Personal Finance Pet Peeves and Tips – 36 Experts Interviewed

36 personal finance experts answered the question “What are your PF pet peeves”? Some also provided their favorite tips – read on below.

Andrew Schrage, co-owner of Money Crashers Personal Finance ( )

One personal finance pet peeve is people who do not use a budget. You simply cannot gain a firm control over your finances unless you use one and know where your money is going on a monthly basis. It is the springboard needed in order to achieve larger financial goals. Another pet peeve is folks who think that credit card debt is simply a fact included in their financial lives. In reality, it can be eliminated with just a few prudent steps and determination. Individuals who are not saving for retirement is another topic which is rather bothersome as well. No one is going to do this for you – the job is yours and yours alone. Another pet peeve is when people do not have an emergency fund set up. It’s essential so that when unexpected expenses pop up, debt doesn’t ensue. An additional pet peeve is when I hear folks complaining about the fact that they have no money. Unless there’s some extenuating circumstance such as a job loss, this is usually self-inflicted and can be solved through effective action. And finally, people who finance things through credit cards or other means because they can’t afford them is also something that isn’t necessary and should be avoided at all costs. Using this practice on a regular basis can result in an unending cycle of debt.

As far as the best personal finance tips, start using a personal budget. Mint is a great online resource, but there are others as well. Find out where your money is being spent each month, then go online to find ways to reduce expenses in every category from gas to food and entertainment, and more. After that’s done, create a set of goals for getting out of credit card debt for good, if that’s part of your financial picture. Once that is up and running, use a portion of your monthly surplus that you should have after reducing monthly bills, and contribute that to your retirement savings and/or emergency fund. If you find yourself in the situation where you think you have no money, stop complaining about it and do something. It’s all solvable if you’re willing to put in the work and effort. And finally, if you can’t afford to pay for a purchase in total before the credit card bill comes in, then you just cant afford it. You’re much better off saving your own money until you can do so without financing the purchase.

Ern @
Twitter: @ErnRetireNow

1: Pet Peeves
For the life of me, I can’t understand the appeal of Robo-advisers. You can look up the recommended asset allocation on their site and simply implement it yourself with low-cost index mutual funds or ETFs at Vanguard or Fidelity. Sure, they got a nice interface but that’s not worth 0.25% in fees per year. Especially in retirement accounts (IRA, Roth IRA) you’d be better served with a Vanguard or Fidelity account. And if you don’t want to do the allocation yourself, both providers have target date funds with fees much lower than the combined costs the of Robo-advisers (around 0.25% p.a.) plus ETF expense ratios. The one small edge Robo-advisers have is Tax Loss Harvesting in taxable accounts. But even that is something a savvy investor can easily replicate in their own brokerage account.
Within my own little personal finance niche – early retirement planning – my top pet peeve is the wide-spread reliance on the 4% Rule. A 4% initial withdrawal rate seems too aggressive for folks like me because early retirees face a 50 to 60-year retirement horizon. In other words, a 65-year old retiree can afford to deplete a big chunk of the portfolio after 15-20 years but a 35-year old retiree cannot. What’s worse, current equity valuations are expensive and bond yields are low compared to the historical average. Thus, historical failure probabilities that average over retirement cohorts with much more attractive asset valuations than today’s might underestimate our current risk of running out of money. We wrote a multi-part series dealing with the early retirement safe withdrawal rate issues in case anyone is interested.

2: My favorite PF advice:
Saving for retirement is a long process that requires discipline and patience. Sure, you often hear stories about investors who got rich with one single smart move, e.g., early Facebook investors etc., but that’s extremely rare. I wouldn’t count on it! Personally, my wife and I have accumulated a pretty substantial net worth but there isn’t one single investment decision that made us rich. It’s the result of many singles and not a single home run – sorry to use this slightly overused analogy.

Carl @

PF pet peeves
1) People thinking that they “deserve to spend money”: I hate it when people justify reckless spending with statements such as “Go on, buy that insanely expensive feather boa – you deserve it!” or “I treated myself a little because I have had a hard time recently”. You don’t ever “deserve” to spend money and shouldn’t need to do so to feel good! I would wish people had the same attitude towards saving. I am always telling myself “Go on, save that money and get an even bigger nest egg – you deserve it!”.

2) People saying that buying things is a good financial investment: I often hear people arguing that buying an expensive piece of clothing or furniture is a “good investment”. A luxury bag is not a good investment even if you use it every day for ten years. While it may be a better financial decision to buy quality items over bad quality items in the long term due to a lower yearly depreciation cost, it can never be a good investment to buy non-return-generating assets.

3) People trying to beat the market… because you can’t

Favorite PF tips
1) Investing in financial assets comes second: Investing in your health and education before anything else is key – if you are not healthy, or if you are dead, it doesn’t matter how much money you have, and getting an education can give you a significant salary increase that makes life a bit easier.

2) Think of all costs as monthly expenses: Break down all of your spending categories into monthly costs and save up/spend accordingly. For example, if you know that you have to pay for Christmas gifts every year, it can often come as a surprise and ruin your budget in December. I save up 1/12 of my Christmas gift budget every month, so it never comes as a surprise. I do the same thing with vacations, birthday gifts, subscriptions, groceries, furniture, clothes etc. I have allocated a seperate account (I can have unlimited, for free, in my bank) for each spending category (I have 12 accounts) and set up automatic payments each month to these. This makes my budget stable and I get fewer nasty economic surprises.

Slow Dad

The unthinking adherence to any financial advice, particularly dogma.

A couple of common examples include:

* “all debt is bad”. This just is not true.

Debt that does not generate a return greater than it costs is bad, for example credit card debt or incurring high levels of student debt to head towards a low paying profession. However the judicious use of leverage to finance investments, such as real estate, can supercharge returns.

* “property ownership is bad”. This also is not true.

Property can be a great asset class, allowing investors to diversify beyond the traditional stocks and bond holdings found in a typical pension. Providing that a property investment generates a higher return than it costs to hold then owning property isn’t a bad thing.

Many dream houses don’t make the grade as great investments however, indeed some are real money pits!

I am of the view that everyone should seek out a diverse range of view points on any given topic, listen to what each has to say, then always “trust, but verify” what they are told.

In the personal finance world maintaining a healthy degree of scepticism should help prevent people getting swept away by the promise of easy answers and fortune cookie wisdom that is unfortunately so prevalent today.

My biggest PF pet peeve is other millennials who haven’t taken time to understand the importance of retirement savings yet. Given that very few people these days have pensions, the best time to save for retirement is when you’re young. I feel very fortunate that I got into the habit of saving in my 20s. When fellow millennials are spending above their means and then saying they don’t have any money left to save, I tell them openly they have no one to blame but themselves for not being able to retire in the future or not having the retirement they’d want.

The best way to save more money is to make more money. The best way to make more money is to either move to a new job and/or pick up consulting projects on the side of your day job. Cutting out a latte a week is less important than finding extra work to make up for that latte and add more money to your savings. By focusing on increasing your income versus cutting smaller expenses, you will ultimately be able to save more money. Also, invest early, invest often — Vanguard (low fee index funds) is your friend.

Kevin @ and author of Filling The Pig – In 4 Steps, Save Cash, Eliminate Debt, Create a Lifestyle of Opportunities!

When I am helping people with their personal finances, one of the common things that comes up is their concern over their credit score. Credit scores are a big topic for most people in part because there is so much marketing/media focus on credit and credit cards. The reality is, for those individuals that are struggling with debt and trying to save money, their credit score should be the least of their issues. They need to focus on managing their way out of debt and saving money, once they achieve that goal, they will find their credit score starts to take care of itself.

You have to be able to save money (cash). If you are able to save money you can typically manage your way out of debt. If you have no savings and have debt then it is likely you will stay in debt. I typically focus heavily on first establishing an emergency fund. An emergency fund helps break the debt cycle because it allows you to pay for unexpected emergencies with cash rather than credit.

Jonny @

1) My absolutely biggest pet peeve is spending money and buying things for the sake of appearances or perceived class. Similar to “Keeping up with the Joneses”, it’s the root cause for the financial failure of many individuals and families.
2) Emergency Funds…I can’t recall ever being in a situation where I needed three months to a years’ expenses saved up and socked away in cash. Not to say you shouldn’t have some sort of disability insurance or certain coverage in case things do happen, but the whole emergency fund idea is overemphasized in my books.

1) Save early and often. The biggest advantage young people have on their hands is time. Einstein called compounding interest the 8th Wonder of the World for a reason! Aside from the benefits of time, it’s also good to get into the habit of saving and learning how to invest early on.

Dan Palmer –

Answer #1- My pet peeve is when someone assumes that what is right for one person must be right for everyone. For example, my neighbor has a new car, so therefore I need a new car. Or from a different angle, a personal finance ‘expert’ declaring that nobody should waste their money on a new car.

Answer #2- Everyone has been told to invest, budget, set goals, etc, which is great advice. Nail down these big areas, but also look for ways to do better in smaller areas of your finances. Look into trimming monthly bills like cable or trash collection. Grow your own food. Slash your cell phone bill with an MVNO. Because the small things add up to huge savings!

Finance For Geek @,

1. I’d say that one of the things that I dislike the most in today’s world is the lack of education regarding personal finance. There should definitely be some basic lessons in school as to “how to handle your budget” or “how credit card really work”. I’ve seen so many friends doing only their minimum payment on their student loans, not because they couldn’t pay more, but because they didn’t want to! It’s kind of irritating me every time I speak with younger folks when I realize they do not have the slightest idea as to how credit card companies make money!

2. My favorite tip regarding personal finance would be to start saving money very early on. A lot of people have some wrong understanding of basic personal finance, and they seriously do not understand how powerful compound interest is! I so wish someone explained it to me clearly when I was younger, but there’s still time for a lot of folks out there to benefit from it 🙂

Sudipto Basu @

Pet Peeve – People carrying a balance on their credit card, while being able to pay the entire balance is what annoy[s] me most. Paying credit card interest is the worst financial decision one could make.

Favorite PF advice – Always save some amount in the emergency fund, once it’s of a sizable amount, you can [start] saving for retirement or other future expenses.

Bola Onada Sokunbi, Financial Educator @
Instagram: @clevergirlfinance

My finance PF is when someone keep[s] saying they need to get on a budget but never do.
If you are serious about building real and long term wealth, a budget needs to be part of your lifestyle.

Saving money, paying off debt, learning and applying financial concepts, building wealth…….sprinkle on some discipline and consistency, develop a wealthy mindset, surround yourself with [positive] influences and watch those money goals of yours become real. It’s all about taking action and staying the course. If you fall off, pick yourself back up and keep going.

Derek at

Here are my thoughts:

1) One pet peeve is that you NEED a preconceived budget to be a successful saver. I have found this to absolutely not be the case!
2) My favorite tip is to develop a money spending tracking system that works for you. You cannot manage what you do not measure.

“Life And My Finances” —

I own my home free and clear – I paid it off in 2014 and never looked back. This is where my pet peeve comes in. Someone catches wind of my PF choice and looks at me like I’m an idiot, “Don’t you know you can earn more in the stock market? Why on earth would you pay off your house that had a 4% interest rate?”

Sometimes I tell them, sometimes I’m too annoyed to waste my time.

1) Paying off debt is a certain win. The stock market might go down

2) You’ll pay off debt faster than you’ll invest because of emotion, so in the end you’ll always “earn” more by paying off debt


Buying what you can’t afford, then complaining about it while envying financially independent people. The personal finance blogosphere talks about the lack of financial education, so there are a ton of money mistakes I could itemize. They’re all tolerable (up to a certain extent): people blowing money on what they can’t afford, complaining about financial situations, people being jealous of debt free friends. But combine them all and you get a money pet-peeve-combo that’s not easy to endure.

My favorite personal finance advice is stop looking at money as funds that come and go, and start treating your income as a tool to build a better future. Having fun and splurging on wants rather than needs is OK if you can afford it, but it’s never a good idea to ignore budgeting for emergencies or retirement or for anything else you consider a priority.

Lance Cothern @

My biggest personal finance pet peeve is when people say they can’t afford to save or invest yet they get the newest iPhone every time a new model comes out.

My biggest piece of personal finance advice would be to make a list of all of your values then rank all of your expense categories from largest spent to smallest spent. Does your list of values align with your spending? If not, you know where to cut back.

Ramona @

1. Pet peeve – people who know what to do about their money, but fail to take measures. Most adults nowadays are bombarded with great PF advice, but just procrastinate and choose not to act on it

2. Best PF advice – start tracking your income and expenses (especially your expenses), it’s a HUGE eye-opener.

Moneyjojo @

Overspending on food and having lots of food waste is a major personal finance pet peeve of mine.

My advice here would be to create a list before going shopping. I know it is a cliche, however it works!

If you create a list and you stick to it you will stay within your budget. If you plan your meals ahead and purchase what you need, you not only save money but you also reduce food waste. When you reduce food waste, you also save money on waste disposal.

Mrs. MFB @

One of my PF pet peeves is getting offered by brokers/agents with investment instruments that are not in line with my financial goals and they get very pushy with it.

My all time favorite PF tips/advice is to always pay the VIP(yourself) first whenever you have an income either from salary or business and put it to savings and investments. Another one is to grow the gap between your income and expenses.

Tarra Jackson
“Madam Money”

One of my biggest Personal Finance Pet Peeves is when people tell me that they can’t afford to Save Money for emergencies or opportunities but Eat Out almost everday for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. If they invested a little bit of time to meal prep and take their lunch to work, or reduced their eating out for dinner, they could easily put the money they saved into a savings account.

Another Personal Finance Pet Peeve is when People say they want to improve their financial situation but refuse to make the necessary spending habit changes to make it possible.

If you need more information or details, feel free to contact me at

My Personal Finance Tips:

– Transfer the money they saved through coupons, eating in, etc that would have spent, into their savings account.

– Set up automatic savings through direct deposit for a set amount into savings account that is separate from their transactional accounts, that doesn’t have an ATM and not easily accessible. #SaveSomethingSooner

Miss Thrifty @

1. When people are too fearful to open their bills, bank statements or credit card statements. Yes, it can be like ripping off a large, painful plaster – but if you don’t know what your financial position is, how are you going to improve it? Knowledge and planning are everything.

2. Never borrow against a depreciating asset. Don’t take out a car loan, or pay for electronic goods with a credit card if you can’t pay off the balance immediately.

Rebecca Smith @

My pet peeves would have to be when people assume that the way something works for them will work for someone else. For instance, many people advise to cut cable/groceries etc – but this isn’t always possible or wanted. Sometimes the budget can still work if cable is kept and something else is removed. Or when it comes to groceries, sometimes people need to buy specific items so cannot cut their budget down anymore. I believe that a little understanding can go a long way – what works for one person won’t necessarily work for all.

In regards to tips/advice, I’d say always do your research – before purchasing anything, before selling anything, before doing anything. Knowing what you are going into is always the best possible situation to be in!

Samantha Gregory
Founding Editor,

PF Pet Peeves
Experts giving advice that in no way fits every circumstances and who make people feel like failures if they don’t follow the advice. The advice for a two income family rarely works for me so I have to take that advice and decide if and what part it will work for me and my situation. I advise people to do what works for them, their circumstances, and their money.

Favorite PF Tips
Create a vision for your finances that fits your dreams and lifestyle. Forget about what everyone else is doing and just focus on your life and your money.

Pay yourself as often as you can have a purpose for the savings which will motivate you to keep paying yourself.

Give money to causes or charites you love to activate the universal laws of reciprocity or giving and receiving. The more you give the more you receive.

Ulyana Frank at

In response to your question, my biggest personal finance pet peeves are when people do not take responsibility for their own situations and feel entitled to other people’s money. If you’re in debt, stop eating out, stop buying $5 coffees, stop buying trendy clothes that you only end up wearing once. Don’t skip out on life insurance because you assume and expect your relatives will take care of your family if something were to happen to you. Don’t go on a family vacation with your parents and expect them to pay for you, and do NOT book a vacation and then set up a GoFundMe page asking for donations because you’re a single mother and this vacation will put you back into debt! Own your financial situation and live within YOUR means.

Aaron Crowe
Personal finance writer

One of my PF pet peeves is that 401(k) and other retirement savings vehicles aren’t automated for employees so that they’re enrolled unless they opt out. This should be standard for every American.

My tip? Automate it yourself by setting up automatic withdrawals from your paycheck or checking account to your retirement fund.

Sarah Brooks @

My first personal finance pet peeve is when people think credit cards are bad. Credit cards are not bad; it’s the compulsive spending that is. If used wisely and paid in full every month, credit cards can allow you to earn rewards points and build your credit.

My second pet peeve is when people complain about not having enough money. We live in a culture where money is abundant. And, thanks to the internet, it’s very possible to earn a substantial living from home in your spare time. Pick up a side hustle, learn it well, and watch the money come in.

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner,

One of my biggest pet peeves is when a person says that they can’t make extra money. Making extra money is what allowed me to pay off my $40,000 student loan debt in just 7 months and this is why I’m such a believer in finding ways to make extra money. The usual excuse I hear for why a person can’t make extra money is due to a lack of time. However, the average person watches over 30 hours of TV each WEEK, so even if you could just cut out half of the TV that you want, you can probably be much closer to financial freedom.


My PF pet peeve is the financial news media. They provide no context to any of their reporting and treat every financial crisis or boom as the end of the world or the beginning of a new economic paradise. Also, when radio programs report on the stock market and just mention the Dow was up 40 points, it’s completely meaningless. I wish we could get away from meaningless financial reporting and focus on more substantial and individually empowering stories.

Barbara Friedberg, Robo-Advisor

My Personal Finance pet peeves:

“Expecting that amassing wealth is quick and easy. It takes a decision to save and invest over time. The results will only be revealed in the future.

Money is not a competition or a reflection of your value as a person. I don’t like it when others brag about how much money they have etc.”

Erin Lowry, founder of
Twitter: @BrokeMillennial
Instagram: @BrokeMillennialBlog

Pet peeve: “There’s no point in saving because I can’t put much away.” The amount isn’t what really matters so much early on; building the habit is what matters! Even if you have to start small with $5, it’s builds the foundation for strong financial behaviors later on (relevant: )

Jim Wang, Founder of Wallet Hacks –

My biggest PF pet peeve is when people have a victim mentality and don’t take control of their lives. I understand that sometimes it feels like the world is conspiring against you but if you give up, you’re putting your future in the hands of some unknown savior. You need to take control, keep fighting, and making good decisions when it comes to money – it’s only through that action will you succeed.

Miranda Marquit,

My biggest PF pet peeve is spending without thought. It’s cool to spend money, even on things you don’t need. But it’s important to understand why you’re spending it, and what you hope it will accomplish. Just spending to spend doesn’t make sense to me. If you spend on a vacation, you should know why (make memories, have enriching new experiences, etc.). I like eating out because I can have good conversations with people I love. Instead of impulse spending, take the time think about what you buy. You’ll be happier with your finances, and more fulfilled with life.

My biggest personal finance pet peeve is when people view saving money as a bore. Because in all actuality, saving money ensures you will have a better life in the future. For example, I save because I want to be able to retire early, pay for my dream vacations, and buy a new car outright. Your money can do so much more for you in the future than it can do for you now.

Eric Rosenberg from

My biggest personal finance pet peeve is when people ignore their finances completely and just hope it will all turn out okay. No one accidently got wealthy. Credit cards never pay themselves off. And your 401(k) won’t magically give you a comfortable retirement. It takes a little time and planning to reach your financial goals. When people ignore their finances, it drives me crazy!

Kara from

One of my personal finance pet peeves is the current financial landscape that aims to marginalize women from talks about money. I created the Frugal Feminista in response to that- to empower and inspire women to feel confident and powerful how talking, managing, and growing their money.

Melanie Lockert, author of Dear Debt

I can’t stand when people refer to something as “good debt”. There’s no such thing. Any time you owe someone else, your money is not fully yours.

Janine Rogan, twitter @JanineRogan

I think when people comment on things and give advice that isn’t factual or correct, or they aren’t an expert in the space so they don’t understand all the intricacies. Taxes are a big one! I also have a pet peeve that people don’t think they can save money and still live a great lifestyle. It’s all about how you allocate your resources and I think it’s important for people to understand why doing so is important!


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4 thoughts on “Personal Finance Pet Peeves and Tips – 36 Experts Interviewed”

  1. Thanks for including me! Great list and a very nice diverse set of opinions here. And so many new pet peeves from others that now I realize are mine, too! 🙂
    Keep up the good work!

  2. Wow, this is an interesting collection. Its fun reading those things that annoy PF people. The tips provide great insights too. Thanks for the inclusion!

  3. Thanks for including me. That’s a really nice read and I can definitely relate to a lot of things. Great collection!

  4. This was a great post. I must say, for me I hate when people say they “Can’t afford” Life insurance. Most of the time it’s like 30 to 50 bucks a month. That always kills me because no one is buying life insurance for themselves. You are always buying it for your family.

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