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Guide to FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) Acronyms on Reddit.

If you are new to FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) one of the best places to get up to date information is Reddit- and of course this site!

Between r\FIRE, r\LeanFIRE, r\FinancialIndependence, and r\FatFire, there is a lot of information. For a beginner, it can be hard to understand the discussion because there are so many acronyms used on Reddit. Bookmark this page if you often scroll through Reddit, I will continue to update this page.

Here is a handy guide to financial acronyms on Reddit.

Acronyms on Finance subreddits:

ROI: Return on Investment

Measures the amount of return relative to an investment’s cost.

HCOL: High Cost of Living

This is an area that is expensive to live in, for example San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Los Angeles, and most big cities are High Cost of Living.

LCOL: Low Cost of Living

This is the opposite of HCOL. Anywhere rural is usually LCOL. You will spend less on rent, transportation, and groceries in one of these areas.

MCOL: Medium Cost of Living

This is an area that is neither very low cost nor high cost. Most suburbs fall in this category.

NW: Net Worth

The total value of everything you own. There are several different ways to calculate your net worth. In general you should include stocks, crypto, health savings accounts, gold/silver, collectibles, and any property you own.

FIRE: Financial Independence Retire Early

FIRE consists of two goals.  FI, financial independence, is the ability to make reasonable decisions without worrying about money.  Usually, financial independence means you make enough money in passive income to cover your expenses.  RE stands for “Retire Early” this means you have a set date you wish to retire and will save, lower debt, and invest to reach it. 

LeanFI: Lean Financial Independence

Lean Financial Independence is for people who are looking to gain financial independence on a smaller budget. Most people in Leanfi make lower income than those interested in regular FIRE.

Fatfi: Fat Financial Independence

Fat Fire is for higher income earners looking to retire early.  These individuals usually spend more than people interested in regular FIRE and sometimes have riskier investments.

FMLA: Family and Medical Leave Act

Not as common an acronym, FMLA is the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993.  FMLA, according to the US Department of Labor, “provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year.”  This allows employees to take time-off to deal with personal or family medical leave.

HYSA: High-Yield Savings Account

This is a savings account that gives a higher annual return than a regular bank.  Most big banks offer about .01% APY.  That means you make a penny a year in interest for every $100 you invest.  A High-Yield Savings Account will usually offer between .5-2% APY.

IRA: Individual Retirement Account

An IRA is a tax-advantaged retirement account.  They have penalties for withdrawing early and a maximum annual contribution.


“ROTH” itself is not actually an acronym. The Roth IRA is named after senator William Roth. This is a tax-deferred retirement account. You an IRA comes in either a ROTH or Traditional.

BTC: Bitcoin

The most well-known, first cryptocurrency in the market.  This is a very volatile and speculative asset.

AGI: Adjusted Gross Income

Your adjustable gross income is used to determine how much of your income is taxable.  AGI is reported on the IRS tax-form 1040.

COLA: Cost of Living Adjustment

A cost of living adjustment is an increase to your annual income meant to make sure your level of income keeps up with inflation.  It can be applied to your Social Security or your Supplemental Security Income. (Read more about how inflation affects your savings.)

401K: Employer-sponsored pension account

401K is actually not an acronym.  The name simply refers to the 401K section of the Internal Revenue Code which allows employers to create a retirement plan for employees that can be contributed to pre-tax.

SWR: Safe Withdrawal Rate

The Safe Withdrawal Rate is the rate at which a person can take from their retirement income once they retire.  The SWR is usually around 3-4% but can change based on your health, how much money you have for retirement, your social security income, and how early you are retiring.  If you set your safe withdrawal rate too high, then you may not have enough money for big medical expenses at the end of your life.  Set it too low, and you may not live as comfortably as you could in retirement.

What about ‘circlejerk’ subreddits for FIRE?

If you see a subreddit with the name “(blank)circlejerk” or just “(blank)jerk” that is a subreddit dedicated to making fun of another subreddit.

For example, there is r/running and r/runningcirlejerk. The r/runningcirclejerk subreddit pokes fun at the runners who obsess over their stats, brag, and encourage people to run slowly.

For finance blogs, one of those most popular financial parody subreddits is r/fijerk that has the description “If you’re still working, you’re doing it wrong.”

Jerk and CircleJerk FIRE Reddit guide:


Lentils are often touted by very frugal people as being a good food to eat to save money.  Lentils are extremely cheap and have many nutrients, but are pretty bland on their own.  Lentil’s are now a hyperbole for the extreme degree to which some people are willing to go in order to save.   

Lentils are also talked about as if they are their own form of currency.  Redditor’s will pretend to brag about having a few lentils in their cupboard.


“Pour” is just another way of spelling “Poor” and Pours refers to poor people.  I have no idea where this got started, but I like to think the term “pours” comes from the idea of people pouring their money down the drain.  For example, someone who splurges on a food besides lentils might be called a pour in r/fijerk.

Fat Cats

A Fat Cat is the opposite of a pour.  A Fat Cat is someone with a lot of lentils.

Any other Reddit terms or acronyms you think would be useful? Share a comment below!

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