I am a podcast fanatic. Once I realized I could listen to entertaining, thought-provoking, and informative audio shows whenever I wanted, and that they were accessible on my phone at all times, I was hooked. How else could you tap the wisdom of all the top experts in the world while cleaning your house or taking a morning walk?
There are thousands of podcasts out there, and you may already be familiar with some of the medium’s great storytelling shows (This American Life), true crime sagas (Serial), and psychology shows (Hidden Brain). But I thought I would discuss some of my favorite podcast episodes that are focused on building wealth.
If you want tips on leading a richer life, stretching your dollar further, and investing wisely, these are four good episodes to start with — my recommended money podcast playlist.
Planet Money: Brilliant vs. Boring
Planet Money is an NPR podcast known for its high production value and ability to take mundane topics and make them interesting. This episode, about a bet between billionaire investor Warren Buffett and a hedge fund manager, is no exception. It offers a primer on the dangers of trying to beat the market — even when you have the smartest minds in the world investing your money.
The show details how, in 2008, Buffett made a $1 million bet that he could pick an index fund that would beat the returns of a group of prominent, high-priced hedge funds. Even though Warren Buffett betting a million dollars is like me betting a nickel, it’s still cool to hear about one of the richest people in the world putting his full faith in a slow and steady investment strategy.
The Planet Money team spends the first half of the episode interviewing Vanguard founder John Bogle, inventor of the index fund. He comes across as a thoughtful, witty, smart guy with a borderline obsession with boats. I’d always wondered where Vanguard’s trademark logo comes from, and now I know it’s Mr. Bogle’s old naval ship.
As a Simple Dollar reader, you’re probably familiar with the advantages of owning the entire market in one fund — but it’s still great to hear about its benefits straight from the horse’s mouth.
Later, the reporters hear the hedge fund’s side of the story. Kudos to the Planet Money guys for pressing Ted Seides, who took the other side of Buffett’s bet and currently runs his own investment firm. They ask him some tough questions. In my opinion, Mr. Seides comes off as considerably less convincing than Mr. Bogle, but, being an avid Boglehead myself, I must admit I am biased.
I won’t spoil everything, but let’s just say if you are making side bets on their million dollar bet, you’re probably going to want to back Warren Buffett. He’s not called the Oracle of Omaha for nothing.
The Mad Fientist’s Interview with Mr. Money Mustache
The Mad Fientist is a financial independence blogger who does a great job of laying out detailed strategies to get the most out of your money. His podcast does the same, and I think his interview with Mr. Money Mustache is an episode particularly worth checking out.
Mr. Money Mustache is the pen name of Peter Adeney, a former tech worker based in Colorado. His blog has inspired millions to not just pursue financial independence, but to pursue it with the same intensity as if you were trying to save your child from drowning.
This podcast gives a good, concise rundown of Adeney’s career, and how he came to popularize the extreme approach to financial independence — which, in his world, involves bare-bones spending, bikes over cars, and a robust DIY attitude. Most of all, he’s a funny, engaging personality. It’s refreshing to hear someone who tells you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear, over and over again.
He also puts his money where his mouth is, in that he now makes a ton of money but still barely spends any of it. If you’ve ever experienced the spending creep of lifestyle inflation, this is a must-listen for inspiration on how to combat it.
So Money: Farnoosh Torabi’s Interview with Maya Penn
Farnoosh Torabi is the author of several popular books on money, which Trent has favorably reviewed in the past. I haven’t checked out her books yet, but I’m a big fan of her podcast. For one thing, it’s really well-produced. Some podcasts need an editor more than Hemingway after his 9th mojito. So Money does not have that problem. Torabi clearly has a professional set-up, along with perfect mixing and editing. That stuff makes a big difference, and Torabi’s professionalism sets her apart.
I singled out her interview with Maya Penn because it profiles a teenager with a unique and inspiring story. Penn is a 16-year-old entrepreneur who has already started several businesses and given a very popular TED Talk.
I could never have fathomed doing all that she has done at such a young age, partly because I would have thought it was impossible. Maybe if I had been exposed to a podcast like this, I’d have realized that anyone can be an entrepreneur, at any age. I’m not saying that would have made my business ideas a reality (if you call thinking, “It would be cool if someone paid me to play video games all day!” a business idea). But it might have motivated me to get off my butt and try something.
I think this would be a great podcast for parents to listen to with their kids on a long drive.
The M.O.N.E.Y. Show’s Interview with J.D. Roth
The M.O.N.E.Y. Podcast features hosts J. Money (Budgets Are Sexy) and Paula Pant (Afford Anything). They differ from most podcast hosts in that they’re quick to joke and don’t take themselves too seriously. It’s a nice change of pace. I particularly enjoyed an interview they did with J.D. Roth, who created the popular finance blog Get Rich Slowly.
I liked Roth’s brutal honesty. Not many people would be willing to admit in public that they got into $35,000 of consumer debt because they bought too many computers and comic books. I mean, I couldn’t believe that. Usually, people get blindsided by an expense, they lose their job, or they buy more house than they can afford. But comic books? I mean, I love basketball, but you’re not going to see me buying a $35,000 court-side ticket to a championship game when I have a zero net worth. Roth must love Spider-Man more than I love breathing. But, he was open about his mistakes, and he found a big audience when he told his story.
Another fascinating part of the interview is when he discusses the sale of his blog. He gained financial freedom, but lost a lot along the way. It was heart-wrenching hearing how his workaholic lifestyle cost him his marriage and his health. Again, this is not the rainbows and unicorns story to wealth creation you hear all over the internet. Roth now focuses as much on increasing happiness as he does on making money, and I really enjoyed his perspective.