The Dilbert Principles Of Personal Finance – An Infographic!

Dilbert is a simple man, and The Dilbert Principles of Personal Finance appear simple in their one page format.  In respect for that, today’s is a simple post (at 222 words, one of my shortest posts to date!)

It starts with this summary of Dilbert’s Principles of Personal Finance, which I shared on The Retirement Manifesto’s Facebook page last month.  The original principles are published in Scott Adam’s book Dilbert And The Way Of The Weasel, which I encourage you to read. Given that these principles have now been published on various financial blogs and threads, I trust Dilbert will be ok with me sharing them with you here.  If not, I’ll cite this as my public domain source to stay out of jail!  🙂  

The Dilbert principles are powerful, and deserve a presentation worthy of the such significant work (simpler is harder, remember?). Therefore, for today’s post I’ve undertaken my SECOND infographic!!  (My first infographic was The Bucket Strategy for Retirement, which was a big hit with my readers interested in how to turn their investments into a retirement paycheck!)

This post, therefore, ends with the following infographic which I built to promote the Dilbert Principles of Personal Finance.

The Dilbert Principles of Personal Finance

Take some time to read each of Dilbert’s principles, and attempt to apply them in your own life!

For the comments:  Which of these principles most resonates with you?  Anything missing?


  1. Hey, Fritz. Very nice infogragh. You definitely got an artistic eye. Fund your 401(k) to the max is the Dilbert principle that resonates most. If you can do that, you’ll not only become a millionaire, you’ll also likely have the rest of your financial house in order. After all, how many 401(k) maximizers don’t have an emergency fund?

    1. The Groovies, in with the first comment! (Hey, you’re supposed to be retired, why are you reading blogs at 6:30 am??!!). I agree that the 401(k) is a critical component of personal finance, especially in this “new” pensionless era. If you don’t save there, you’re not in good shape.

      1. Haha! Caught me on a good day, my friend. I just woke up early today and couldn’t get back to sleep. So rather than put on the television, I decided to see what my favorite blogger was up to. And I wasn’t disappointed. Oh, BTW, I think Linda the Frugal Turtle is on to something. How about a Far Side or Calvin and Hobbes themed infograph? I think you could do a lot of damage with those comic strips.

        1. Your favorite blogger! Wow, what a suck up! (BTW, thanks for the compliment on the Infographic, they’re fun, but take a bit of time. I like the idea of a “Comic Series”, I wonder what Calvin’s thoughts are on Personal Finance!!). Go back to bed now, I think it’s time for your nap.

          1. I suppose Calvin urinates on traditional advisors or complex investment portfolios/asset allocations.

            Nice post. Getting the financial house in order is quite important. Particularly term life insurance if your family depends on your income. As a dad that is my number one recommendation.

  2. Solid advice, although I will say that a 70-30 portfolio is a bit conservative for most people accumulating wealth. Also, while index funds are great, there are some actively managed funds with very good track records. Dodge & Cox (DODGX) is one. MAPTX is another good one for international. The expense ratio is a little higher but it outperforms its benchmark more than enough to make up for this.

    So while this is overall good advice for someone just starting out, I would caution against saying all of one thing is bad or all of another is good.

    1. Sound advice (and the infographic is great)! Like GFY, while I’m in my wealth accumulation phase I’m nearly 100% in stocks – though I do stick with index funds.

      My husband and I don’t yet have wills but that along with an advanced directive is something I’m hoping to tackle soon. Since we don’t have kids we haven’t felt a stress sense of urgency but that is no excuse!

    2. I agree there can always be “tweaks” for individual circumstances, and folks will always debate the specifics. I tend to agree that 70-30 is a bit conservative for a younger investor, although in my case (~1 year away from retirement) some would argue it’s too aggressive. It all depends on the individual circumstance, but the general guidelines are sound. Same with index vs. active, folks will debate that one for eternity! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. I like it all, except don’t buy stocks. All I have is stocks (no bonds) I reinvest the dividends and doing very well.

    1. Lucy, first comment I’ve seen from you, thanks for taking the time!! If you’re young, there’s nothing wrong with 100% stocks. Just make sure you have the stomach for the 30%+ downturn that’s coming. It will happen. As long as you don’t sell in panic, there’s nothing wrong with 100% stocks if you don’t need the money for 10+ years.

  4. I do the majority of these. I don’t have a will or life insurance. I think I would if I was married or had kids, although I probably should have a will either way.

    Dilbert was one of my favorite comic strips. Along with Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side.

  5. An emergency fund is crucial for me. I feel much better when I look at my bank statement and see 10,000 vs. 1,000. Maybe I’m a little bit up tight, but I don’t want to worry about it when I go to sleep!

    Do you agree with the order? Should Emergency fund go before funding retirement accounts?

    Thanks for sharing Fritz.

    1. Erik, you’re not uptight at all, I also much prefer a $10k balance vs. $1k! As for “Emergency Fund” before “Retirement”, here’s how I think about it: I think EVERYONE should strive to get a one month emergency fund as the first step. Then, and only then, balance funding both the Retirement and Emergency until a 6 month emergency fund is built.

  6. Very sound advice! Probably better than what you’ll get from Wally or the Pointy-Hair boss. Amazing how 80-90% of success is just in those very simple principles (Pareto Principle at work, again!) and the rest is just adding a few tenth of % of return here and there.
    Cheers and Happy Tuesday!

    1. Yes, I’m trying to imagine what Pointy-Hair Boss would recommend. Probably something that he overheard a couple of dudes discussing at a BBQ over the weekend, something that this guy Bernard M. had been doing to help people get rich? Hehehe

  7. I’m still a fan of having some precious metals with all of the “quantitative easing” that has been going on the past few years. Gold in 2000 – $270. Today $1200. Let’s not forget what happened to Japan.

  8. I love the line, “If any of this confuses you…” I’m a big fan of fee based planners. Maybe I just worked in commissioned sales for too long to trust commissioned sales people who pretend they aren’t.

  9. I love info graphics. great advice. I don’t think people appreciate how much a difference it can make to your mental well being by having 6 months of expenses in a savings account. Such peace of mind. To me, it all starts there.

  10. I remember reading this a while ago, and it’s so true. A similar concept was discussed in “The Index Card” book. Personal Finance is very simple when you break it down – it’s the execution and staying with it through life’s twists and turns that gets tricky.

  11. Great job. I am a big fan of Scott Adams. His Dilbert comics are great, but so are his books that don’t have comics in them. “Dilbert and the Way of the Weasel” is good, but I really loved “How to Fail at Just About Everything and Still Win Big.” If you haven’t read that, you should. I wrote a blog post about “How to Fail” and Scott Adams found it, read it, and sent me an email saying he enjoyed it. Apparently he keeps up on things, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he responded to you. I read about Scott Adam’s one page financial plan in a book by Vanguard founder John Bogle. I thought Bogle quoting Dilbert was pretty funny, but the advice is definitely sound. Anyway, great job. If you are interested, here is a link to the post I wrote about about Dilbert:

    1. Brent, I’m a big fan of your blog (BTW, how many Rockstar Awards can one guy win? Gees, you’re on there every week! Congrats!), but hadn’t seen your Dilbert article, will definitely read through it.

      I haven’t heard from Scott yet, interesting to hear he found yours. That would be a thrill, and I’d love to hear from him!! Thanks for the comment, and for paying a visit to my site!

  12. A very motivating ending of the info graphic… That should motivate people!

    For now, I do not have a will – I think the legal system is sufficient for now for us in Belgium.

    I have no personal term insurance. I have one via my employer and one on the mortgage. I need to think about this further.

  13. Great book, also very sensible investment advice that should work for 99.9 percent of the population. The 70 -30 allocation is the only one that might differ by person based on risk tolerance. However I’m convinced the average investor would be fine with that ratio.

  14. Good one Fritz. Can’t argue with anything here except one: Individual stocks aren’t necessarily bad once you learn the principles of valuation. A portfolio of diversified dividend paying stocks can actually be cheaper to own than an index fund. I also like indexing in some cases but am also a DGI investor. My investing series compares both strategies:

  15. All great points. 401k match is important. Not only are you getting free money but you are taking advantage of the tax benefits. Wealth grows faster when it has some tax protection and then saves you more down the line when it is pulled out at a lower tax bracket. And it never hurts to have a nice emergency fund to help you sleep at night in case something happens. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Yeap- about sums it up- quite simple when you see it all in one page- if we could only take the emotion out of it – how great that would be.
    Loved the info graphic Fritz! Thanks for putting it together, this one is going on my wall!

  17. I don’t have a life insurance policy, but I don’t have a family to support. 🙂 I completed my will earlier this year. My dad had a health scare (he is doing very well now *whew*), plus a coworker and a former coworker both passed away suddenly before Christmas. There is a program through my work that gets you a free 30 min consult with a lawyer and you can meet with a few to find a fit. Then there was 20% off if you used their services. For how much the total was, I went for the $5 to file it with the county. A few people asked if I could have just done something online, but with my relatives living in other states, and the chance that my parents leave me an inheritance I want to make sure things are by the book. Mom & Dad both threaten to live nice long lives and spend it all, which I would prefer to money. They are both frugal so I suspect there might be something left.

    The info graphic is excellent! Keep up the great work!

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