Welcome to the very first Aussie FIRE Survey results!
Firstly, I know that half you guys read this blog on your phone but if you can, please come back to this post on a desktop or something with a bigger screen because the visuals look so much better and the dashboard was designed to be viewed on a desktop.
I’m really keen to run this at the start of every year and release the results along with the dataset for the wider community. I was inspired by the extremely popular Stack Overflow Annual Developer Survey Results that they publish each year for developers. Essentially, you can read where people are from, what technology is used the most in the community, what coding languages are hated the most and a whole bunch of generally interesting tidbits.
I had this idea mulling in the back of my head for years and thought wouldn’t it be cool to run an Aussie FIRE Survey each year and share the results! One of the greatest strengths of this community is that we are willing to share and talk about what is normally considered taboo subjects. I’m probably on the extreme end of the scale of what people are willing to share but the beauty of the survey is that anyone can fill it in completely anonymously.
The results below are both extremely fascinating and interesting. What I also hope that this annual survey can achieve is to give a little bit more help to would-be Firebugs who are trying to start their journey but don’t have a measuring stick.
Think about it, if you read something online about person X saving $30K a year and investing in VTS without any context, you don’t really know if that’s a lot of money for them (they could be earning $250k per annum) and what their circumstances are that made them choose that ETF.
At the bottom of this page is the FIRE survey dashboard where you can slice and dice the data to suit your needs. The richer this dataset gets, the more specific you guys will be able to drill down to your situations and get a feel as to where the rest of the community is at. You might be a 28-year-old single lad from Melbourne that’s earning between $80K-$100K. It might be of great interest to know what others in your situation are doing/are at with their journey.
That’s the idea anyway. I sorta stuffed up the survey when I ran it in March because I forgot to include some key questions (like super 🙈) but I already have a heap of improvements I will make when I open up the survey again at the end of this year.
The survey had 654 submissions across 9 countries and the results are broken up into four sections:
- Firebug Profile
- FIRE Dashboard (interactive dashboard using the data from the survey)
Feel free to download the raw data from here (Open Database License (ODbL)).
Please tell me what questions you’d like to see in the future version of the survey and just general tips or recommendations for me 👍
*This map may not rendering on mobile phone screens
There was no surprise that the majority (621) of submissions came from Australia. I was actually shocked that 8 other countries contributed. I’d love for this survey and the results to become more global in the future.
I was pleased to see my home state of Victoria coming though with the most submissions for the Aussies 🤘
No surprises here. I knew from my Google analytics that the majority of my audience fell between 20-40 years of age.
I'm currently working on some content that's more female focussed because finance and investing seem to be heavily skewed towards a male audience.
I was thinking about FIRE for singles just the other day. It's definitely possible but a lot harder to do. Take our situation living in London for example. We pay £900 a month in rent that gets us a bedroom with an ensuite. Everyone else in the house pays around £700 and they have to share the downstairs communal shower. All the big-ticket items like living, food and transport costs can be shared between a couple whereas you're paying for everything if you're single.
Considering the age range that filled out this survey this result doesn't surprise me too much.
Was a bit surprised to see so many maybes tbh.
Close to 70% of the respondents are university-educated 🎓. No wonder so many smart people live in the comment section!
What industry do you work in?
This one is super interesting because there seems to be a lot of people in the tech industry that are drawn to the concept of FIRE (I fall into that stereotype 🙋♂️). But the data is showing a lot of diversity! I probably could have guessed the top two categories but the rest was very interesting to see.
Annual Household Income (after-tax)
Holy moly some of you guys are earning a mint! I'll have to add more upper tiers in income for the next survey since the highest submission was for $195K+ 🤑
Net worth (excluding your home equity)
So the way I interpret the above data is that there must be a lot of people either at the start of their journey building up a solid snowball of around $50K-$200K and also a lot close to the end in the $1M+ range.
I would have guessed the renters were going to take out 🥇 place here actually.
Have you reached FIRE?
How many years have you been investing for?
Top 10 ASX listed products owned
I was a little surprised at how many people use DSSP actually.
How do you own your investments
Top 10 banks respondents hold their mortgages with
Please note that the below figures are the annual median income after tax and not the averages. There were a few massive submissions that would have blown out the average completely so median seemed to be more appropriate.
hmmmm I think I need to get into Amazon FBA 😂
Here is what I believe to be the very first interactive FIRE dashboard generated from user data... ever!
There's probably someone out there that's already made one but I've never seen it. I'm really happy how the dashboard turned out and it's only going to get better each year as I add enhancements and features. The more people fill out the survey the richer the dataset will become which will make the insights and analysis more accurate.
Most things in the dashboard are interactive. You have the filters at the top but you can also click on each visual and it will affect the others.
Here's a quick little video explaining how it works.
I'd highly recommend viewing the dashboard in it's fullscreen mode. If you're on your mobile, please come back to this bad boy on a desktop. Trust me... it's worth it 😁
Feel free to have play with the PowerBI file here. There were some assumptions made in the dashboard but if you're interested in how the data was put together, the PowerBI file has everything you need.
This report is based on a survey of 654 Firebugs from 9 countries around the world.
- The survey was fielded from the April 5 to May 1 2020.
- Unfortunately there wasn't a timed component in the dataset which means I could not qualify responses. I plan to add a timer for the next survey to fix this.
- Respondents were recruited primarily through channels owned/ran by aussiefirebug.com which included: Aussie FIRE Discussion Facebook group, Aussie Firebug Twitter Account and Aussie Firebug Blog
- All income figures are based on AUD. There will be changes to this in future surveys as I'm aware international salaries should ideally be converted to a base currency
- Net worth figures are in AUD
- Some visuals do not always take into consideration all the answers due to visual issues. There were 87 distinct values for banks for example. Reducing that to a top 10 is more visually appealing. You can always download the entire dataset if you want to know all the submissions.