Ask the Readers: What’s YOUR Personality Type?

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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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Roadmap2Retire
4 years ago

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… Read more »

Income Surfer
4 years ago

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… Read more »

Alex
Alex
4 years ago

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?

JP
JP
4 years ago

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.

Financial Nirvana Mama

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… Read more »

weenie
4 years ago

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!

MiningBookGuy
4 years ago

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”… Read more »

theFIREstarter
4 years ago
Reply to  FI Fighter

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.

Dividend Growth Investor

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… Read more »

Elle @ New Graduate Finance

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… Read more »

Sundeep
Sundeep
4 years ago

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.

Dividendsdownunder
4 years ago

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… Read more »

theFIREstarter
4 years ago

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… Read more »