FIWE stands for Financial Independence Week Europe. (The acronym is pronouned “five”, like the number, not “fee-wee”.) It’s a meeting of like-minded people who are interested in financial independence, lifestyle design, minimalism and mindfulness. It’s a way to bring people together to exchange ideas and experiences in a relaxed, easygoing setting. Often people whose interests lie in these areas have trouble finding like-minded people to talk to in their immediate environment. The idea of FIWE is to build connections between people who think differently to the mainstream and to build up a pan-European community.
The first event took place in Budapest in 2016 and was open to bloggers only. We intended it as a “practice” conference to brainstorm ideas on what a bigger conference could look like in the years to come. The first “proper” event was held in Timişoara, Romania in 2017 and was open to everyone. Following the success of FIWE 2017, we decided to keep the event in Timișoara in 2018. In 2019 we moved the event back to Budapest to spice things up a bit.
What Happens at FIWE?
The main conference takes place over a weekend (Friday – Sunday) and includes presentations, discussion sessions, workshops and of course lots of free time for informal discussions. After the main conference, a smaller group of people spend a few more days hanging out together in an even more informal setting. This part of the conference is called FIWE Extra. There are no formal presentations at FIWE Extra, there’s just lots of time to talk and exchange ideas and visions for the future.
How Much Does It Cost?
One of the most important things to know about FIWE is that it’s not for profit. We’re not looking to make any money out of it whatsoever. Let’s face it, we don’t need any more money and we also don’t believe that high costs should be a barrier to participation. All the money participants pay is just to cover costs. We pay our share too. Also, we don’t invite big-name speakers and pay them for giving a presentation. All participants are on a level playing field with everyone covering their own costs.
How Many Participants Are There?
For the main conference we limit the number of participants to 25 including the two of us. That gives everyone the chance to talk to everyone else and makes it easier to foster a good community atmosphere. FIWE Extra is smaller because not everyone is able or willing to extend their FIWE experience to a full week.
Who Can Participate?
The event is open to everyone who’s excited about financial independence, minimalism and generally living a meaningful, mindful life. Everyone who’s bursting with ideas but has no-one to share them with in their immediate surroundings, who’s looking for like-minded people to hang out with for a few days, who wants to finally be able to talk freely about FI, investing, their personal finances, and how they envision (or are already living) their financially free life.
Why Is There an Application Process?
Maybe you think it sounds harsh to set up an application process and pick and choose participants. Why don’t we just accept the first 25 people who say they’re interested? Basically to make sure we have a good mix of participants from different places and with different experiences and ideas to contribute. If we operate on a first come, first serve basis we run the risk of having too many participants from a single country and/or with a single topic of focus. That then makes the event less enjoyable for the people who don’t belong to this majority group.
How Do We Choose the Participants?
We look carefully at all the applications and choose participants based on the following criteria:
- Do they seem really, truly excited about the event?
- Do they have ideas and experiences to contribute?
- Will they add some diversity to the overall mix of participants?
- Can they communicate confidently in English about the kind of topics we’ll be discussing at FIWE? If they’re not comfortable listening to presentations and having informal discussions about financial topics in English, maybe FIWE isn’t the right event for them.
When Is the Next Event?
FIWE 2020 Timișoara will be taking place from June 19th – 24th 2020. The deadline for applications is February 29th. You can find full details here.