The best podcasts, audiobooks, and digital courses about personal finance and financial independence

Last week at the Financial Independence forum on Reddit, a user asked for podcast and audiobook recommendations related to personal finance, financial independence, and self-improvement. Livealegacy wrote:

I have about two hours a day that I spend driving and I'm looking to invest this time in myself…I'm looking for everyone's favorite investing/PF podcast or audiobooks. Might as well get smarter every day so if you have others you recommend outside of FI, this is about investing in myself so please share.

As an audio junkie myself — I like to listen while I exercise or, sometimes, as I'm falling asleep — I thought it would be useful to catalog all of this info in one place. There's a lot here. Let's get started!

Podcasts

I'm a recent convert to podcasts and still struggle with how best to listen. I want to be able to access them the same way I access my shows and songs on iTunes, but that doesn't seem possible. All the apps want to push new episodes to me. I want to fetch new episodes myself, but track my favorites so that I can tell which episodes I have (and have not) heard. All so confusing!

As I've mentioned before, Radical Personal Finance from Joshua Sheats was the show that got me hooked on this format. Sheats explores PF topics in detail and has a strong focus on financial independence. I like his approach.

Based on the comments at Reddit, I think these podcasts might be of interest to you money bosses:

  • Afford Anything Podcast with Paula Pant. My colleagues (and friend) started a podcast about money and entrepreneurship. This is high on my to-listen list.
  • If you're into real-estate investing, check out Bigger Pockets with Josh Dorkin and Brandon Turner. The hosts try to provide info for both beginners and experiences investors.
  • Stacking Benjamins does a great job of covering the gamut of money topics and opinions. The hosts aren't afraid to explore different ideas and viewpoints. Plus, they consciously work to keep their show hopping so it doesn't drag.
  • The Financial Independence Podcast is from Brandon at Mad Fientist. He interviews people about techniques and strategies for achieving early retirement.
  • Todd Tresidder does an occasional Financial Mentor podcast that focuses on financial independence and financial planning. Tresidder's a thoughtful and knowledgable fellow, and that shines through on his show.
  • Get Rich Education with Keith Weinhold looks like it's more about real-estate investing than anything, but there are episodes on topics like the stock market and investing in yourself. (I've never heard of this show, so can't vouch for content and quality.)
  • The Survival Podcast with Jack Spirko is a “daily online audio show about self-sufficiency and self-reliance in the modern world”. I haven't listened to this yet, but I like the about page.
  • The Voluntary Life looks like it's right in my wheelhouse. The show covers entrepreneurship, travel, minimalism, and financial freedom. Lots of content about financial independence here.
  • Several Reddit users praised Econtalk, a podcast about how economics affects daily life. From the about page: “The emphases are on using topical books and the news to illustrate economic principles. Exploring how economics emerges in practice is a primary theme.”

And, of course, there are the big-name shows like Marketplace, Planet Money, and Freakonomics.

Lastly, you might want to check out Adulting from Harlan Landes and Miranda Marquit. This show isn't specifically about money, but the hosts are both personal-finance writers (and Landes is financially independent). As a result, there's lots of discussion about how to handle money responsibly.

On related note, you can find a list of podcasts on which I've been a guest on the press page.

Audiobooks

The responses at Reddit were heavy on podcasts and light on audiobooks. Honestly, most personal finance books don't translate well to audio (which is probably why there weren't many recommendations on Reddit). There's just too many numbers and charts and graphs and footnotes. Sometimes the format works, but not often.

Personal-finance books that do work as audio include The Richest Man in Babylon, The Millionaire Next Door, and Secrets of the Millionaire Mind. If you're a Robert Kiyosaki fan, his books are available on audio too. I think much of his advice is dangerous though, so I'm not linking to his stuff.

One great way to learn about how to be (or become) wealthy is to explore biographies of folks who have already achieved financial success. In December, for instance, I read the Warren Buffett bio The Snowball and picked up all sorts of nuggets about how my favorite billionaire approaches life. I'm currently listenting to Titan, a biography of John D. Rockefeller, and I'm curious about The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie.

Den of Thieves by James B. Stewart is based on his Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper series about the insider-trading scandals that hit Wall Street during the 1980s. As you hear the stories of Michael Milken, Ivan Boesky, Martin Siegel, and Dennis Levine, you'll be shocked (and outraged) at how much money stock brokers bleed from small investors — even when they're not breaking the law. More than anything, this is the book that converted me to index funds.

Long-time readers know that I love Tom Butler-Bowdon's “50 Classics” series. These books provide capsule summaries of well-known works on a particular subject. So, 50 Psychology Classics provides an overview of 50 different books about psychology, with author info and historical context. (I plan to use Butler-Bowdon's model for an eventual Money Boss summary of essential books about money and financial independence.) This series works surprisingly well on audio.

Relevant titles for Money Boss readers include:

  • 50 Prosperity Classics, which contains “wisdom from the most valuable books on wealth creation and abundance”.
  • 50 Success Classics, which covers “winning wisdom for life and work from 50 landmark books”.
  • 50 Self-Help Classics, which explores “books to transform your life from timeless sages to contemporary gurus”.

Malcolm Gladwell's work often contains useful info for financially savvy readers. He has four major books.

While it's tough to find good PF books on audio, it's easy to find recordings of books on other related topics. Here are a handful of my favorite self-help books on audio:

I'd love to discover more audiobooks about financial independence (or personal finance, in general), so if you know of one I should check out, let me know.

Although I do listen to the occasional self-help or PF audiobook, mostly I listen for pleasure. My favorite audiobook of all time is probably True Grit, written by Charles Portis and read by Donna Tartt. This might be the funniest book I've ever read (although the humor is very, very dry); it's much better than the two movie adaptations. I also love Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (kind of like Jane Austen crossed with Harry Potter), which I've listened to dozens of times. Finally, I'm a big fan of the Aubrey-Maturin series of naval novels written by Patrick O'Brian and read by the fantastic Patrick Tull.

Courses

Podcasts and audiobooks aren't the only way to learn about money by audio. Over the past few years, I've come to love “classes” produced by a company called The Great Courses. In the olden days, the company provided college classes on audiotape — ancient history, music theory, classic literature, and that kind of thing. In recent years, they've moved to digital content and have expanded their courses to include subjects like photography, cooking, and (yay!) personal finance.

Most of the courses I own aren't about money — they're about music theory and cultural geography, believe it or not — but I've listened to (and liked) the following:

The big problem with The Great Courses is their pricing model. Courses have a regular price of several hundred dollars. But a couple of times per year, each course goes “on sale” at a vastly reduced rate. For instance, The Entrepreneur's Toolkit is normally priced at $150, but right now you can buy it for $45.

This is dumb. I don't get it.

I have two courses sitting on my “wish list” right now waiting for the price to drop before I can buy them: Behavioral Economics ($130) and Critical Skills for Business Success ($350). Why not let me buy them at the lower rate now? I mean, does anyone ever pay the artificially inflated price?

This complaint aside, The Great Courses are an excellent way to get pro-level info in audio format.

Now it's your turn! I'm sure there are lots of worthwhile listens I've left off this list. What are your favorite money-related podcasts, audiobooks, and courses? And if you've heard any of those I've shared here, what do you think? Are they good? Bad? Ugly?

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dh
dh
4 years ago

Below is my fave teaching. It’s for anyone who over-thinks, which is almost everyone:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TrxRgpsrpGg

Jessica
Jessica
4 years ago

I’m zooming through the podcasts at Scavenger Life after they were guests on Paula & J.Money’s podcast (which I also finished pretty quickly). I was initially turned off by the YouTube format, but they also are available on Stitcher, with episode summaries.

Thanks for these curated suggestions, I’m going to have to cue up my Stitcher playlist and go out for a long walk 🙂

J. Money
J. Money
4 years ago
Reply to  Jessica

They’re so interesting, right? 🙂

Barrie
Barrie
4 years ago

Great Post !!!

I’m currently working my way through the back catalogue of UK based Pete Mathews Meaningful Money Weekly Podcasts.

I can also vouch for M.O.N.E.Y, Madfientist and Financial Mentor. Great Podcasts !!!

Keep up the fantastic work JD. Loving the new site and content.

J. Money
J. Money
4 years ago
Reply to  Barrie

Thanks so much, man!

Andrew
Andrew
4 years ago

Re podcast apps, try Overcast. You can browse its podcast directory and download specific episodes. Once you’ve downloaded an episode of a particular show, the show will appear on your home screen, and you can easily browse its episode list.

John D
John D
4 years ago

Hi J.D., looks like a great list, I regularly listen to some of the podcasts on there, especially Radical Personal Finance and Bigger Pockets. Two others I listen to, and others may like to check out: (1) Money for the Rest of Us by David Stein: http://moneyfortherestofus.net/ Weekly show, each ~30 min episode focusing on some aspect of economics, finance/investing, and money in general. Can range in focus from personal finance to the economics of governments and nations. (2) Dough Roller by Rob Berger: http://www.doughroller.net/ Most episodes between ~30-60 mins, tends to focus on quite practical personal finance topics. Indeed,… Read more »

Kevin
Kevin
4 years ago

I love podcasts. I used Downcast which is great. You can subscribe but set it to just keep the newest episode so they don’t build up. But from there you can look up the archives…and it lets you know what youve already listened to. One pet peeve I have is that a lot of podcasts have good information, but if there is more than one host they will often engage in endless banter that is meant to be funny but is usually just time consuming. Maybe that’s just me though.

J. Money
J. Money
4 years ago

J.D. – Thanks so much for featuring us! We’re so new but having a great time with it all so far… Really appreciate the support!

Thehappyphilosopher
Thehappyphilosopher
4 years ago
Reply to  J. Money

You and Paula crack me up. Good stuff you guys, can’t want to hear more 🙂

Ed Page
Ed Page
4 years ago

Hi JD, Have you tried the Pocket Casts app for podcasts? It’s not free, but it’s my favorite. It’s available for both iOS and Android. I had the same problem as you with other apps automatically downloading all new episodes which, with the 54 podcasts I follow, became unwieldy. However there’s an option in the settings for Pocket Casts to download the titles and brief show notes, and then you can decide if you want to download the whole show. And the download icon will change, albeit subtly, once you’ve listened to the podcast. That way you can save your… Read more »

Lisa
Lisa
4 years ago

I’m loving The Minimalists’ podcast! The two hosts are the bloggers behind TheMinimalists and I just love how they make minimalism sound attainable for everyone.

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