Random topic, I know. But over the last year, I discovered the wonderful world of podcasts. I’ll be honest with you, it has been a game changer for me and I have learned some pretty cool stuff, listened to some awesome interviews, and discovered new interests that I never knew I had. So naturally, I wanted to share my experience with all of you. Best of all…it is free!
WhY do I listen to Podcasts?
Suddenly, it hit me one day over a year ago. I had a car problem and no, it wasn’t related to my annoying car payment or the unpredictable costs I would incur to repair my car. This problem was different in nature. I was constantly making long road trips for work, driving across town to visit friends and family….you get the picture. You never realize how much wasted time you lose in a car until you are stuck driving and cannot find a functioning radio station or you are sick and tired of listening to the same set of CDs over, and over, again. This was time that I could have been using to read more blogs, learn and research investing topics, or even just listen to someones opinions about another topic I am interested about such as sports. My problem was that I had all this sunk time spent in a car that I wanted to turn into more productive time.
My first attempt at solving this problem was to rent a book on tape from the library. This was actually a lot of fun and there are a lot of great books out there. The first book I rented was Moneyball, the story about BIlly Beane, the Oakland Athletics, and their new way of approaching running a team. I flew through this book and I couldn’t wait to drive so I could hear what was next, especially since I am a huge baseball fan and I recognized a lot of the player names from growing up. My first book on tape was a success so naturally, when the time came to rent the next book on tape, I thought about renting books related to investing and politics (two other topics I love learning about). I rented an old Jim Cramer book and a few different books written by politicians on a variety on topics. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get into the books. The voices reading the books were boring and the topics didn’t grip me the way I had anticipated. It kind of caught me off guard, especially since we have a website dedicated to investing. After this experience, I tried several other books on tape and ran into the same conclusion.
My theory for this wasn’t working for me was that the books on tape were too long, too detailed for a car ride. There wasn’t enough excitement to grip me and wake me up from my morning slumber, as I often drove these distances early in the morning before the work day (Regardless of how much coffee/Starbucks I was pumping into my system while driving). It is hard to listen about investing topics without being able to see and research the application of the topic immediately. Plus, there is a lot of information to absorb when learning about these topics. Obviously that can’t be done while driving, so I began searching for the next solution to my problem.
One of my friends introduced me to a podcast app after I told them about my problem. So I downloaded an app and began looking into the different options. It didn’t take me long to realize that I have found a solution to my problem. There were so many podcasts covering any topic that could be imagined. Sports, politics, finance, investing, history, mystery, and so on…you name it, it was available! The podcasts ranged from 15 minutes to 1.5 hours, perfect length of time for the amount of time spent in a car. On average, each book on tape was around 10 hours; so each podcast was short enough to keep the topics fresh and informative but long enough to discuss a topic in enough detail where I felt that I came away from the podcast learning something (or at least very entertained).
My Go-to POdcasts
Now that the secret is out and you all know that I am an avid podcast listener, I thought I would share with you some of my favorite podcast stations. Since there are so many of them out there, maybe I could introduce you all to one that you didn’t know existed. And please, in the comment section, let me know if there are any stations you love and that I must listen to! Can’t ever follow enough stations. Here are some of my favorites.
Planet Money – Planet Money is a podcast put on by NPR that produces new episodes every 3-5 days. The podcasts are relatively short (between 15-30 minutes typically) and can cover any topic related to business or the economy. The podcasts are well researched and informative and the hosts make each episode fun/easy to listen to. Very helpful as I find ways to re-rack some of my finances.
Mad Money – I’m sure 99% of you reading this article are familiar with Jim Cramer’s show Mad Money. Well, each night, they record his show and publish the episode as a podcast available to all subscribers. So if you are looking for a great summary of the markets daily happenings or recent happenings in the market, I strongly suggest you listen to this daily podcast. I often use his daily podcast to build my watch list or learn about a dividend increase in my portfolio that I did not catch during the work day.
Serial – There have been two ten episode seasons on Serial and I binge listened to them both in less than a week. I couldn’t stop listening. Each season, Serial takes a deep dive into one real-life, cloudy situation that occurred and does an excellent job investigating every angle, back story, and conspiracy out there. By the end of the season, you feel like you know every possible fact about the topic. I cannot wait until Season 3 is released.
Start-Up Podcast – I stumbled on this podcast just a few weeks ago and now find myself in the middle of a binge-listening stint. If you decide to download this podcast, you must start it from the very beginning for reasons that I do not want to disclose to avoid any spoilers! This is a podcast produced by one of the former Planet Money people and what differentiates this podcast from the others on this list is that it focuses on start-up companies. For the first two seasons, the podcast followed two different start-ups around for months and watched/recorded/interviewed the founders through the good times and the many bad times. I leave this podcast excited every episode and find myself trying to think of the next great start-up that could be mine. It channels the entrepreneurial spirit in me. My hunch is that this podcast would also resonate with many of you out there that are chasing financial freedom like we are.
Bill Simmons – I usually get my sports fill by listening to any one of Bill Simmons’ podcasts on the network. I followed along earlier when he had his podcast the BS Report with ESPN (a Disney company). After his fallout with ESPN, he signed on with HBO and now leads a Podcast network that covers various sports, celebrity, and current events topics out there. The best part is that they are extremely entertaining to listen to. Now that he is affiliated with HBO, he can cover any topic and has guest interviews with some of the best out there. If you love sports, this podcast is a must.
Freakonomics – I’m sure you are all familiar with Freakonomics, the book, and the concept of reviewing some of the craziest topics. Well, Steven Dubner has his own podcast network as well and publishes about one episode a week on any topic you can imagine. They are always well done and well researched. Now I have to rent their books from the library and start reading them cover to cover!
Listen Money Matters – Andrew and Thomas have one of the most entertaining finance podcasts out there. This is what I would envision our podcast sounding like if Lanny and I started one. I was new to their podcast at the time I initially wrote this article, so I didn’t include them in the original piece. However, a lot of commentators kept on saying they were a must listen. Since that point, I became hooked and look forward to each new episode produced because I leave the episode feeling inspired that I can quickly become financially free by following what was discussed in that episode. They host a wide range of guests and cover every topic you can think of, from Amazon FBA selling to investing to [insert personal finance topic]. This is a must listen for anyone who enjoys finance related podcasts.
I strongly encourage you all to give podcasts a short. It is a great solution to turning unproductive time spent in your car into either an educational or a more entertaining experience. Now that I’m hooked, I try to listen to podcasts every chance I get…when I am doing the dishes, shopping at the grocery store, or even taking a walk around the block. The best part is that this is all free entertainment. There is a podcast out there for everyone on any topic that you could imagine!
Do you listen to podcasts? If so, what are your favorite stations? Do you have a favorite investing station I should check out? If you don’t listen to podcasts or have and do not like them, please let me know why? Is there another alternative I should be checking out?