Ask the Readers: What’s YOUR Personality Type?

by FI Fighter on March 24, 2016

in Ask the Readers

photo (7)

So, lately, I’ve been having a blast doing all sorts of things that I’ve always wanted to do — One of them, is to get around to networking with more early financial freedom fighters. Just as I expected, the experience so far has been far more rewarding than even I could have possibly imagined. No, you’re never going to meet someone who agrees 100% with everything you say, but really, what would be the point (fun) in that, anyway? That would make for some awfully boring and dull conversations…

Instead, what I’ve found is that although there are many points that we dispute, for the most part, by and large, the small sample of folks who I have met in person and/or interviewed, all seem to exhibit a certain personality trait. I’ve got no “real research” to back up any of my claims, but just as was observed over at the Early Retirement Extreme (ERE) forums, I’m running into a lot of self-described introverts.

Hey, I’m introverted myself, so I’m definitely not hating here… I just find it kind of fascinating that the whole concept of early financial independence seems to resonate most with this crowd. If memory serves me right, the most prevalent personality type for the early FI crowd is INTJ (introversion, intuition, thinking, judgement), on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI).

According to Wikipedia:

INTJ (introversion, intuition, thinking, judgment) is an abbreviation used in the publications of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to refer to one of the sixteen psychological types. INTJs are one of the rarest of the sixteen psychological types and account for approximately 1-2% of the population.

 

I have taken some “personality type” tests online before, and although I never registered back as INTJ, I was I…. something. I forget exactly.

Perhaps, it’s because the stereotypical introvert is more comfortable working alone, on their own, as opposed to feeling like they really need to be a part of some kind of “team” environment? Maybe. For myself, it’s not that I don’t like working with other people (far from it), but it’s just that I hate being told what to do and when to do it… Really, it’s the lack of autonomy to go at my own pace that I feel hinders me most when I’m working in a Corporate America type of environment. And I don’t think that has anything to do with whether someone is introverted or extroverted…

So far, I’m finding the “autonomy” trait to be very evident in many early financial freedom fighters who I’ve spoken to. For instance, I used to feel very strongly that my time commitment to work each day should have been based on my own performance and productivity; if I got what needed to be done on time or ahead of schedule, I should have been allowed to walk out the door.  Because as I’m sure you’ll agree, on many, many, many, many instances, we all instinctively volunteer to work overtime hours when we fall behind on our tasks or need more time to get something done. Trust me, it’s seldom a two-way street when you’re working for corporate… Of course, I never got what I wanted (such is life sometimes), so I used to play basketball around 2-3 PM to kill the time… But as far as my bosses were concerned, I was being a whole lot more productive doing that as opposed to leaving early, which would have set a “bad precedent” for everyone else.

Further, I really dislike what I would deem to be “useless chatter”, which is most commonly found in your weekly staff meetings, all-hands meetings, and really, any type of meeting where middle/upper management are involved in. Once upon a time, I had an older boss who was a complete extrovert, and he literally lived and breathed for these type of meetings — He was not only an eloquent speaker, but he was at his best when the lights and cameras were shining on him. I always dreaded that stuff… For me, it was always a “smoke and mirrors” show, trying to impress other people who I really didn’t care for… Instead, I typically delivered my best work when nobody was watching and I was free to innovate without feeling the pressures of working on a time crunch.

Again, just an observation, and I’m not trying to form any definitive conclusions here… I’m positive there are many extroverts who are desperate for early FI as well… Just a part of me thinks that if you’re the type of person who craves being around other people all the time, then maybe sticking it out in the corporate workplace for a few more years would be more bearable than for someone like me who felt like their life was literally being drained away in those staff meetings…

Anyway, just some thoughts for this morning.

 

“What are some of YOUR personality traits? Are you introverted or extroverted? Do you think that plays a role in your quest for early FI?”

 

Please share, as I would love to hear your thoughts!

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Roadmap2RetireNo Gravatar March 24, 2016 at 11:08 am

Im introverted myself (I think I came up as INTP from the Myers-Briggs, IIRC). Freedom-35 had compiled a list of bloggers and their personality types a few months ago – and it seemed like a mixed bag. Maybe you tend to gravitate more towards bloggers you sense to be more introverts? 🙂

Biggest problem Ive seen in this space is that there seems to be a lot of confusion on personality types and what it really means, whether you are trying to discover yourself or trying to understand others. Have you read the book ‘Quiet’ by Susan Cain. Its a great book and I highly recommend it. There’s also a TED talk you can watch, where she highlights some of the main points from the book.

cheers
R2R

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2 FI FighterNo Gravatar March 24, 2016 at 11:20 am

R2R,

Thanks for sharing. I’ll need to check out that compilation. Hmm, it could be that I’ve subconsciously targeted more introverts, but I’ve actually found it surprising to talk to a few people who told me they were introverts when I actually would have thought them to be more extroverts.

I’m not so much in the interest of trying to pigeonhole or classify people into a mold or anything like that… Actually, I’m more interested in knowing how people would describe themselves, which is why I posted today’s article.

Thanks for the tips, I’ll need to check out Susan Cain’s work.

Cheers!

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3 Income SurferNo Gravatar March 24, 2016 at 12:01 pm

Haha buddy. Hadn’t thought about Myerrs Briggs in a while. I am an ENTJ, which drives my wife nuts. She’s far more spontaneous and introverted. I think these traits can be helpful if you recognize them for what they are…..or harmful if you don’t recognize your own tendencies. I think the “planning ahead” portion, lends itself toward my ability to plan and invest for the long term. Meanwhile, I could never cram for a class in college or stay up all night finishing off a project at work…..because I am too easily distracted.

On the plus side, my new business partner….also named Jay…..is more of an introvert. So I’m the (marketing) “front guy” for our new outfit. Trying to stick within our bet skill sets….and mitigate for our weaknesses. Hope your week finishes off great buddy
-Bryan

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4 FI FighterNo Gravatar March 24, 2016 at 3:17 pm

Bryan,

Thanks for sharing! Glad we got an extrovert amongst us! 🙂

Interesting, yeah I’m sure that would make for a “fun” dynamic, since you guys are wired so differently. I’ve dated introverts and extroverts, and my guess is that I tend to do better with extroverts since they keep things more balanced.

Good luck with the new biz! I’m an ex-engineer trying to figure out this whole marketing world and man it’s not easy… It’s like a whole new world for me and I could learn a thing or ten from you one of these days.

Will sync up soon.

Cheers!

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5 AlexNo Gravatar March 24, 2016 at 1:58 pm

It would seem I fit the prevalent “early FI blog reader” stereotype, as I am an INTJ. IIRC people of that type are more inclined to work in fields related to engineering and the like, which would indicate above average income. I know sites like MMM have a ton of readers who are engineers or in tech, so perhaps there is indeed a connection there.

I’m curious, how do you know the prevalent personality type of the early FI crowd? Was there a big poll done or something?

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6 FI FighterNo Gravatar March 24, 2016 at 3:20 pm

Alex,

Thanks for sharing! Yeah, that definitely makes sense, and I’ve met many engineers through the years who have a real passion for what they are doing and are doing it more for intellectual curiosity than a big pay day… Early FI seems like a natural fit for them.

In regards to polls, data, etc, no, I haven’t done anything research, just making observations based on my own experiences. The ERE forums have had many long threads addressing this topic, and INTJ seems to register strongly in that community.

I was kind of just curious what the readership base here was…

Take care!

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7 JPNo Gravatar March 24, 2016 at 2:55 pm

I am an ambivert. Or at least that’s how every test I have ever taken has described me. Basically some introvert and some extrovert. I enjoy long walks on the beach and staying in on a Saturday night.. But I also enjoy partying until 2 am with the right people. I think most introverts are self aware which would lead them to be aware of their feelings in a lame corporate meeting.. And also aware that there is another way to live.

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8 FI FighterNo Gravatar March 24, 2016 at 3:23 pm

JP,

That’s awesome, best of both worlds! Kind of like those ambidextrous baseball pitchers who can throw 90+ heaters with either arm. 🙂

I enjoy quiet time and have been known to party until 2 am… the latter doesn’t come naturally but it can be like an acquired taste. Being more extroverted is kind of a new goal/challenge of mine.

But lame corporate meetings? I’ll pass on those every single time… no thanks!

Best wishes!

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9 Financial Nirvana MamaNo Gravatar March 24, 2016 at 3:19 pm

Hi, interesting post. I’m an ENTJ – I quickly realized why I didn’t survive so well taking a sabbatical from work -> I was extremely lonely, I didn’t like the pace and I naturally gravitate to being with people all the time. Although I did quit my engineering job shortly after, I went back to the ‘work force’ as a consultant on cool projects to be around people, to have a faster pace in life and work on new challenges.

I love early retirement, but I won’t be able to do it while no one is around me to hangout…like my husband.

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10 FI FighterNo Gravatar March 24, 2016 at 3:26 pm

FNM,

Thanks for stopping by! Interesting, I’ve heard the same story from some other retired engineers who went back to work as well.

Right now, I’m finding it more enjoyable when I blog from a cafe, or around other people… most of the times. But every now and then, I also like to just blog from home by myself.

Glad you are enjoying some cool new projects that are challenging and rewarding.

Yeah, life’s more fun when you’re around other people… which is why I’m pretty psyched to go overseas and meet a bunch of new people from totally different backgrounds.

All the best!

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11 weenieNo Gravatar March 24, 2016 at 4:08 pm

I’ve done the test a couple of times and I’m ESTJ, apparently the preferred ‘corporate’ type. However, I’m only just in the ‘E’, so have some introvert attributes.

Nearly all of my friends are extroverts and don’t understand that I quite like time on my own, doing nothing and not being bored!

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12 FI FighterNo Gravatar March 24, 2016 at 4:30 pm

Weenie,

Another E! That’s great. Seems like we have a pretty balanced mix so far.

That’s an interesting observation… Among introverts, we probably can’t quite understand how someone can love being around crowds all the time lol. We are all the same, yet in ways so different. I guess that’s what makes life so darn fascinating.

Let’s keep the votes coming!

Best wishes!

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13 MiningBookGuyNo Gravatar March 24, 2016 at 7:49 pm

Jay – great idea for a post!

I used to think about this personality stuff a lot. So I think I’m ‘mostly’ an INFJ. But I’ve taken various versions of the test many times, and I think it’s interesting how some of those letters are more consistent than others. For instance, I’m always a strong ‘N’. But I’ve been a ‘P’ occasionally, and I’m a bordeline F/T. Still, I’m always an introvert…so that part fits in with your samples 😛

If you or anyone else is interested in more, I highly recommend the following book:

http://www.amazon.com/Please-Understand-Temperament-Character-Intelligence/dp/1885705026/
“Please Understand Me II” by David Keirsey.

Weird name for a book–it’s an updated version of his first book, and kind of an extension of Myers-Briggs. But I found it to be VERY practical! Some people I’ve met absolutely fit the descriptions to a tee. Some people don’t. But for sure, it’s further evidence of your thoughts on how people of similar personalities flock to Early FI, certain jobs, etc. Worth a look!

MiningBookGuy

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14 FI FighterNo Gravatar March 25, 2016 at 9:06 pm

MBG,

Thanks for stopping by buddy! You are my go to for book picks, so I’ll need to add that to my shopping cart.

Haha, yeah you are one of those people who I would say surprises me in the sense that if you didn’t just tell me you were an introvert, I would have mistaken you as an extrovert, for sure. Which is more a compliment than anything else.

Extroverted introvert? I dunno, but that’s what I’m sort of working on becoming if that makes any kind of sense.

Best wishes!

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15 theFIREstarterNo Gravatar March 27, 2016 at 4:33 pm

It might be with mentioning that Introvert with regards to MBTI doesn’t necessarily mean what the traditional definition does, i.e. you don’t like being around people or are shy, quiet, not outspoken etc. It just means what you gravitate towards when you are recharging your batteries. So I could be a very sociable person but to get some down time I need to be on my own, this means i score the I. Whereas an E extrovert would not be able to relax on their own. That’s the way I’ve read about it anyway.

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16 FI FighterNo Gravatar March 28, 2016 at 8:59 am

theFIREstarter,

Great points! Always love it when you chime in; you’ve always got interesting and useful things to say 😉

Take care buddy!

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17 Dividend Growth InvestorNo Gravatar March 25, 2016 at 11:05 am

I am introverted as well. I would much rather spend time with a good book, than go out and talk to others.

On the other hand, my friends are extroverts who like to partay until 3 – 6 am 😉 It is more fun this way, and you get diversity of experiences.

I second you on talking to others. A large portion of my investing philosophy is based on incorporating different ideas from “schools of thought” that seem to be opposing to each other. Yet, they all have a lot in common ultimately.

By the way, congrats on ramping up that SA activity. You may soon start making as much as you make from a rental 😉

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18 FI FighterNo Gravatar March 25, 2016 at 9:10 pm

DGI,

Thanks for sharing bud! I can totally relate to that, as I’ve turned down a few parties and social gatherings in my time in favor of some peace and quiet with a good book.

Definitely, it’s fun to mix it up once in awhile as well. Seems we are very similar, and like to hang out with lots of extroverts as well.

Appreciate the support! Writing on SA has been a new, fun experience for me. Haha, we’ll see where things go, but man, you’ve been a machine on there, going strong since 2008! Very impressive sir!

All the best!

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19 Elle @ New Graduate FinanceNo Gravatar March 25, 2016 at 7:17 pm

Oh my goodness, this post came at such a great time for me.
When I’ve taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator I’ve gotten INTP and INTJ (I guess depending on how judgmental I’m feeling…)

Your comment about not wanting to be told what to do really resonates with me. I had a frustrating day at work today, and I realized that this is because I felt especially micromanaged by my boss. I was called out in front of my coworkers, criticized for things I know I didn’t do wrong, and I just felt like I was constantly being watched and judged for no reason. I’m a top performer, yet I’m being singled out for no reason…
It put me in a really bad mood.
My least favorite part? Being accused of things I didn’t do. Or having to deal with passive aggressive comments.

I also find it really painful to have to sit at my desk, trying to find something to do until it’s acceptable to leave at 5PM. I can do my job to the best of my ability in 2-3 hours instead of 8-9. Being forced to sit at my desk just makes me feel physically stressed and unhappy.

I like working. I actually find it very satisfying to work hard and get to create some sort of success or solution.

But all of the corporate politics and bureaucracy and busywork just tire me out.

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20 FI FighterNo Gravatar March 25, 2016 at 9:17 pm

Elle,

Welcome to the corporate world! Your thoughts and emotions definitely take me back to when I was working as an engineer… It’s so crazy, but I feel like I totally understand where you are coming from. You and I are very much alike it seems. Just wait till you go through a few rounds of performance reviews lol, then this whole cat and mouse game that is corporate politics will really have you pulling your hair out… 😉

You’re probably too free-spirited for the 9-5 indefinitely. I’m so impressed that you’re so in touch with not only your own thoughts/emotions, but also the realities of the situation so soon into your working career. Many people work decades before they finally realize that there’s something wrong with the system…

But the sooner you grasp the whole “game”, the sooner you can turn the tables and work things in your favor. What I always specialized in doing was getting big salaries increases by job hopping… When I had enough savings, I simply walked away altogether at 31. Now I get to live life on my own terms and have never been happier.

Glad you’re blogging again. I’ll be following your journey with most interest.

Cheers!

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21 SundeepNo Gravatar March 26, 2016 at 6:42 pm

Interesting idea. I know a lot of the FIRE crowd are engineers, I’m not FIRE myself, but strive to get there. I’m not an engineer, but am INTJ…I’m 100% with you on this post. Give me solitude and I crush, I work well in teams but hate being in the spotlight.

Totally fine doing stuff solo all the time if none of my friends are free, and kind of prefer it. Even spent an entire month snowboarding in Denver by myself, no problem.

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22 FI FighterNo Gravatar March 28, 2016 at 9:00 am

Sundeep,

That’s awesome man — Most people can’t handle doing things alone, so at least you know full well that you are comfortable in your own skin. That’s priceless.

I used to have problems being able to eat out alone… now I do it all the time and have no issues with it whatsoever, haha even if it’s just me alone at the mall.

Take care!

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23 DividendsdownunderNo Gravatar March 26, 2016 at 7:14 pm

I find topics like this extremely fascinating, especially that most bloggers seem to be introverts but the premise of blogging requires you to “put yourself out there”.

Tristan (my husband who is the other half of Dividends Down Under and he came up with the idea of us blogging about our financial journey) is ironically a INTJ and I’m an INFJ – I feel these are spot on for our personalities, and probably even come out in the way we blog – he goes for facts, figures and analytical posts and I’m more drawn to the process of how we made a decision, the feelings and process that influenced the outcome and sharing that.

Thank you for speculating on this interesting topic, it’s truly amazing how much certain personality traits form patterns in life.

Jasmin

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24 FI FighterNo Gravatar March 28, 2016 at 9:02 am

Jasmin,

Thanks for stopping by! Will be interested in following your journey from afar… but many not too afar for long. I’ve always wanted to visit Australia and I’ll be in HK not too long from now! 🙂

Cheers!

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25 theFIREstarterNo Gravatar March 27, 2016 at 4:15 pm

I found all this stuff a real eye opener when I first read about it on ERE. It was another “matrix” style moment to discover that there were groups of people who all have completely different things that make them tick. It’s so obvious when you think about it though and what is behind a lot of personal conflicts.

I think I was INFJ but the F was practically 50/50 between a T and F. Also think the J was very nearly a P and even the I also not that strong. The N was strongest by far and I think that is the most important indicator that someone is suitable for chasing FI but I could well be wrong.

The fact that the other 3 were not that strong rings true with me because I often feel different about things on different days and weeks. In fact I’m sure I did the test on two different days and got a different outcome, it might have been ENTJ or something like that. For example sometimes I like to be around loads of people and sometimes I just want to get away and be on my own.

I suspect many people are like this and it is where pigeonholing such as the MBTI falls down as there are many shades of grey rather than 4 binary measures. Still as a rough guide to what makes someone tick, it’s really interesting and handy!

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26 FI FighterNo Gravatar March 28, 2016 at 9:06 am

theFIREstarter,

Oh yeah, another “matrix” moment for sure. When I found out this early FI community was comprised of lots of INTJs, I was like “very cool”, I’m not that different or so much an outcast as I used to feel.

Yes, I think a lot of what gets us to early FI is having that intuition, or contrarian type mindset where we instinctively feel like there must be a “better” or “different” way to accomplish what we want out of life. Most people fall for consumer propaganda and don’t know that they are chasing after things that they don’t really want.

Thanks for sharing!

Reply

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