I listen to a lot of podcasts. A lot. In fact, the app I use for podcasts, Stitcher, shows I have listened to over 1,000 hours of podcasts since I created my account in 2015—and Stitcher isn’t even the only app I have used over the years!
Why do I like podcasts so much? There are many reasons.
- I like to use my time productively and I love to learn: podcasts allow me to do both. Sitting in traffic? Folding laundry? Cooking dinner? All great opportunities to listen to a podcast (or two!).
- I am sensitive to noise and can feel overwhelmed by it very quickly. Unlike live radio, most podcasts are predictable in the sounds you hear, such as the voice of the host, the intro music, etc. This helps me manage my anxiety.
- I get to pick and choose which ones I listen to. If this week’s episode is on a topic I’m not interested in, or if it features a guest I have already heard on another podcast, I can skip it and move on to the next one.
- I get to control how I hear it. One of the reasons my podcast hours listened to is so high is I listen at 1.3 and sometimes even 1.5 speed. And, similar to a DVR, I can speed through commercials. I can also pause a podcast and come back to it later. And, like Netflix, if I find a show I like, I even get to binge listen!
If any of these reasons persuades you to check out podcasts—or maybe you are already a fan and are looking for some new ones to try—here are my top suggestions from my list of go-to podcasts.
Favorite Personal Finance Podcast
Of all the categories of podcasts I listen to, the majority are personal finance. This is partly because it’s a subject I am especially interested in, but also because there are so many great ones out there.
This made narrowing down the list extremely difficult (but not impossible). Drum roll, please…
I have listened to Better Off with Jill Schlesinger since it first launched in January 2017 (coincidentally, the start of my debt-free journey) and look forward to new episodes (since COVID, she has started publishing daily!).
The topics Jill covers—like the Bernie Madoff scandal or the market crash in the last 1980s—have filled in the sizable gaps in my knowledge and helped me see how all of these things fit together to affect the overall health of the economy.
For example, do you want to feel like a Wall Street insider? Check out Episode 72 where she interviews Ken Langone, a financier who helped take a lot of big companies—including Home Depot—public. Interested in learning more about how China affects our economy? Then listen to Episode 65, an interview with the guy behind the documentary China Hustle.
Jill even has you covered if all you are looking for is the nuts and bolts of budgeting, paying off debt, and managing your portfolio: most episodes include a listener question or conversations with listeners.
Also For Your Consideration
- Retirement Answer Man: while this podcast is focused on people a few years out from retirement or who are already retired, I have learned a lot even as someone with about 9 more years of work in front of them. The host, Roger Whitney, is goofy but genuine (or maybe he comes across as genuine because of his goofiness).
- HerMoney with Jean Chatzky: If you are looking for a podcast that makes you feel as if you were sitting with a group of friends sipping coffee and the topic of money just happened to come up, this is a good one to listen to. As a bonus, because of her long history in the media industry, Jean is able to bring on some great guests (check out this conversation with Gloria Steinham, for example).
Favorite Small Business Podcasts
Being a small business owner is hard: you want to do the right thing to move your business forward but it isn’t always easy to know what that is. Podcasts help by exposing you to a lot of business strategies and by letting you listen in on the occasional coaching session. BizChix is a favorite because it checks both of these boxes.
The host, Natalie Eckdahl, is a seasoned small business owner herself so can share her struggles over the years and what approach she took to overcome them. My favorite episodes, however, are her on-air coaching sessions. For example, check out this episode where she works with a small business owner who is struggling to charge what she is worth. Her business? Lice treatments.
Now, I don’t have kids but I imagine if I did and if they got lice, I would be willing to pay a small fortune to someone to help me get rid of them. That this owner is struggling to charge for her services helps me work through my own struggles.
Also For Your Consideration
- The Side Hustle Show: If you are not ready to quit your day job (raising my hand, here) but are interested in earning more money on the side (hand still raised!), this podcast may be right for you. I have been amazed by some of the ideas for hustles that end up earning people a full time living. Intrigued? Check out this episode about a guy who earns $30-$50 an hour picking up trash!
- No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis: the host of this podcast, Rebecca Jarvis, is the Chief Business, Technology & Economics Correspondent for ABC News. Each week, she interviews top-notch business leaders (who just happen to be female). The types of businesses vary considerably but that doesn’t mean that the problems they face are all that much different than the ones I face as a solopreneur: marketing, sales, product development, media relations, financial management, etc. These are universal challenges when it comes to running a business and I always learn something from her guests (not to mention come away with great book suggestions!).
Favorite Self-Help Podcasts
Of all the podcasts I listen to, I think this one is the one I look forward to the most: Happier with Gretchen Rubin. Gretchen is a writer who studies happiness and and her co-host, her sister Elizabeth, is a television screen writer.
Episodes sometimes feature interviews but more often, it is just conversations between the two sisters. They candidly share their mistakes as well as their triumphs as they work to incorporate into their lives the habits that make them happier. When one of them hits a “happiness stumbling block,” the two will work together to figure out what to do to overcome it or how the sister can react differently next time.
My one complaint is there are lots of sponsorship breaks. I appreciate their need to pay for the costs of hosting the podcast (and to hopefully earn a salary) but sometimes it’s a little much.
Also For Your Consideration
- The Savvy Psychologist: if you struggle with social anxiety like I do, this is a great podcast to learn more about not only why you get anxious but what you can do about it. The hosts have a great delivery style and really normalizes feelings that can leave me feeling anything but normal. Want to learn more about my history with anxiety? Check out this post, Living with a Constant Sense of Dread.
- Organize 365: I don’t listen to every episode of this one but am sharing because I will be forever grateful for this episode on organizing photographs. At the time, I had this big box of photos and negatives (remember those?) from the 1970s through the 2000s that I didn’t know how to organize. I knew there were likely photos I could get rid of but also ones I would want to keep and this episode gave me a system I could follow. Are you in need of advice for how to organize a problem area in your life? Comb through the archives and I am sure you will find a solution.
What Are Your Favorite?
I would love to hear your favorites. Let me know in the comment section below!