UPDATE: I originally posted this in March 2018. Since then, I’ve tried three that are new to me, and changed my opinion on some others. My updates as of November 2019 are in blue, and the reviews of the three new podcasts are at the top of the list.
I’m a podcast addict. Most of the time I’m doing household chores I’ve got a podcast on. Honestly, if I didn’t think it would alienate my family, and possibly result in a lifetime of therapy for my kids, I’d be walking around the house pretty much all the time listening through my headphones.
I listen to a lot of NPR shows as podcasts (Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me; Hidden Brain; Invisibilia; Planet Money), as well as some true crime (My Favorite Murder, Criminal, Serial). Happier with Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos, and Where Should We Begin with Esther Perel are three new favorites. But personal finance is a topic I’m genuinely passionate about, and so I subscribe to a couple.
I recently saw a friend asking for podcast suggestions on Facebook, and it inspired me to do a more formal review of the best personal finance podcasts out there in case you’re looking to supplement your own listening with some sensible financial advice. Holy moly – I had no idea what a rabbit hole I was heading down with that idea. There are so many personal finance podcasts out there! I started with some “best of” lists to find some of the most well-known podcasts, and gave each one a listen. I listened to at least three episodes of each one listed below, to give them all a fair shot. Here’s my take on eleven top podcasts:
HerMoney with Jean Chatzky
The Her Money podcast I reviewed before (see last one on this list) was the wrong one! Who knew there were two podcasts with nearly the same name? This is the correct HerMoney which is on all those “best of’ lists. I realized my mistake when I heard Jean as a guest on another podcast, and so I gave it a try. I really like this one. Jean is really smart and insightful and kind. The podcast comes out once a week for about 30-40 minutes. She mostly interviews guests, and then takes some listener questions by mail, and then ends with a segment called “Thrive,” which is basically her thoughts on a way we can make our lives better. I have subscribed to this for about 3-4 months and am really enjoying her down-to-earth manner and advice which she presents in a way that’s very easy to understand. This is a really un-intimidating way to learn about money if you feel nervous or insecure about it.
Thi$ is Uncomfortable
This is a relatively new podcast (started June 2019) from Marketplace on NPR, and I love it! It’s all about how money messes with our lives. The host is young and interesting and curious, and she interviews all kinds of people, from couples from different financial backgrounds, to people who inherited money that comes with a ton of baggage. It’s super relatable, and so easy to listen to. It comes out weekly, and is short – typically around 20 minutes.
Beyond the Dollar
I just heard about this podcast a few weeks ago in a list of the best under-rated financial podcasts. It started as two financial coaches talking about emotions and money, so I was expecting to love it. But I don’t. The first few episodes were the two hosts just talking to each other about their own money baggage, but now it seems to be just one host who does interviews. I’ve listened to six episodes so far, and I find myself tuning out instead of being super-engaged. I’m going to listen to a couple more episodes, but I’ll be surprised if this makes it into my permanent rotation.
Jill on Money with Jill Schlesinger
I love this podcast. It’s one of my overall favorites and I get happy when I see a new episode show up in my podcast feed. Jill is smart, funny, blunt, and irreverent. The podcast is about 45 minutes once a week, where she typically interviews a guest and then takes a listener call to give them advice about their particular situation, plus a bonus listener call of the week of about 10-15 minutes. UPDATE: she’s altered her format where the longer interview show typically doesn’t include a listener call anymore; those are just in the bonus episodes.
Money Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for a Richer Life
To me, this is the multi-vitamin of my podcast feed. I listen every week because I feel like I should, but I can’t say I really look forward to it. Laura Adams is the host, and she’s very knowledgeable and explains things very well, but she just lacks a charisma that many hosts have. The format is generally just Laura explaining a specific topic (like what to do if you contribute too much to an IRA, or how to protect your identity in the case of a data breach). On rare occasion she interviews a guest, but mostly it’s just her. This might be one you want to listen to if you need guidance for one particular situation. It’s pretty easy to look up her episodes by topic on quickanddirtytips.com, and they’re all very clearly titled. They’re not too long – typically 20-30 minutes once a week. UPDATE: I stopped listening to this one a few months ago, because I got bored. I definitely think there’s value in this podcast if you have a specific topic you’re curious about, and she does make it easy to find a relevant episode.
Listen Money Matters
Eh. I had tried this podcast in the past and didn’t stick with it. I tried it again, because it appears on a whole bunch of “best of” lists, but I was left feeling the same way. It’s on for an hour per week, and the two hosts discuss/debate a topic. Sometimes they have a guest as well. I picked topics I was really interested in; things like how to handle early retirement and universal basic income, but the hosts (two guys in their early 30s), although they seem like nice enough guys and I enjoyed their discussion, just didn’t resonate with me, leaving me with no urge to subscribe.
The Stacking Benjamins Show
This is the frat party of personal finance podcasts. I started listening to it after Kiplinger’s magazine named it the best personal finance podcast in 2016. The hosts are fun guys, and they have a lot of different sections to the podcast – they read and discuss recent headlines, they interview people, sometimes they take listener questions, they highlight new products (especially technology-related) and there’s always a trivia question. The two hosts are very engaging and charismatic and funny. I stopped listening after about 3 or 4 months mostly because I didn’t have time to listen to three one-hour-long episodes per week. There’s not a single show that I need to listen to for 3 hours a week. Also, I started to feel like I was hanging out with my brother’s friends; it was really fun for a while, but I slowly started to crave brunch with my girlfriends. They do have some regular women guests, but I think it would generally appeal more to men.
The Dave Ramsey Show
Talk about not having time to listen – Dave has 3 hours PER DAY of podcasts! The ones I listened to were mostly him taking listener calls, but one had his daughter as a guest. I like a lot of what Dave has to say, but I really hate the way he says it. Several times I heard him be rude to the callers and often yell at them. One caller started to ask about how to improve his credit score and Dave just interrupted and went off the rails yelling at the guy about how he shouldn’t need a good credit score because he should be paying for everything in cash. It left me feeling uncomfortable that he seemed to have a basic lack of respect for the people coming to him for advice. I won’t listen again.
Death, Sex & Money
This is the surprise one in the mix. It’s not strictly personal finance, but the episodes I listened to did relate to it in some way. I listened to a two-part live call in show about student loans which was really enlightening and interesting. I’m planning to add this podcast to my feed – not so much because it’s great financial advice, but more that she has some really interesting and varied stories. It seems like kind of a mix between my nerdy NPR shows and my nerdy personal finance shows. UPDATE: I now subscribe to this and love it!
Martinis and Your Money
I thought I was going to like this one more than I actually did. I suspect that ten years ago it might have been among my favorites. The host is a woman in her mid-30s who runs a business called the Financial Gym, which seems to be a place in New York City that offers personal finance advice using a gym model (meaning that there’s a membership fee and you work with a trainer). The host is smart and the episodes I listened to were all interview format. I generally enjoyed them, but the focus on drinking was a little too heavy for me and also something I just want to call hair-flipping.
Her Money with Sheri Lynch & Kris Carroll
The thing I liked about this podcast was that the hosts talk a lot about how emotions play into our money decisions, which I think really resonates with a lot of women. What I hated about it is the host dynamic. There are two hosts: a woman who’s learning about making smart financial decisions, and a man, who is a financial advisor (I think his firm puts out the podcast). It totally had the vibe of the woman going to the man to tell her about money. The male host seems like a stand-up guy, and he’s not condescending to her at all, but a show called Her Money really needs to have a sharp woman as the expert. I’m not tuning in to hear a guy tell me what to do. UPDATE: As I noted above, I was listening to the wrong podcast! I’ve updated the name here; see the top of the list for the correct one.
I learned a lot about myself through this process. I definitely gravitate towards podcasts with women hosts. Although I enjoy interviews, my favorite format is when the host takes calls from listeners and gives them advice. It’s almost exactly what I do with my own clients (although we go into much more depth than they can in a ten-minute call), so it probably shouldn’t be surprising that it appeals to me so much. If you know of another podcast I should check out – personal finance related or not! – let me know and I will give it a listen.