This post is by staff writer Honey Smith.Just because two people hear the same word or phrase, doesn't mean that they are conceptualizing the same thing. For example, I live in the desert, so when I say that it's "cold," it's a pretty safe bet that I'm talking about something different than the person who lives in Vermont. Similarly, if I say it's "humid," I am probably not thinking about the same thing as the person who lives in Florida. It comes down to the difference between denotation and connotation. "Denotation" refers to something's definition or literal meaning. "Connotation," on the other hand, refers to what we associate with the use of a particular term. Connotations can be cultural in nature, though they may be based on personal experience. They can also evoke strong emotions (positive or negative), in both the speaker and the listener. I have noticed this tendency come into play right here in the comments of GRS. "Get Rich Slowly" is the name of the site, but what do those words mean? What, exactly, is "rich"? What do I think "slowly" means? Is that the same time frame you have in mind? Why does it matter, anyway? What it means to "get rich" Does "rich" mean a million bucks? Does it mean homeownership? Does it mean financial independence? Is being rich even something that can be restricted to money? "Financial independence" seems to be rising to prominence as the preferred term in personal finance circles these days (as opposed to a term like "retirement"). I think that is in part because it assumes a more encompassing understanding of the term "rich" than simply money. For example, "financial independence" assumes something about how you spend your time. For one thing, "financial independence" assumes that you may still be interested to work. However, when you no longer have to spend nine hours a day earning the money you need to survive, then you are free to spend that time on other things whether it's part-time work, a change in fields, volunteering your time to a cause that's near and dear to you, or spending time with friends and family.