EmergDoc wrote:It seems like I've got as hard of data as anyone is likely to get, certainly without a great deal of expense and hassle. I guess the methodology can be debated until the cows come home. No data is perfect, but there certainly isn't any data suggesting my conclusion isn't true.
10/527 respondents have an income under $30K. That's under 2%. 20/527 have an income under the median US household income (just over $50K). That's under 4%. 106/527 have an income of less than twice the median US household income. That's 20%. So 80% of those willing to answer an anonymous poll on the Bogleheads forum claim they have an income more than twice that of the median US household. A lot of drugs are being prescribed based on less data than that.
IMO your poll is fairly representative, and matches my observation about the Bogleheads website since I joined last year.
I am one of the 4%ers (my wife and I made less than $50,000 gross income last year). I will say I have learned a lot from this website and greatly value the knowledge gained. We both enjoy our work and could probably earn more money if we were willing to move around or switch jobs (we both have college degrees) but we aren't interested in that at this point. We do live in a low cost of living region of the country and don't need a 6 figure income to live comfortably. She bought her home (I married her after she bought here home) for $70,000 about 10 years ago, and it might be worth $100,000 now. We are both pretty frugal and were able to put away more than 1/4 of our income in tax-advantaged accounts last year. We put enough in our Roth's to max out the Saver's Credit, got a big tax savings maxing out the HSA, and got some tax deferred space contributing to a 457(b) and buying a small amount of I-bonds. We almost have more tax advantaged space available than income so we likely won't ever max out all of our accounts at our current income levels.
One thing I find that is lacking here is investment advice geared towards those of us in the lower marginal tax brackets (which is likely simply the result of a lack of demand, as many people at our income level don't or aren't able to save much). I've thought at times it might be useful to have a section just for those in the 15% marginal tax bracket and below, considering that the average household income is less than $50,000. There are definitely things that are beneficial no matter what your tax bracket is, but there are other things that would be useful for lower income earners to be aware of that they probably aren't. Things like the Saver's Credit, 0% LTCG on investments (for those in the 15% marginal tax bracket and below), using a Roth instead of a 529 for college savings, I-bonds, how to invest with small amounts (less than $3,000), etc. would be information geared towards us vs. information for higher earners, like backdoor Roth IRAs, selecting municipal bond funds, etc. Sure, you can find the information here if you search for it (which is what I did), but it might be beneficial to have it all in one place. It might draw in people who don't make as much money but still want to learn about saving and investing.
I'll admit I was somewhat intimidated initially when I saw the incomes of many of the posters, but I also realized that a good portion of the knowledge here is beneficial no matter what your income. It is nice to know that there are some other posters here who don't make 6 figures and are able to save and live by Boglehead principles. Overall my experience here has been overwhelmingly positive and I've only dealt with a few posters who were condescending or gave me the impression they thought I should be trying to make more money vs. having a career I enjoy for less income.