My take on some popular personal finance podcasts

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).  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 eight top podcasts:

 

Better Off 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, about 10-15 minutes.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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

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.

 

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.