My 5: Gaby Dunn's Best Pieces of Money Advice From Celebs (Exclusive)

Gaby Dunn
Doug Frerichs

The 'Bad With Money' podcast host has some quality advice on dealing with financial frustrations -- just don't listen to some of those 'experts,’ except for Missy Elliott, of course.

Gaby Dunn's fans already know that she's got a take-no-prisoners attitude when it comes to her writing, YouTube videos and comedy, and her podcasts are no exception.

Now in its third season, Dunn started Bad With Money after she realized she needed to take control of her spiraling financial situation, which had left her feeling isolated and confused -- especially because no one seemed to be talking about their own struggles in a relatable way. "I was tired of hiding my shame around money. I didn't feel like I had anyone I could be honest with about this major part of my life," she explains. "I was crying about money all the time. I felt like everyone knew something I didn't and that my money problems were some sort of deep moral or intellectual failing."

The 29-year-old actress-writer has been lauded for bringing a "queer, feminist" point of view to her chats with celebs, journalists, authors and activists on the podcast, and she feels it's important for millennials to know how important it is to save -- even if you have to dig into those savings. Even so, she admits that there's still plenty more to learn when it comes to the confusing world of money, both having it and not, noting that "no one knows everything and hardly anyone knows anything." 


"I'm still confused all the time and I've turned learning about money into my job. Anyone who purports to be an expert or know exactly what you should do is selling something. So, if you feel like you don't know enough about money, welcome to the club," she says.

"You're not a bad person if you're bad with money! You're not a good person if you're good with money! Almost all of this is out of our control and is the fault of a large, purposefully confusing and unfair system," she adds. "Some people got really lucky out the gate. Some people did not. This is not a symbol of anything deeper than that."

Despite knowing that not all money experts are truly experts, there is plenty of advice out there that's worth listening to -- yes, even from celebs. Here's five of Dunn's favorite quotes from stars regarding finances -- and her own thoughts on the matter.

"Get your writing in the world, ideally for the money you deserve because writing is work that deserves compensation." - Roxane Gay to the New York Times, 2017

"Do not be afraid to ask for compensation for your labor! Do not think you have to work for free just because your job is in art or writing or childcare or any field where it's expected people might work for free or for very little pay. Know your value. Do not feel guilty for giving someone your day rate in response to an inquiry or telling a client 'no' on unpaid work or negotiating a higher salary or standing up for yourself in any labor-related way. You're worth it."

"I didn’t realize how difficult it would be coming back. I had six weeks of not working, and then on top of that, I didn't get paid at all for being on the show. Plus, I took out expenses in preparation and then had to pay rent and bills while I was gone. I was definitely pretty broke when I got home." - The Bachelor's Bekah M to Glamour, 2018

"Fame does not equal financial security. Just because your face is all over TV or the internet does not mean you're suddenly wealthy. There are many factors that go into wealth beyond income, ubiquity, optics and glamour. All is not what it seems -- and you still have to pay taxes. Don't blow what you have made and don't think it'll last forever. The real money comes into play when you can turn your 'exposure' into longevity and actual dollar bills."

"Don't you know that a man being rich is like a girl being pretty? You wouldn't marry a girl just because she's pretty, but my goodness, doesn't it help?" - Marilyn Monroe

"This is a silly one and very heteronormative, but I think it's a fun quip. I take it to mean talk to your partner about money before you get serious -- know what their financial situation is and what their spending habits are like. Yes, it's not romantic, but money is the number one reason for divorce, so you have to know if you're financially compatible before it's too late."

"In my neighborhood, there are four black people. Hundreds of houses, four black people. Who are these black people? Well, there’s me, Mary J. Blige, JAY-Z and Eddie Murphy. Only black people in the whole neighborhood. So, let’s break it down: Me, I’m a decent comedian. I’m a’ight. Mary J. Blige, one of the greatest R&B singers to ever walk the Earth. JAY-Z, one of the greatest rappers to ever live. Eddie Murphy, one of the funniest actors to ever, ever do it. Do you know what the white man who lives next door to me does for a living? He’s a f**king dentist! He ain’t the best dentist in the world… he ain’t going to the Dental Hall of Fame… he don’t get plaques for getting rid of plaque. He’s just a yank-your-tooth-out dentist. See, the black man gotta fly to get to somethin’ the white man can walk to!" - Chris Rock from his 2008 HBO special, Kill the Messenger

"Structural inequality through racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, ableism, transphobia and all the rest are responsible for a lot of the stagnant economic mobility in this country. The classic American dream is achievable, but it's not what it used to be, and it's not within reach for all people. We have to help each other and commit to voting people into office who care about these issues."

"Girls, girls, get that cash / If it's 9 to 5 or shaking your a** / Ain't no shame, ladies, do your thing / Just make sure you ahead of the game." - Missy Elliott, "Work It," 2002

There is no shame in the money game. Do whatever you can to survive, short of hurting other people. You are not alone. You are not deficient. If you're not working at your dream job yet or you haven't been promoted in a while or if you're having a hard time finding a full-time gig, that means absolutely nothing about your character. And especially for women and other marginalized people: Protect yourselves. Writer Paulette Perhach calls it a 'f-off fund,' aka money for if you need to leave an abusive relationship or quit a job where you're being sexually harassed or to avoid any other all-too-common misogynistic BS. Surviving is priority one, and money can be a great tool for survival."