Early retirement buzzwords and acronyms you must know

Think you’re well-versed in the ways and means of early retirement buzzwords, acronyms, and downright annoying verbiage? Let’s see.

Spend enough time hanging around us personal financiers and you’re bound to be exposed to a wide variety of terms and acronyms that many of us simply take for granted. A lot of them are well-known, but some might not be as understood as you might think. And, there are a couple I personally find obtuse.

How many of these did you know, and what others did I miss?

Early retirement buzzwords and acronyms


Mr. Money Mustache, the dude who’s informally known as the father/initiator/inventor of early retirement blogging. He blogs at mrmoneymustache.com and he’s this relatively wealthy fitness fanatic who builds homes in his spare time. He also owns a co-working space in Longmont, CO.


Financial Independence Retire Early – The most common acronym in financial independence and early retirement blogosphere. People use it all the time…arguably too much, in fact. I’ve never been a huge fan of this acronym, though I have used it from time to time.


Financial Independence Optional Retirement – A newer term that refers to the idea that early retirement doesn’t necessarily need to be a part of financial independence. Meaning, one can keep working a full-time job even after achieving financial independence. In fact, I believe there to be incredible wisdom in this.


Fully-Funded Lifestyle Change – Another term that generally revolves around the idea that early retirement does not need to be tied at the hip with financial independence. To my knowledge, this term was coined and spearheaded by the Slowly Sipping Coffee blog.

Here’s how those coffee-sipping bloggers describe it:

  • We don’t want to drop out of the workforce totally, but rather find something we can do that we are passionate about — regardless of the pay
  • We want more time to spend with family. We don’t want to fit in the family around our jobs – but have our jobs fit in with our family life.
  • Full retirement wouldn’t be fulfilling to either of us, but volunteer work, teaching, mentoring… that is what we dream of


My wife came up with the perfect acronym for our lifestyle: Side Hustle Income Travelers, or S.H.I.T. We travel in our Airstream full-time and enjoy some cash flow through our side hustles that’s covering over a third of our monthly expenses.


In one of the more annoying (read: the early retirement equivalent of a “business buzzword”) phrases in personal finance, the “pivot” is another way of referring to a lifestyle change or shift away from the more traditional full-time work lifestyle to one that’s less demanding or more enjoyable. A pivot is a conscious and purposeful change and one that prioritizes happiness and fulfillment over money, power, and rank.


You’re not a “real” index fund investor unless you own Vanguard’s Total Stock Market Index Fund – or so you might believe in the personal finance blogosphere. It’s all the rage.


You Need A Budget. It’s a popular and well-known “FinTech” web application for budgeting.


So many acronyms, so little time. There are a slew of acronyms that describe a person or family’s current state of financial affairs.

J. Money from the Budgets Are Sexy blog gave us 40 of ’em. Here’s a small subset:

  • DINKs – “Dual Income No Kids”
  • RINKs – “Retired Income No Kids”
  • SINK – “Single Income No Kids”
  • DINKY – “Dual Income No Kids Yet”
  • DINKER – “Dual Income No Kids Early Retirement”
  • DINKWAD – “Double Income No Kids With A Dog”
  • DINKYANDE – “Dual Income No Kids Yet And No Dog Either”
  • SIK – “Single Income Kids”
  • SILK – “Single Income Lots of Kids”
  • DIK (hah!) – “Dual Income Kids”
  • DEWK – “Dually Employed With Kids”
  • SITCOM – “Single Income Two Children and Oppressive Mortgage”
  • MUPPIE – “Middle-aged Upcoming Prosperous Professional”
  • KIPPERS – “Kids In Parents’ Pockets Eroding Retirement Savings”
  • SINBAD – “Single Income No Boyfriend And Desperate”
  • GLAM – “Greying Leisured Affluent Married”
  • PODWOG – “Parents of Dinks WithOut Grandchildren”
  • WOOF – “Well Off Older Folk”

Latte Factor

The stupid shit that you spend money on (almost every day) that, if completely eliminated as an expense, could add up to significant savings. For some people, it’s buying latte coffees, but it could refer to nearly anything.

Author David Bach made the term popular and describes it: “The Latte Factor is based on the simple idea that all you need to do to finish rich is to look at the small things you spend your money on every day and see whether you could redirect that spending to yourself. Putting aside as little as a few dollars a day for your future rather than spending it on little purchases such as lattes, bottled water, fast food, cigarettes, magazines and so on, can really make a difference between accumulating wealth and living paycheck to paycheck.”.


The term FatFire refers to spending more (sometimes significantly more) money than the more typical budgets of early retirees. Spending $150,000 in early retirement probably qualifies as FatFire, though there is no standard or “official” definition for exactly what constitutes FatFire other than spending way more money than the typical early retiree.

FYI: We spend around $30,000 to $35,000 a year, which is NOT FatFire. We’re more in line with the LeanFire principle, which is described below.


The term LeanFire refers to extremely streamlined spending that might sound absolutely crazy or absurd to the average consumer. If you spent $100,000 a year when you were working, but cut your expenses down to $40,000 or less, you’re probably a member of the LeanFire camp. LeanFire requires living a small and frugal lifestyle, sometimes after one or more rounds of downsizing. Smaller (or paid for) homes, non-exotic cars and living in non-ritsy neighborhoods is common with the typical LeanFiree.

Side Hustle

A side hustle is a passion project that one performs “on the side”. Many early retirees pursue side hustles (including me!), but one does not need to be an early retiree to have a side hustle. Anyone, regardless of their phase or position in life, can have a side hustle. Note that side hustles are NOT typically full-time jobs. The “side” part of side hustle implies that the effort does not completely consume a person. Rather, it’s done “on the side” or in their spare time.

Travel Hacking

Travel hacking involves the creative (and legal) exploitation of credit card points and other deals to travel the world on the cheap. Many travel hackers maintain a wide selection of credit cards that offer bonus points and other perks when used as a part of one’s normal expenses. Those points can generally be traded in for flights, hotel rooms or other travel-related services.

Personal Capital

It’s the “Blue Host” of FinTech apps, Personal Capital is one of the most widely used and commonly advertised services in the money blogosphere. Approximately 100% of all mentions of Personal Capital are linked to an affiliate account (like this one!) primarily due to Personal Capital’s relatively high payout. For the record, the large majority of those bloggers who display Personal Capital affiliate links actually use and like the service. Like, legit.

This article first appeared on Thinksaveretire.com.