The FIRE Insights Survey
Welcome to the third ever FIRE Insights Survey!
Last month’s survey was really fun to put together and again received a great response from those who participated and others who didn’t.
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.
This month, I again sourced 250+ of the best Personal Finance Content Creators (Bloggers, Podcasters, Youtubers, etc.) and sent out the survey. For the third month in a row, we received a 25% response rate.
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
Where are you physically located? (via Sam @ Financial Samurai)
This was fun to see where everyone is at geographically! At least for this survey’s responents we had 76.27% of respondents living in the US, with 23.73% international.
Europe had the most number of non-US respondents with 36%, Australia and Canada each had 21%, the UK at 14%, and 7% from Asia. We are still missing a few continents, but we’ll get there.
As for the US, we are clearly are spread out all over the place. No one is from Hawaii or Alaska, but we otherwise are all over the lower 48:
Looks like we are missing some of our friends from the Pacific Northwest and parts of the Midwest, but the respondents do vary from month to month.
What is your yearly income? (via BC @ FrugalWheels)
Well, the majority of our respondents are impressively making more than $100,000 a year (61.5%).
But what I should have asked as a follow up is how much of their income is coming from their content creation vs. investments vs. W2. A question for future surveys I think!
On the flipside, 38.4% are making less than $100,000 a year. This goes to show that any income can pursue FI and FIRE.
Additional contextual questions are needed to get some better analysis here. Even so, for anyone out there thinking you don’t making “enough”…the path to FI is simple: spend less than you earn, AND invest. That is all you need to be doing.
Your son just turned 27 years old. Should he rent or buy? (via Joel @ Budgets are Sexy)
It is nearly a tossup, but renting edges out buying a property in this current market for a 27 year old.
I think this ultimately comes down to location, location, location. And perhaps this question is simply a continuation of the rent vs. buy debate?
All I know is that when I was 27, I was pretty settled with where I wanted to live, and I had already purchased a house. But most 27 year olds are not like that…
Are you bullish, neutral, or bearish on the economy?
51.7% are bullish at the time of the survey. This is down from 53.2% last month.
Bearish slightly crept up to 5.2% over 4.3% from last month.
Neutral is fairly consistent with last month hovering at 43.1% compared to 42.6%.
I think the bottom line here is that despite the fact that everyone is waiting for the legs to drop out of the market, our content creators are not worried.
They are either positive creatures by nature, or are more attuned to the ups and downs of markets in general.
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)?
- Mrs. Rich Frugal Life @ Rich Frugal Life highlights Playtirement’s Financial Independence for the Whole Human
- Zach @ Pineapple Money recommended The Best Interest’s Foxes, Fire Alarms, and Financial Decisions
- Steve @ Slightly Early Retirement shares a really important post that everyone should read from The Retirement Manifesto called The Fragility of Life
- Keeping in line with the last article, Damian @ Banker on FIRE highlights The Irrelevant Investor’s Blink
- Matt & Joel from the How to Money podcast recommend the NY Times’ The Pandemic Forged New FIRE Followers, With a Difference
- Money Flamingo enjoyed ERN’s Stealth Frugality piece.
- Mr. Chaos @ Cutting Through Chaos reminds us that You’re Only as Strong as Your Weakest Link from The Escape Artist
- Tyler @ Fresh Life Advice points out that retirement doesn’t have to be that far off with Millennial Money’s How to Retire in 10 Years (or less)
- Lawrence @ The Neighborhood Finance Guy likes Michael Frontera’s YT video How to Reduce Taxes on Retirement Withdrawals!
- Jess and Corey @ The Fioneers loved Accidental FIRE’s I Didn’t Dream Big, You Should
- Leif @ Physician on FIRE highlights Cashflows & Portfolios’ Why the 4% Rule Doesn’t Work for Early Retirement (FIRE)
- Dividend Power shares with us The Female Professional’s States Without Income Tax: Is There A Benefit To Moving?
- And last, but not least Impersonal Finances says “The fact that Mr. Money Mustache posted for the first time in months!” – Here it is with Three Months of Slacking
And there were plenty more! Great content all around.
What do you want your post-FIRE life to look like? (via David @ iRetiredYoung.net)
Already living it:
- “I’m living it. Lots of time with my family. I get outside and do something active and something creative/productive almost every day. I regularly connect with interesting people and am continuing to figure out novel ways to be of service to others.” – Chris @ Can I Retire Yet?
- “I’m living it.” – Keith @ Wealthy Accountant
- “Like it is now, I did it 5 years ago.” Steve @ Slightly Early Retirement
Keeping it the same:
- “The way it looks now” – Charles @ Financial Freedom is a Journey
- “The same as it does now, with less work.” – Adam @ Brewing Fire
- “Ideally exactly like your pre-FIRE life if you’ve designed it properly” Mr. Chaos @ Cutting Through Chaos
- “Like it does now, just not worrying about money” John @ Verbatim Financial
- “A lot like it does now! But maybe taking more advantage of being able to work from anywhere.” – Joel @ How to Money Podcast
- “Kind of the same as it is right now.” – Joel @ Budgets are Sexy
- “Exactly like my pre-fire life just with more time to spend with loved ones and keep up on projects around the house.” – Frugal Fill
No more distractions:
- “Anything that reminds folks to stop sweating the small stuff and get the big decisions in life right instead, like housing and transportation.” Mark @ My Own Advisor
- “A wild mix of family time, adventure time, time to think, time to work, time to contribute and give back, time to focus on fitness and health and time to play.” – Money Flamingo
- “More time on the life side of the ledger but still enough work to feel productive and fulfilled.” – Dom @ Gen Y Finance Guy
- “Since I FIRE’d I’ve strived for a slower pace of life. Waking up naturally, enjoying a slower start to the day and then deciding what to do for the day based on what I’m most interested in.” – Adam @ Minafi
- “Working on my own dreams and goals I constantly feel I neglect now” – Andrea @ Saving Joyfully
- “Travel and adventure” – Melanie @ Partners in FIRE
- “Relaxing, spending time with loved ones, continue to podcast, helping with more social projects, enjoying wine and playing guitar” Jonathan @ Joney Talks
- “I want mine to be memorable, so I can look back with a smile and say, yeah, I did some cool things” David @ iRetiredYoung
- “I would like to have a life where money no longer plays a decision in what I want to do. Where I can choose any item on the menu or plan a vacation without having to do mental arithmetic to see if I can afford it during my retirement drawdown period.” – XRAYVSN
- “Freedom to do what I want” Jon @ Compounding Pennies
- “More sleeping, travelling, volunteering, and investing.” – Dads & Dollar$
- “Time for everything every day, including learning, exercise, family, creativity, and leisure.” Leif @ Physician on FIRE
Very specific plans:
- “Retire in Brazil with an extra location in Lisbon since it’s a great travel hub to Europe, investing in small businesses, teaching, and giving speeches to help elevate financial literacy in Black and Brown communities.” – Lawrence @ The Neighborhood Finance Guy
- “I love traveling and I would like to live the digital nomad lifestyle without pressure. So I’d ideally slow-travel around in a campervan or backpack, work on some passion projects, be outside every day, and be very active.” – Marjolein @ Radical FIRE
- “Trail running, bicycle touring, all forms of skiing, canoe tripping, backpacking, and any other adventures we can find around the world that will allow us to continue to work hard, play hard, and give back the best we know how.” – Jay & Sara @ Playtirement
- “A lot of time golfing and traveling!” – Impersonal Finances
- “Gardening and traveling” – Frugal Mogal
- “I want to have a part time consultancy type gig.” – The Wealthster
- “Managing a couple of properties, working on the blog, keeping up with the stock markets, and reading a little.” – David @ Filled with Money
- “Hobbies, tinkering, walks and spending time with my husband and children” – Frank on FIRE
What is your favorite vacation you’ve ever been on?
Now we are talking my language. Looking forward to hearing about some amazing adventures!
- “Spending a week at a beach house with my family and my wife’s aunt and uncle, cousins, and their kids. I grew up without any extended family so I love seeing our kids get to spend so much time playing and growing up with their cousins since I never got to experience that.” – Mr. NMW @ No More Weekdays
- “A 29 day cruise from Vancouver to Sydney via Hawaii, French Polynesia and New Zealand. We used the cruise as our mode of transport as part of our relocation from Europe to Australia (instead of flying). It was epic.” – Money Flamingo
- “It was going to Antarctica. March of 2020, Covid started to affect countries in Asia, and we found some great deals on flights and a 10 day trip to Antarctica. We flew to Argentina and spent a few days exploring and made a our way down to Ushuaia, Argentina. There we took a magical trip to Antarctica where we saw tons of whales, leopard seals, penguins, and climbed hills of ice and snow. The people were amazing, and the stories and memories have been kept to remind ourselves of the amazing beauty of a place like Antarctica.” Steve @ The Frugal Expat
- “Our 25-day trip exploring Japan in 2018. Can’t wait to go back.” Chrissy @ Eat, Sleep, Breathe FI
- “Does backpacking 4 months in South-America count as a vacation?” – Marjolein @ Radical FIRE
- “To Banff in Canada” Blake & Allanah @ Fire with a Family
- “Scotland (the West Coast should be on everyone’s bucket list)” – Fritz @ The Retirement Manifesto
- “It’s a tie: Road trip/camping the ring road in Iceland and a lux resort in the Seychelles” – Mrs. Rich Frugal Life @ Rich Frugal Life
- “Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany – Prost!” – Tyler @ Fresh Life Advice
- “Best trip of all time was spending a week to celebrate my 45th birthday in Bali. The food and culture was amazing. And because of geoarbitrage it was incredibly affordable.” – XRAYVSN
- “FI Chautauqua with JL Collins.” Kathy @ Baby Boomer Super Saver
- “Went to Taaras Resort on Redang Island on the eastern coast of Malaysia with wife and old middle school friends. Crystal turquoise water, wonderful scuba diving, and amazing food. It was a dream come true! ” Sam @ Financial Samurai
- “If I had to choose one it would be backpacking the Grand Canyon nearly 20 years ago, because it inspired so many of my subsequent adventures.” Chris @ Can I Retire Yet?
- “Cancun Mexico at an all-inclusive couples only resort” Gary @ Super Saving Tips
- “Taking our daughter to see Jamaica, where she was born. Also the longer term travels we’ve done since early retiring (4 months in Asia/Australia, 3 months on CA, Costa Rica & Colombia)” David @ iRetiredYoung
- “Jersey. Not New Jersey, the Channel Island Jersey” David @ FI Physician
- “Seeing Foz do Iguaçu” – LadyFIRE @ Money Saving Ladies
- “Photo safari in South Africa. It was $500 and it including everything but the flight.” – BuLL @ Budget Life List
- “10 day camping on a remote island in the Adirondacks.” Jesse @ The Best Interest
- “Across the USA in an RV as a young kid” – Michael @ Financially Alert
- “Trip to Queensland, Australia. Snorkeling the great barrier reef-best day ever.” Carolyn @ Tucan Dream
- “A two week stay in Hawaii. We ate amazing food, explored beaches, and drank by the pool.” – One Frugal Girl
There were plenty of others as well from the Amalfi coast in Italy (amazing), to Costa Rica (my personal favorite). So what are you waiting for? Go plan one of these trips!!!
List one dead person who you would have liked to meet (example: Jack Bogle, Margaret Thatcher, Steve Jobs, etc. )
I may have been the most excited for this question. I was just really interested in seeing what the answers were, and it was a wide ranging array of personalities!
- John D. Rockefeller
- Paul of Tarsus
- Martin Luther
- Benjamin Franklin (x2)
- Leonardo da Vinci
- Robin Williams (x2)
- Anthony Bourdain
- Steve Allen (author, song writer and comedian)
- Jack Bogle
- Richard Feynman
- Michael Crichton and JRR Tolkien
- Amelia Earhart
- Princess Diana
- Jesus (x2)
- Steve Irwin
- Jim Henson
- Gordie Howe
- Lord Denning, a famous English Judge.
- Abraham Lincoln (x2)
- Margaret Tobin Brown, the Unsinkable Molly Brown
- Malcolm X
- Christopher Hitchens
- Jim Rohn
- Oprah Winfrey
- David Bowie
- Anne Frank
- Ignaz Semmelweis
- “What a question! I would go with some old dead guy in the family tree a few hundred years back.” – Impersonal Finances
- “Besides my father, who I lost at the age of 15, I would like to meet Leonardo Da Vinci” – XRAYVSN
- “My Grandpa” – Lee @ Bald Thoughts
- “My Grandmother” – Sam @ Financial Samurai
- “Mary Wollstonecraft, passionate advocate of social equality and rights for women back in the 18th century, and she is the mother of Mary Shelley who wrote a favorite book, Frankenstein.” – Linda @ The Cents of Money
Section 3 – Content Creators Sentiment
What is your investment style?
Not surprising, with our early retirees in the mix, we are looking at very long-term horizon and therefore are leaning more aggressive than not.
Only 14% of us tend to be more conservative in our investment style.
Perhaps this is also due to the average age of our group, but we’ll have to figure that one out next time…
How do you rate your current happiness?
You know I love my Happiness Tracker, and so I also wanted to start to keep track of our content creators. I was really glad to see that 72% of us are happy with an 8 or above score!
For those who didn’t rate themselves as that happy, I hope that things turn around in due time. Life is full of ups and downs, ebbs and flows, and I know that things will flow back in the right direction.
Suggestions for next time
Thanks to all who participated! I appreciate your time, and your insights.
If you are a blogger 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!
This is such a fun survey – I always enjoy reading the answers people share and discovering interesting new posts to read. Wish I would have elaborated a little more.
One of the best things about attending FI Chautauqua (my favorite vacation) was the wonderful people we met & the amazing locations! We enjoyed Chautauqua so much that we went 3 times, first to the UK, then Greece, and finally Portugal. Some of us from the UK group even planned & went on a couple fantastic trips together later, including one to Brazil. Have to agree with LadyFIRE, Foz do Iguaçu was incredible!
Love the question posed by Impersonal Finances – when did you start investing? For us it was in our 50s.
Iguacu Falls looks incredible! Bucket listing that.
Benjamin Franklin WOULD be x2 and on many people’s lists! He seems like a really interesting guy to have met.
Yeah I know! I remember reading his biography as a kid. I have the Walter Isaacson biography in my book backlog. I look forward to really diving deep soon!
I’m taking notes on the trips. Nothing beats a great adventure.
I know! Amazing that I have been to so few. Time to start adding many of these trips to my bucket list.
I love these monthly surveys! Really enjoying reading everyone’s favourite articles, there are so many I wouldn’t have found otherwise. 🙂
I know. And I now follow a lot of blogs for FIRE Insights, but I am still surprised by the breadth of content out there!
Thanks for the survey, I really like reading the results and it’s fun to participate.
I wonder if I’m the only one, but for me the map from the first question is completely blank (i just see the country outlines but no indications of where people are). Am I the only one?
Other than that, love the answers on the plans for post-FIRE. Folks who say it should be exactly like it is now seem to have a great setup 🙂
Whoops. Looks like I over-restricted the API key that lets me call the map. Check it out now. LMK if it is working or not!
Hmmm it kind of works now? I see some dots, but then as I look at it, more dots are appearing slowly, at least on the American map. Is that how it is meant to work? Or should it all be there at once?
Yeah that is correct. It has a slow animation. If I have time later, I’ll look at upgrading the map or seeing if I can speed up the animation.
Always look forward to seeing the results of these!
Along the lines of age, I’d be curious for an age range on when most people started investing.
Great stuff as always!
That’s a great question. I’ll add it to September’s survey!