Is PF Getting Trendy?

360px-Pets.com_sockpuppetRecently I’ve begun to notice something a bit unusual. An interest in personal finance seems to be becoming more common, and dare I say, trendy.  It’s not that interests in personal and family finances have never been popular. After all, I can remember several times in the recent past when personal finance was one fad of the time. Like these…

  • Tech Boom – “I AM AN INVESTING GENIUS! Everyone should bow to my prowess… Oh wait, a sock puppet representative is not a substitute for positive net income? It was nice knowing you, pets.com!”
  • Housing Boom – “I AM A HOUSE FLIPPING GENIUS! Everyone should bow to my prowess… Wait. What do you mean no one wants to buy this house for $100K more than I just paid 3 months ago?”
  • The Great Recession – “I AM A COUPON CLIPPING GENIUS! Everyone should bow to my prowess… Sure I get smelly dumpster diving for illicit coupon stashes, but I’ve got enough toothpaste in the cupboard that we won’t need to buy any before my unborn child goes off to college! Wait… toothpaste expires? Well, crap.”

At least for us, this time it’s starting to feel a little different.

A Bit More Balance To The PF Trend…

FWIW, I am pretty chill about talking about personal finances with most of our IRL friends.

Good friends might notice if we’re out Mr PoP and paying a restaurant tab Mr PoP might turn to me and hold out his credit cards saying, “Which one are we using today?” And I’ll somewhat sheepishly say, “This one since it’s got a 5% reward this month.”

We’ll commiserate with others about how expensive home repairs can be, even when you DIY, but for the most part, our energy and focus on personal finance gets released here on our blog, so we keep those interests mostly on the DL with our “IRL friends” figuring they don’t really care about the nitty gritty of our financial lives and musings the way that “internet friends” seem to.

But it started to seem a little different when a friend wanted to talk about where to keep short term savings this spring. He knew we were accumulating a sizable pile of cash in anticipation of paying Mr PoP’s parents back the $50K we borrowed from them, and my friend was accumulating a similar (if not even bigger) pile of cash as a down payment on a house. The interest in finances from friends seemed to accelerate into the summer.

In the course of just a few weeks several different friends asked me about what Mr PoP and I use to manage our finances since they were at a point where they wanted better coordination with their spouse (or soon to be spouse) when it came to spending and managing their savings goals.

But New Year’s Is When It Started to Get Really Noticeable

On Facebook we saw messages from old friends like these:

“It’s New Year’s Eve… and I just put together a retrospective spreadsheet of our 2013 finances”

“YNAB is just $15 today. We use this program to budget our expenses. In 14 months we were able to finish paying off significant student loans and buy a house… Close family and friends are probably sick of hearing about our budgeting, but it’s such a relief to know we are secure and will be able to easily weather unexpected expenses”

“2014 is going to be the year my student loans are finally gone. Can’t say I’ll miss Sally Mae.”

Maybe I’m just drawn to their comments because of our own interest in personal finance. But maybe, there’s also a chance that personal finance – in a non-gimmicky way – is actually starting to be “cool”. And if that’s the case, maybe Mr PoP and I are finally on the leading edge of a trend – something that hasn’t really happened much in our lifetimes.

 

What do you think? Has non-gimmicky personal finance grown in popularity? Or is it all in our imagination?

89 comments to Is PF Getting Trendy?

  • I am a PF nerd from way back. I have never been trendy. Does this mean I am suddenly one of the trendy people? Will I soon be asked to sit at the cool table in the lunch room?

    I hate when things get trendy because it just wrecks them.
    jane savers @ solving the money puzzle recently posted..Winter Blues And Financial BlahsMy Profile

  • Does IRL mean “in real-life?” If so, that’s pretty funny.

    Yeah, I think that a lot of people get all serious about their finances around the first of the year. Even my brother’s family, who makes over 200K, signed up for Dave Ramsey classes. WTH!

    I don’t talk about personal finance to my friends because none of them are interested in it. That’s why I’m glad for the blogosphere and all of my frugal online friends! =)

  • I’d love to see PF getting beyond trendy to actual life. I talk about money with some people — both our families are pretty fiscally responsible. My brother in law finally got a decent job after many years (and has three small kids), so I’ve been talking with his wife about how to start saving money. At least they’re mostly out of debt.

    Sometimes I have friends talk to me about money. I don’t brag about our money, but I don’t refuse to talk either. When I celebrated paying off our student loans, lots of people had questions then.
    Leah recently posted..PineappleMy Profile

    • I think paying off student loans is a great opener for talking about this kind of stuff since most people have student loans at some point and are insanely glad to be done with them!

  • I can see your point on PF blogs.

    While I have been a finance nerd before the average person could trade stocks online and would I compete in Excel Model building competitions. I have enjoyed following a couple of PF blogs because they go into a little more detail about things that I haven’t thought about yet (or take a different perspective on a common problem).

    The blogs that I don’t follow are the ones that talk endlessly about daily latte costs, their “neato” budget and how downsizing from a quad-cab pick-up to a Tahoe saved them money.

    I have now begun following and searching for more of the niche blogs/websites that discuss options strategies, tax strategies, complex dividend portfolio strategies and other financial topics as they relate to the stage I am at with my personal finances.

    For what it is worth, even blogs like Mr MM are getting pretty redundant.
    Brian recently posted..Copper Peak Ski Flying – 2014 Winter Exhibition Delay – Woo Hoo!My Profile

    • I do try to seek out blogs that are blogs with a bit of PF or bloggers who are fiscally responsible. For me, I’m pretty good with money, and I’ll search out articles for investing and the like when needed. But I like to hear about people living their every day lives while being fiscally responsible.
      Leah recently posted..Car sharingMy Profile

    • There definitely seem to be so many more personal finance blogs than when we first started blogging in 2012. Hopefully that means that there’s one there that can scratch just about anyone’s itch.

    • Excel modeling competitions? I think those were the next lunch table down from my D&D group! We’re worried that this blog will get redundant as well; we have a 5 year plan in place and will likely be just executing on that.
      Mr PoP recently posted..Is PF Getting Trendy?My Profile

  • I do think there are quite a few people that are realizing that personal finance is important, but I think we are still incredibly outnumbered by those that don’t.
    Grayson @ Debt Roundup recently posted..If You Don’t Change Your Mentality, You Will Never Be Debt FreeMy Profile

  • I honestly don’t think PF is getting trendy. I can trick myself into thinking it is because of reading PF blogs and deciding that these blogs represent the norm, but the truth is that when I think about my friends and family…I’m the only one who is interested in talking about personal finance!
    Becky @ RunFunDone recently posted..Dream Big, Be Logical: Why 27%My Profile

    • Is it that your friends and family are in good financial shape but don’t find it interesting, or that they have buried their heads in the sand over potential problems?

      • Ha! Well, most just think I’m crazy. I do have a few friends who will quietly ask me for financial advice, or tell me their dirty little financial secrets, since they know I care, but it’s always one-on-one. It’s certainly not something that they want to share with a lot of people…not a trend in my circle of friends! I’d hate to say that they’ve “buried their heads in the sand,” as they’re doing their best but living in a culture that doesn’t really teach them what the true “best” is!
        Becky @ RunFunDone recently posted..And Lazy is Winning!My Profile

  • I hadn’t noticed the trend, but maybe it’s because I’m not looking. Is it possible you might be having an influence on your circle of friends?
    Done by Forty recently posted..Did Americans Really Overpay by $1B at Tax Time?My Profile

  • Mama PoP

    I think it might just be age and maturity. Since many of Mr. & Mrs. PoP’s friends have reached an age and stage in their career when they aren’t living from paycheck to paycheck, I think it is natural for them to begin trying to figure out what they need to do with their money. Mr. & Mrs. PoP were ahead of their friends in this area, but heck, they were the first of their group to get married, too!

  • I agree with Becky and Done by Forty. I don’t think that there is a sudden influx (sorry to burst your bubble! lol). But I do believe you’ve probably been the first couple to come to your friends’ minds when thinking about money. If they have any inkling of what you’re doing and what you’re passionate about, it’s not surprising if they’re coming to you for recommendations. And yes, I’m sure your eyes are drawn to certain status relating to PF. But – if you are right, and there isa new trend, I think that would be great! In a recession I think it’s even more important to know how to handle your PF because money can be hard to come by for some people. Personally, I’ve just started a dance company because I can’t find more than just a part-time job. I have no idea how to manage a small business, but I assure you I’m going to learn along the way! lol
    Sharon recently posted..Death to New Year’s Resolutions and How to Set GoalsMy Profile

  • I downloaded an app called Wallaby and it tells me which credit card to use at a particular establishment – pretty cool. You tell it if the place takes Amex/Visa/MasterCard or other people do and it remembers and then it even knows about quarterly categories and such! It’s pretty cool. I don’t use it that often, but I’ve been playing around with it occasionally.

    I think that Mama PoP’s comment makes a lot of sense.
    Leigh recently posted..2013 In ReviewMy Profile

    • Mama PoP

      I’m definitely going to try Wallaby – thanks for the tip! I really like to maximize our rewards but sometimes it gets to feel like a lot of work!

  • I hope it’s not just a passing fad, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all. Around the new year is always hard to gauge how much something is really going to stick since there’s so many resolutions made and people are gung ho for the first month. It’s not like a gym can base their membership usage stats based off the first 2 weeks of a new year, there’s no way that’s going to keep up. PF is another one of those. I’d love to see it stick around as it never hurts to be more in control of your money.
    JC @ Passive-Income-Pursuit recently posted..5 Tips for a Better RetirementMy Profile

  • Things are just beginning to look up for most people. In the past, they didn’t have options, so it wasn’t worth their while reading or talking about it. How many people, though, realize that we’re past the halfway point in this economic cycle, and that the next downturn may be upon us much sooner than we expected?

    • Mrs. PoP and I were talking about this last night; we’re ready for another down turn! We were just starting out during the last one, but it provided the foundation for our current wealth. I think we could do some real damage the next time around…dow 6k here we come!
      Mr PoP recently posted..Is PF Getting Trendy?My Profile

  • I totally feel like this! I’m not sure if it’s because more people know I blog about money so they feel comfortable talking to me about it, but it seems like more and more people are talking openly about their finances which is sweet.
    Jordann recently posted..Life After Debt: 2.5 Months InMy Profile

  • When I get a compliment on something, I totally brag more about the deal I got on it than anything else :)
    Stefanie @ thebrokeandbeautifullife recently posted..Find Your BeachMy Profile

    • Mama PoP

      I am loving my new Kindle Fire HDX lots more since I got $80 off! Sorry, I just couldn’t resist bragging – you can see that I am with you all the way on enjoying the deal.

    • Amy K

      Hee! I just discovered that the Talbots by the office is a Talbots Outlet, and my starter to any conversation with female coworkers for the next week was “Did you know that the Talbots in the mall is an OUTLET?!?! I got a new blazer for $18, regularly $200!” I felt a little obnoxious, and a couple already knew it was an outlet, but the others were interested or at least willing to fake excitement for me 😉

      Our dress code is pretty formal, so I’m always on the lookout for deals on suits. Score!

  • I think it is becoming more popular. Ever since I started telling people that I have a pf blog, more and more people around me seem to be interested in becoming better with their finances!
    Michelle recently posted..Following Your Passion Is Not Just LuckMy Profile

    • Thats interesting-very, very few of our friends know about this blog, or what we are doing with PF. When I hear my friends struggling, I don’t want them to know how well I’m doing and make them feel poorly.
      Mr PoP recently posted..Is PF Getting Trendy?My Profile

  • While I would love to see more of those statuses pop up in my FB feed, maybe it’s just that we’re getting older?? More responsibilities and higher salaries and so forth. But I would love, popularity aside, if people would just speak more OPENLY about their finances!
    Emily @ evolvingPF recently posted..Our Best (Pain-Free) Money-Saving MovesMy Profile

  • I haven’t really noticed a spike in PF posts, but my friends and I do talk about investing, mortgages, 529’s for little ones, etc. on a frequent basis… I just assumed it was part of ‘growing up’ but it would be awesome if it’s because PF is really getting out there and becoming popular!
    anna recently posted..Wedding/ Honeymoon – Bridal Shower and Getting Into the DetailsMy Profile

  • Maybe we think it’s trendy because we are involved (by blogging) and drawn to it…like you said about the Facebook posts. I don’t see it really being discussed much in my circles. And I don’t bring it up unless asked…which isn’t often. Maybe I should be more aggressive in putting myself out there.
    Brian @ Luke1428 recently posted..Why I Value the Advantages of a Debit CardMy Profile

    • I struggle with this-some of my friends are in relatively poor financial straights, and I don’t want to alienate them. Honestly, if they wanted any advice, they could get it from thousands of places.
      Mr PoP recently posted..Is PF Getting Trendy?My Profile

  • I’ve also been noticing a lot more fitness/health/diet talk & posts in my social media feeds. The new year is the time when everyone is motivated to make changes for the better in their life, including their finances. I’d hesitate to call it a true trend unless it continues into the summer :)
    The First Million is the Hardest recently posted..What Is Your Money Personality Type?My Profile

    • Haha, ok, its time to get quasi-scientific. I did a google trends search for “credit card debit”-http://www.google.com/trends/explore#q=credit%20card%20debt&cmpt=q sure enough, it spikes in January, right after the holidays and before the new years! On the other hand, you can see a downward trend since 09, so thats positive!
      Mr PoP recently posted..Is PF Getting Trendy?My Profile

  • I think it’s becoming more of an interest for people, based on economy, jobs, etc. People need to be educated on these matters to be successful. I also think a lot of pf blogs have made money, so people want to start their own blogs for that reason, too. I don’t really talk about pf with a lot of people irl because they don’t care. But if someone shows an interest, I’m so happy to nerd out!
    Dear Debt recently posted..Your Self-Worth is Not Your Net WorthMy Profile

    • For the record, this fine piece of internet property makes about 10 bucks a month =) I think that a very small number have made a large sum, a slightly larger group has made a large sum by selling services and advertising, and a large number do it for the cheap thrills.
      Mr PoP recently posted..Is PF Getting Trendy?My Profile

  • You’re brave to let IRL friends and family know about your financial situation. I let my parents and in-laws know because I think parents are owed the peace of mind that their kids are financially sound. But that is more on an income level.

    Otherwise, I keep my mouth shut. I fear people asking me for money [….]
    Elroy recently posted..SE Asia Trip I – ThailandMy Profile

  • My best guess is that maybe it has to do with people getting older. I do have a few friends who ask me money questions now, which I think is a combination of knowing that I care about it and also simply growing up and realizing that maybe life requires some planning. But I still wouldn’t say it’s a huge thing in the circle of people I know.
    Matt Becker recently posted..3 More Unconventional Reasons to Contribute to a Traditional IRAMy Profile

  • Oh, I surely hope so!!! It’s time we all get our heads out of the sand and take advantage of the “trend” to be financially free!
    Laurie @thefrugalfarmer recently posted..25 Ways to Save Money in 2014My Profile

  • Amy K

    I don’t think it’s getting trendy – I think it’s a combination of New Year’s resolutions and as Mama POP said, the life stage of your circle of friends making it more visible to you.

    That said, I think it’s good to talk about personal finance because it normalizes spending wisely. When I paid off my car early I posted it on Facebook, and got lots of Likes and positive comments. I think I also posted when we refi’d into a lower rate on our mortgage, and I remember several others doing the same.

  • It certainly hasn’t caught on here. I have a meeting with my accountant today, and that’s about as much financial conversation I’ll have with “IRL” people for several months.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..Fevered ObservationsMy Profile

  • Hmmm I’m not sure if it’s getting trendy, or I’m just at that age where people are starting to realize that budgeting/saving/investing are an important part of life. Either way there is definitely more talk of it now than in the past few years.
    This Life On Purpose recently posted..Weekend Blog Love #1My Profile

  • I think its been trendy. Since theres a new blog popping up on twitter almost everyday.
    EL @ Moneywatch101 recently posted..The 1% MovieMy Profile

  • In my circle of friends it seems to be a non-issue. People are happy for me and my journey, but I don’t see anyone on FB talking too much about it. Either things are going really well or their head is buried in the sand. I’m sure there’s a little of both out there. :)
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted..Five Smart Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Tax RefundMy Profile

  • I totally use my blog as a nerdy PF outlet as well. Most of my friends don’t care at all about PF so I spare them my rants. It works well for everyone.
    I think if it is getting trendy, it’s only in a superficial way. I just don’t think even the trendy Americans have the resolve to commit to saving a real amount of money. I mean, our national savings rate is right at 3 or 4%, right?
    Cash Rebel recently posted..Rich people and the capital gains tax rateMy Profile

    • Haha, yeah, I think we let it all out on the blog as well. Savings rate wasn’t always that low, check out the graphs in here-http://www.forbes.com/sites/cfainstitute/2012/02/15/will-america-keep-saving/
      Mr PoP recently posted..Is PF Getting Trendy?My Profile

  • I’m not sure. I still see a lot of people in debt and worrying about money. I think that maybe, with shows coming out about money (extreme cheapskates, till debt do us part, etc) and the scary stats, as well as a recession that has finally seemed to at least somewhat blow over, maybe people are becoming more awake to the issues.
    Tushar @ Everything Finance recently posted..Cheap Date Ideas for Valentine’s DayMy Profile

  • I haven’t noticed anything with friends or at work, and my family has always talked pretty openly about finances (it’s easier because we have a similar viewpoint). But I’m not on Facebook or Twitter, so I’ve missed the chance to see people making PF resolutions like you guys have. Maybe you guys are sending out good PF vibes to the people around you . . :)
    Amanda recently posted..Getting Enough Protein as a VegetarianMy Profile

    • It’s great that your family is so open about it. Was it always that way growing up?

      • In my immediate family, yes. We didn’t have much money growing up and my parents were very clear about what we could afford, saving your money, thinking twice before making a purchase, etc. I’m grateful for it and plan to do the same when I have kids :)
        Amanda recently posted..A Winter WalkMy Profile

  • Finally, we are cool :) . I think it has more to do with your age and where you are in life than 2014. People are 5-10 years out of college, realize they are still stuck at a job that pays less than they’d like, under water in their mortgage, paying off student loans… and want to get the house in order before they welcome kids, or now that the first one is costing them half a pay in daycare.
    Pauline @ Make Money Your Way recently posted..A New Car with a Career MoveMy Profile

  • […] The PoP’s have noticed that PF is getting trendy. […]

  • I think more people are starting to “get real” about their money because there really isn’t much to go around. If we don’t start taking an interest in our financial lives no one else will and to be honest I don’t know anyone who wants to be deep in debt. The more education that gets out there and the people hear and read the better it is. More education for the kids is paramount and hopefully finance will be a popular subject not just something we choose to read if we feel like it.
    Canadian Budget Binder recently posted..Hot ‘n’ Spicy Sausage and Bacon Tomato SoupMy Profile

  • […] PoPs also wrote about the popularity of Personal Finance, as demonstrated by their Floridian peer group… thoughts?  Do you all notice this as well?  […]

  • I have noticed that my friends (well, some of them at least) are starting to be more conscious of their spending.
    Lisa E. @ Lisa Vs. The Loans recently posted..Links Lisa Likes – Being SickMy Profile

  • Hi, Mrs. PoP! First time commenter–eek! Love your blog.

    I’ve definitely noticed a trend. At first, I also chalked it up to just getting older or noticing it more because I’m interested in PF. But not only are there reality shows about money, as someone else mentioned, but a lot of scripted shows also seem to feature characters who struggle to make ends meet (Shameless, Girls, 2 Broke Girls, Breaking Bad, etc). Yeah, back in the day we had Roseanne or Married With Children, but those were anomalies. They were known for being different, for featuring ‘working class’ people. Back then, across the board, TV show characters were all fairly well-to-do. Seinfeld. The Cosby Show. Full House. But these days, it’s the norm for characters to have financial struggles. Then there’s the Macklemore ‘Thrift Shop’ example. I can’t stand that song, but I think it supports the point. In this case, I think art is imitating life. And art makes stuff trendy. Just a thought. Great post!

    • Hi Kristin! I love your posts at Get Rich Slowly =)

      I think you’re right about the shows that seem to feature families struggling financially… Raising Hope always seems to have some sort of underlying financial message in about half of their episodes and I still find it hilarious.

  • I’ve noticed that a lot of my friends and family are becoming more careful with their money as well – and for some reason feel the need to tell me about it. I’ve only been blogging for a few months, but I’ve pretty much been the most financially responsible of my friends and family for years. Despite a sizable school debt – or, well, really, because of it. But now they ask me weird questions like how to set up budgets or even yesterday my mom asked me “have you heard of this Dave Ramsey guy?” (yes, Mom, I’ve heard his name a time or two…)

    Kind of weird. But nice too, I guess.
    Mel @ brokeGIRLrich recently posted..Dual Enrollment Saves Money!My Profile

  • haha, nice. Oddly I had never heard of Dave Ramsey before we started blogging about our finances. =)

  • Well, I would be pretty darn content if this “trendiness” took off. It would have a dampening effect on the economy, which would hurt our household a bit, however in the long run everyone would be much better off.
    We discuss finances, on varying levels, with our friends…but it sort of has to come up, unless I’m pumped about something and sharing it with my work van, etc.
    Anne @ Unique Gifter recently posted..For Men Only: What She Really Wants for Valentine’s DayMy Profile

  • Let’s hope it is becoming popular! That would be awesome if everyone was passionate about getting their financial lives under control. I haven’t seen these statuses, but here’s hoping :)
    Erin @ Grad Money Matters recently posted..Steps To Start Your Own Freelancing BusinessMy Profile

  • I think PF is such a large blog niche because PF blogs are relatively easy to monetize. And there have been several highly visible bloggers who did well enough to quit the day jobs.
    Funny about Money recently posted..A Budget for Retirement: Annual, not Monthly?My Profile

  • Nah, I don’t think it’s getting trendy. I’m friends with many young people with an eye on their finances, but it’s definitely not “cool” to be concerned with money. I was in NY recently and people pay $7 for a slice of pizza like that’s not insane. Being frugal has it’s place, but you’ll never be cool for bragging to friends about being price-conscious.
    Daniel recently posted..What Are You Doing To Improve Yourself?My Profile

  • I have a small group of rather odd friends (engineers :P), and PF seems to be a popular topic of conversation. Especially when it comes to our DIY home projects and other various adventures in frugality.

    I’d just hope that this isn’t the passing kind of trendy and might actually translate to a shift in American consumerism. Although, I suppose if everyone jumped on the frugality bandwagon at once it would put a huge damper on the economy and cause a serious rethinking of investment returns and what FI would mean, hmm…