These groups would traditionally be grouped within a city
Most have moved to online calls via Zoom with guests from around the world. What’s great about that is you can participate in financial indepence groups from anywhere – not just those closeby.
Earlier this year a friend of mine (Anna from Garlic Delight) invited me to speak at the Stanford FI Seekers Meetup group. Even though it’s based in Stanford, CA, I’m in Salt Lake City, and participants are from all over. It was a fun chat if you want to watch!
Here are a few other major groups I’ve seen:
- Choose FI Meetups – You can use their map to find a meetup closest to you. Every single person I’ve met through this group has been amazing.
- Mustachian Meetups – On the Mr. Money Mustache blog, there’s a forum category based all around meetups. These are much more organic since they’re limited to who participates in the forum thread. (side note: I’ve found that in some cities the Choose FI group and the Mustachian groups have merged into one super-transformer group).
- Meetups.com – Most meetups – whether the group is on Facebook or a forum, will create a Meetup.com account for the event. This isn’t a sure thing though, since Meetup charges organizers a fee and FI people are, well, mindful with their money.
- Facebook Events – Facebook events are free to create, which means that some events will only be on Facebook. Unless you’re boycotting Facebook, this is a good way to find a local group.
- FinCon Local – FinCon Local, like the conference, focuses on personal finance content creators. These local groups are a great way to meet people closeby that are also blogging, podcasting or making videos about money.
Financial Independence Forums
There are a BUNCH of amazing forums for financial independence.
- /r/FinancialIndependence on Reddit – With 863k members, this is the largest single financial independence group online. The rules are strict, so I’d recommend reading them and getting a feel for the forum before you start posting. There is a daily discussion thread each day with the current days date which is a good place to start if you have a question.
- The Money Mustache Community – Started by Mr. Money Mustache, is one of the first forums. A quick glance shows over 600 people online right now – in the middle of the day on a Wednesday. There are categories for everything from investing and taxes to book club and do it yourself. In other words, it’s a group of FIRE people hanging and talking about FIRE and related topics.
- Early Retirement Extreme Forum – Started by Jacob, another one of the original people in the FIRE movement, this is another fun forum. Jacob is all about life optimization, and I’ve found good discussion here on that topic and many others.
- The Bogleheads Forum – This is an investing forum, but one that shares the same investment strategy the FIRE movement (and my investor bootcamp) use. I learned a LOT by reading this forum. There’s a subcategory that’s entirely people describing their financial situation and getting advice on how to optimize their investments. I’d recommend checking that one out; and even posting if you feel comfortable.
- Early-Retirement.org Forums – I’ll be honest, I haven’t checked this one out. Looking at it today, I see it’s extremely active – with posts in every category today!
- Afford Anything Community – I’ve been a huge fan of Paula Pant’s podcast for years but hadn’t joined the community until today. You’ll need to request access, but after approval, there’s a community with a bunch of topics to dig more into.
There are many other Reddit groups (subreddits) that I’m not mentioning here. This includes groups for lean fire and fat fire. Not to mention subreddits for specific locales like Singapore. The main /r/financialindependence group is the largest though. There are even FIRE Dating websites!
Side note: You may see Reddit groups written in the form
/r/GroupName. This is because the URL of the group is
reddit.com/r/GroupName, and it’s just easier to write
Financial Independence Facebook Groups
Love it or hate it, Facebook has done a great job of getting a lot of people on the same platform. The problem I’ve found with Facebook is that it’s extremely
- Search for “Financial Independence” on Facebook – is a good place to start.
- ChooseFI Groups – ChooseFI as a whole is way too large to be a single Facebook group. Instead, there’s a Facebook group for each city instead. Check out their groups page in this link to find if there’s a Facebook group close to you.
- ChooseFI Cohort Groups – While the above groups are based on location, these Cohort groups are based on topic – DIY, singles, RV Lovers, expats, meal planning.
- Women’s Personal Finance (Women on FIRE) – A thriving and very large group of women pursuing FIRE created by Angela from Tread Lightly, Retire Early.
- [FIRE] Financial Independence & Retire Early – Looks to be one of the largest groups, and I haven’t even checked it out! How are there so many groups!
- fatFIRE Group – This group focuses on FIRE for those planning to retire with a higher yearly spend. Fat Fire can mean a lot of things, but spending of $100k+ in retirement is a good description.
- Physicians on FIRE – As you can guess from the title, this is a group for physicians. This group and the fatFIRE group are both created by Physician on FIRE (how he has the time I’ll never know).
- Slow FI Enthusiasts – Is a group focused on reaching FIRE the slow way – building the life you want and letting time do it’s thing. You can read more about Slow FI on The Fioneers website.
There are soo many more groups on Facebook – these are just some of the largest. There are groups for socially conscious FIRE, pursuing FIRE while single, families FIRE, lower-income FIRE, and countless more. Make sure you select the “groups” filter on Facebook after searching to see them all.
Financial Independence Events and Conferences
Although these are on hold due to COVID, I have no doubts that they’ll be back! It can take a lot of time for online friends to become close friends. I love how a single event or conference can speed up that process and turn acquaintances into forever buddies in a weekend. Once COVID is over you can bet I’ll be attending some of the events on this list.
- FinCon – FinCon is a conference for financial creators (bloggers, podcasters, video creators) to meet up and learn from each other. I’ve been 3 times so far (2017, 2018, 2019), and enjoy it every year. If you’re not currently creating something, or actively wanting to learn how to create something in the personal finance space, I wouldn’t recommend it.
- Camp FI – Camp FI is exactly what it sounds like. You buy a ticket to a an event – usually 2-3 nights. Your ticket cost (usually) includes a cabin to stay in, food while you’re there and a ticket to the event. Anyone can go – not just bloggers. Many go with their families/spouses as well – making it a household event. I’ve never been to one, but really want to go once it’s safe.
- Financial Freedom Summit – The first FFS was unfortunately scheduled for 2020 and had to be postponed. What’s exciting about this event is that it aims to have the spirit of FinCon, but with all kinds of participants – people pursuing FIRE, people just into personal finance, creators, retirees – you name it. I hope to hear more about the details once they reschedule.
- Cents Positive – A retreat for women to talk about money and financial independence run by Tanja from Our Next Life. It’s a place for women to come together and focus on money and unconventional lifestyles in the pursuit of independence.
- FI Chautauqua – Chautauqua was an adult education and social movement in the United States. The FI event is a ~yearly week-long retreat to amazing destinations (UK, Portugal) limited to 30 people with organized events, guest speakers and lots of 1-on-1 time. I’ve never been to one, but it’s my dream to eventually attend with Mrs. Minafi. A couples ticket to the 2019 Chautauqua cost £4,500 ($6,500) each not including airfare.
The people at these events are some of the nicest I’ve ever met. They range from those in extreme debt to retirees for decades. It may sound difficult to have a shared conversation with that broad an audience but it’s not. Both groups want the same thing: to be happy. Money is just a means to that end.
Some other groups are harder to pin down. There’s an active personal finance Twitter that is more nebulous. There are also Slack groups like The Money Mix which focus more on personal finance creators.
What groups have you participated in? Which have been the most fun or the most impactful?
My favorite groups have been the ones where I can meet with a small group in person – preferably with some food and a beer – and just chat. There’s something exciting about being around others with a shared interest. It never takes long for the discussion to turn to money and financial independence.
Do you know of another group I’ve missed here? Let me know in the comments and I’ll add it to the post!