PFI newsletter: Best personal-finance stories of 2020

Welcome to Personal Finance Insider, a biweekly newsletter that connects you with the stories, strategies,…

Welcome to Personal Finance Insider, a biweekly newsletter that connects you with the stories, strategies, and tips you need to be better with money.

PFI Newsletter Best of 2020 4x3

Alyssa Powell/Business Insider


What a year it’s been. We launched this newsletter in September to deliver money inspiration and guidance straight to your inbox. 

In 2021, we’ll continue to send a new issue twice a month, packed with stories and advice to help you build wealth, no matter where you are on your financial journey.

But first, a recap of 2020: We published more than 2,000 personal-finance stories about everything from retirement and mortgages to investing and savings strategies.

Below are 10 of our most-read stories of the year, written by in-house reporters, talented freelance writers, and even a few financial planners. See you in 2021!

—Tanza Loudenback, Personal Finance Insider correspondent and certified financial planner

10 of our most-read stories of the year

1. Coronavirus stimulus check questions and answers

The pandemic plunged tens of millions of Americans into financial precarity. Stimulus checks became a lifeline for many of our readers, and we created this hub to help them figure out how much they were getting and when.

2. My dad retired comfortably at 54 thanks to a simple savings rule. Now I’m using that same rule to take time off work to raise my kids.

Several of our contributors wrote this year about how their parents, in-laws, uncles, and other relatives’ financial behaviors shaped their own. This story by Katie Oelker was a hit. 

3. 5 ways I’m earning thousands in passive income every year without owning a rental property

Writer Jen Glantz figured out how to create passive income streams that don’t take up a ton of her time (or money) beyond the initial setup.

4. Other landlords may think I’m foolish because I’ve barely raised my tenants’ rent in 10 years, but there are 3 reasons I know I’ve made the right choice

Readers were incredibly interested in real-estate investing this year. This story by writer Holly Johnson bucking a conventional rule struck a chord.

5. 3 things self-made millionaires never do with their money

As ever, self-made millionaires are a fascinating case study. Business Insider reporter Liz Knueven used insights from the bestseller “The Millionaire Next Door” to highlight a few behaviors they avoid.

6. For years banks have asked for 20{a25bda0f8ab6dac90e68079d6f038584ef6ac53f1f4621de3ad526e35cd6c0d6} down on a mortgage, but cash-strapped Americans are buying homes with less

In this story first published pre-pandemic, Knueven asks homebuyers and realtors: Is the 20{a25bda0f8ab6dac90e68079d6f038584ef6ac53f1f4621de3ad526e35cd6c0d6} down payment rule dead?

7. I’m a financial planner, and there are only a few situations where I recommend homeownership to my clients

Financial planner Chloe A. Moore went from renting to owning a home and back again. In this story, she explains why homeownership for most people should be a lifestyle decision, not an investment.

8. I’m a financial planner, and my wealthiest clients have the same 3 habits

After nearly 15 years of helping high-net-worth people manage their money, financial planner Malik S. Lee has identified a few distinct behaviors they share.

9. I used an old savings trick to stash $5,000 in my emergency fund in less than a year, and I’d recommend the strategy to anyone

In a year when emergency funds became a hugely valuable asset, writer Jackie Lam explains how she combined hyper-frugality with a tried-and-true automatic savings method to build hers.

10. I’m an attorney and have $50,000 in my retirement account. My white attorney friend has $1 million in hers — and it’s not because she went to a better school.

In this deeply personal account of systemic racism, writer and lawyer Lynette S. Hoag says she’s living proof of the racial wealth gap.

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