At last year’s FinCon in Dallas, I got the chance to meet and talk with fellow MMM HQ Patron, Sean Merron, co-host of the 2 Frugal Dudes podcast. We quickly realized we shared a background in community organizing. Not only did Sean have years of experience running Meetup groups, he’d also organized a few developer conferences on the east coast.

Shortly after FinCon, he invited me to join a Mastermind group and I reached out to him about possibly working together on FI Clubs, a project I’d been considering taking on. As you might have guessed, he agreed! Sean and I have been developing the concept ever since, and are finally in a position to share it with you.

What is FI Clubs?

We created FI Clubs to help people interested in financial independence (FI) find one another, find or form local groups, and organize or attend local events. FI Clubs is available through the FIClubs.org website and through the Mighty Networks mobile app for iOS and Android.

We want to promote local and online community groups and events that empower people to become financially independent. FI Clubs exchange ideas about generating more income, reducing wasteful spending, and leading healthier, happier lives.

7 Things You’ll Get From FI Clubs

  1. A directory of all active financial independence clubs: Above all, FI Clubs is here to help members of the financial independence community connect with one another. We aim to promote ALL financial independence clubs that regularly meet in person and/or online to discuss financial independence. See a group that we missed? Let us know and we’ll be sure to list it!
  2. A FREE platform for FI Clubs organizers and members alike: We believe the $180/year charge for Meetup and similar platforms may be holding some would-be organizers in our frugal community back. With FI Clubs, organizers can create a page for their club and schedule as many events as they’d like for an unlimited number of their members. Learn more here.
  3. Help finding nearby Clubs & Events: By adding your city to your member profile, we’ll help you discover nearby FI Clubs and their upcoming events. Traveling to a new city? Search the directory for FI Clubs in the cities you’ll be visiting and see what upcoming events they have in store for their communities.
  4. An easy way to discover and connect with nearby members: With location services enabled in the companion Mighty Networks mobile app, you’ll see the profile icons of nearby members. This can be great for connecting with members after a local event or organizing events with nearby members.Note: To protect your privacy, we’ll never see or reveal your location on a map.
  5. A home for building online AND offline community: Swap stories, experiences, and ideas, both online and in person, to encourage and inspire one another. Keep your conversations with other members going in a way that isn’t really available elsewhere.
  6. Cross-club collaboration and communication: All FI Clubs organizers are invited to a private group for sharing resources and ideas with one another.
  7. A place for speakers and event organizers to connect: Are you a speaker interested in connecting with local Fi Clubs Organizers? Add your name to our list of FI Clubs Speakers. Planning a road trip or a tour? Use the FI Clubs directory to reach out to Organizers in the cities you’ll be visiting to line up speaking opportunities.

Why FI Clubs?

Our move to northern Colorado in the spring of 2016 was eased considerably by having a lot of family nearby, but we had almost zero Colorado friends. Previously, high school, college, and work had provided reasonably good environments for making friends, and I was lucky enough to actually make a few great friends that way.

When moving to Colorado though, I wanted to approach friendships more intentionally, seeking out groups and activities where high concentrations of fascinating people were likely to congregate.

An Unmet Need

I posted a request to meet up with other northern Colorado Mustachians on the Mr. Money Mustache forum. To my surprise, there were quite a few responses. Our first meeting was attended by plenty of local people, but also by people who drove 2 hours to attend.

I was surprised, but also understood it to a degree and knew we were onto something. We’ve been meeting monthly now for the past 2 years and eventually formalized a Meetup group.

Some Unexpected Benefits of Forming or Joining a Club

People in the financial independence community often have a number of traits that I find attractive. They tend to be goal-oriented people leading examined lives, optimizing their approach not just to their personal finances, but to nutrition, work, and travel, among other domains. They also tend to be widely read and knowledgeable people with a broad range of interests.

Being proactive about finding them when we moved to northern Colorado has improved my quality of life considerably. I can’t think of a better way to illustrate my point, than to quickly walk through my recent schedule:

Life of FI: My Recent Schedule at a Glance

19-24 APR: Sean Merron comes from Austin, TX to spend a long weekend with us! He volunteers/inspires us to take on an accent wall project in my son’s room.

19-APR: I treat Sean to some beer at one of our city’s dozens of micro-breweries

20-APR: Sean and I spend a workday at MMM HQ then host a Happy Hour there for 30 or so folks from the Northern Colorado FI Club

21-APR: Sean, Ellen, & I spend the day working on the accent wall; Game night with Aaron & Laura, members of the Northern Colorado FI Club

22-APR: More accent wall work with Sean; We host a potluck at our place with Carl & Mindy, and Shannon & Sergio

23-APR: Sean and I spend another workday at MMM HQ; Sean makes our family amazing Indian food

25-APR: Ellen & I are interviewed by the 2 Frugal Dudes themselves

27-APR: Meetup with Greg, a local member of our meetup group, to check out the new vocal booth he built from scratch

2-MAY: Invited to attend a meeting with 3 members of the Northern Colorado FI Club Northern Colorado to explore forming a local Mastermind group together

3-6 MAY: Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders Meeting!

3-MAY: Roadtrip with Pete & Marla to Omaha; setup tents in our gracious hosts’ backyard in downtown Omaha then have dinner with Brad, Bianca, Anita, San Woo, Karen, & Ross.

4-MAY: Meetup with Carl to walk the Berkshire Hathaway conference (he walks A LOT if you didn’t already know); attend the Choose FI Meetup at Dinker’s Bar and have an awesome conversation with fellow Berkshire Hathaway attendee, the Frugal Professor

5-MAY: Attend the BH Meeting; lunch with Marla; Mustachian meetup at Blatt Beer & Table

6-MAY: Roadtrip home with Pete

9-MAY: Meet for lunch with Anita; 1st night of backyard camping with my son (this has nothing to do with meeting other FI people, but it was easily one of the biggest highlights of my recent couple of weeks so I couldn’t resist)

10-MAY: Launch FI Clubs; Build some Lori beds with Carl

12-MAY: Finish up the Lori beds at Carl’s house; Attend weightlifting class organized by a member of the Northern Colorado FI Club; Attend potluck at MMM HQ organized by Carl

Conclusion

I share all of that only to emphasize this point: Most likely, NONE of the highlights I just shared from my last 2 weeks would have happened if I hadn’t proactively sought other locals who share this interest.

Whether that looks like finding or forming a group in your area, I would encourage you to do so. And if organizing a group like this isn’t your thing, it can still pay to find people in your area who share your interest in pursuing financial independence.

While northern Colorado is something of a mecca for the financial independence movement, the truth is it’s a global phenomenon and every urban and suburban area is sure to have fascinating members of this community just waiting to find one another.

If you haven’t already, check out FI Clubs and let us know what you think.