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Home » Case Study, Personal Asides

Survey Says: Reader Survey Results are In

Last updated by on 2 Comments

A few weeks ago, I asked everyone to fill out a survey here. Over 700 (wow!) obliged.

Thank you!

That’s a strong sample size. And the insights gained were priceless.

You can check out the full results here.

What I want to do in this post is recap some of the results that stood out to me, and how it will shape some of the focus here, going forward.

Age:

survey resultsAs expected, this is not exclusively a community of twenty-somethings. In fact, I’m no longer a twenty-something myself (I age too, believe it or not). And about 30% of you are in your thirties or older. The art of personal finance knows no age boundary (unfortunately, the name of the site implies there is one here. Oops.). This site has always been about improving your situation – whether your current focus is student loans, retirement savings, saving money, trying to find cost effective health insurance, financial independence, etc.

Granted, you’re not going to find too many Medicare and Social Security articles here because I focus on my current situation, what interests me, and what has the potential to benefit most of you.

Gender:

I noticed that there is a disproportionately high percentage of male readers (63%). I’m not sure if this is because I am a male, or if this is fairly standard across all finance sites (a higher percentage of males follow the gender role of controlling the finances in relationships and are interested in financial topics, perhaps?).

Either way, this is not a boys club (hopefully you won’t find any misogynistic commenters or articles here, but please alert me if you do).

I’ve considered adding a female voice to the blog (outside of my wife, who has written a few articles of her own) in the form of a regularly contributing guest writer. If you consider yourself a good writer and enjoy personal finance exploration, I’d love to hear from you. Send me a note on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

Marriage:

39% of you are married. Not surprising. But 25% cohabit, without being married. That was surprisingly high to me. Sinners! ;-)

Perhaps articles like this one on cohabiting finances need to be more frequent?

Income:

A wide spectrum on income. 10 income ranges carried at least 5% of the vote. But one thing stood out: only about 7% of you had either below $20,000 (4%) in personal income, or above $175,000 (3%). The middle class may be dying, but it’s still got some legs – on this blog at least.

Net Worth:

Over half (53%) had between $0 and $150,000 in net worth, while 9% had a modest negative net worth (between -$49,999 and $0) and 13% had a significant negative net worth of more than -$50,000.

This tells me two things:

  • Many of you are in debt.
  • And even more are just starting wealth accumulation.

Every article can’t be written to be relevant to everyone’s financial situation, but I should definitely keep these numbers in mind, and include more “getting out of debt” articles.

Education:

An unbelievable 89% of you have at least a bachelor’s degree (31% masters and above!). This compares to only 30% with bachelor’s and above nationwide!

Out of all the survey questions, this one blew me away. An interest in finance and education level go hand-in-hand, but 3X the national average? That’s just crazy.

What do I take away from this?

Given the younger age demo, the high education levels, and the negative to modest net worth levels, I’m guessing student loan debt is a big concern for many readers. I’ve had a decent focus (check out the student finances category of the blog), but will focus on it more.

It also tells me that this audience has more opportunity to earn higher incomes than most Americans do.

Employment:

82% of you earn 100% of your income from an employer. 3% are self-employed. And 3% are unemployed.

This compares to 48% who want to be self employed (and the 3% who already are).

In other words, a whole bunch of you are not satisfied with your jobs but haven’t made the leap to self-employment yet. Which leads in perfectly to the next area.

Topics of Interest:

The most popular area of interest is financial independence/early retirement (42% selected as one of 3 top choices). Investing (38%) and increasing income (30%) were not far behind.

Housing:

57% of you rent. I don’t write about this enough, considering, and will make it more of a focus.

That’s it! Comments are open to any additional feedback or philosophies on the meaning of life.


About the Author
I am G.E. Miller, & this is my story. My goal is financial independence ASAP. If you share that goal, join me & 7,500+ others by getting FREE email updates. You'll also find every post by category & every post in order.


2 Comments »
  • Leslie says:

    Hello again!
    I saw you might be on the lookout for a female voice to contribute with/ for/ about the financial dialogue of a generation. I frequently like to crunch the numbers and not follow the crowds when it comes to planning for the future and making today count – when I’m not working from home for about 50-60 hours a week as an IT and engineering recruiter. (recruiters are the best barometers for the economy by the way; if there are more unemployed recruiters, companies aren’t hiring). I am 29, grew up in Fairfax County, VA, moved to Bucks County, PA and then briefly out to Grand Rapids in 2010 (I see you were/ are there too!) and then back to Bucks County, PA. I am about to buy my first place. Claim to fame: I paid for in-state college myself by working 3 jobs, and only carrying 10k in loans for 1 year after school.
    That’s just the start! I will have a lot to volunteer about research, topics and prep for sequestration too and how that affects the households around the country.
    Let me know!
    Thanks,
    Leslie

  • Ron Ablang says:

    Thanks for thinking of this survey, G.E. I’ve always wondered about the other readers of your blog what they might be like. I’m in good company.

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