Did you just spend your last $50 on takeout and a weighted blanket? We’ve been there. Your bank account is bare, the only thing increasing exponentially is your student loan, and your anxiety just made you click “order now” for the fourth time this week. Perhaps it’s time for a personal finance podcast — but don’t worry, every show on this list is free.
Mortgage loans, savings bonds, Roth 401Ks. Where does a broke person start? With extensive archives, these podcasts talk you through every money-related question you never thought to ask your parents. They share practical knowledge, real experience, and sensitive advice that doesn’t sugarcoat the truth. For those interested in “manifesting” money out of thin air, you should read another list. Earning money is a fraught pursuit for many and it would be immoral to recommend a show that preaches energy work or multi-level marketing. Preying on desperation with snake oil is a great way to make a quick buck. Luckily, none of these personal finance podcasts are trying to sell you a false dream. First things first: it’s time to uninstall that food delivery app.
Have you ever read one of those cynical “What I Spend in a Day” articles that many news outlets churn out? They seem designed to provoke curiosity and envy in equal measure. There are benefits to sharing information about our personal finances — hello “Great Resignation” — but take a glance at the comments section of such articles and the dominant response is often to cast judgment on the poor UX designer who spends $60 on coffee each week. Is there a better way to share these insights? Yes, and it’s called the Future Rich podcast.
Future Rich’s host, Barbara Ginty, interviews real women about their financial situations and offers advice to listeners who might be in similar binds. Ginty feels like your best friend, except she can answer all your money questions. Future Rich is grounded in optimism without resorting to wishy-washy statements on “shifting your mindset,” making it a reliable and empathetic resource for anyone going through a tough time financially.
Racial wealth inequality is a serious issue unlikely to be solved by anything less than systematic change. That said, this is a list of personal finance podcasts, so we’re going to recommend a show for women of color seeking financial agency. Brown Ambition is emphatic in its advice, never flinching when answering difficult questions from its listeners about the intersection of race, gender, and money.
Hosts Mandi Woodruff and Tiffany Aliche have been working in financial media for longer than I’ve had a savings account and their rapport is contagious. We’ve written before about the importance of excellent content for Black women, and Brown Ambition is yet another example of how podcasting can be educational, entertaining, and empowering. You need only read the glowing reviews to realize that this podcast has genuinely transformed people’s lives.
Chelsea Fagan launched her blog The Financial Diet in 2014 and it soon became popular for how she discussed money matters in an aesthetic, millennial-approved manner. A book and YouTube channel eventually followed this success. If you’re tempted to dismiss TFD just for being trendy, resist. Their spin-off podcast, The Financial Confessions, takes aim at financial problems that are ubiquitous but rarely discussed in the pages of the Financial Times: wellness scams, the cost of divorce, and the embarrassing questions you were too afraid to ask your CPA. Even “ethical” investing and late capitalism get a millennial makeover here. Fagan’s podcast is approachable and entertaining, sort of like The Cut for finance nerds. You can bet that her guests used to hot desk at The Wing before it closed down, but the fact that The Financial Confessions has survived where other brands have failed is a testament to the real quality of the content.
Beer. Money talk. At first listen, you might think that you’ve wandered into another bad date. Fear not. Unlike most self-proclaimed finance bros, the hosts of How to Money actually know what they’re talking about. The best part? They’re actually funny! And just like that “cool” teacher in high school who gave everyone a nickname and turned out to be really good at basketball, this podcast tricks you into learning.
How to Money is hosted by Joel Larsgaard and Matt Altmix, best friends motivated by a shared mission to spread financial literacy. Luckily for us, they’re sharing the wisdom that took them from instability to comfortable living by covering topics like frugal travel and maximizing your income. With over 600 episodes in their archive, treat How to Money like a pick ‘n’ mix of financial topics; not every episode will be relevant to you, but their website is easy to navigate and the tags are superbly done. If only every podcast had show notes like these…
When listening within a specific genre, sometimes the best podcasts aren’t necessarily limited to a single topic. The Ezra Klein Show is an excellent economics podcast but resists being classified as such. Call it a smorgasbord of current affairs. Death, Sex & Money is another such show. It’s a podcast about some of the most interesting and complicated topics in our lives, notable for the way it acknowledges how money intersects with so many other aspects of our existence. Children, illness, and divorce all have massive implications on your financial situation. Host Anna Sale explores these questions through compelling storytelling and interviews with the likes of Jenny Slate and Trevor Noah in an interesting and accessible style. There are moments when you need someone to walk you through a specific investment, and there are others when you want to empathize with the human condition. This show specializes in the latter.
From Marketplace, This is Uncomfortable is a show that is actually quite comforting. It is, ultimately, a storytelling podcast that’s just as interested in people as in numbers. Its skill comes in the balancing of human intrigue and financial quandaries. These stories ask great questions — about financial abuse, when to pay for a date, and how to navigate money with your significant other — but encapsulate them within a compelling narrative that sounds more like This American Life than your average personal finance show.
Some people have criticized the show for refracting its stories through a politically charged lens, but that’s certainly not a reason to dismiss them. After all, every finance or economics show is pushing a narrative — just employ critical thinking.
A great first step to a better financial situation can be learning how basic economics work. Unfortunately, this stuff is rarely taught in schools. That’s why Planet Money Summer School is the final entry on this list, despite never mentioning anything about how to pay off your student loans or open a bank account. Each season is broken down into a topic, like “Investing” or “Macroeconomics,” and takes you through half-hour lessons that provide history, context, and engaging explanations — and you don’t even have to sit through a heatwave in a classroom.
In a past list, we named the OG Planet Money one of the best economics podcasts for its entertaining and creative approach to economic discourse. Summer School is no different. Peppered with Beyoncé references and nods to current affairs, this show is our pick for the best podcast to start your financial journey.
Alice Florence Orr is the Lists Editor of Podcast Review and is based in Edinburgh. Her work has appeared in Scottish Review, Like The Wind, and Nomad Journal. You can connect with her on Twitter or Instagram.