Straight to the Point
- Results from the FI Checkpoint Test (1.0).
- Sharing the knowledge of FIRE now even more important.
- FIST (Financial Independence Score Test), aka FI Checkpoint Test 2.0 teaser.
When I first decided to release the FI Checkpoint Test with its 14 Checkpoints to FI, I wanted it to feel like a game and add a bit of a fun factor to tracking our progress towards financial independence. My plan was to develop this idea further if there was enough interest, and boy was there interest!
It was released under a week ago. Since then, thousands have taken the test and over 1,000 of you have kindly voted. Thank you to J. Money, Joel, Laura and many others for spreading the word. If I missed anyone out, just drop me a message and I’ll link to you!
I was very clear that the test should not be taken seriously. It was designed to be quick and easy to complete so that it would help people determine where they might be on this journey. In answering the 20 questions, I hope that it would cause a moment of reflection in respect of how your financial position could be improved.
It wasn’t perfect and I am very grateful to those who provided me with feedback.
At the time of this post on Tuesday 12th March 2019, there had been 1,019 votes. The results are below:
I’m just going to focus on the standout result for me. Whilst the test was very basic, I was completely shocked that 50% (that’s right), half of those who responded were deemed to be at the ‘Survival’ checkpoint.
What does this checkpoint actually mean?
‘Survival’ is the checkpoint where the individual is likely (although not a certainty) to have all or a combination of the following characteristics: (1) Negative net-worth; (2) No regular income; (3) In debt (consumer and/or mortgage); and (4) No savings.
– Cashflow Cop
I keep reading in the news about the shocking financial situation people find themselves in. Numbers such as: 44% of Americans don’t have enough cash to cover a $400 emergency expense; or 1 in 3 Americans have zero savings for retirement. The situation is no better in the UK: 53% of 22 to 29 year olds in the UK have zero savings, or 70% of workers are chronically broke.
Whilst I’ve not had the chance to read behind the headlines and study the methodology of these surveys, it is still a sobering thought. I am sceptical about most things I read, particularly when it comes to the “news”. However, I can’t help but feel that it really is the reality for a large portion of the population, not just a minority.
I should point out that there would be bias in the result. This is because, those who read financial blogs are more than likely actively trying to improve their positions because they are in a bad financial situation. So maybe the 50% ‘Survival’ rate is an over-estimation. Equally, it could be an under-estimation because there would be more people here who are better at managing their money than a sample of the population. I don’t know the answer, but the results are interesting nonetheless.
Why I Blog
I’ve briefly touched on this when I wrote about myself. I’ve been a part of the FI community for a few years. Since then, I’ve been quietly absorbing all the wonderful free knowledge and now trying to give a little something back through this blog. It is quite easy to enter into a little bubble (albeit a growing one since the “FIRE is spreading“). We can forget that many of us, regardless of what checkpoint we are at now started off at the Survival stage.
I hope this blog acts as a journal for my children to learn financial literacy and understand how we as a family are going to achieve FI. However, of equal importance, I want to show others who are currently at the lower end of the checkpoints and especially those at the Survival stage that there is hope.
My aim is to help others move further along the checkpoints quicker than I did, to inspire them enough to not give up and to maybe avoid any mistakes which I have made along the way.
I want to show that the journey can be one filled with optimism and can be life changing. It need not be one of deprivation with a sole focus on money. It is so much more than that. FI is only the beginning.
I promised a teaser to FI Checkpoint Test 2.0. I’ve renamed it to [FIST] – Financial Independence Score Test, or just FI Score Test
The new test, currently composed of 27 questions requires your real financial numbers to calculate a FISc (FI Score). This score will not reveal your net-worth to others, but will allow you to track yourself accurately over time and compare against others (in a fun way). It might even be the little boost of motivation you need to move to the next checkpoint!
The score takes into account your current net-worth, savings rate, charitable giving, amongst other factors. It will forecast when you will reach FI as well as when you will reach a set FI checkpoint which you select. I’ll speak more about the methodology when it is released soon.
It is currently being tested by a handful of FI bloggers and others who have kindly volunteered their time (acknowledgements in a future post).
Subject to further improvements, here is a sneaky peak of the results card you will receive after taking the test.
If you’ve not given the first test a go, head over here to do it.
Version 1.0 was just a little taster, whereas Version 2.0 is a whole other beast! I have lots of ideas for Version 3.0 and beyond if there is enough interest and people find it useful.
As always, I welcome feedback, but be mindful that I come from a non-programming background so what you suggest might be beyond my current capabilities.
Finally, subscribe to the blog for updates on when [FIST] is released.
My second son was born yesterday (11/03/19). Mum and baby are well! You’re probably wondering how the hell I am managing to write this post? Well, I am looking after our almost two-year old and he is napping at the moment. Perfect time to work on the blog! Maybe a better idea would be to sleep because I won’t be getting much of that soon. I know I will regret this…