Money Podcasts

Most mornings, I tend to listen to a handful of podcasts while I write. I listen to a wide variety of things to keep informed, from tech podcasts and food podcasts to sports podcasts and personal development podcasts, but I keep quite a bit of time open to personal finance podcasts. They’re a great way to regularly expose yourself to personal finance thoughts and ideas.

Understanding Podcasts

Most of you are probably already quite familiar with podcasts, but they might be a new thing for some of you, so let’s get everyone up to speed and on the same page on this.

What’s a podcast?

A podcast is an audio recording you can download on your computer. Podcasts are much like radio programs (there are also a few video podcasts out there, which are like television programs, but I’m going to focus on audio-only podcasts) except that you control the station – you choose which programs you wish to subscribe to and your computer automatically downloads them whenever a new one comes out. Whenever you want to listen, you just choose which podcast you want to hear and you’re good to go. The name “podcast” comes from the fact that many people download podcasts to their iPods so they can listen to their preferred podcasts wherever they’re at.

How can I subscribe to a podcast?

The easiest way for most people to subscribe is through Apple’s iTunes program. Just visit the iTunes Store and then choose “Podcasts” on the left hand menu. They have thousands upon thousands of podcasts listed there – just wander around and subscribe to a few. They’re all free. If you don’t like them, unsubscribe – you’re completely in control.

Seven Money Podcasts I Listen To

I am currently subscribed to seven podcasts that could be described as “money podcasts.”

Planet Money

This is probably my favorite podcast out there on money topics. It’s produced by NPR and comes out once or twice every weekday and is between twenty or thirty minutes in length. I listen to roughly 80% of new episodes. For the most part, it focuses on financial current events, but they do a very good job of connecting things like, say, Iceland’s economic crisis to your personal financial situation.

Money Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for a Richer Life

This one comes out roughly each week (it’s usually weekly, but occasionally has a “special edition”) and is about seven minutes in length. It’s very “tip” oriented – it usually describes how to do something specific related to your money, such as setting up a 529 for college savings or how to allocate your assets or what exactly a recession is.

Marketplace

Marketplace is produced by American Public Media and is just a replay of their daily Marketplace radio program that appears on NPR in the afternoons. It’s about 29 minutes in length and comes out once every weekday. It tends to focus more on economic issues than personal finance, but it often crosses over into focusing on your pocketbook.

Marketplace Money

This is very similar to Marketplace, except it has a bit stronger focus on personal finance. It also comes out just weekly, but it’s about 52 minutes in length. They tend to go a bit more in depth with specific stories, which can be good sometimes, but on occasion results in stories that drone on and on.

Your Money Matters

This one’s produced by the Wall Street Journal, comes out daily, and is about five minutes in length. It often seems like a very short version of Marketplace Money – a nice little bit of money news. I find it just a bit drier than Marketplace, but it’s still well worth a daily listen.

Vanguard: Plain Talk on Investing

This podcast (produced by the Vanguard mutual fund company) comes out roughly monthly and is about ten minutes in length. It mostly focuses on specific advice for investments for different goals – retirement, college, what kind of IRA to choose, and so on. It’s good, solid, useful advice.

Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

This one comes out very irregularly, though it averages about twice a month. It’s also often larded down with a lot of “game show” noises. It also varies a lot in length, from two minutes to twenty minutes. So what’s good about it? Once you strip away that stuff, there’s usually some very strong information in here. It just doesn’t pop up as new all that often.

Will There Ever Be A Simple Dollar Podcast?

I’ve thought many times about creating my own podcast or video series. If I did one, it would be similar in vein to the Money Girl series – short episodes that focus on a single topic with realistic, useful tips.

Two things hold me back from jumping on board.
First, I don’t have the best radio voice. I don’t know how to describe it, but it doesn’t sound all that great in recordings.
Second, I don’t believe a podcast would provide appropriate value for my time. I currently feel like I’m much more likely to reach people with a well-written Simple Dollar post than I ever would with a podcast.

If the right situation came along, I’d be willing to try it, but for now, it’s one of those “back burner” ideas.