Monday, February 22, 2010

Annual Income Survey

In April 2009, I asked my blog readers the question: How much do you make? That is the question that many people have on their mind, but few people are willing to ask. And even fewer are willing to answer... In spite of that, my post invited readers to leave a comment revealing their annual income, as well as their age and occupation. Some readers also state their gender and geographic location.

Very few comments have been entered to date, even though readers can enter anonymous comments on PFStock. However, I recently placed a poll in the sidebar of PFStock that asks the same thing: "How much do you make?" With over 35 votes so far, the response to this poll has been much better than to my post. Here are the latest data from the sidebar poll:

Annual Income of PFStock Readers (as of 2/20/10)

Annual Income Percentage
less than $25k 5%
$25k-$49k 15%
$50k-$74k 5%
$75k-$124k 35%
$125k-$149k 5%
$150k and higher 33%

(Totals do not add up to 100% due to rounding.) These statistics will give you some insight about how your income compares against other PFStock readers. It seems that the median income of my blog readers is about $100k per year. I found it interesting that one in four readers has an income over $150,000. (In fact, this number fluctuated, but is sometimes as high as one-third of all readers making more than $150k.) I wonder how the average income of PFStock readers compares to the readers of other personal finance blogs. Does anybody have any insight on that? I think that I can say that 70% of PFStock readers have an income greater than $75,000 per year.

I was surprised at how willing people were to vote in an anonymous poll. At the same time, my post did not receive such a response. Perhaps people are skeptical that their responses will be kept anonymous. Or maybe they are unwilling to spend a few minutes writing a response, while clicking a button on the poll only takes a few seconds. In any case, I encourage you to participate in the anual income poll in the sidebar, and/or leave a comment here. I want to assure you that my Blogger account does not collect Email addresses or any other personal information, if you select "Anonymous" on the comment form. To be doubly sure, you can also sign out of Blogger.

Over the years, I have found that readers are innately curious about other people's finances. This natural curiosity -- wanting to assess how one is doing compared to others -- has led me to write my most popular post of all time: Net Worth Update. Thousands of readers have seen this post, but again very few comments have been entered. In other words, people want to have a peek at others finances, but very few are willing to reveal any details of their own personal finances.

So, what should my next poll be? A poll about net worth seems to be logical choice. Please see the sidebar to participate in the new poll.



dunkelblau said...

So what's your handle on NetworthIQ?
If you're looking for ideas, since your site seems to attract the high end, how about a deconstruction of the annual world wealth report that is put out by Merrill/CapGemini?
Also a poll on "your worst financial nightmare" might be interesting.

pfstock said...

dunkelblau: Thanks for your comment. I recognize you as the inspiration behind my post: Do You Need 60X Annual Expenses to Retire Early?

Actually, I don't have a handle on NetworthIQ. You seem to have a lot of good ideas for posts. I haven't studied the World Wealth Report data. But if you have some good insights on this, you could consider writing a guest post for PFStock. If you are interested, please send me an Email.

Your poll idea is good one. But the way that Blogger is setup, it doesn't allow readers to add answers. Unfortunately, "your worst financial nightmare" would not fit into nice, neat categories in the same way that net worth or income do.

By the way, have you posted a comment for the post How Much Do You Make? As always, anonymous comments are welcome.

dunkelblau said...

Thanks but no thanks. I'm happy as an anonymous troll. But since you seem to be receptive to suggestions, I'll offer one--

How about a post titled "Help! My CDs have gone Islamic!". Short yields have collapsed and current retirees with rollovers coming due wonder whether to reach for yield, and if so, how to do this safely. Recall how not long ago auction rate securities blew up. I don't personally know anyone who got burned by those, but it garnered a lot of press and so seniors are rightfully gunshy about getting fancy.

Some options I see and would be interested in comment about--
1) go long but stay safe-- 30yr treasury is still in the high 4s I believe.
2) take the credit risk but stay short-- low duration junk bonds, mortgage debt, etc.
3) high dividend stocks-- like megatelcos paying over 6%
4) foreign debt-- follow a Japanese style carry trade
5) wait it out-- park in savings and buy back CDs later this year at much better rates

Also any red flag on California munis?