/r/FinancialIndependence Survey Results

Gender of Respondents

Age of Respondents

Net Worth of Respondents

Total Respondents


Average Household Debt


Debt by Age

Debt Payoff Year by Age

Debt by Cost of Living

Annual Expenses

Annual Household Expenses


Expenses by Number of Children

Expenses by Housing Situation

Investments by Age

Residence Value by Age

Investments by Cost of Living

Residence Value by Cost of Living

Investments by Occupation

Residence Value by Occupation

Average FI Number By Age

Average RE Number By Age

Average FI Progress By Age

Do you have roommates


Cost of Living

Cost of Living by Occupation

Income by Occupation

Income by Age

Income by Cost of Living

Income by Commute Length

Asset Allocation

Portfolio Vehicles

"What has surprised you about RE?"

  • Have not retired yet. Will retire this year in October
  • Increased worry about loved ones asking for help since I am "all set".
  • Nothing really
  • How anxious I still am (just on my first year, though)
  • That it has come earlier than expected; for most of my life expected to retire at 66-67.
  • How everyone demands to know what you are doing.
  • How much fun it is. How many complicated decisions there are in retirement. What is actually feels like achieving retirement milestones - Medicare at 65, spousal benefit at 66 - a little exciting, a little shivery.
  • It snuck up on me. I never ran the numbers, and assumed I was years away from being eligible. I was also concerned I would need to have a concrete plan in retirement to stay busy. Has not been a problem so far.
  • 2008
  • How much easier and more fun it was. My worries were not justified.
  • How quickly it became comfortable.
  • Inheritance / change in people's attitude toward me
  • How low my expenses are when not working
  • I'm not yet RE.

"What misconceptions about RE do people have?"

  • People think that RE is a golden ticket. Truth is it costs more in time, money, consciousness and diligence than at any other time.
  • That they must wait until they retire to enjoy life. I enjoyed life all along; my retired life doesn't look very different from my working life (self-employment) except that I only work when/if I feel like it.
  • That costs will stay the same. A huge chunk of my expenses (tax stuff, business stuff, health care) is lower or gone now that I'm scaling back and switching over to RE for 2017.
  • that most people cannot afford to do so
  • That you can plan for all contingencies.
  • How much money they may need to stretch out for their lifetime, misconceptions about SS, what Medicare pays for, when Medicaid is available (and for what), what a safe withdrawal rate is, how a portfolio should be structured in retirement, and what the tax order of withdrawal of assets should look like. That just a few.
  • Hopefully, you will live another 20 +years. You are a long term investor. Invest accordingly!
  • That we are just bumming around
  • More then I realized
  • They think we will sit around and get bored They don't connect their spending habits and their (low) net worth
  • That it's impossible.

"What is your biggest tip for attaining RE"

  • Plan and expect disruptions. Pay attention.
  • Real estate, spouses and children are not the drain many people believe them to be.
  • If you want to do it quickly, build something scalable (like a business) or use leverage (like real estate). It's a lot of work, though, and you may get burned out.
  • Start saving and investing early.
  • Work hard to understand your expenses and only have expenses you really need/want
  • Demand justification from yourself for every dollar you spend. Be merciless.
  • Start saving early, and don't take out your retirement savings for any other purpose. Live frugally, use debt sparingly.
  • Be more aggressive in youth when investing. I was much more risked aversed to stocks when I had little money, when I should have been doubling down.
  • Start saving and investing early, have anemergenc Save early, invest, diversify, have an emergency fund, save for kids college early on. Have a budget. Buy a modest home in an excellent school district. Stay healthy, maintain your weight, exercise. Enjoy life! Have fun! Marry a good person.
  • Know what your interests are and pursue them.
  • Spend far less than you earn, and save/invest what you don't spend.
  • Make your spending match your priorities
  • Ignore the impulse to buy more as you save more.

"What mistakes or misconceptions (on any pertinent topic) do you see in /r/FinancialIndependence?"

  • I find /r/fi is at times condescending, and heavy on frugality, whereas the more memorable posts were examples of tempered risks and sound logic.
  • There are many ways to achieve FI. I know lots of people who are financially independent through real estate and/or entrepreneurship. None of them know anything about investing in the stock market or the 4% rule or having a savings rate.
  • That LBYM is being deprived; it can be anything from bare bones to quite extravagant; just depends on you and your overall finances.
  • A lot of people seem to have the idea that they don't want to work, I don't know if their idea is to retire and play video games for 50 years. I would hope that people are able to find fulfilling work which doesn't stress them, and work on their own terms.
  • Have a good investment plan. Don't sell in a down market. Have a good financial advisor. Have a good accountant do your taxes. Have an estate plan in place including Advance Directives.
  • Not having any cushion or plan for a bad situation in RE
  • I think there's a default assumption that one must have a high paying job. It's simply not true.
  • Nothing springs to mind.