The FIRE Insights Survey
Welcome to the fourth 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. This month, we received a 20% response rate, just a tad less than the typical 25% or so.
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
When did you first start investing? (via Impersonal Finances)
We all know that the earlier you begin investing, the better. And for all of us personal finance lovers. So it is not surprising at all that we have a whopping 77% of our group who started investing before they turned 30!
35% of the group even started before they turned 20, and we even had 2% who started before they turned 10. You guys had some great money mentors and parents!
Even so, it is NEVER too late to start investing. We have 23% who started after 30. And if you are reading this and over 40 or 50, just remember. It is never too late.
How old are you now?
Ok great, so we now we know how old everyone was when they got started investing, but how old is our group now?
The majority of us are in our 30s and 40s, but we have 8% in our 20s, and 20% over 50!
How long have you been investing?
Now it gets really interesting, since after all, our readers are taking our financial advice. How much investing experience do we really have?
*This was not a question. This was calculated from the difference between current age and the age each respondent started investing
Anyways, you can see that > 50% of the group has over 20+ years investing. 80%+ have over 10+ years investing. That leaves a small margin of us who have more limited investing experience.
However, I would caution that sometimes experience isn’t everything. Especially when it comes to investing. I’d value simplicity over experience any day.
What is your yearly expenses? (via BC | FrugalWheels)
I’m not sure that this really tells us all that much. Some of us spend a lot, some of us spend very little. There are so many variables from age to if you have a family or significant others. The bottom line, is that it varies!
I’ll be interested in cross-referencing this with age and income, but we also would want to look at expenses based on if you have achieved FI are still persuing FI.
Quickly comparing age/income, does give some insight though! Our biggest and lowest spenders are in their 50s. This is to be expected, because we probably have some folks who have retired and others who haven’t, Fat FIREes, etc.
But all in all, we do see that average expenses goes up by age group until 50!
Are you bullish, neutral, or bearish on the economy?
Now that we have four data points, we are switching to a long-term outlook here. Interestingly enough, our group’s bullishness peaked over the summer in June’s survey.
Since then, we have had a slow drift down in Bullishness from 53.1% in June to 47.9% in October. Not a huge shift, but something to monitor.
Surprisingly though our group is also not quite as Bearish as in May. We have had a slow drift down from 10.6% Bearish in May to 4.2% Bearish in October.
Our Neutrality has really started to make a move in October from 43.1% in August to 47.9% in October.
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)?
- LateStarterFIRE highlights Joel @ Budgets are Sexy’s Dear Wife, Here’s How to FIRE If I Die Early (<-this is a very important thing we all need to do if managing our houses’ finances)
- One Frugal Girl and I both got a lot out of Raptitude’s The Last Time Always Happens Now
- And a brilliant piece by The Woke Salaryman I hustled like mad in my 20s. Here’s what it cost me. (sent in by Joel @ Budgets)
- LadyFIRE @ Money Savvy Ladies submitted Women’s Personal Finance’s Five Reasons You Should Lead with Slow FIRE
- Chris @ Can I Retire Yet enjoyed an “interesting look at the behind the scenes complexity that enables the “Simple Path” so many of us embrace” with Rick Ferri’s podcast Episode 37: Bogleheads on Investing – guests Gerry O’Reilly and Rich Powers
- Marjolein @ Radical FIRE liked The Fioneers Avoid the “Death March” to Financial Independence
- Meanwhile Jess & Corey @ The Fioneers sent over a really cool Barista FIRE Calculator from Wallet Burst.
- Tyler @ Fresh Life Advice linked to my article over at JL Collins’ site: The negligence that led me to DIY investing (thanks Tyler!)
- Jim @ Wallet Hacks sent over this video “featured by JD Roth over at Apex about a guy who has grazed sheep and lived off the land as a traveling shepherd”:
- Mr. Chaos @ Cutting Through Chaos highlighted Banker on FIREs The Fallacy of Planning
- Jay & Sara @ Playtirement sent over a great one from The Retirement Manifesto with The Pursuit of Childhood Joy
- BuLL @ Budget Life List highlights brokeGIRLrich’s How to Use Wishlists to Control Splurges
- Leif @ Physician on FIRE liked Retire Before Dad’s Single-Income Lifestyle, Multiple-Income Life
And there were plenty more! Great content all around.
What is the most ridiculous thing that you have ever subscribed to or made monthly payments for? (via LadyFIRE @ Money Savvy Ladies)
This should be interesting eh? Let the ridiculousness begin!
- David @ FI Physician subscribed to a Porsche. Yep, that is what buying or leasing a car will do to you. Especially a Porsche.
- Jay & Sara @ Playtirement think its “Every gym membership I’ve ever signed up for”
- Dividend Power goes with an “Extended warranty for an appliance I never used” – Ouch
- Tyler @ Fresh Life Advice vents “Ridiculous that my gym was charging me monthly fees even after I canceled my membership during the pandemic. Eventually got my money back!”
- BuLL @ Budget Life List says “A subscription program to develop photos for disposable cameras 🤦♀️”
- And meanwhile David @ Filled with Money avoid subscriptions like the plague: “None. I have no subscriptions or monthly payments besides my rent.”
- David @ iRetiredYoung says “My wife keeps subscribing to Amazon Prime by accident – we now have it even though we live in a different country🤦♂️” – whoops!
- Chad @ Coach Carson not too happy about this one “A $500/mo marketing/CRM software early in my business. Didn’t get a good ROI.”
- Jesse @ The Best Interest vents that he has to subscribe to “Peacock, just so I can watch English Premier League soccer”
- Matt @ Financial Imagineer is hoping his kids forget about this one -> “Even I’m a big Nintendo fan myself, I got to say it was that Nintendo Online subscription. Reason being: so the kids can play with other kids across the street online. Luckily I’ve limited the subscription to 12 months, it lapsed two months ago and nobody is missing it so far. Keep my fingers crossed!!!”
- John Stoj @ Verbatim Financial paid for a “podcast hosting service for a year for a podcast I am only now beginning to produce.”
- Adam @ Minafi has spent his money on “way too many book related websites”
- Impersonal Finances regrets going for points – “I subscribed to a wine subscription through Southwest because it came with a big reward points bonus. I barely drink wine!”
What is your favorite TV Show that you have watched in 2021?
We’ve got a lot of shows on here, and most of them I am familiar with…not sure I should disclose that…Anyways here we go:
- 3 votes for Ted Lasso
- 2 votes for Mare of Easttown
- 2 votes for Never Have I ever
- 2 votes for Schitt’s Creek
- 2 votes for The Queen’s Gambit
- The Dragons on FIRE are still watching Seinfeld 🙂
- Leif @ Physician on FIRE‘s fav was Stranger Things
- Money Flamingo is going with The Crown
- Adam @ Minafi voting for WandaVision
- Tommy @ Wander Wealth with Yellowstone
- Mr. Chaos @ Cutting Through Chaos likes Suits
- Matt @ Financial Imagineer adding to the hype for Squid Games
- Chad @ Financially Balanced recommends See
- The Neighborhood Finance Guy liked Loki
- Andrea @ Saving Joyfully enjoyed In Pursuit
- Chrissy @ Eat Sleep Breathe FI loved Somebody Feed Phil
- Blake & Allanah @ FIRE with a Family are going with Power
- XRAYVSN digging Big Brother (as do I!)
- Kate @ Eyes on the Goal liked Atypical (very underrated IMO)
- David @ Filled with Money goes with Billions
- LadyFIRE @ Money Savvy Ladies “Does the NFL count? I don’t watch many shows but I love football :D” — It counts, and I love the NFL!
Advice your 80 year old self would give you right now if you had a conversation…
There was a ton of good advice in here, so I didn’t cut out much. A couple recurring themes though. Our 80 year old selves recommend to “enjoy the moment” and “do more now!” They want us to “Hang in there,” and “just keep going”.
Enjoy the moment:
- “Savour the moment, it’ll be gone before you know it” – Kate @ Eyes on the Goal
- “Enjoy the present moment now and worry less about the future.” – Bob @ Tawcan
- “Relax a bit 😉 …and lose those pesky 15 pounds!” – Jesse @ The Best Interest
- “Stop obsessing over that FIRE # and enjoy the actual journey of life itself.” – Tyle @ Fresh Life Advice
- “Learn to relax a bit more. Time will fly by and I don’t want you to have any regrets in life. Continue to take care of your health, you’ll never appreciate anything more in life than good health.” – Mark @ My Own Advisor
- “Enjoy the journey rather than rushing to the destination” – Littlejimster @ Setting the UK on FIRE
- “Savor your experiences and relationships” – Chad @ Coach Carson
- “Stop always planning and looking towards the NEXT thing. Be more present and enjoy TODAY.” – Mrs. Rich Frugal Life @ Rich Frugal Life
- “Thank you – you are making my life great now but don’t forget to take time out to enjoy your life now” – Late Starter FIRE
- “Retire” – Carolyn @ Tucan Dream
Do more now:
- “Enjoy life more now while you are physically able to” – XRAYVSN
- “Do things while you’re young and active. Within reason, eat well and keep fit i.e. treat your body nicely. Make some memories.” David @ iRetiredYoung
- “Make sure you teach your grand-kids about money and finding a balance. And did you travel to every country in the world yet?” – Laurence @ The Neighborhood Finance Guy
- “Don’t wait, do the thing now” – Tommy @ Wander Wealth
- “Buy even more real estate!” – Zach @ Pineapple Money
- “Your time gets more precious as you age, act now” – Jonathan @ Joney Talks
- “Try to have more fun and spend time more time with your kids.” – Jim @ Wallet Hacks
Hang in there:
- “This too will pass.” – Chris @ Can I Retire Yet
- “Don’t be so hard on yourself.” – Chrissy @ Eat Sleep Breathe FI
- “Stop getting in your own way, you idiot. Slow down. Everything is going to work out just fine.” Joel @ Budgets Are Sexy
- “Remember to put on that sunscreen!” – Money Flamingo
- “Get better about sunscreen. It’s gunna get a lot hotter.” – Mackenzie @ Life @ 23K
- “Money is just a tool to buy your time back!” – Dom @ Gen Y Finance Guy
- “Take more breaks.” – Linda @ The Cents of Money
- “It was about time you let go and stopped caring what other’s thought of you. You finally understood George Carlin’s advice about not being invested in the outcome. George was right: When you’re born you get a ticket to the freak show, when you’re born in America you get a front row seat. Your 80 year old self is glad you finally sat back and enjoyed the show. What a ride! Right?” – Keith @ Wealthy Accountant
- “Stick to your long term plan. It’ll be worth it.” – Blake & Allanah @ FIRE with a Family
- “Don’t stress out over making optimal decisions and do things that feel right.” – David @ Filled with Money
- “Keep spending less and saving and investing more but find a balance whereby you do not trade too much of your time for money. Time is finite and the majority of it should be spent on experiences and with people that bring joy to your life.” – Chad @ Financially Balanced
- “Think about how you’d regret if you didn’t try and go for it!” – Matt @ Financial Imagineer
- “Keep plugging away.” – Kurtis @ Delve Into Money
- “Are you happy, content, or downright miserable? If you aren’t happy, what are you doing right now to change that? You won’t magically wake up twenty years from now any happier than you are today. You must work to achieve the change. What if everything in your life remained the same for the next thirty years? Would you look back at a life well-lived?” – One Frugal Girl
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
37% of our survey respondents seem fairly concerned about inflation. However, the majority and other 63% are either only slightly concerned to mildly concerned. Obviously something to watch here.
My personal hope is that while we’ll have short-term inflation due to labor shortages and other pandemic related activity, we’ll see things calm over the long-run. But I am no economist.
Well this one. Many of us dislike Crypto. 44% in fact rate Crypto 3 or below. But then you have 35% who are neutral, and then we’ve got 21% who are bullish on Crypto. Only time will tell, but I think we all need to tell Twitter to calm down a bit eh?
We hate em. We really do.
The only thing we dislike more than Bonds is Gold! Though we don’t dislike it as much as we did in the first survey.
Real Estate, REITs, and Syndication
This all looks similar to May’s survey as well, but REITs have seemed to moved up a bit in terms of favorability. Hardly apples to apples comparison though since this group differs slightly from May’s.
It hasn’t really moved at all since May. Not a surprise, but I’ll be interested in seeing how this one moves as DeFi gains momentum and Peer-to-Peer lending is more easily activated via Crypto. We are probably years out from really getting traction there though…
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!