The FIRE Insights Survey
Welcome to the seventh FIRE Insights Survey!
The last survey in March was fun to put together and for Q2 we again received an amazing response!
The goal of the survey is to measure interest/blogger sentiment in various asset classes over time, highlight great content, and source advice/recommendations for our community of readers.
For this survey, I sourced 350+ of the best Personal Finance Content Creators (Bloggers, Podcasters, Youtubers, etc.) and sent out the survey.
A special thanks again to Mr. Chaos from Cutting Through Chaos for helping to edit and test out the survey!
If you are a PF content creator and would like to participate in future FIRE Insights Surveys, please sign up here.
Section 1 – Starter Questions
Why do you create content?
I want to note that not ONE person who took this survey answered “to make money” as their sole reason for being a creator.
It is clear that for financial content creators, there is no one reason that we create content. We create content to be creative, because we have a passion for it, to make a little money, and a plethora of other reasons!
- Chris @ Can I Retire Yet says “Other financial bloggers changed the trajectory of my life, and so I started doing it to pay it forward. Now that I have all of the above play into my decision to continue.”
- “To give back, doing our part to increase financial literacy” – Lauren @ Trip of a Lifestyle
- Lawrence @ The Neighborhood Finance Guy creates content “To Close the Wealth Gap Through Knowledge Sharing”
- Dictionary check – the Landshark creates content “For my personal edification”
- And Chuck @ Wellness Alchemist hits the nail on the head for me, saying “for me writing is honing my thinking”
No matter why we create content. I am glad that we are all doing it. Collectively we can move the needle on financial education, personal growth, and pure enjoyment of life more than any one person ever could.
If you had unlimited budget to spend in any one area, what would it be?
This one goes off as expected. 64% of respondents would turbocharge their vacation spending if they had an unlimited budget.
But don’t sweat the 18% that would find/build the ultimate home fortress.
Adam @ Blind Luck Project combines them both saying “If money were no object I’d buy a tour bus and hire a driver to tour the USA/ Canada similar to what bands do!”
Honestly, both sound good to me!
What is the ideal number of vacation days per year?
Now things are getting interesting…
38% want unlimited. Makes sense.
18% are good with 6 weeks.
14% would want 10 weeks.
4% are good with 2 weeks? what!?
Are you bullish, neutral, or bearish on the economy?
Whelp. We knew this was coming. Bearish jumps from 16.7% to 28%!
Neutral only ticks down a bit from 50% to 46%.
Bullish moves from 33% to 26%.
Clearly, our overall outlook on the economy is trending downward. It makes sense given the current bear market trajectory.
However, I for one, remain hopeful. This is all part of the process!
Section 2 – Features of the Month
What did you think was the best piece of FI/FIRE content of the month (that was not yours)?
- Mel @ Modest Money shared this amazing guest post I Had To Let Go of My Ambitions – Or So I Thought by Jess @ The Fioneers on Too Ambitious.
- The Finoneers meanwhile enjoyed another spectacular article in More to That’s The Many Worlds of Enough
- Impersonal Finances loved LadyFIRE’s article Open in case of crash
- Vicky @ Saving Advice AND Jannese from Yo Quiero Dinero both shared Rich & Regular’s The “Overemployed”: working two full time remote jobs
- David @ Filled with Money enjoyed this guest post on Financial Samurai Overcoming Money Trauma: Why I Retired To Taiwan With Only $600,000
- Jesse @ The Best Interest loved the Plain English podcast Economic Mystery Hour: How Low Will Stocks Go? Is a Recession Inevitable?
- Ben Carlson continues to create remarkably great content, and it was featured several times:
- Zach @ Pineapple Money liked Jesse’s I “Lost” $15,000. Here’s Why I Don’t Care.
- BuLL @ Budget Life List shared Bitches Get Riches How To Protect Cash Savings During High Inflation
- Chris @ Can I Retire Yet liked Leif @ Physician on FIRE’s The Future is Unknowable. Spend it All or Sock it Away?
- Joel @ 5 AM Joel likes Right Now, But Wrong Later
- And lastly, Mr. Chaos @ Cutting Through Chaos shared Banker on FIRE’s Six Reasons Why High Earners Don’t Get Rich
How do you handle the ups and downs of investing?
I have a portfolio?
- “There are ups and downs in investing? ;)” – Mr. Chaos
- Sam @ Government Worker FI – “I trust the process and don’t log into my accounts or read news stories about the market.”
- “I don’t pay much attention to my portfolio and keep in mind that the market has historically always gone up” – Olaf @ Mile High Finance Guy
- Marjolein @ Radical FIRE – “Index and chill”
- “As I get older it gets easier to separate myself from things outside my control. I research investments before cash goes in and live with the ups and downs. If the investment becomes more compelling I may sell; if the investment is less so, I sell.” – Keith @ The Wealthy Accountant
- Joseph @ Hadaway Financial – “Not checking my portfolio. I haven’t checked my portfolio in months, I just keep investing and trust my investments over the long term.”
- “I avoid paying attention to it because it doesn’t affect me, our investments are for the long term.” – Jim @ Wallet Hacks
Planning is everything
- “I handle both the same way – I check infrequently and I keep buying. If my long-term plan hasn’t changed, then what I’m doing in the moment shouldn’t either. When you’re well-enough diversified, the day-to-day and month-to-month movements shouldn’t matter.” Sam @ Smarter and Harder
- Fritz @ The Retirement Manifesto – “Since I’m retired, keeping 3 years of cash is key. It avoids the stress of bear markets. Also, I rebalance at least once per year, a critical step too many overlook.”
- “Realizing I have surplus it doesn’t matter what the market does.” – Steve @ Slightly Early Retirement
- “I created a written investment policy statement. I follow it.” Chris @ Can I Retire Yet
- Bob @ Tawcan – “Stay in the market, invest new money regularly, remove emotion from investing”
- “I educated myself on how the stock market works, so I know that ups and downs are normal and inevitable. Therefore, volatility doesn’t faze me when it happens.” – Chrissy @ Eat Sleep Breathe FI
- “It doesn’t bother me as an index investor I know that there is no way that every company will go bankrupt and I will lose my money. If that situation happens I don’t think I’m gonna be too concerned about my investment portfolio due to the nuclear war that’s happened!” – Adam @ Blind Luck Project
- Dividend Power – “Buy and hold and stay the course.”
- “I love dividends. Markets up or down, I get paid to be a shareholder.” – Mark @ My Own Advisor
Patience you must have, my young padawan. – Yoda
- “I read more and zoom out :)” – Jesse @ The Best Interest
- “I stay the course and try not to let it stress me out.” – Jackie Beck
- Linda @ The Cents of Money – “Stay steady, don’t panic, and sniff out buying opportunities.”
- “By writing about it and sharing the natural flow since it help de-stigmatize how investing works and how investors perform better in the long run.” – Lawrence @ The Neighborhood Finance Guy
- Evelyn @ Better with a Budget “I buy and hold. I don’t look at how my investments are doing each day to help keep some of the emotions at bay.”
- “I track my net worth closely and don’t sell when the market is going down. I make an effort to track my performance on the really bad/red days to test my mettle. Then when times are better, I look at how bad they were in the past…” – Landshark
- LadyFIRE – “Keep buying. Keep holding. Have some tea.”
- “I don’t – never sold in 28 years and invest each month (DCA)” – Millionaire Financial Coach
- John @ Verbatim Financial – “I’m not ancient, but I bought my first stock in 1989, so I’ve seen several cycles. These things happen, and you have no control over anything but whether you buy or sell, and selling has historically only locked in losses for me and/or prevented me from participating in recoveries.”
- “Understanding stock market history and the fact that there’s a bear market about every three years on average puts market volatility in perspective.” Leif @ Physician on FIRE
What’s something you’d personally never do, but sounds fun?
- “Shorting BTC” – Zach @ Pineapple Money
- “Travel to the International Space Station for a week or two.” – Leif @ Physician on FIRE
- “Insert movie actress crush… j/k. I’m happily married” – Lazy Man and Money
- “Live out in the wilderness w/o supplies.” – Jon Luskin
- “What a great question. I can’t think of an answer right now, but I really want to!” – David @ iRetiredYoung
- “You know how on HGTV everyone needs a big kitchen and open floor plan so they can entertain people? That sounds fun when they talk about it on HGTV but I don’t think I’ve ever thrown a party in my house for 30 people.” – Sam @ Government Worker FI
- “I’ve done a LOT. I probably wouldn’t do drugs. I’m sure it’s a rush but it’s just not worth it.” Adam @ Blind Luck Project
- “Probably drag racing” – Jackie Beck
The Adrenaline Junkies
- “Scuba diving. Love swimming, but hate being deep underwater. I get the appeal, though.” – Sam @ Smarter and Harder
- “Hang-gliding sprang immediately to mind.” – Dads and Dollar$
- “Freeclimbing” – Mel @ Modest Money
- “Cross country bike trip” – Mrs. Bean @ How Much Is That In Tacos?
- “Sail across an ocean.” – Fritz @ The Retirement Manifesto
- “Rock Climbing” – Mr. & Mrs. Shirts @ Stop Ironing Shirts
- “Kayak class 5 water.” – Steve @ Slightly Early Retirement
- “Wingsuit flying / Wingsuiting (Resemblance to flying squirrels)” – Tyler @ Fresh Life Advice
- “Skydive. Actually, I would skydive, but Mr. BuLL has requested I pass on that adventure. 🤷♀️” – Mrs. BuLL @ Budget Life List
- “Halo jumping. It looks cool but i don’t like the odds.” – Lawrence @ The Neighborhood Finance Guy
- “Base jumping” – Chris @ Can I Retire Yet
- “Bungee jumping!” – Olaf @ Mile High Finance Guy, Linda @ The Cents of Money, and Chrissy @ Eat Sleep Breathe FI
Plus, we had 18 total answer skydiving (also my answer). I had the opportunity, but I am opting for Indoor Skydiving instead.
In a perfect world, what would your work/life balance look like (i.e. work 3 days a week for 5 hours, off the rest, no work, etc.)
- Jannese from Yo Quiero Dinero – “I’m living it! I’ve reached COAST FI and now run my own business, I work about 20-25 hours a week.”
- “Work 3-4 days/week for 4-5 hours, do this from anywhere in the world. Spend the rest of my time precipitating health, relationships, travel, curiosity, etc” – Jess @ The Fioneers
- Kurtis @ Delve Into Money – “4 days a week, 6 hrs a day”
- “3.5 days a week of work. 3 10-hour, 1 5-hour with PM off, then a 3.5 day “weekend” Jesse @ The Best Interest
- Lauren @ Trip of a Lifestyle – “We’ve found that 2 days of “work” and 5 days of fun is a good mix for us.”
- “As a long time workaholic that has never taken enough vacation, I think three days of work is sounding ideal.” – Linda @ The Cents of Money
- “Work 4 hours/day Mon-Thurs” – Millionaire Financial Coach
- John @ Verbatim Financial – “Work an average of four days a week, but with total freedom as to which four. All I want to do is match my wife’s & my son’s schedules to maximize my time with them.”
- “I enjoy my job but would prefer to have less frequent deadlines and more time to complete the work. Writing against a ticking clock isn’t always fun!” – Vicky @ Saving Advice
- Bear Money – “Four days of six hours 8-2 would be perfect for me”
- “My world is perfect, about 2 hours paid work per week and lots of volunteer work.” – Steve @ Slightly Early Retirement
- Mr. Chaos @ Cutting Through Chaos – “Work no more than 20 hours per week / no more than 6 hours per day / with the flexibility to take a full week off every few months”
- “I think I’ve found that balance in being productive on average 3-4 hours/day most days of the week with the ability to not work at all pretty much whenever I want.” – Chris @ Can I Retire Yet
- Evelyn @ Better with a Budget – “I’d love to work 3-4 days/week for 4-5 hours a day. The other days would be spent taking care of life outside work!”
- “Being happily retired, I’m very content with no work (but I do include work-like activities in my normal daily routines)” – David @ iRetiredYoung
- David @ Filled with Money “Work 5 days a week, but about ~20 hours a week.”
- “1 to 2 hours a work most days. Occasional deep work for as long as I’m in the flow.” – Leif @ Physician on FIRE
- Mrs. Bean @ How Much Is That In Tacos? – “Work 1 day a week for 5 hours”
- “Work 3 days a week remotely” – Bob @ Tawcan
- “Variable. I like seasonal work, but with something to occupy my day all year round. I like what I do; I like numbers. If I didn’t get paid to do this stuff I would still be doing it.” – Keith @ The Wealthy Accountant
- Mr. & Mrs. Shirts @ Stop Ironing Shirts – “10 to 20 hours of flexible work a week. Autonomy over my schedule is priceless”
- “4 days of work and 3 days of rest” – Dividend Power
- “I invest 3-4 hours a day reading/writing, work with 1 client/day for 60-90 minutes” – Chuck @ Charles Doublet
- “Honestly the example of 3 days a week for 5 hours sounds like you hit the nail on the head.” – Impersonal Finances
Section 3 – Investor Sentiment
On a scale of 1-10 how strongly do you feel about the following
1 being the lowest | 10 being the highest
It’s hard to not be concerned about inflation right now in some way. Our survey shows this very clearly, with a majority of the participants feeling the strain. Still, I am happy to see that there are a good 30% or so of us that are trying to stay neutral and not worry about it too much. In time, I believe that the supply chain issues will work themselves out and we’ll slow our torrid pace.
10% of our participants are active investors, but the majority appear to be passive investors.
Wow – this is about as even keel of a spread as you can get. An even percentage at 14% are against dividend investing, while another 14% feel very strongly about it.
Low-cost Index Funds
As expected, our personal finance creators are gung ho about low-cost index funds. We have what looks like one rogue participant who isn’t a fan.
Another mostly neutral spread. 14% are not into individual stock picking at all, but the majority clearly is neutral here.
Clearly leaning against crypto here, but not completely. As an asset class, most appear to be neutral, and we have a few that are very strong on blockchain tech.
Given the poor performance of late, it is expected that we see a lackluster chart, but surprisingly more are neutral this time around (45%), than the last time I ran this section of the survey (40%).
Not a lot of gold fans out there. 34% are neutral on gold.
Very comparable to the last time we ran this. Most of us are favorable or neutral on real estate.
Similar to Real Estate, REITs are nearly identical in sentiment.
Real Estate Syndication
This is almost point for point the same as the last measurement in October.
As expected, pretty low favorability here. Another chart that hasn’t moved much if at all.
And that is all we’ve got folks!
Suggestions for next time
Thanks to all who participated! I appreciate your time, and your insights.
If you are a PF creator and would like to participate in the survey next month, please sign up here.
Lastly, let me know what you liked, what I missed, AND what you’d like me to survey next month!