First, there were newspapers. About 100 years ago, radio became the hot new thing, followed by television, cable (with its seemingly unlimited options), and social media. Now, podcasts are all the rage.
Whatever your interest, there’s a podcast for that. Do you want discussions and analysis of current events or politics? There are thousands of podcasts to choose from about sports, true crime stories, food, comedy, and so much more. There are over 2-million podcasts available by some estimates, even though many of them are no longer producing new episodes. There is no universal source of data on podcasts, no Neilson ratings. Still, industry observers believe there are about a million active podcasts offered, and the industry is experiencing explosive growth. An estimated 55% of the U.S. population has listened to at least one podcast, and about 37% do so at least every month. Not surprisingly, younger people are more likely to podcast (yes, I made it a verb).
Some of the best ones have to do with money – everything from personal finance to economic policy, investing to retirement planning, and much more.
There’s no way we can offer a comprehensive list, but we have curated more than a dozen popular offerings for you to sample. They come from best-selling authors to relatively unknowns who do a great job examining complex issues and making them understandable and fun.
Podcasts by Best Selling Authors
Several popular authors have successfully moved into the podcast space.
Perhaps the gold standard for money-related podcasts is “Freakonomics,” hosted by Stephen Dubner, co-author of the best-selling book by the same name. The focus is on behavioral economics – how and why we make our decisions – even though he now casts his net pretty far and wide. Recent topics have included everything from how to hate taxes a little bit less to “The Stupidest Things To Do With Your Money” and the pros and cons of taking a nap every day. This is a once-a-week podcast.
Jean Chatzky’s podcast, “Her Money,” maintains that women are different in how they view money and how they use it. Recent topics on this weekly show include: “Budgeting Without Tears” and “Home Design on a Budget.”
CBS correspondent Jill Schlesinger has a new, twice-a-week podcast, “Eye On Money” discussing everything from 529 college savings plans to cryptocurrencies. She also hosts a daily offering, “Jill On Money” that sounds like a typical call-in radio show. It’s shorter than most other podcasts, usually less than 20-minutes, and it appeals to people with higher incomes and savings.
Media Giants Are Moving into the Podcast Space
The Wall Street Journal, NPR, and other media giants have great resources to use outside their primary distribution channels.
The Journal offers a series of different podcasts. The “Minute Briefing” offers top business headlines three times a day, and “What’s News” is updated twice daily with analysis from the journalists who wrote the stories for the paper. “The Future of Everything” offers what the Journal describes as “a kaleidoscope view of the nascent trends that will shape our world.”
“Planet Money” from NPR dives into complex topics like insider trading and inflation without getting too wonky. Recent shows include “How Do You Reduce Child Poverty” and “What America’s Startup Boom Could Mean for the Economy.” Like most things from NPR, it’s intelligent yet not too intimidating.
“Hidden Brain,” also from NPR, focuses on social science and human behavior, which includes information about how we make decisions. It looks at a range of influences that manipulate us without our awareness. They have a treasure trove of programs, including episodes such as “Why Nobody Feels Rich” and “Finding Meaning At Work: How We Shape And Think About Our Jobs.”
NPR’s Marketplace also offers a series of podcasts. Its flagship program, appropriately named “Marketplace,” tries to put the economic news of the day into context. And “This Is Uncomfortable” is a relatively new podcast, aiming to offer realistic advice to real-world problems with programs such as “What’s Mine Is Not Yours” and “The Marriage Penalty.”
More Podcasts to Try
It would take you quite a while to catch up with all of the episodes of “So Money.” There are more than 1,000 them. Host Farnoosh Torabi interviews many A-list guests. Recent episodes have included “The Price You Pay For College” and an interview with the author of a book on introducing money topics to children. The host also has an “Ask Farnoosh” segment in which she answers questions from listeners on topics such as buying a house and asking for a raise.
In “Afford Anything,” host Paula Pant explores how you can live a balanced life and make informed decisions about how you spend your money. Her fundamental belief is that you can afford anything but not everything. She also explores the emotional and psychological aspects of money. It’s more about mindset than advice.
“The Tim Ferris Show” focuses on how to be a successful entrepreneur. He conducts interviews with big-name personalities, including LeBron James, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jerry Seinfeld. Ferris tries to identify the tools and tactics they use and tells you how to incorporate them into your routine.
“BiggerPockets Money” is aimed at personal finance beginners who want advice on paying off debt, careers, starting a business, and much more. It also has a spinoff show that focuses on investing in real estate.
“Friends Talk Money” is a PBS show geared towards people approaching or already in retirement. The three co-hosts cover topics such as Medicare, estate planning, and how much you can really afford to spend. Recent shows have dealt with the need to have a financial advisor, elder financial abuse, and the 4% rule on spending in retirement.
“Giving With Impact” comes from Charles Schwab Charitable and Stanford’s Social Innovation Review. It discusses how to maximize your charitable giving. Recent episodes discuss giving with purpose, giving with effectiveness, and giving across generations.
Most of these podcasts are written and produced to be very accessible to people of all different levels of financial sophistication. They are usually conversational in tone.
We left out of this article the many podcasts produced by brokerage firms or financial advisers who are trying to sell you something in one way or another. They often have a vested interest in doing so, and it may not always be in your best interest.
If you are not yet into podcast listening and are a bit intimidated by the idea of new technology, do not fear. If you have a smartphone or a computer, podcasts are easily accessible. Most phones come with an icon that says “podcasts” (the icon is often purple). Tap that, and you can easily search by name for the podcast you want to play. Almost all of them are free, even though some try to upsell you to buy a premium subscription without commercials. You don’t need that. If you prefer to use a home computer, type the podcast’s name into a search engine (e.g., Google). All these podcasts are available on apps such as Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts and music streaming services such as Spotify and Amazon Music. They are designed to entertain and educate, so they try to break down complex subjects into manageable bites while avoiding too much insider lingo.
If you are a regular listener, you’ll hear inspiring personal stories, practical advice, and detailed explanations, all of which can help you become wiser about your money. You can use this added knowledge to have more thoughtful and in-depth conversations with your financial planner.
It will also give you new things to discuss with friends at cocktail parties. You remember them, don’t you?
The podcasts listed in this article are intended for your entertainment only. EKS Associates does not endorse any of these podcasts, websites, or individuals; nor do we advocate for any advice that may be shared with listeners. We recommend discussing financial topics and financial opportunities with your EKS Associates financial planner before making any decision to proceed with any advice you may have heard.