475 comments

A One-Question Survey – Who Are the Mustachians?

bigleafAll right, I’ve been curious about this for a while, and maybe you have been too: Who are you? Who are we in general?

As this blog has grown, the people have come from all corners of the internet. Search engines, newspaper and magazine features, other blogs, Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, and any number of other places.

While the overall numbers are easy to track with the “see the stats” link I make public down there in the footer, and the mix of countries is nicely displayed in a pie chart, it would be really neat to see a quick breakdown of the types of people we have around here.

Since this is a blog about work and money, I figured we could just share the industries in which we work. From there, it will be fun to look through the data and see what it means. I’ll add a section after the poll once we have enough results.

Don’t worry if you don’t quite fit into one category exactly, just take a guess. For Science!

What type of work do you do?

View Results

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Numbers now updated for June 2017

Wow, this has been a fun poll – most of the responses happened in the early days, but a trickle of later readers have kept contributing to the poll and I encourage you to do so as well. It only takes about one second.

I think the poll has answered my biggest speculation: we are indeed way heavy on engineers. Take software engineers, for example. These are supposed to be only about 0.5% of the population (1 in 200).. but we are 1 in 6 here! I have noticed this while meeting groups of readers in the US and Canada as well, but now with the poll results we can present a few interesting statistics:

There are about 1.1 million software developers in the US these days, according to the BLS.

Over the past 3 months, about 2,130,000 unique visitors have stopped by this site, according to Google Analytics’ best guess. They made 5 million visits and pulled down 22 million page views.

If 16% of these are software people as the poll suggests, that adds up to about 340,800 developers. Of course, only 75% of us are in the United States, so we are down to 225,600.

In other words, if these stats are anywhere close to correct, about 23% of the Entire US Software Engineering Workforce has read Mr. Money Mustache in the past 3 months.

This would explain why existing readers have been telling me that their coworkers spontaneously came up and told them about the blog. Statistics tell us this should be a rare event, as the blog only reaches 0.5% of the US population (1 in 200). But among software engineers, the likelihood of Mustachianism is a solid 50 times higher.

So, nice work, fellow engineers. Now that we’re all hanging out like this, graced with the company of an even larger group of talented people in other fields, I’m sure we can accomplish more powerful things than ever before.

  • Venturing September 21, 2013, 12:50 am

    Interestingly as a % of population you have as many readers in New Zealand as you do in the US. Quite an accomplishment considering I’ve never seen you mentioned in the media here. I wonder what it is about us kiwis that your writing appeals to…

    Reply
  • Jane Savers @ Solving The Money Puzzle September 21, 2013, 6:12 am

    I selected doctor or other health care provider but I am very far away from a doctor’s salary. I am a lower income health care worker who stands all day.

    I am also a failed MMM recruiter. I have tried to get other people to read your blog but people think your ideas are crazy, radical, too hard or they think you just make the stuff up. They complain about how much their lives suck but they aren’t prepared to make any changes or even consider your ideas.

    Reply
  • 2Saving4Life September 21, 2013, 9:34 am

    I work at an automotive dealership’s bodyshop as a painter. Probably not to many people working at a car dealership riding a bike to work everyday. Seems to be a very low turnout for the trades people. I’ll try and help recruit at few more. Keep up the good work MMM…

    Reply
  • mysticaltyger September 21, 2013, 11:38 am

    MMM;

    If you go a step further, you’ll notice that the Myers-Briggs INTJ personality type is disproportionately represented in early retirees and in personal finance blogs. Most engineers are INTJs. I’m not an engineer (not good enough in math) but I am an INTJ also.

    Reply
    • Doug October 2, 2013, 12:21 pm

      Pretty close, as I am an INTP. It would be interesting to see a survey of personality types here.

      Reply
    • Megan February 9, 2014, 11:06 am

      I am an engineer (engineering manager at this point) who has always been better at english than math. I knew plenty of friends in undergrad who chose engineering because they didn’t like writing or reading. Guess what I do most at my job now? You guessed it: writing/communication.

      I write reports, emails, interface with customers, employees, colleagues, and upper management. There is nothing like dealing with a challenging HR issue as a manager to realize how very important good communication and documentation can be. In engineering we seem to be able to get the requirements and analysis part down pretty easily, but communicating that out to everyone else in a way they can understand to actually make useful decisions in life continues to be a struggle. I think we need more people in engineering with stronger communication skills and I wish engineering didn’t scare away a bunch of people who feel they aren’t “good enough in math”. Yes, math is important and you need to be able to do it to some degree, but there is a lot more to the job.

      Reply
  • Al September 21, 2013, 1:29 pm

    Professor here, too, but in environmental science, not engineering. For me, mustachianism is as much about environmentalism as it is about money. We’re all about the low-carbon, low-waste, high-efficiency lifestyle, and saving money (and lots of it) has been an effect of living this way.

    Reply
  • Jason P September 21, 2013, 3:40 pm

    For your next poll you should see what age ranges the blog grabs.
    As for profession I have my own company doing aquarium setups and maintenance.

    Reply
  • Fred Patel September 22, 2013, 8:53 am

    I’m a biochemist working in NYC in pharmaceutical quality assurance so I choose healthcare from the options. I’ve started reading the blog since the New Year and have since adopted many of the principles. The savings have increased and the steps to early retirement are now in place.

    Thanks for the blog MMM and the community for the many application examples.

    Reply
  • Eric September 22, 2013, 2:25 pm

    If I had to guess I would say the high proportion of engineers is related to the drive to achieve efficiency that most engineers seem to possess.

    (I also wasn’t sure what to put myself so I’m another, other.
    Presently unemployed, but working odd jobs in the summer to put myself through school)

    Reply
  • Ananda September 23, 2013, 3:49 am

    I’m from India & I’ve been following this blog for months now. MMM’s optimism is infectious & each time I take away something valuable from this site. The life lessons shared here are universal, but I always end up wishing for a MMM who will guide through the financial maze faced by Indian youth. UK has its own Money Motivator. Will it be possible for MMM to research & counsel us?

    Reply
  • SC Engr September 23, 2013, 5:04 am

    Mechanical Engineer checking in here! LOVE your articles MMM!! Spreading the good word about keeping the mustache and wallet thick! Keep up the good work!

    Reply
  • Kate September 23, 2013, 8:22 am

    I’m one of the least-represented workers on this survey; I’m a public radio host! Still, your blog is helping me max out my dollars and save like a boss. Thank you for all you do!

    Reply
  • Jeff September 23, 2013, 9:44 am

    I work for an airline and provision airplanes. I am the toilet paper czar and pretzel king. I am also an artist and teach as well. Keep up the good advice.

    Reply
  • Wilson September 23, 2013, 11:47 am

    Wow, looks like I’m one of the few lawyers on this site. Is it because we’re numbers averse, or are we more generally profligate than others and thus less interested in savings and efficient personal finance?

    I would think given the general level of dissatisfaction with the profession that always shows up in surveys that lawyers would be more attracted to Mustachianism than others as a way to escape the law firm rat race and regain some control over our hours and our lives.

    Reply
  • JS September 23, 2013, 12:23 pm

    I’m a public school teacher waiting for that golden parachute. I could probably stop working now, at the age of 48, as I’ve led a fairly frugal life, but the retirement package is just too tempting. In five years I will have twenty years of service, and can retire and collect immediately. Further, my employer will pay a percentage (25? 50? either way, it’s significant) of my health insurance for life. If I left before twenty years, I would have to wait to collect my pension and would not get the insurance benefit. I will only get 26% of my salary for life, unlike my peers, most of whom are trying to hang in there to max out at 80%. The system really back-ends these pensions, and hooks a lot of people with the acceleration of benefits, but not me, lordy no.

    Reply
  • KingZ September 23, 2013, 2:23 pm

    I find people jobs…some call me a headhunter, some call me a matchmaker. Oddly enough, it’s recruiting primarily for engineering careers. Services would have been my poll selection but went with other.

    Reply
  • Lisa September 23, 2013, 4:55 pm

    I’m a Registered Nurse, working as a Clinical Appeals Consultant (appeal hospital denials via retrospective clinical analysis, and often accompany the corporate attorneys when the case goes to court). Just went part time to 16 hours a week as I wind down to full retirement. Husband is an engineer – train engineer that is.

    Reply
  • Les September 24, 2013, 7:12 am

    Attorney in the public sector.

    Reply
  • kr September 24, 2013, 1:08 pm

    I know this is over, but maybe next time (if ever) have a “communications/journalism/advertising” category. I’m an advertising art director, which is combo artsy/desk jockey. (No cubicles these days, it’s all open plan.) BTW, no one taught us anything like this in art school, so I’m really glad I found this blog, even if I’m at a more advanced age.

    Reply
  • Molly September 25, 2013, 11:51 am

    Hi MMM!

    I’m sad there’s no category for college students!
    I started reading your blog about a year ago and since then I have garnered a huge interest in money management and decided on a minor in business to supplement my nutrition degree. So I wanted to say thank you, I think the lifestyle you live is really great and your advice is literally a lifesaver to some.
    Have any specific advice for college students? I don’t know if i’ve seen a post about that….
    Have a great day!

    Reply
  • HM September 26, 2013, 2:11 am

    Lecturer (photography, design) in Singapore. I selected teacher. Sold my overpriced little car at the beginning of the year and loving that decision every day.

    Reply
  • Nat. September 26, 2013, 4:14 pm

    I’m also an other. I’m a research and assessment guru at a local university, though my Masters is in social work. Basically I stare at and analyze data all day.

    Reply
  • frank September 27, 2013, 6:03 pm

    Mechanical PE here.

    Reply
  • Rich Schmidt September 28, 2013, 10:01 am

    Am I the only pastor reading this blog? Or just the first to comment? :)

    I checked “other,” of course.

    Reply
  • Steve September 30, 2013, 4:56 pm

    I ticked off “Engineer”, but keep in mind that “Software Engineer” is only a part of the engineering world. Civil, Mechanical, Electrical, Environmental, Petroleum, Chemical, Metallurgical, Geotechnical, Structural, Hydraulic…etc. etc. Engineer is a bigger category than you might think…..

    Reply
  • Christine H October 2, 2013, 3:11 pm

    We may be outliers, but we both like your blog and read it regularly. My husband is a Methodist pastor and I stay home with the kids and do freelance web design.

    Thanks for all you write–it always gives us fodder for conversation and the results usually improve our lives!

    Reply
  • Jill October 3, 2013, 2:33 pm

    Have you considered that perhaps software engineers are sitting in front of computers more than the rest of us? And more likely to respond quickly? Or maybe they just like surveys?

    I’m a recovery room RN. Husband is an ER nurse.

    Reply
  • Xiongmao October 3, 2013, 9:21 pm

    Pretty much retired at 40 after a few years of frugality. Now I’m living in Asia and have all the time in the world to do new things.

    Again, I did this from working a regular job, as well as running a few side-projects.

    Reply
  • Nina October 4, 2013, 3:57 am

    I am a banker by training, transfered to back office duty due to my very obvious lack of salesmanship more than a decade ago.
    Moved over to tax reporting and currently enjoying some part-time cross training in IT, testing new software and doing error analysis / data mining.
    Since I’m INTP (Myers-Briggs personality type), I like it a lot :-)

    Reply
  • Lee Lau October 4, 2013, 12:13 pm

    Now retired tech lawyer/quasi-finance. Checked out at 35

    Reply
  • Nicole October 8, 2013, 10:13 am

    I’m a local government budget analyst. My training is in public policy not math–which seems odd every time I saw that out loud. My husband and I are working to pay off $31k in student loans, this blog has been extremely helpful to us.

    Reply
  • Hoping to Adopt October 10, 2013, 12:28 pm

    I am an architect, so I checked “other engineering or high tech job.” My husband is a tech support specialist.

    I think there are three main reasons for so many engineers in the audience. For one, a household has to have a certain income to be able to maximize MMM’s techniques, which many engineers have. Secondly, many engineers maybe looking for ways to use their time that is more personally fulfilling. And lastly, engineers are used to designing ways to do things better – using MMM’s techniques, they are “re-engineering” their lives!

    Reply
  • Janel October 10, 2013, 8:58 pm

    Just a quick survey question design comment: A high proportion of the responses are falling into an ‘other’ category, which means that you need to better define your categories – possibly list more options or improve the survey response options listed. An ‘other’ category (such as ‘other engineering’ – currently 18% – or ‘other’ – currently 12%) should be showing up at the lower end of the response category spectrum, not the top. Therefore, your response categories are likely not best representing the sample.

    Reply
  • Kevin Miller October 26, 2013, 6:25 pm

    I’m a Maintenance worker for a school board in Canada. My wife and I bring in 100k a year before taxes and are living like badass mustachians!

    Reply
  • Brendan October 30, 2013, 1:07 pm

    So according to that the trades is only 3% of your readership. I think that might be because the message is directed at office workers.

    Some of the things on this blog like “live close to work” don’t apply to them because they often can’t. However I fully believe that people working the Trades can work towards the very same goals, and sometimes they can make more $$$ on the side to help out the situation.

    I would be very interested in a Trades perspective on saving money as my Father has worked this lifestyle his entire life (and still is).

    Any comments?

    Reply
    • Mr. Money Mustache October 30, 2013, 5:33 pm

      I have a bit of a perspective on this too, since I’ve been a carpenter and housebuilder since I retired from the office job in 2005 (and I do the odd bit of steelwork, electrical and plumbing too).

      In summary: you can still live close to everything you do outside of work, and thus bike everywhere. When choosing and bidding jobs, cultivate local clients and avoid booking jobs that involve a commute whenever you can.

      Do the math on each job and ensure it is profitable.

      Drive the opposite of what most contractors drive: instead of a king-cab 4-door F250 or F350 dualie that costs you $30,000 and gets 12 MPG, use a 2001 Ford Ranger 4-cylinder 5-speed that costs you $2000 and gets 30MPG. Weld on an enormous lumber rack and install a trailer hitch so you can carry much more than the typical contractor’s F250.

      Other general tips for the typical contractor: Drink less beer and watch fewer sports, visit the library more and advance your knowledge to the forefront of your trade – so you can earn more for your work!

      Reply
      • Brendan October 31, 2013, 1:35 pm

        You know the drink less beer would let most tradesmen retire whenever they wanted, in my experience.

        On another note, most students go into completely ridiculous and unneeded debt because of ‘partying’.

        I can’t understand the amount of student debt some of my friends have.

        Thanks MMM.

        Reply
  • Alex November 16, 2013, 2:19 am

    In Time’s list of the Top 10 degrees earned by millionaires, engineering is #1:

    http://time100.time.com/2013/11/11/these-are-the-most-popular-college-degrees-earned-by-millionaires/

    Looks like it’s not just a fluke that MMM attracts engineering types!

    Reply
  • Katherine December 30, 2013, 9:31 pm

    I’m a stay-at-home mom. We moved to San Diego and finances got tight so I went online searching for budget tips and found MMM. Changed our lives! I’ve got a bike with a trailer for the babies (found on Craigslist). We dropped the directv and cell contracts. Debt is gone. Craigslisted lots of excess stuff and got a functional uncluttered home in return. Approaching a double digit savings rate. Having fun and learning new skills doing DIY projects with my husband rather than hiring the work out. Thanks MMM!

    Reply
  • AdamH December 31, 2013, 5:32 pm

    +1 “Other”: I’m a self-employed statistical consultant — maybe that’s “Other Engineering or High Tech Job.”

    Reply
  • Derek January 13, 2014, 7:32 pm

    How many truckers!!?? You have at least one reading now. Really digging
    everything I’ve read so far and mostly is what got me to the place where I could
    afford to be a trucker(low pay but I love it and don’t need much money)

    Cheers!!
    Derek

    Reply
  • smiley January 14, 2014, 6:44 am

    Derek,

    If trucking is paying low change companies. My spouse is a trucker home daily and made $98k this year . The mileage and dock pay just went up also in the new long term contract.

    Reply
  • Dan January 14, 2014, 9:27 pm

    I’m a self employed artist and printmaker. Love this Blog!!

    Reply
  • Dave January 27, 2014, 1:35 pm

    Of course there is going to be more software / IT folks because they are sitting at their PC surfing the net more often than any other industry.

    Reply
  • Vikingo February 5, 2014, 2:35 pm

    Norwegian real estate agent. Age 38. Just about ready to grow a mustache

    Reply
  • Adam February 8, 2014, 5:36 am

    For science, maybe software engineers are more likely to take an online poll?

    Reply
  • Megan February 9, 2014, 11:00 am

    Ah, now it all makes sense. I love this blog because it is written by a fellow engineer and overwhelmingly read and commented on by other techies. Somehow even in the wild world of the internets I find myself back in a familiar space.

    Keep up the good work, nerds.

    Reply
  • Mikael March 13, 2014, 4:02 am

    Math teacher-cum-electrical engineer (well, will present my master thesis next week, so not quite done yet). Signed up as ‘other engineer’ as I’m into hardware rather than software.

    And located in Sweden, which makes me think that simply comparing the number of engineers responding here versus the number of engineers in the US might be a bit biased…

    Reply
  • David Cunningham April 23, 2014, 5:15 am

    I work for IRS. Great post & blog. Thanks!

    Reply
  • Jeo Oiesen April 29, 2014, 11:54 pm

    Am I am the only female chaplain?

    Reply
  • Handlebar Hermit May 9, 2014, 11:19 am

    I know this is an old post, but I’m a new Mustache follower. Hurray!

    I have grown up being very frugal, and have good sense when it comes to money. (It helps that my dad is a CPA)

    That being said, I am in my mid 20s working at a crappy job completely unrelated to my field (web design) for a little over minimum wage. I still manage to save roughly 30% of my income, and without a better job, that seems to be the best I can do.

    I am pretty grounded to my area (low tech, rural and old population) primarily due to family, so the answer “just move already” is not a good one for me. There are no jobs here unless I want to work at Taco Bell. Does anyone have any advice on how to manage with such a low paying job? Any advice on starting your own business/freelancing? Any advice on any topic whatsoever? :)

    Thanks!

    Reply
  • Nicholle July 1, 2014, 8:41 am

    I’m an “Other” – a program manager for a corporate fitness center (full-time), and I also lead group fitness classes as an independent contractor and run my own personal training business on the side. I’m fortunate to not consider it “work” per se — more like fun with some work thrown in! I’m lucky; I’ve had opportunities to grow in my career, and I’m currently participating in a highly selective executive training program at my company and learning a ton of valuable business skills. I’m just catching the Mustachian wave after zealously paying off over 50K in auto/student debt since leaving undergrad with a public health degree. I strongly dislike “stuff” and prefer a simple, sustainable, fulfilling existence, so I feel pretty at home here already :) Thank you for this blog! It’s inspiring to read about so many people living simply and happily, and being excited about financial / life freedom!

    Reply
  • Frances July 24, 2014, 10:23 am

    Wish student was on your list. I am a PhD student in the sciences!

    Reply

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