/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?"

  • No surprises.
  • Did not retire
  • It's only been a week. Probably the biggest thing is how easy it is to fill my day. I can't do everything I want in a day.
  • Realizing that absolute freedom is overwhelming, and even if it's not a job, some constrainedon your life are helpfulto provide focus and meaning.
  • It has been pretty much what I expected.
  • 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)
  • Time goes by fast, even without a job
  • Not being able to connect with people my own age
  • Money doesn't change work attitude, still the same person.
  • How stress free it is not working
  • Not bored
  • Search for meaning now that distractions are gone
  • That it has come earlier than expected; for most of my life expected to retire at 66-67.
  • Positive feedback from others.
  • How much better and rested I feel.
  • 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.
  • Still feel like I need to make money
  • People's thoughts
  • The positive effect being fully rested has on my mental and physical states (full night of sleep).
  • Cheaper than I thought.

"What misconceptions about RE do people have?"

  • Should always be contributing to society, mostly via paid work.
  • I don't sit around drinking coffee on the back porch in the morning. I've got shit to do.
  • That it will be boring.
  • 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.
  • "What will you do all day"
  • That there is nothing to do and you will get bored. I have more to do now than I ever did.
  • That you will be bored.
  • That you're lazy
  • that most people cannot afford to do so
  • It isn't worth what you give up to get it.
  • 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
  • Everyone who achieves it is rich, inherited, etc.
  • That it leads to boredom.

"What is your biggest tip for attaining RE"

  • LBYM
  • If you marry/live with someone, choose wisely.
  • Living well within your means.
  • 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.
  • Avoid lifestyle inflation to enable a 25-50% savings rate
  • Eating home cooking and not drinking saves money faster.
  • Invest early, invest often, invest!
  • Start saving and investing early.
  • start a business and remain frugal in percentage to your income.
  • Save and invest as much as you can
  • Don't know
  • make money, spend a lot less
  • Pay debts fast, save as much as possible, live simply
  • Work hard, make a lot of money and save as much of it as you can.
  • Work hard to understand your expenses and only have expenses you really need/want
  • Lbym
  • Save as much as possible, live far beneath your means, avoid lifestyle inflation, avoid losing money.
  • Save early and often, and invest with an inexpensive common-sense (whole market, low-fee) approach.
  • Save and diversify in several types of low cost investments.
  • 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.
  • Choose your college major strategically to make more money. Technical fields in general and engineering in particular are pretty good bets.
  • 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.
  • Earn a lot, spend a little
  • Spend less than you earn and invest the difference. Trim the fat repeatedly and figure out how to continually increase your income and lower your expenses.
  • Don't buy stuff you don't need.
  • Live below your means and max out on all available retirement-contribution opportunities.

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

  • Thought that a lower spending level now will continue into the future. Stuff happens, need higher nest egg for "insurance".
  • I think people do not think enough about contingencies as they age and their life changes. People are very fixated on the 4% SWR, but there is not much discussion about what the plan is if that turns out to not be enough money to meet your needs for whatever reason. Think things like long-term care for you/spouse/children/parents, continuing high medical expenses due to disease or accident, house floods and insurance doesn't cover it, expensive legal issues, simply a change in preferred living arrangement. Retiring at 30 or 35 is great, but there is a lot of life that comes after that, and it can get expensive in unforeseen ways.
  • I think many people underestimate the expenses they will have. I.e. they're trying to retire too soon on too little.
  • 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.
  • Almost everything.
  • people like to spend their money on what they like. some do trips, some do houses, some do cars. that's all ok. I personally do trips and skimp on houses and cars.
  • None yet
  • That most people can retire early if they want to and try hard enough
  • assumptions that FI means all their problems will go away.
  • That Real Estate Rentals are a lot of ongoing work. They are not. For a portfolio that brings in enough cash flow to support a family of four, it is about 10-20 hours a month, total, split between two people. And that is with me doing monthly bookkeeping myself in accounting software. (Not per week, per month.) Acquiring properties and getting loans, is a different story if we want to increase our income, but routine hours to maintain he status quo are very light with a good management company and CPA. Definitely an "active" retirement job so I don't consider us retired, but still a very very small time commitment.
  • Too focussed on the date, not enough preparation for the change
  • Most people wildly underestimate how much kids cost and how much they will need to retire. Life gets expensive as you get older.
  • That LBYM is being deprived; it can be anything from bare bones to quite extravagant; just depends on you and your overall finances.
  • Indexing seems to be dangerously popular and seen as a panacea
  • Credit cards and high credit scores are good. High interest debt is negative wealth, and the modern completely legal form of slavery.
  • 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
  • You should plan on living on a small amount a year or use a high withdrawal rate
  • Disparate views of lifestyle and a lot of bashing relationships, women, marriage, misogyny, etc.