The FIRE Insights Survey
Welcome to the eighth FIRE Insights Survey!
The last survey in May was fun to put together and for Q3 (or the tail end of it) we again received a great response!
The goal of the survey is to measure 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
Where your parents good financial role models? (via Lauren @ Adulting is Easy)
Of the content creators we surveyed, 43.2% said that yes they had parents who were good financial role models.
Another 35.1% said “yes and no” meaning that they at the very least learned from their parents good AND bad behaviors (I was in this boat).
And lastly, only 21.6% said their parents were not good role models, but the large majority said that they learned from their parents mistakes.
Have you FIREd?
Pretty straightforward here…46% of those surveyed have FIREd, and 54% haven’t or are still working at it.
Are you bullish, neutral, or bearish on the economy?
It has been awhile since the last survey, and things haven’t exactly been dandelions and roses.
The Bullish crowd moves from 26% down to 18.9%.
Bearish didn’t move all that much (only at 32.4%, but way up from 16.7% in March) .
Neutral continues to hold steady, growing ever so slightly to 48.6%.
An interesting note is that the movement in graph largely resembles the market trajectory itself!
Section 2 – FIRE Specific Questions
With a special FIRE specific section this month, we asked questions to only those who have FIREd. This was a fun section to work in, and next time I think we’ll survey the non-FIREd crowd instead.
How did you reach FIRE? (via Litan Yahav )
Boom! I love this one. Though I did not personally retire early from my 9-5 job, I love that 58.8% of our early retirees did.
This truly goes to show that not only is it possible, but that it is the easiest and simplest path to FIRE.
17.6% of us retired early due to starting/owning our own business, and that did not include a few others who had various side hustles that contributed to their success.
If this chart does not sum up everything the community has been telling our readers for the last many years, I do not know what will!
Have your actual expenses lined up with your projections pre-FIRE? (via Tall Guy Finance)
Similar to the 9-5 answer above, the far majority of early retirees have had their budget line up with their expectations.
But 35.3% did answered “No”. I am in this camp, as we have seen our expenses actually go up (largely due to healthcare and pre-k tuition).
If you reached FIRE while single, did you manage to maintain it once you had a family (spouse and/or kids)? (via Litan Yahav @ Vyzer)
This mostly turned out to be an irrelevant question. It was not applicable for 88.2% and was a 50/50 split between the remaining. Just not enough data to make any sense of anything here.
Section 3 – Features of the Month
What did you think was the best piece of FI/FIRE content of the month (that was not yours)?
- Joseph @ Hadaway Financial liked foundered’s 13 things to do before you retire early
- Zach @ Pineapple Money enjoyed The Perfectly Imperfect Investor from Jesse @ The Best Interest
- And…Jesse shared Tony Isola’s Is The Obesity Epidemic The Biggest Threat To Your Retirement?
- Tyler @ Fresh Life Advice shared Financial Five’s Travel is Overrated: Here’s What to Do Instead
- Joel @ 5amJoel loved The Fioneers’ The Case for Quiet Quitting
- Lazy Man @ Lazy Man and Money shared What to Spend On When Inflation Is High? from Retire by 40
- Mark & Joe @ Cash Flows and Portfolios sent in Ben Carlson’s Navigating the Pain of Your First Bear Market
- Chrissy @ Eat, Sleep, Breathe FI celebrated Financial Mechanic’s early retirement It’s Happening! I’m Retiring At Age 29 With $650,000
- We got a podcast in the house! Do Nothing: The Cure for the Overworked Parent (w/ Celeste Headlee) as nominated by Lawrence @ The Neighborhood Finance Guy.
- Jess and Corey @ The Fioneers highlighted Modest Millionaire’s Lessons from my first year of semi-retirement
- Fritz @ The Retirement Manifesto shared The Adversity Quotient from Collab Fund
- And last, but not least, Chris @ Can I Retire Yet liked Humble Dollar’s Tiresome Debates
What is your next grand ambition in life? (via Olaf @ Mile High Finance Guy)
Do Some Good
- “To pay my privilege forward by giving my time to causes I care about.” – Chrissy @ Eat, Breathe, Sleep FI
- “I want to do good in the world. I haven’t quite figured out what that is yet. Maybe it is simply this blog, but I want give back and help make the world a better place in some small way.” – AR
- “To make an impact in the lives of others.” – Fritz @ The Retirement Manifesto
- “To help someone every day in some small way.” – Jewels @ One Frugal Girl
Have some fun
- “I’m gonna enter an amateur surf competition” – Joel @ 5 am Joel
- “Get my VO2max above 51 mL/kg/min” – Sam @ Government Worker FI
- “A lengthy thru-hike (John Muir Trail?)” – Jason & Eric @ Two Sides of FI
- “Enjoy the day to day” – Mr. Chaos @ Cutting Through Chaos
Let’s see the world!
- “After both my kids are successful in college, I am hoping to travel more.” – Linda @ The Cents of Money
- “Visit a new continent – Going to Egypt to see the pyramids next week!” – Tyler @ Fresh Life Advice
- “The 14 day road trip my wife and I just started today.” – Steve @ Slightly Early Retirement
- “International travel” – Mark @ My Own Advisor
- “FIRE” – Zach @ Pineapple Money
- “Start a family (probably?)” – Jesse @ The Best Interest
- “Meet a spouse” – Adam @ Blind Luck Project
- “Be fully location independent” – Jess and Corey @ The Fioneers
- “Have a successful IPO for a start up” – Dividend Power
- “Publish a book.” – Keith @ The Wealthy Accountant
- “I want to figure out the next adventure/big idea for my wife and myself to do. The changed couples dynamic has been the biggest (perhaps only) challenge to FIRE’d life.” – David @ iRetiredYoung
- “Having kids” – Sam @ Philly Finance
- “To create and synthesize and teach” – David @ FI Physician
- “Next? Wow, that’s a tough one, as I am far from completing my current ambition, which is to create a situation where I don’t worry about money & my wife can choose to dial back work if & when she wishes.” – John @ Verbatim Financial
- “I want to build enough passive income to step down to part time employment” – Joseph @ Hadaway Financial
- “To make $10,000 a month” – Kari @ Money for the Mammas
- “To get my salary to six figures (it’s close!)” – Dads and Dollar$
- “Buying our forever home in 2023 during a period of high inflation, high prices and even higher interest rates. It’s going to be awesome.” – Lawrence @ The Neighborhood Finance Guy
- “Pay off the mortgage early” – Evelyn @ Better on a Budget
What’s the best thing that you’ve bought recently for under $100? (via Richard G)
- “A plane pal leg rest for our flight to Europe. Price = $89. A happily sleeping toddler = priceless” – Money Flamingo
- “$40 second hand bike for daughter’s birthday. Over $200 new, and it was as good as new. And daughter loved it.” – Mr. Chaos @ Cutting Through Chaos
- “An 8 lb brisket” – Sam @ Philly Finance
- “Padded bike shorts!” – Chris @ Can I Retire Early
- “reading glasses. seriously…” – David @ FI Physician
- “It cost $50 to adopt my dog. You can’t put a price on companionship” – Joseph @ Hadaway Financial
- “I got a pair of free AirPods (I know they’re probably over $100 new?)…but MAN, are they great.” – Jesse @ The Best Interest
- “Pogos Recovery Sandals to wear around the house. Just luxury for my feet” – Stop Ironing Shirts
- “Bought a great bottle of wine and shared the experience with close friends.” – Linda @ The Cents of Money
- “NutriBullet – I use it every day!” – Tyler @ Fresh Life Advice
- “Shoe Goo” – Tommy @ Leisure Freak
- “A phone case with a screen protector” – Marjolein @ Radical FIRE
- “My current day hike backpack.” – Steve @ Slightly Early Retirement
- “Under $100 Tacos, Over $100 Bose Headphones” – Adam @ Blind Luck Project
- “Tofu press” – Sam @ Government Worker FI
- “A massage” – BuLL @ Budget Life List
- “$12 double camping chair from WalMart – on clearance from $45+” – Lazy Man and Money
- “Dinner out with friends, you can’t put a price on fun.” – Mark & Joe @ Cash Flows and Portfolios
- “For valentines’ day, I bought my then girlfriend a plant. After 5 years, it’s still growing with us. It’s resilient to the cold, the heat and even our puppy.” – Lawrence @ The Neighborhood Finance Guy
- “Sawyer Squeeze backpacking water filter” – Jason & Eric @ Two Sides of FI
- “Sunglasses – need to protect my eyes!” – Mark @ My Own Advisor
- “The book, “Good Inside,” by Dr. Becky Kennedy” – John @ Verbatim Financial
In one word, what’s your number one skill that makes you successful?
This one truly blew me away. If you can nail even just one of these, I think you’ll be headed towards success, however you define it.
- Perseverance x 3
- Determination x 2
- Organization x 2
- Analytical x 2
- Persistance x 2
- Resourceful x 2
- Critical Thinking
Section 4 – Investor Sentiment
On a scale of 1-10 how strongly do you feel about the following statement
1 being the lowest | 10 being the highest
The real estate market will crash soon
Well, I take this as a good sign. Some of the calls for the real estate crash may indeed be unfounded. Fingers crossed.
The 4% rule is a good rule
Lots of variety here. I tend to think that the 4% rule is a good back of the napkin math rule, but when it comes to actual decumulation you’ll need to work up a more comprehensive plan based on actual market risks at the time.
Cash flow is more important than total portfolio value
Another mixed bag here, but the majority I think showing that balance is good. It’s nice to have some cash flow, but not necessarily better or worse than total portfolio value.
Low-cost Index Funds are the best investment vehicle for the average investor
Clearly a crowd favorite.
Real Estate is the best investment vehicle for the average investor
I was surprised that this skewed negative…but perhaps this is more of an Indexer crowd than a Real Estate crowd.
Tracking your net worth is a critical component to getting your finances in order
Votes coming in all over the place, but the majority favors tracking net worth as a critical component to managing your finances.
Having a budget is a critical component to getting your finances in order
Also surprised at the variance on this one, but again i think the crowd is generally leaning towards having a budget vs. forgoing one. Obviously there is no one “right” solution to anything, but a budget never hurts.
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!