This term is loosely thrown around … often by people who claim that status, but have not achieved it.
People make money writing books about it, blogging about it and putting themselves out there as experts on frugality, budgeting and spending.
I get some of these folks annoyed when I challenge their claims. I do so because they are misleading people; sometimes for profit or publicity.
I also note many of these young FI gurus don’t factor children in their goal.
Financial Independence defined
Financial independence is the status of having enough income to pay one’s living expenses for the rest of one’s life without having to be employed or dependent on others. Income earned without having to work a job is commonly referred to as passive income.
While arguable, I will expand the definition to include having enough income so strict new frugality, or relocation is not necessary even if desired.
True FI also means that state is achieved for ones entire life through college costs, emergencies, retirement, survivor income, and, of course, inflation. All reasons the younger you are, the more difficult true FI is to achieve.