Since launching my website Just Start Investing in January of 2019 to talk about my own money journey and help others build wealth, one of my favorite modes of research has been listening to podcasts.
No matter what your money goals are, whether it's early retirement, building an emergency fund, figuring out how to be a strong investor, or paying down debt, I think that one of the best ways to make key personal finance decisions, and take some of the emotion out of what can be some tough calls, is to get a sense of the whole picture.
So over the last few years, I've sought out books and podcasts to help me learn the answers to everyday money questions, hear about people who have achieved their own big goals, and gain a broader understanding of how money and the economy work, to see where my experience fits in as I work toward achieving financial independence as early as my 40s.
Here are my five favorite podcasts about money, business, and the economy.
"Financial Decoder" explores how biases can impact your financial and investment choices. For example, how familiarity bias can affect your investments. It also explores some more basic financial topics, like whether or not you should roll over your old 401(k).
Eliminating bias from money decisions isn't always easy, especially during periods of stress, but listening to this podcast has definitely helped me step back and be intentional about my own plans.
Plus, if you end up loving this one, you can check out "Choiceology," its sister podcast, which focuses more heavily on behavioral economics.
NPR's "Planet Money" is probably my favorite podcast of all time. It dives into everyday money topics, and potentially drier economic ones, and makes them fun. One recent episode I enjoyed followed the team as they bought a junk bond and tracked its progress.
I'd heard of junk bonds and high-yield bonds before but didn't really understand how they worked. Listening as the team learned about it in real time helped bring the concept to life. In another recent episode, the team interviewed a financial advisor about how he invests his own money.
I think "Planet Money" is a great listen because it will get you thinking about how money works and the unexpected economic indicators that affect our every day lives.
"Planet Money" was originally co-created by Alex Blumberg, who went on to create the "StartUp" podcast, which is also very helpful if you're thinking about launching a business or side hustle, and Gimlet Media, the company recently acquired by Spotify.
Video by Courtney Stith
"Your Money Briefing" is a podcast produced by "The Wall Street Journal." It's a daily podcast similar to NPR's "Up First" but with a focus on money and finance topics ranging from how health savings accounts work to going in-depth on President-elect Joe Biden's tax plans.
This podcast is great at identifying the money issues and questions that people are talking about right now. A recent episode about the investing platform Robinhood inspired me to do some investment platform comparison of my own to figure out which ones might work best for beginner investors versus more veteran or passive investors.
If you're looking to be more fiscally responsible overall and stay up to date on current money events, "Your Money Briefing" is a great option.
If you're a fan of more long-form storytelling, "Freakonomics" might be for you: Episodes clock in at close to 45 minutes or an hour.
"Freakonomics" began as a book by economist Steven Levitt and journalist Stephen J. Dubner. The pair aimed to explore "the hidden side of everything," and investigate questions like 'which is more dangerous, a gun or a swimming pool?' all through the lens of how economists view the world.
Video by Stephen Parkhurst
What I love about the book and the podcast is their approach to answering those big questions. Everything is based on data, but it is still accessible and fun.
With every financial decision I make, I strive to take a broader economic approach to come to the answer and do my best to keep my emotions out of the equation, and listening to "Freakonomics" has helped me develop that muscle.
NPR's "How I Built This" tells the stories of "innovators, entrepreneurs, and idealists — and the movements they built." "How I Built This" is one of the first podcasts I ever listened to, and while it's not solely focused on money or personal finance, it does provide a lot of inspiration for how to go after your biggest goals, especially if you want to start a side hustle or new business.
My all-time favorite episode was an early one featuring Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx. One anecdote she shared that stuck with me was how she decided to move her Spanx display next to the cash register at Neiman Marcus. No one gave her permission to set up a display there, but everyone just assumed someone else gave her the green light to do it. So the store employees left it there, Spanx got a prime-time display for free, and more customers started to discover the product.
Her story showed how seemingly small moves can make a big impact. It was one of the most clear examples of "ask for forgiveness, not permission" I've ever heard, and was an inspiring story about how her hard work, creative thinking, and determination led her to success.
I've just begun listening to "ChooseFI," which is hosted by Jonathan Mendonsa and Brad Barrett. I like it because it focuses on how to achieve financial independence, and provides a lot of great personal finance tips.
I'm also enjoying "Stacking Benjamins." It was created by financial advisor Joe Saul-Sehy and features several money experts. It's a really approachable podcast with the goal of improving the financial literacy of anyone who listens, and I'm excited to hear more episodes.
Hopefully any of these podcasts can make a positive impact on your personal finances and inspire you as you work toward your money goals.
Kevin Panitch is an experienced personal finance writer and founder of Just Start Investing, a personal finance website that makes managing your money easy. Just Start Investing has been featured on Business Insider, Forbes, and U.S. News & World Report, among other major publications, for its easy-to-follow writing and informative articles. You can follow Kevin and Just Start Investing on Twitter at @juststartinvest.
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