Ever wonder the demographics of who else is reading and commenting on Financial Samurai? I’ve always felt the community here is one of the most financially savvy on the web based on my interactions with so many of you. I just didn’t have a post to prove my belief until now!
Polls are a great way to anonymously figure out what other people are thinking and how other people are doing. Everything is relative when it comes to personal finance since we all live in one of the most prosperous countries in the world.
Everybody wants to know their position vis a vis another. It’s the reason why the following posts are some of the most popular on Financial Samurai:
Over six years I’ve conducted around 100 polls. Almost all of them received over 500 submissions, a dozen received over 1,000 submissions, while a handful rocked the 5,000+ submission level.
In other words, these polls are statistically significant for a demographic that enjoys reading about personal finance. Here is the latest data for 2019.
Where Do Financial Samurai Readers Come From?
One could argue that those who read personal finance sites are inherently wealthier than those who don’t. Ever since I was in middle school, I remember always gravitating towards money magazines at the library. The Lifestyle Of The Rich And Famous was one of my favorite TV shows! If you really like money, you’ll probably earn more of it.
One could also argue that those who read personal finance blogs become wealthier and more financially savvy over time as a result. After all, how can you not learn new information, make better financial decisions, and get motivated to save and earn more when you see others do the same thing? I’d love to think the skew is 80% in favor of the latter. But the truth is probably a little more balanced.
A reader’s ability to soak up information on a site is limited by the knowledge of the person writing the content as well as the skill and determination of the person to keep putting out value-added content. This is why I’m extremely proud of the community we’ve built here.
The quality of the comments is so high that I like to leave a day’s gap before publishing the next article just so I can read all the comments and respond where necessary. The FS community gets an A+ when it comes to dialogue!
Here’s some basic data from Google Analytics:
Traffic source: 72% of traffic comes from search engines. These are the people who seek answers to their questions. Most will never return, but those who see personal finance as a long term journey will stick around and subscribe to my e-mail feed. You can also join the Financial Samurai Forum where we talk about early retirement, real estate investing, stocks, bonds, career strategies, negotiating a severance, entrepreneurship and more.
Traffic numbers: Roughly 1.5 million organic pageviews a month from 1 million visitors. High quality traffic focused on the specific articles. In 2019, the Financial Samurai Forum was launched to capture more dialogue.
Geography: 84% of you are based in the United States. 3.5% are from Canada. 2.3% are from the UK. 1.3% are from India. 1.2% are from Australia. And 2.4% of you are from Malaysia, The Philippines, Singapore, Kenya, and The Netherlands.
Sex: 54% of you are male. 46% of you are female.
Method of reading: 48% desktop. 42% mobile. 10% tablet.
Browser: Chrome 41%. Safari 35%. Internet Explorer 9%. Firefox 7.3%.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the polls to see what you guys are all about!
Financial Samurai Reader Demographics
* Age: 76% of you are between the ages of 26 – 45. 11% are under age 26. 13% are over 45.
* Annual Income: 33% of you make between $100,000 – $200,000 a year. 18% of you make over $200,000 a year, while 17% of you make between $75,000 – $100,000 a year. 3.3% of you make over $500,000 a year, the level which I consider to be the definition of rich. Impressive that 45% of readers make over $100,000 here.
* Value Of Primary Residence: 39% of you said your apartment or house is worth between $250,000 – $500,000. 28% said your apartment or house is worth between $500,000 – $1,000,000. And 9% of you said your apartment or house is worth more than $1,000,000. Most homeowners have refinanced at least one over the past 10 years to take advantage of record low interest rates. Check out LendingTree for some of the lowest rates where banks compete for your business by letting you know their best rates.
* Retirement Savings: About 19% of you have saved over $1 million dollars for retirement, excluding the value of your primary residence. Another 18% of you have saved between $500,000 – $1 million dollars. While 38% of you have saved between $100,000 – $500,000. Roughly 35% of you consider using a low cost digital wealth advisor like Wealthfront to manage a portion of your after-tax retirement investments.
* Social Class: 67% believe you are considered in the Mass Affluent Class followed by 20% who believe you are Middle Class.
* Education: 62% of you went to public university while 29% of you went to private school with grants or scholarships worth at least $4,000 a year. Roughly half of public university attendees got grants or scholarships worth at least $2,000 a year.
* Debt Levels: 52% of you have $0 consumer debt outstanding. While 22% of you have less than $10,000 in consumer debt outstanding. 36% of you have total debt outstanding (mortgages, credit cards, student loans, etc) of between $150,000 – $500,000. 15.5% of you have no debt of any kind.
* Net Worth: 35% of you have a net worth of between $300,000 – $1 million. 23% of you have a net worth over $1 million. 80% meticulously track their net worth with free tools like Personal Capital at least once every six months. Leveraging the internet to grow your net worth is a no-brainer.
* 401k/IRA Savings: 21% of you have between $100,000 – $200,000 in your 401k or IRA. 25% of you have between $201,000 – $500,000. 17.5% have over $500,000.
* Ideal Income For Happiness: 14% say you need to make $101,000 – $150,000 a year to feel “very happy.” 22% say $151,000 – $250,000. While 52% of you need to make over $250,000 a year to feel very happy.
* Savings Discipline: 15% of you save between 11% – 20% of your after tax income each month. 18% save between 21% – 30%. 28% save between 31% – 50%. While 23% of you save over 50% of your after tax savings.
* Career Risk: 53% of you say you’d prefer the stability of a full-time job over the flexibility of being a contractor.
* Retirement Safety: Roughly 40% of you have a significant pension that will cover a large part of your living expenses in retirement. While 13% of you also have a pension, but nothing worth writing home about.
FS Readers Are Well Above Average
The Financial Samurai community is doing very well compared to the average American who has a $52,000 household income, a median retirement account of under $100,000, and a pitiful savings rate of under 5%.
What stands out most about the community is how aggressively we save. Roughly 70% of us save over 21% of our after-tax income every month. The other surprising stat is that 52% of us think we need $250,000 or more to feel very happy. It looks like I’ve got a lot of work to do to convince y’all that trying to earn much more than $250,000 will likely not lead to any more happiness.
If you are below some of the financial survey results, I suggest sticking around because we tend to evolve into the people we associate with most. And if you’re ahead of these financial results, then please continue to share your strategies for building wealth with the community!
For those who haven’t filled out the survey questions before, below is a list of the 40 most popular survey questions. From start to finish, it should take no more than five minutes to answer them all. As soon as you answer one of the questions, the result appears. Over time, I’ll continue to add new polls to this post.
Have Student Loans? Check out SoFi to refinance them. SoFi is one of the leading new financial technology companies based in Silicon Valley that not only reviews your credit score and income/debt ratios, but also looks at the quality of your education and quality of your work institution. If you’re right out of school, you’ve got a lot of upside, but perhaps your finances don’t look so great at the moment. That’s where SoFi can really offer lower rates because banks and government lenders can’t look at individuals holistically.
Looking for a low interest rate mortgage? See LendingTree for the lowest rates around. They have one of the largest lending networks online and have been around forever. When banks compete, you win.
Wealth / Retirement
Wealth Building Recommendation
Manage Your Finances In One Place: One of the best way to become financially independent and protect yourself is to get a handle on your finances by signing up with Personal Capital. They are a free online platform which aggregates all your financial accounts in one place so you can see where you can optimize your money. Before Personal Capital, I had to log into eight different systems to track 25+ difference accounts (brokerage, multiple banks, 401K, etc) to manage my finances on an Excel spreadsheet. Now, I can just log into Personal Capital to see how all my accounts are doing, including my net worth. I can also see how much I’m spending and saving every month through their cash flow tool.
A great feature is their Portfolio Fee Analyzer, which runs your investment portfolio(s) through its software in a click of a button to see what you are paying. I found out I was paying $1,700 a year in portfolio fees I had no idea I was hemorrhaging! There is no better financial tool online that has helped me more to achieve financial freedom. It only takes a minute to sign up.
Finally, they recently launched their amazing Retirement Planning Calculator that pulls in your real data and runs a Monte Carlo simulation to give you deep insights into your financial future. Personal Capital is free, and less than one minute to sign up. It’s one of the most valuable tools I’ve found to help achieve financial freedom.
Updated for 2019 and beyond. If you got this far and want to join a wonderful community of personal finance enthusiasts, head over to the Financial Samurai Forum where we talk about early retirement, real estate investing, stocks, bonds, career strategies, and more!