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I define "wealthy" as having the means to live comfortably, independent of the necessity to work for wages.

I'd define FI as having nothing to do with wealth. I would say that FI is completely personal. It's saying "I have enough". To one person, having "enough" may be enough to live in a log cabin in the woods, growing their own food. To another person, reaching FI may be having their investments throw off 80k per year, so that they can maintain the lifestyle they enjoy.

Personally, FI will mean somewhere around 50k or so per year, assuming our house is paid off. I notice that a lot of people associate spending money with "a lack of financial acumen and a need (born of insecurity) to seek social status and the respect of others through superficial displays". We tend to spend money at restaurants (we both enjoy going out to eat, neither of us really enjoys cooking), going to & renting movies, going on long vacations (hawaii, tropical islands, alaska, etc etc), and so on. I don't feel that any of these things are displaying any need for social status, it's just things we enjoy doing. And I feel that if we don't mind working an extra 5 years to add that much extra onto our savings so that we can maintain our lifestyle, then why not?

So I think not only does FI not necessarily mean wealthy, I think it has nothing to do with wealth. Independance can't be categorized.
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