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6 Financial Podcasts to Listen to in 2020
Whenever I’m doing a task that doesn’t require my full focused attention — things like washing the dishes, doing laundry, making a simple meal or running an errand — I’m usually listening to a podcast. I use the Overcast app on my phone to listen to podcasts on all kinds of topics — my hobbies, politics, history, self-improvement, and of course, financial and economic issues. Here are six podcasts I really enjoy that are at least partially financial in nature.
NPR’s Planet Money does a brilliant job explaining the personal impact of economic issues.
If there’s one finance-related podcast I don’t miss, it’s this one. The team at Planet Money does a fantastic job of taking broad economic issues and translating them to personal finance, and vice versa. Also, the staff constantly comes up with one great topic after another.
The show was born out of the excellent general podcast This American Life, which had a special episode explaining the financial crisis of 2008. The show was so well executed and received such a great response that it spun off into its own show, which is still going today.
For me, this show really shines when it takes something that seems like a broad economic issue and translates it into something tangible and personal. A great example of this is the Planet Money Buys Oil set of episodes, in which the team actually bought 100 barrels of oil, tracing the process of buying and selling it from beginning to end and bringing to life the price fluctuations of gas for ordinary people, the barriers to commodity investing for ordinary people, and many other things.
This podcast is on the short list of podcasts that I immediately listen to when a new episode is released. It’s that good.
The Mad FIentist Podcast focuses on strategies for early retirement.
This podcast focuses directly on a topic near and dear to my heart: retiring early. Sarah and I are currently planning on retiring right around the time our youngest child leaves school, which is far earlier than many people will retire, so issues related to early retirement really hit home with us.
The episode that really made me a fan of this podcast was one of the earliest ones, in which the host and guest JL Collins discussed the issue of “walk away money” (note that they use a less … family-friendly term for the idea during the episode, but nothing deeply offensive). That episode embodies something that has been a big part of my personal finance thinking for many years, that having enough money that you could walk away from your career is not only a great stress reliever, but it also provides you with a ton of professional and personal opportunities that you would not have considered otherwise.
Part of what really appeals to me about the Mad FIentist is that it tackles a lot of typical personal finance issues from that somewhat different perspective of wanting to retire early, meaning that it is inherently assumed that listeners are very willing to have a high savings rate and want to get out of needing to work for money as early as possible in life. Because of that central perspective, the show can look at a lot of issues from a fresh angle, and that makes it click.
So Money with Farnoosh Torabi offers really excellent interviews with people that offer a wide variety of financial perspectives.
The host of this show, Farnoosh Torabi, is probably the best interviewer on personal finance topics that I’ve ever heard, and it’s her consistent ability to get different people to lay out different financial perspectives that gets me to tune in. About one of every four episodes is in a Q&A format and, while those are quite good, for me, it’s the interviews that are really the bread and butter. She’s just good at it!
There are a lot of episodes in the archive here, so I’ll simply point to an episode from 2019 that I really enjoyed and shared with a few friends. The episode consisted of an interview with Emily Roberts, who focuses on financial advice for people in graduate school and recently out of graduate school. Such people often have great earning potential, but are often struggling with enormous student debt and are only really getting started in their career in their early 30s. This episode spoke to me, as I have many friends and family who are either in that stage of their life or have recently left it, and this gave me a lot of food for thought about that situation.
If you’re interested in good conversations with a variety of people about a variety of personal finance topics that are usually pretty accessible to almost everyone while still offering food for thought for even people who have thought about their finances a lot, this is a great listen.
The Dave Ramsey Show is a rebroadcast of his radio call-in show focused on debt freedom.
Dave Ramsey’s personal finance radio show is hugely popular for a reason. He tackles real-life financial issues with a strong coaching voice, straightforward advice, and a no-nonsense perspective.
In my opinion, his show really clicks when he interacts with guests, who call in with really relatable ideas and desires. However, as anyone who has struggled with their finances knows, those ideas and desires often run counter to what will help us build a good financial life, and Dave doesn’t hesitate to call people out on it. He’s very straightforward with guests without crossing that line into being mean or cruel, and it’s that attitude that makes the show work.
Ramsey is a Christian who does wear his faith on his sleeve at times. The show doesn’t dwell on faith, but it does come up fairly often, so be prepared for it.
Money for the Rest of Us with J. David Stern covers investment issues from a beginner’s perspective with a nice focus on tying in current events.
This is a great podcast that balances day-to-day personal finance matters with personal investing topics. The topics are actually quite varied, which is something I enjoy about the show. One episode will be about an economic matter that’s almost like a Planet Money episode, while the next one will look at whether someone should invest in gold or Bitcoin, and then there will be an episode on making good spending choices. The variety really works here.
As with a few other podcasts here, the show has an enormous archive, so for a taste of what Money for the Rest of Us has to offer, I’ll point to a fairly recent episode, “You Have Permission to Spend,” in which Stern tackles the tension between people’s desire to save and invest and pay down debt in order to get ahead financially and their desire to spend money now for things they enjoy. It’s the classic struggle of personal finance and Stern handles it very well.
If you want a show that covers a wide variety of personal finance topics without shying away from investing (but never getting so deep into investing that it doesn’t make sense to most listeners), this is a really good choice.
Stacking Benjamins covers personal finance with a great sense of humor.
This is the “lightest” show on the list, not because it doesn’t tackle hard financial issues, but because the show does a really good job of melding personal finance (something that’s a fairly serious topic for most of us) with a really good sense of humor.
The show typically features a “headline” segment, where the hosts look at one or two current news articles and discuss how they affect finances, followed by an interview with someone of personal finance interest. The entire show is done with a light and humorous tone; it has some good personal finance ideas embedded in the program but delivers them with a nice light touch.
If you’re the kind of person who finds that humor “makes the medicine go down” when learning about a new topic, Stacking Benjamins is going to really click with you!
How can I get started?
The easiest way to dig into podcasts is to simply install a podcast playing app on your phone or computer. If you have an iPhone or iPad, I recommend Overcast; on Android and Windows, try Pocket Casts; on Mac, check out Downcast. Once you have a podcast app, just search within the app for any of the above podcasts. You can also go through the in-app directories in any of those apps to find podcasts on topics of interest to you.