Fifty years ago, if you needed to learn more about money, you’d probably pick up a personal finance book. Twenty years ago, you might have switched on a TV show about money instead. But today, the handiest way to improve your financial literacy is to listen to a podcast.
Podcasts are the perfect medium for our busy modern world. You can listen to them while you’re doing something else – in the car, in the shower, at the gym, doing chores around the house – so it’s like getting twice as much use from the same block of time. And since money podcasts can often entertain and educate you, they’re a three-fer.
Whether you want to get out of debt, improve your career prospects, choose investments, or plan your way to an early retirement, there’s a podcast out there that can help you reach your goal. Here’s a roundup of the 12 most recommended podcasts for learning everything you ever wanted to know about money.
Best Personal Finance Podcasts
Many Americans today don’t know the first thing about personal finance. According to a 2016 study by the FINRA Foundation, less than 40% of Americans can correctly answer four out of five simple questions about money, such as how inflation affects your buying power or whether it’s safer to buy mutual funds than individual stocks.
If you’re one of the 60% of Americans who have trouble with financial basics, these four podcasts can help. They offer a good all-around introduction to money matters, exploring the subject from lots of different angles.
The Dave Ramsey Show
Dave Ramsey is an icon in the world of personal finance. He was a millionaire by age 26, but that fortune was all built on debt, and eventually, it collapsed. After fighting his way out of the hole, he made a new career out of advising others on how to do the same. His call-in radio program, “The Dave Ramsey Show,” debuted on a single radio station in 1992; today, he has 14 million listeners and is the author of multiple best-selling books.
Since this is a call-in show, it covers a wide array of money-related issues, including investing, homebuying, retirement, insurance, and dealing with money in marriage. However, there’s a consistent focus on getting out of debt and building a solid financial foundation. Ramsey’s slogan, which he repeats at the start of every hour, is “Debt is dumb, cash is king, and the paid-off home mortgage has taken the place of the BMW as the status symbol of choice.”
Each episode of this show is close to three hours long, with a significant chunk of that time devoted to messages from sponsors. Sometimes a co-host joins Ramsey for part of an episode, but most of it is just him talking with callers. His tone is folksy and mostly good-natured, but he can also be harsh or dismissive toward people and practices he considers irresponsible. For instance, in an episode where he talks to “everyday millionaires,” he uses their success to mock people who feel like the deck of the capitalist system is stacked in favor of the rich and it’s too hard for ordinary Americans to get ahead.
Ramsey also has a distinctly Christian perspective, as well as many Christian organizations as sponsors. For instance, when a teenager calls in for advice, Ramsey wants to know if he’s part of “a good church.” When another caller asks about giving some money to his daughter, one of Ramsey’s first questions is “How’s her character?” For nonbelievers, this focus could be off-putting.
How to Listen
There are a variety of ways to listen to this podcast on the show page on Dave Ramsey’s website. You can watch or listen live on the site, download an app for Android or iOS, stream episodes through iTunes or Google Podcasts, or find the show on YouTube, Pandora, IHeartRadio, Spotify, or SiriusXM. You can even listen on your smart speaker. New episodes come out every weekday.
Listen Money Matters
Like Dave Ramsey’s show, “Listen Money Matters” has been running for years and has built a strong, enthusiastic community of fans. However, the two shows differ widely in style and attitude. The hosts of “Listen Money Matters,” Andrew Fiebert and Thomas Frank, tout their podcast as “not your father’s boring money show.” They promise an “uncensored,” “no BS approach” that will allow you to “free your inner financial badass.” They drink on the air, occasionally use profanity, chat about action movies, and do a fair amount of joking around during each episode.
However, hidden amid the goofiness, this show provides a lot of information on a wide range of financial and investing topics. Recent episodes have focused on timing the market, investing in gold, wills and trusts, and running a profitable business. Some shows feature interviews with financial experts and bloggers, such as Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To Be Rich and Erin Lowry of Broke Millennial; others are just Fiebert and Frank conversing about the topic of the day.
Episodes, which run between 30 minutes and an hour long, can cover a variety of topics.
For instance, in the episode on gold, Fiebert and Frank discuss why gold became valuable in the first place, what drives people to invest in it in today’s economy, its pros and cons as an investment, and why fancy restaurants put gold in food. They don’t assume their listeners know anything about this particular subject or any other facet of investing, which makes this show a good choice for financial novices.
However, the hosts’ off-the-cuff conversations obviously haven’t been carefully fact-checked. In the gold episode, they make a few elementary errors, such as repeatedly referring to gold as “a rock” rather than a mineral. That suggests that listeners may need to do a little checking on their own to verify the details of what they hear.
How to Listen
New episodes of “Listen Money Matters” air every Monday. You can listen to individual episodes on the Listen Money Matters site or sign up through iTunes or Spotify. The site also has playlists of best episodes on specific topics, including basic investing principles, lessons from self-made millionaires, understanding and fixing credit, and how to handle money in your relationship.
Pretty much every list of the top financial podcasts includes “So Money.” Although the show has only been on the air for five years, it’s already earned quite a few accolades. It received a Plutus Award in 2016 for “Best Personal Finance Podcast,” and it’s been named as a top female-hosted podcast in Entrepreneur and a top podcast for growing your business in Inc.
The slogan of the “So Money” podcast is “Candid conversations for a richer, happier life.” A typical episode runs 25 to 45 minutes and involves host Farnoosh Torabi interviewing someone with an interesting story to tell about money. She’s spoken with authors, bloggers, financial professionals, entrepreneurs, and cultural icons, including media mogul Arianna Huffington, investment guru Tim Ferris, fitness expert Jillian Michaels, comedian Margaret Cho, and fashion expert Tim Gunn. On Fridays, Torabi breaks from this routine and runs an “Ask Farnoosh” episode in which she answers listener questions, often with a co-host.
The success of this podcast hinges on Torabi’s skill as an interviewer. She picks interesting people to talk with, then prompts them with questions that show just what’s so interesting about them. For example, when she interviews Mark Lichtenfeld, author of “Get Rich With Dividends,” the conversation covers such topics as his career path, his investing strategy, how he learned about money as a kid, what lessons he “learned the hard way,” what financial advice he wishes he’d known earlier, his most important personal finance habit, and why he lives in Florida. Lichtenfeld does most of the talking; Torabi simply asks questions to draw him out.
How to Listen
You can stream episodes of “So Money” on Torabi’s website or subscribe through iTunes, IHeartRadio, Stitcher, or an RSS feed. Transcripts of each show are also available on the site. New episodes air every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
The “Planet Money” podcast from National Public Radio (NPR) is all about the economy: what affects it and how it, in turn, can affect your life. The show tackles complex financial ideas – rent control, the wealth tax, Bitcoin – on a level that ordinary people can understand. The premise of the show, according to NPR, is “Imagine you could call up a friend and say, ‘Meet me at the bar and tell me what’s going on with the economy.’ Now imagine that’s actually a fun evening.”
“Planet Money” is shorter and snappier than many other money podcasts. Episodes, which come out every Wednesday and Friday, are typically around 20 minutes long. Yet within this short time frame, the show’s various hosts – who trade off from episode to episode – manage to cover a surprising amount of ground.
For instance, one episode deals with the problem of homelessness and a novel strategy New York City has adopted to combat it: housing the homeless in hotels. Over the course of 22 minutes, the hosts talk to a homeless man in New York, a professor of social policy at the University of Pennsylvania, and a worker at a nonprofit that helps the homeless – all interspersed with music clips and commentary from the hosts. The episode delves into the history of how the U.S. has dealt with homelessness over the years, who is most likely to be chronically homeless, and the difficulty of physically counting the homeless to figure out how many people are in need of help and what kind of help they need.
NPR also offers a “sister” podcast, called “The Indicator,” that’s even more bite-sized, with roughly-10-minute episodes appearing every weekday. It provides quick-and-dirty coverage of topics such as the federal budget deficit, the minimum wage, the pros and cons of buying a home, and the economy of “A Game of Thrones.”
How to Listen
You can stream episodes of both “Planet Money” and “The Indicator” on the NPR website or subscribe to either podcast via NPR One, iTunes, Google Podcasts, Pocket Casts, Spotify, or RSS link. “The Indicator” is also available for the Amazon Alexa smart speaker.
Best Business Podcasts
If you own a business or are hoping to start a business, there are many podcasts to help you make it a success. These shows cover all kinds of topics related to building a business, including financing, marketing, productivity, and work-life balance. Here are a few that reviewers say are worth a listen.
Smart Passive Income
Although he’s only in his early 30s, Pat Flynn has already developed online businesses that earn him millions every year without needing his full-time attention. (Flynn backs up this claim by regularly posting his monthly income on his website.) His podcast, “Smart Passive Income,” aims to help you do the same. It has a following of over 150,000 listeners who either have, or want to have, an online business or side hustle.
Flynn consistently stresses that earning passive income isn’t the same as getting rich with no work. You have to put in a lot of effort upfront to create a business that can keep generating money month after month. But he also emphasizes the advantages of having an online business that isn’t a full-time job, freeing you to spend more time on the things that matter most. He starts off each episode of his podcast with the slogan “It’s all about working hard now so you can sit back and reap the benefits later.”
Episodes of “Smart Passive Income” range from 30 minutes to an hour in length. Most of them feature interviews with other successful online business owners, such as Tim Ferriss, Ramit Sethi, and Chalene Johnson. Flynn talks to them about how their businesses got started, what their sources of income are, and any particular areas of expertise they can share with listeners. Recent episodes have delved into such topics as SEO, major business mistakes entrepreneurs make, building a YouTube brand, and the challenges unique to women in entrepreneurship.
Flynn also occasionally does an episode on his own, such as one recent show about how to deal with haters online. These episodes are just Flynn using personal stories from his life – related in a casual, slightly rambling style – to illustrate specific points. To break up the monotony of the monologue, he punctuates the audio with occasional sound effects, such as a slamming door or the scratch of a record player needle.
How to Listen
You can play episodes of “Smart Passive Income” directly from the site and view show notes for each episode, including a summary and full transcript. You can also subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. New episodes come out every Wednesday.
The Tim Ferriss Show
Tim Ferriss is one of the most successful investors in the world today. He was an early investor in many successful technology companies, including Uber, Facebook, Shopify, and Alibaba, and is the author of five No. 1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-sellers, most notably “The 4-Hour Workweek.” His podcast, “The Tim Ferriss Show,” is the No. 1 business podcast on Apple Podcasts, with over 300 million downloads and a 4.6-star overall rating, and it’s been named as the top business podcast by readers of Fortune Magazine’s Term Sheet.
Unlike most business podcasts, “The Tim Ferriss Show” doesn’t focus specifically on how to build a business. Instead, Ferriss talks to top performers in many different fields to learn the secrets of their success and, in his words, “extract the tactics, tools, and routines you can use.” His guests have included movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger, basketballer LeBron James, author Neil Gaiman, and musician Amanda Palmer.
Ferriss is a skillful speaker – smooth, to the point, and just the slightest bit snarky. However, he doesn’t carry the show on his own; he selects fascinating guests and gets them to talk about themselves at length. Episodes of this show can be up to two hours long, with conversations sprawling across a huge variety of topics. For instance, an interview with special-effects artist and TV personality Adam Savage touches on Japanese anime, cosplay, the art of public speaking, politics, Noam Chomsky, model building as a learning exercise, how to cook perfect scrambled eggs, and why “failure is always an option.”
How to Listen
You can listen to individual episodes of “The Tim Ferriss Show” on Ferriss’s website. The site also provides links to listen to the program on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, and Overcast. New episodes don’t appear on a regular schedule but pop up every five to 10 days.
Unlike the polished presentation of Tim Ferriss, “Stacking Benjamins” deliberately presents itself as goofy and amateurish. Hosts Joe Saul-Sehy and “OG” (for “Other Guy”) introduce every show as “broadcasting live from Joe’s mom’s basement” and frequently joke that “you won’t learn anything on Stacking Benjamins.”
Of course, they’re only teasing; in reality, this is an intelligent, thoughtful show that appears on lists of the top money podcasts in Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Inc. The show’s humor and playfulness serve a serious purpose: to help listeners understand all aspects of money and finance.
Episodes of “Stacking Benjamins” run between an hour and 90 minutes and follow a magazine-style format, with a series of segments each around 10 or 15 minutes long. Segments include money-related headlines from the news, a main story featuring a guest from the world of business and finance, a money-related trivia game, and money questions from listeners. These multiple segments allow one show to span a wide variety of financial topics; recent episodes have looked at understanding credit, financial independence, real estate investing, the costs and benefits of subscriptions, and the best theme parks for your summer vacation. It makes the show appropriate for both financial newbies and accomplished investors.
The tone of the show is casual, friendly, and entertaining. Saul-Sehy, OG, and a cast of supporting characters like podcaster Paula Pant (discussed below) exchange humorous banter as they review the headlines, and “Joe’s Mom’s Neighbor Doug” runs a regular trivia game segment. Chelsea Brennan of Forbes describes it as “laugh-out-loud funny.” According to the show’s website, its philosophy is “Fun and play beats preaching any day.”
How to Listen
You can listen to episodes on the show’s website or through iTunes or Stitcher. New episodes air every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The show is organized into “seasons,” with eight weeks of new episodes followed by a week of “rewind” episodes featuring some of the podcast’s greatest hits.
Best Investing Podcasts
Investing is a pretty broad field. There are a lot of different types of investments – stocks, bonds, real estate, commodities – and a lot to learn about making money in any given area. Some podcasts focus on mastering the skills and strategies needed for a particular type of investment, while others look at the subject of investing as a whole. Depending on what you most want to learn about investing, one of these three podcasts could be helpful for you.
Radical Personal Finance
Joshua Sheets is a financial professional with a long list of letters after his name: MSFS (for Master of Science in Financial Services), CLU (Chartered Life Underwriter), ChFC (Chartered Financial Consultant), CASL (Chartered Advisor for Senior Living), RHU (Registered Health Underwriter), REBC (Registered Employee Benefits Consultant), and CAP (Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy). In his podcast, “Radical Personal Finance,” he puts his knowledge of all these subjects to work to help you plan your way to the life of your dreams.
Episodes vary significantly in length – anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour – and in format. Sometimes Sheets interviews other financial experts, sometimes he responds to questions from listeners, and sometimes he just sits in front of the microphone and talks through a topic in a casual, rambling style. The episodes cover a wide range of personal finance and investing subjects, but they generally focus on the five stages of what he calls “your wealth building strategy”:
- Increasing income
- Reducing expenses
- Investing wisely
- Avoiding financial catastrophe (for example, by carrying enough insurance)
- Optimizing your lifestyle (which includes everything from minimizing taxes to marrying the right person)
Sheets’ speaking style is smooth and professional, though he can be a bit long-winded at times. The show gets mixed reviews on iTunes because, while listeners generally consider Sheets to be helpful on money matters, many object to his hard-right views on issues such as abortion, gender roles, and sexuality. However, these topics don’t appear to come up in most episodes.
How to Listen
Technically, you can stream episodes of “Radical Personal Finance” via the show’s website, but it doesn’t work on all browsers. If you want to subscribe, it’s available on iTunes only. New episodes usually appear a few times a week, though not necessarily on a rigid schedule.
The focus of the “BiggerPockets Podcast” is real estate investing – in particular, owning rental properties. Hosts Brandon Turner and David Greene interview successful real estate investors with a variety of backgrounds, market niches, and levels of experience, talking to them about their “failures, successes, motivations, and lessons learned.”
According to the show’s website, the hosts aim to make the podcast feel like a casual chat over a beer with a friend. Episodes are fairly long, anywhere from one to two hours. In one recent episode, the hosts talk with a single mom from Detroit who was able to acquire and rehab 10 properties on her earnings as a waitress. Their conversation covers her experiences growing up, how she bought her first property with a tax refund, how she chooses the best neighborhoods to invest in, why she always fixes up her rentals to top quality even in low-income areas, and her thoughts on being a good landlord and giving back to her tenants.
There are also some interviews with guests who aren’t involved directly in real estate but have expertise that can be useful for building a real estate business. Turner and Greene talk to a best-selling author with two books on what sets successful people in any business apart from the crowd, a podcaster who specializes in networking, and a group of investors who achieved financial independence by building passive income streams.
How to Listen
New episodes of the BiggerPockets Podcast come out every Thursday. The site behind this show also runs two other podcasts: “BiggerPockets Money,” focusing on all aspects of personal finance, and “BiggerPockets Business,” focusing on entrepreneurship. You can listen to all three on the BiggerPockets website. You can also sign up for the real estate and business podcasts through iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud, Google Play, or YouTube; the money podcast is available on iTunes only.
Money For the Rest of Us
David Stein is an investing professional who has managed billions of dollars for institutional clients and shared control of a large investment team. However, he’s given all that up and now devotes himself to helping individual investors control their portfolios with confidence. Part of this effort is his “Money For the Rest of Us” show, which he describes as “a podcast about money, how it works, how to invest it and how to live without worrying about it.”
A typical episode of “Money For the Rest of Us” is just Stein talking into the microphone for 20 to 30 minutes. Although he describes his podcast as a “weekly chat” about money, his style is less conversational and more like a lecturer presenting a lesson, with stress on specific words and repeated pauses for emphasis. He explores a range of topics related to money and investing, including socially responsible investing, the FIRE movement (short for Financial Independence, Retire Early), how to avoid investment fraud, and whether a college degree is worth the money.
Each episode covers a single topic from several angles. For example, in the episode “How to Become Wealthy,” Stein discusses the results of two recent surveys about wealth and investing, using them to introduce the topic of how Americans define wealth and how their real finances stack up against their ideas of what it means to be rich. Then, he proceeds to outline the three steps he thinks are crucial to acquiring wealth: increasing your income, maximizing your savings rate, and getting the best return on your investments. He concludes by talking about ways to live a rich life, regardless of your actual net worth.
How to Listen
You can stream individual episodes of “Money for the Rest of Us” on Stein’s website, though the browser-based stream doesn’t work well on all browsers. (On Chrome, I found the stream paused whenever Stein interrupted the podcast for a sponsor message.) You can also sign up through iTunes, IHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, or RSS feed. New episodes air every Wednesday at 12pm Eastern Time.
Best FIRE Podcasts
For many investors, the ultimate dream is financial independence: having enough money to live on for the rest of your life without needing to work. Most people expect, or at least hope, to reach this goal by the time they reach retirement age. However, a subset of investors are aiming to get there much sooner so that they can retire – or, at least, no longer need to work for money – in their 50s, 40s, or even 30s.
These investors form the base of the FIRE movement, and some of them are sharing their dreams, plans, and strategies through podcasts. If you’re interested in this goal for yourself, here are two podcasts that can help light your FIRE.
Investors Jonathan Mendonsa and Brad Barrett bill their “ChooseFI” podcast as “a finance podcast by the FIRE community and for the FIRE community.” Although it’s only been on the air since 2016, it already has what Forbes calls a “cult-like following,” with more than 40,000 members in its Facebook group.
Episodes are around an hour long and come out twice a week, on Monday and Friday. Typically, the Monday episode is an interview with another member of the FIRE community, such as a blogger, author, or personal friend. These guests talk about their lives, how they got into FIRE, and their thoughts and strategies on all types of financial issues, such as tackling debt, cutting expenses, investing, building passive income, and estate planning.
The Friday episode is generally a roundup in which Mendonsa and Barrett discuss their takeaways from Monday’s interview, answer listener questions, share stories from the community, and chat about whatever is going on in their lives and finances. For instance, in one episode, they devote about 10 minutes to Mendonsa’s experiments with online grocery shopping and his conclusions about how much value different services offer for the money. Listening to these episodes is like overhearing a casual chat between two friends who just happen to talk a lot about money.
How to Listen
“ChooseFI” is available on iTunes and Spotify. You can also download episodes one at a time on the show’s website. The “Essential Listening” section lists specific episodes that are useful for different groups of listeners or for learning about specific topics.
Paula Pant is a real estate investor, blogger, and author of the e-book “Escape,” which is about ways to break free from the 9-to-5 routine. Her podcast, “Afford Anything,” takes its name from her slogan, “You can afford anything, but not everything.” The show centers around her philosophy that living the good life is all about figuring out what matters most to you and then devoting your limited resources – your money, time, and energy – to that.
Episodes of “Afford Anything” run anywhere from 60 to 80 minutes. In about half the episodes, Pant interviews experts in fields such as investing, psychology, and behavioral economics. She’s spoken with Emmy-nominated CBS News business analyst Jill Schlesinger, author David Bach of the “Finish Rich” series, and a couple identified only as “Mike and Lauren” who achieved financial independence by 30 after running about a dozen different businesses.
In other episodes, Pant answers questions from listeners on all things money-related. For instance, she advises them on how to invest in real estate, earn extra income, catch up on retirement savings, and talk to skeptical friends about FIRE. These episodes are mostly just Pant talking solo, interspersed with recordings of listener questions and punctuated with occasional sound effects. However, thanks to Pant’s delightful speaking voice and bubbly personality, listening to her never grows tiresome.
How to Listen
You can stream episodes of “Afford Anything” from Pant’s website, though again, streaming doesn’t work well on all browsers. You can also subscribe through iTunes, Google Play, and RSS. New episodes of the show are available every Monday.
These are the most recommended podcasts on personal finance, but they’re only a dozen out of hundreds of shows on the subject. Search for “money” or “finance” on iTunes or Stitcher, and you’ll find podcasts on every possible financial topic. There are investing podcasts, career podcasts, and FIRE podcasts. There are podcasts devoted to earning, spending, saving, investing, and understanding your relationship with money.
So if the particular financial topic that interests you wasn’t included in this list, that doesn’t mean it isn’t out there. No matter what you want to learn about money, with a little digging, you should be able to find a podcast that covers it.
Do you have a favorite finance podcast that didn’t make this list? Tell us about it in the comments.