Updated on 06.03.13

The Twelve Biggest Personal Finance Mistakes People Make Over and Over Again

Trent Hamm

As I’ve mentioned before, I get tons of email from people describing the personal finance problems in their lives, commenting critically on things I’ve written, and offering up their own stories of success. Not only that, as The Simple Dollar has become more and more popular, I’ve had more and more opportunities to talk about personal finance with people face to face.

What amazes me is that I see most of the same problems pop up time and time again. Sure, the specifics of the story change, as do the severity of the situation, but these same twelve items come up in almost every story I hear about financial problems. Even worse, quite often multiple items from this list appear in the same tale of woe.

I’m not immune to them, either. At the time of my own financial meltdown, I was guilty of the majority of these things. It was only due to a commitment to fixing my financial situation that I was able to overcome these mistakes and set them right.

Here they are, the twelve biggest mistakes I witness and hear about time and time again.

Concern rarely extends beyond the next paycheck or two.
These are the people who live from paycheck to paycheck. Their next paycheck or two will cover the immediate bills. If there happens to be some money left over, it’s spent on frivolous things. These are the people who are constantly hitting the ATM to check their debit card balance so they know how much they have to spend or the people who juggle credit cards that are maxed out. The only thing that matters is the next paycheck and the brief breathing room that it provides.

What’s the solution? The best way for people in this situation to begin to escape is to set up an automatic savings plan of some sort. The automatic savings plan would scrape a small amount of money out of that checking account each week and put it somewhere safe. The point isn’t so much to build up savings (although that’s very useful and valuable), but to slowly wean yourself from spending everything that you bring in.

Only one person in the family knows where the money goes.
Most families have one person that’s largely in control of managing the money – and that’s fine. It can be very useful to have a family “accountant” – a person that manages the checkbook, makes sure the bills are paid, and so on. This can actually be a very good thing, particularly if one person in a family is particularly detail-oriented.

The problem occurs when this leads to financial atrophy in the family, where no one but the person running the checkbook knows where the money goes or is involved in the decision-making process. While it can be very easy to just let that person run things, it can be very dangerous, too. That person might not be saving appropriately for family goals, might be leveraging credit card use in order to allow everyone to keep spending as they are, and so on.

What’s the solution? The best solution is for partners to have monthly meetings about their financial situation. Just sit down and talk about it. Go through the checkbook registry together and the bills together and just make sure that everyone is aware where the money is going and why it’s going there. Then, if there are problems, they can be discussed and handled appropriately. Doing this goes a long way to ensure that nasty surprises – like hidden credit card bills and so on – don’t crop up.

Conversation by *clairity* on Flickr!Partners don’t talk about their shared goals.
When my wife and I were first married, we basically didn’t talk about our shared goals – and when we did, it was mostly just bumping heads because our goals weren’t in alignment. We both had vague plans about having children and owning a home, but anything beyond that – and anything specific on either of those two topics – varied greatly between the two of us.

It wasn’t until we started actually sitting down and talking about our shared goals that things began to click into place. I began to realize that some of my dreams didn’t match hers at all, and vice versa. I also began to understand that when we sat down, talked about our different dreams, figured out the areas where they lined up, and came up with clear and specific goals that we both shared, it engaged both of us to make it happen. Rather than fighting through gentle resistance to get what I wanted, I found a cheerleader that pushed me onward to get what we wanted. The best part? What I wanted and what we wanted really weren’t all that far apart. It just took sitting down, talking about things, and making things concrete and specific to turn resistance into support – to turn vague ideas and dreams into action.

What’s the solution? Sit down with your partner and talk about where you want to be in five years. In ten years. In twenty five years. Figure out what each of you wants individually, then look at the areas where they overlap. Compromise a little bit and come up with detailed plans for things that you both want and you’re both willing to work towards.

There is no budget or spending limit, particularly on non-essential items.
I’m not actually referring to a hard and strict budget here. Instead, I’m talking about not keeping track of – and keeping control of – one’s spending on nonessential items. Many people simply don’t bother to keep track of their spending on such things in any way, shape, or form, and they’re often shocked at how much money has been frivolously spent when the credit card bill comes due. Then they pay it and forget about it again – it’s more important to keep up with the Joneses, you know.

My wife and I did this for several years. We kept our spending separate and didn’t really worry about how much we were spending. Quite often, this would result in a mess, where there were bills to be paid and we’d both spent more than we should. Eventually, clear communication got us out of this routine and now we both spend in a much more rational fashion.

What’s the solution? Put everyone on a spending allowance. Seriously. Each person gets a certain amount to spend per week (or month). This requires honesty and commitment from both sides, so the best way to do it is to regularly talk about it. Agree to a spending cap for each of you and then discuss any spending beyond that.

Family members and friends loan each other money without thinking about the consequences.
Many people talk about the guilt, anger, and mistrust that they feel when it comes to debts with their family. They either feel bad (in some fashion) about an inability to pay back a family debt, upset because of the expectations that others have of them in terms of loaning money, and anger and mistrust when people don’t pay back the money that’s loaned.

Luckily, I’ve largely been able to avoid this. On the occasions when I’ve wanted to help out family members, I’ve been smart enough to make it a gift.

What’s the solution? Don’t mix lending with family. If you want to help a family member with their financial situation, make it a no-strings-attached gift and forget about it. If you’re under the expectation that a family member is going to pay you back, you’ve changed a loving and caring relationship into a business-like lender-borrower relationship. Are you close and familial with your mortgage lender?

There is no emergency fund.
Many people are often completely blindsided by unexpected expenses. It’s a disaster if their car breaks down or they lose their job – immediate panic mode.

I was once in this very situation. A truck breakdown in 2005 was extremely costly, as was the need for new glasses in about that timeframe. I had to worry and plan and move money around in order to be able to easily deal with both of those situations.

What’s the solution? Well, it’s pretty easy – build an emergency fund. Start an automatic savings plan – as discussed in the section about living paycheck to paycheck – and don’t touch that money unless there’s a need. Having that flexible cash on hand makes emergencies much easier to handle. Plus, such an emergency fund (once it becomes normal and routine) can be the beginnings of a bigger savings goal, like saving for a house down payment.

There is no plan for the unexpected passing or disability of a key wage earner.
Ask someone what they’d do if the primary wage earner in their home suddenly passed away or became severely disabled and you often see a panicked “deer in the headlights” look. Further down that line, I hear from a lot of people who are having serious problems following the incapacitation or death of a key wage earner.

What’s the solution? Surprisingly, it’s not that hard to protect yourself against both of these events. A nice healthy emergency fund helps with the short term of either scenario, and a solid life insurance policy and a long term disability insurance policy will take care of the needs in each situation. If you’re young and in reasonable health, both types of policies can be quite cheap and they protect you against any such disaster. A long term care policy (one that covers the costs associated with your care if you require significant medical and personal care to survive) can also be useful.

Five dollars by bethography - melting mama on Flickr!Children are kept away from money concepts.
Many children (even through the teen years) have only a minimal understanding of money. They view it as merely a way to get stuff they want, not as a way to translate your hard work into a home, food on the table, clothing, electricity, future plans, and a few pleasures.

Instead, many children get an allowance that isn’t based on any effort and are allowed to spend it entirely on their wants. In this situation, the money has little meaning, and it’s made even worse when it’s supplemented by parents who step in with more money all the time.

What’s the solution? Have your children earn money in exchange for tasks done, and eventually build them towards small-scale entrepreneurship, like in the book Young Bucks. When they do earn money, have them set aside some for giving to others and for long-term savings goals so that they understand the usefulness of saving the money.

There is a pervasive anti-frugality pro-consumerism attitude.
Many people find themselves eschewing frugality. They buy heavily into the idea that “you only live once” and that “settling” for the best buy or the least expensive option is foolish. People who believe in this often are put under peer pressure to spend and often put pressure on others to do the same – you can’t live cheap if you’re going to be one of the boys, right? You gotta have all the toys.

I used to do this all the time. I’d buy expensive golf clubs and gadgets and always had a strong collection of Magic: the Gathering cards. Living cheap? Come on … that was for losers. What a fool I was.

What’s the solution? If you’re constantly bombarded with the sense that you need to spend money to fit in with a social group, find another social group. Engage in activities that are personally appealing to you that don’t revolve around spending money and seek others who are interested in those things. If you find you need to spend to feel good about yourself, seek out low-cost alternatives – hit the library if you’re a book or music nut, for example. You may also want to seek some degree of counseling if your self-worth has actually become tied to the stuff that you have.

Employee benefits aren’t well understood or utilized.
Most employers offer a lot of nice benefits that are largely undiscovered – or they’re underutilized by the employees. At my previous job, one thing I was quite good at was discovering employee benefits that we were entitled to – and my coworkers were often amazed at the stuff I found. Free sports tickets. Free car usage. Free prescription benefits and medical reimbursement accounts. Free meals. Free lectures. Free books and reading materials. Free investment advice and counseling. All you have to do is look.

What’s the solution? Read through your employee handbook and know the benefits available to you. Pay attention to emails and memos from human resources, as they often let you know about benefits. If you’re not sure about something, ask for help. And don’t hesitate to sign up for stuff – it’s there for you.

Major purchases are financed by debt, not by advance saving, and are often bought impulsively without research.
Not long ago, I watched a friend purchase a car. They needed to replace their old college-era Honda, so they just watched a couple of TV commercials, went to one local dealership less than a week later, and came home with a vehicle (and a hefty debt as well). He’d known that he needed a car for a while, but there was no advance planning – when he decided to do it, he just went and did it.

The end result? A poor impulsive car choice that doesn’t excel in reliability or gas mileage and a huge amount of debt. All it would take is a tiny bit of advance planning and an hour or two at the library and you’ll get a reliable car with good gas mileage, the car you actually want, and you’ll have a nice down payment in hand – and thus a better loan, too.

What’s the solution? If you know you’re going to be buying a car in the near future (three years or less), start making payments now by putting that money each month into a savings account. Then, as the time gets closer, figure out what you actually need and research those cars at the library or online. Find a model that fits your needs and wants the best and is reliable and has good gas mileage, then know what the car should cost – you can do this with an hour or two at the library. Then walk in there, buy the car with a large down payment or outright cash, and you’ve suddenly got a great car for a very nice price. You can apply the same exact logic to other purchases – appliances and home purchases reward advance saving and research.

Investments (particularly retirement) aren’t diversified.
A final concern that I often hear is that people are utterly panicked by the downturn in the stock market and are watching their retirement savings lose 20-25% of their value over the last year. This is especially true for people who are reaching retirement age – losing 25% of your retirement in the years just before retirement means that you’re simply going to be working for a while longer.

For younger folks like myself, it’s not quite as worrisome. My Roth IRA won’t be available for withdrawals for thirty years, after all. But even for me, it’s important to not have every egg in one basket – I invest in broad-based index funds that essentially have a few pennies in thousands of different stocks at once, so that the failure of one company won’t cause me to drown.

What’s the solution? Diversify, especially as you get closer to retirement. If you don’t know what you’re doing, put your money in a “target retirement” option that’s close to your retirement date so that they can auto-diversify for you. Do not hold more than 20% of your retirement savings in a single stock – I’d be nervous holding more than 10%.

Loading Disqus Comments ...
Loading Facebook Comments ...
  1. My wife and I keep our own finances and have a shared checking account that we contribute to in order to pay mortgage and utilities etc. This has worked fantastically, but she is also responsible for her own retirement savings – of which she has little.
    She has been a great saver as of late, but she has not put any money aside specifically for retirement (outside of her company pension).
    We also need to develop a new budget now that we have a baby in the house. Our daughter is 5 months old and we have yet to develop a “firm” budget since her birth.
    We are still reaching our savings and investing goals, but a solid budget is still required to make sure we reach all of our short and long-term goals.

  2. Eric C says:

    Trent, I was listening to the radio the other day and the quarterback for the New Orleans Saints (Drew Brees) was talking about this Web site the NFL runs called financialfootball.com – it’s a site that preaches financial literacy, and they also have a football themed game that children of different ages can use to learn about it. Seems like an interesting site, especially for free – when you have millionaires from the NFL reaching out this way, it’s always a good thing.

  3. jim says:

    The one that makes me absolutely bonkers (oh yeah, I used bonkers in a sentence) is the “anti-frugality pro-consumerism attitude” some people have. It’s like your ability to spend is tied to your worth as a person and it’s a ridiculous notion that people who are frugal are somehow worse than people who spend lavishly.

  4. ekc says:

    I have a question about the financing major purchases with debt part. When we are about to make a major purchase (over the past year, a bed, a new fridge and washer/dryer), my fiancee and I usually take out a new credit card that is 0% for between 12 and 18 months, and put the purchase on that. Then we just work out how much we need to put away in an account each month to pay off that card when it’s due and pay the monthly minimum payment until then. If we need to put something else on the card, we adjust our savings for payoff accordingly. We do this even though we have a healthy emergency fund, just because we want to be able to earn the interest on that money as long as possible. I don’t really see a drawback, other than having that bill looming in the distance (which admittedly sometimes makes us want to pay it off early if we can, but we usually hold out) since most of the time when we make a purchase like that it’s because something broke down unexpectedly. I was wondering what your thoughts on this practice were.

  5. See My Money says:

    While I make sure my wife knows what is going on with our finances, I handle everything. I could also do a better job of making sure she knows what to do if I were ever unable to continue doing everything. Additionally, nearly all of our benefits come from my wife’s employer, so it is like pulling teeth trying to get her to be educated about these things or to contact people for information or to make changes.

  6. Michael says:

    I have a mistake that people combine with mistake 12. I have read this in repeated articles about the financial crisis. Basically, people buy houses close to retirement, with either adjustable rate or variable rate mortgages and then can no longer keep up with the payments. It goes with the pro-consumerism attitude, people wanted houses to live nicer even though they could not afford them.

  7. guinness416 says:

    As the CFO of my family, there’s no way I’d put my husband on a “spending allowance” or put one on myself for that matter. It seems pretty unnecessary. We each transfer a goodly % into savings/investments each payday, and we each cover the bills we’ve agreed to cover. After that I couldn’t care less how much he spends or what on.

  8. Ryan McLean says:

    I am about to get married so I understand how important it is that partners share their personal and wealth goals with each other. In a partnership you both need to work hard so the other can achieve their dreams. If only one is achieving their dreams then we have a problem.

  9. A Dawn says:

    Great post. One thing I would like to mention is that not all family members may be interested in having financial meetings. I have seen members who have no interest in discussing and participating in anything related to money and spending.
    A Dawn Journal

  10. Oh man, #2 took us forever to get right. But boy, once we did, things got so much better. I wish I’d learned that lesson long, long ago.

  11. Trent,
    First off let me say great article!
    I can relate on point number 5. I gave my oldest brother $5,000 so he could save himself from bankruptcy. I didn’t think I would get the money back even though he had promised me. It took me 4 long hard years to get that money back. My advice if you plan on loaning to family members be prepared to wait a long time to get it back if you are lucky.
    My policy on lending to family is “I don’t.”

  12. doctor S says:

    Wow all these points are right on point! I think the biggest ones I commit are living paycheck to paycheck and the whole “You only live once” ideology. I could do a much better job of budgeting and planning to prevent living paycheck to paycheck. I do have an automatic savings plan that deducts money straight into my ING but I know I could do better. After my second offense, I am young and in that mindset of trying to live life up to the fullest but I really need to scale back at times and put things in perspective. I am 25, trying to buy a house, and potentially get married with the next 2 years, I need to get my act together and I think I have made appropriate changes over the last year to make it all happen! Great post!

  13. Todd A says:

    Great list. Unfortunately, I see myself on there at least a couple of times, so, I have more work to do.

    Thanks !

  14. caryn verell says:

    i see myself in your list about six years ago…and i am a very different person today…thank God! using common sense, frugal living, and getting out of debt makes me feel a whole lot better about the crisis this country is going through right now. i can survive a depression-even if i lose my job…and i am not a wealthy nor “middle class” income earner.

  15. Rob in Madrid says:

    Took me a long time to understand why inspite of earning good money we could never get ahead. I finally realised that our biggest mistake was to budget for payments and not for savings!

    Last summer when I new we had massive bills coming in I put in a huge effort to save money and paid for everything out of savings.

    We even had our first ever CC free vacation!

    Today we run a monthly surplus in the budget.

    thank you trent and all you other bloggers out there who helped me turn the financial corner

  16. Writers Coin says:

    I always wonder about these kinds of posts Trent, are the real people who need this advice out there looking for it? Will they ever read this post? I get the feeling that this kind of stuff is only reaching people who already have an inkling about it. But I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong.

  17. Penny Squeaker says:


    This is a great article!!!! Very detailed & much needed to all in this country. Especially w/all the financial issues Americans are facing.

  18. I know of many writers and commenters that are fond of splitting expenses between the man and woman.
    I can’t disagree more with this proposition. Tyler’s comment above is exactly why. My future wife would never properly save for retirement nor would she buy a resonable car without my help. Just like my future wife makes sure I enjoy the money I have.
    To me, regardless of whomever is working at any given time (one or both), WE make the money and WE spend the money. Otherwise there is a protectionism aspect that can only drive a wedge. Its all dandy while you’re both working, but I don’t see how it could if one stops.
    Its only my opinion, so if someone could tell me how it could work in a one income family, I’d love to know.

  19. Lots of good points here. I myself have been guilty in the past of not paying close enough attention to my spending on non-essential items. Thankfully, I’ve reined that in over the past few years.

  20. Kevin says:

    Wow, I was guilty of several of these just 5 years ago, but today the number is -0-. Of course, a lot of that change comes from a failed marriage and my current spouse who shares many of the same qualities towards money I do.

    The last one we had to get over was giving family a loan and finally coming to the realization we probably wouldn’t ever see that back. But it wasn’t a huge amount for us so it wasn’t that terrible.

  21. Someone says:

    @weakonomist: “so if someone could tell me how it could work in a one income family, I’d love to know.”

    Separate finances work for my partner and I, even though only I have a paycheck. I think the key is:

    1. Having an JOINTLY worked out and AGREED upon budget covering shared bills, emergency savings (and what constitutes “emergency”), retirement, joint purchases, etc.

    2. Each person having an EQUAL amount of money that they have complete control over (to save or spend as they see fit) outside the aforementioned budget, regardless of who earns more.

    If we both worked, then the budget would include an agreement between each of us about how much we each put into retirement, and how much we each contribute to joint expenses, in such a way that we each had the same amount left over to do with as we saw fit.

    (Though I agree that separate finances doesn’t work if the one with more money has more freedom/control, or if the one who declines to contribute to a retirement fund thus has more spending/fun-money.)

  22. Thomas says:

    An important aspect of investing that I feel wasn’t really spelled out was diversification not only in your asset class (ie making sure your not all in one stock or just a few, but rather many different stocks), but diversification by proper asset allocation. It’s important to make sure you are in the proper mix of stocks, bonds, and cash for your goals, risk tolerance, and time frame. Not only should you make sure your stock portfolio won’t be devastated by the failure of one or two companies, but you should make sure your portfolio won’t be devastated by a downturn in the stock market in general, ESPECIALLY if you are nearing retirement.

    I work in the financial industry, and I can’t tell you how many clients I speak with on a daily basis who are very close to retirement or are already retired and are 100% in the stock market and are now panicking because their portfolios are tanking. I don’t care how diversified among different stocks you are, if you have less than 10-15 years to retirement you should start incorporating some bonds and fixed income products into your portfolio, and should only be weighted more heavily towards bonds and cash as you get closer to retirement. THAT is why target-date funds are appropriate for a lot of people- not only do they diversify the stock portion of the portfolio, but they also make sure people are in the proper overall asset allocation for their time frame.

  23. weew says:

    lol @ Magic Cards

    I think that was my greatest expenditure during my early to mid teen years.

  24. I am somewhat surprised this article didn’t get more comments because I think it makes a lot of sense. The one that really stood out to me was”
    Partners don’t talk about their shared goals.” It is hard to live life and be on the same page if you and your partner both have different goals with your lives.

  25. ama says:

    Very good article! Solid advice and good reading suggestions on the side.

  26. Sara says:

    On several occasions I have found offers/vouchers to spend X using Y credit card/store to get Z back. The most recent I used this week, an offer running July to September giving cash back on a commonly used credit card for spending an amount not excessive for the store. Judging by the need for two supervisors and a manager to debate the processing of the voucher I would say the response, like the other offers I’ve utilised, was not overwhelming.

  27. Gates VP says:

    Man, this is a like a week’s worth of posts all bundled into one. You could’ve done / day :)

    I have one nit to pick, but I think it’s actually a big deal: It’s a disaster if their car breaks down or they lose their job – immediate panic mode.

    You talk about having an emergency fund, but I’m going to level with you: car break downs, job losses, glasses replacements, these are eventualities not emergencies.

    I think that the terminology here is really important. If you own a car it will break down, likely at an inconvenient time (when is it really convenient?). It’s nice to think of this as an “emergency”, but it’s really not, it was going to happen at some point.

    Maybe it’s time to think of a “cash flow buffer” instead of an “emergency fund”. If you own a car today and you’re not putting aside money for repairs (or a down payment on the next one), why not? Do you have cash in the bank to cover the car’s deductible? If you own a home similar questions apply.

    Many people are often completely blindsided by unexpected expenses.

    From what I see with most people, the problem isn’t lack of a “cash flow buffer” and it’s not “being blindsided”. The problem stems from the ignorance of the inevitable.

  28. Believe it or not many of these issues can be solved simply by creating a family budget, something with what appears to be way too many bank accounts and a little bit more automation than what most of us would be used to.

    I’ve actually posted something on the subject: http://thankfulforfools.blogspot.com/2008/09/joint-budgeting-for-fools.html

    What it all really means is that in each primary bank account anything that’s left belongs to yourself. You each have your own savings for anything that wouldn’t fall into the realm of “family purchases,” which I tend to think includes RRSP contributions, as well as gift purchases for the other.

    And then any monthly bills, groceries, etc, come out of the joint account. With a joint savings for an emergency fund.

    And it only goes deeper.

    The more automation the better. Once you treat it as though it’s out of your hands, your personal finances will finally truly be in your hands.

    Thankful For Fools

  29. threadbndr says:

    I agree with “Gates VP” – I classify those inevitable expenses as “escrow” expenses. They are coming, just like your property taxes, the yearly insurance bill, etc. Now some of them you can predict (with in a year, I will need tires) and some you can’t (the hail storm that required me to pay out my insurance deductible, for example).

    How I handle these is to have a seperate (high yeild savings) account for these funds to isolate them from the month to month expenditures. I have a regular budget item where I transfer funds from the checking to that savings. ING is nice because of the sub account feature, you can keep your allocations seperate, and still transfer funds between them and back to the checking. For the ones like property tax where I’ll need the money within 6 months, I just put those funds in the account linked to my checking.

    If I don’t need the escrow funds, they just keep adding up, because sooner or later that ‘cash flow’ will need ‘buffering’ LOL.

  30. Copywriters Needed- No Experience Required- $200/hr says:

    Yeah…it does take some time to get good money managing skills. It is soo hard when you are trying to keep up with the cost of everything today such as gas, etc. But people are so programmed to believe that the more you have the more you should want. It is an endless circle. Most people is set on being something their not, which is the reason they choose to live outside of their means. Good post.

  31. Great post. I think one of the biggest issues that people have is that of peer pressure. The anti-frugality senitment that exists. A lot people have an instant gratification problem that leads them into alsorts of financial stife.

    Sure you may get hit by a bus tomorrow but the chances are that you won’t. Given that the pro-consumerism attitude is everywhere with banks and lending institutions giving people the okay to continue spending. Is it any wonder we face the economic peoblems that we do?

    Its almost as if we all simply took leave of our senses and joined a crazy spending party. And boy do we have some hangover now.

  32. Ron says:

    Great article. Most people have not been taught how to be financialy responsible. When people buy thier home, they don’t really know that the mortgage company structures the loan so that it is heavyily front end loaded with interest. The banks know that the average home owner moves or refinances every 5-7 years so those years are very heavy loaded with interest.So in that case the average home owner never pays off thier home. we are brainwashed into thinking that if we can make that monthly payment every thing will be alright. Besides they can always deduct the interest on the income tax. But if they paid off the mortgage early they would be better off. For every dollar they write off they only get 30 cents back.If they knew they could pay off the mortgage in possibly one-half to one third of the time they could save tens of thousands of dollars in interest and they could invest those mortgage payments into an investment and have a fortune at the end of that original term of thier mortgage. What if there was a guaranteed plan that could help the home owner pay off thier mortgage and all other debt in record time? Wow! There is! http://www.gps2financialfreedom.com

  33. Windmills says:

    Trent, thanks for a great post. I thought this newspaper article makes thoughtful reading: it highlights where money problems bleed from bad habits into psychological disorders. Your post discusses overspending and non-communication, but there are a lot more root causes. For example, my parents grew up in China during the Great Leap Forward and its accompanying famine. For them, the problem is hyper-frugality because no amount of money makes them feel secure *enough*. The family issues described by the article also apply in a number of ways to my extended family.


    “Among the problem financial behaviors identified by psychologists in recent years are: overspending, underspending (a k a Depression mentality), serial borrowing, financial infidelity (“cheating” on a spouse by spending and lying about it), workaholism, financial incest (lording money over relatives to control them), financial enabling (throwing large sums at, say, adult children who then are not motivated to support themselves), hoarding, and plenty of guilt and shame around poverty and wealth.”

  34. Ken says:

    I missed this article back in September but it is chock full of sound financial advice. Every newlywed or fresh college grad could benefit from this post!
    Go Trent!

  35. Tracy says:

    Great post. I am glad you revived these. I think I have pulled each of these errors before I began my reform. Now I blog about the transition…which continues to challenge me, but I am making progress. Love your site.

  36. Dee Kumar says:

    Wow, I agree with so many of the things you say here, and I have been guilty to a few of them myself before I found the light. This year I set my self the challenge of raising a significant amount of money so i never had the stress of waiting for the next paycheck again. I had a six figure income but when the job went and the income stopped, spending still somehow carried on at the same rate. I no longer make that mistake and think wisely about my future and current spending. One less stress to worry about and it has inspired many people on my blog also. I like your work, keep it up!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *