The First “Proper” FIWE!
FIWE 2017 was the first “proper” Financial Independence Week Europe event. It took place in Romania from September 15th-21st, 2017.
The main conference was held in Timişoara, a city in western Romania, from the evening of Friday, 15th September until the evening of Sunday, 17th September.
Afterwards, a smaller group of particularly enthusiastic participants stayed on for a few more days to take part in FIWE Extra. This event was held in a small town an hour’s train ride from Timişoara on the Romanian-Serbian border. It ran from Monday, 18th September until Thursday, 21st September.
For the main conference we limited the number of participants to 25 people including the two of us. That gave everyone the chance to talk to everyone else and it was easier to foster a good community atmosphere. FIWE Extra was smaller because not everyone was willing or able to extend their FIWE experience to a full week.
The event was 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.
The main conference was held at a small B&B near the city centre. It’s run by an old school friend of Mr W’s and we’ve stayed there many a time, so we knew what to expect. The B&B is fully enclosed and feels like a totally different world to the bustling city outside. It has two lovely quiet courtyards and attached conference facilities.
We basically booked out the entire place for the weekend, which made things a lot easier logistically. It meant we could all be together as much as possible, especially during meals, breaks and free time, which is often when the most interesting conversations took place. It also meant that we all wasted a lot less time getting between our rooms and the conference facilities. We love efficiency!
FIWE 2017 was a not-for-profit event. All participants covered their own costs for travel, accommodation and food. We paid our share too. There was a participation fee of €15 per person to cover the costs of renting the conference facilities for the weekend part of the event. There was no additional participation fee for FIWE Extra.
Friday 15th September: Arrival Day
We kicked the conference off at 5 pm with a welcome and introduction session, then we headed out into the city for dinner. The point of this first evening will be to get everyone together, learn each other’s names and get a first taste of the city. After dinner, Mr. W held the first presentation: How I Started a Successful Online Business and How Anyone Can Do It.
Saturday 16th September: Conference Day 1
After breakfast at the B&B we started the presentations. We had three presentations in the morning with a break after the second one:
- What Has Happened to Crowd Investing (and How to Fix It)
- What Living in the Woods for 10 Weeks Taught Me About FI. And Life
- How to Use Airbnb to Generate a (Passive) Side Income
After that, we went to a restaurant nearby for a buffet lunch.
In the afternoon we had a discussion session followed by two more presentations, again with a break in between:
- How Our Priorities Changed After We Reached FI
- Profitable Investing on Peer-to-Peer Lending Platforms
After yet another short break we headed out into the city for dinner and a tour of the city.
Sunday 17th September: Conference Day 2
The day was structured in the same way as the previous day, with the following presentations:
- My Thoughts on, Experiences with, and Expectations for Stock Market Investing
- How I Comfortably Live off 700 €/Month in Northern Germany
- How to Boost Your Path to FI by Trading Volatility (VIX) Derivatives
- The Ups and Downs of Digital Nomadism
- FIRE WIKI to Create an Overview of FIRE Knowledge
Monday 18th September: FIWE Extra, Day 1
On Monday morning we said goodbye to the last of the weekend participants and then relocated to a smaller town near to Timişoara for FIWE Extra, which was held at our house. We spent the day settling in, hanging out on the terrace, and generally recovering from the weekend.
Tuesday 19th – Thursday 21st September: FIWE Extra, Days 2 – 4
The rest of FIWE Extra had no fixed program. This was intentional, because the whole point of it was to give people the time and freedom to process the ideas and information from the weekend and to discuss things in more depth if they wanted to. We visited the local market, went to the lakes, and even managed a quick trip across the border to Serbia. All in all, it was a very relaxing experience. Oh, and did we mention that a group of us also started FIREhub during FIWE Extra?