Why Podcasts Are a Great Way to Improve Your Finances, Live at Podcast Movement
Welcome to The MapleMoney Show, the podcast that helps Canadians improve their personal finances to create lasting financial freedom. I’m your host, Tom Drake, the founder of MapleMoney, where I’ve been writing about all things related to personal finance since 2009.
Did you know that listening to personal finance podcasts can be good for your health? Your financial health, that is. Recently, I was in Orlando at Podcast Movement, a conference for podcast content creators from just about every genre you could think of.
While there, I had an opportunity to chat with a few of my peers in the personal finance community, on why podcasts can be a great way to improve your finances. Of course, I had the mic turned on, and captured three of those conversations for this week’s episode of The MapleMoney Show.
My three guests on this special episode, recorded live from Podcast Movement, are none other than Bethany Bayless, of the Money Millhouse podcast, Chris Browning, from Popcorn Finance, and Philip Taylor, aka PT Money, serial podcaster and founder of FinCon, North America’s premiere conference for personal finance content creators. Sit back, and enjoy this special episode!
Did you know that one of the best ways to improve your credit score is by checking it on a regular basis? Our sponsor, Borrowell, makes it easy by providing a free credit report, along with regular updates every month. To get your free credit score and report, head to Borrowell today!
- Podcasts can offer personal finance content in a way that’s digestible
- A podcast helps to create a personal connection between host and listener
- It’s easier to multitask when listening to a podcast vs. reading blog content
- How to listen to personal finance content
- Stories shared via podcast makes content more relatable to the audience
- Podcasts can help people along their personal finance journey
- Blogs and podcasts challenge us to be talking about our finances daily
- The importance of listening to podcast content that’s relevant to your situation
Listening to a podcast may entertaining and educational but did you know that they can also be good for your financial health? Recently I had the opportunity to attend a podcasting conference and ran into a few friends from the personal finance community while I was there. In this special episode, recorded live at the Podcast Movement, I chatted with two fellow podcasters and a former podcaster about why listening to personal finance podcasts can be a great way to improve your finances.
Welcome to the Maple Money Show, the podcast that helps Canadians improve their personal finances to create lasting financial freedom. Did you know that your credit score tends to improve and when you check it more often? Our sponsor this week, Borrowell, makes it easy by providing a free credit report along with regular updates every month. To get your free credit score and report head to maplemoney.com/borrowell today. My first guest is Bethany Bayless from the Money Millhouse podcast. Each week she and co-host have fun discussing everything from saving money to home-based business tips. Let’s chat with Bethany…
Tom: Hi Bethany, welcome to the Maple Money Show.
Bethany: Hi Tom. How are you?
Tom: Pretty good. We’re at Podcast Movement and I wanted to talk to you a bit about how podcasts can help people with their money. I’m assuming you listen to more podcasts than I do.
Bethany: Podcasts are amazing. I love podcasting as one of the mediums that we produce content at the Money Millhouse. It’s something where you are having a personal relationship with whoever it is on the other end. You’re having this relationship where you’re able to listen to these thoughts they have but also go with them through the life experiences that they’re facing, especially when it comes to money. It’s really easy to go to a conference or go somewhere to learn about money but it’s a little bit harder when you’re getting it all at once. And with podcasts I feel that having it in systematic, incremental bits and pieces you’re able to work on one thing at a time and it’s just more digestible.
Tom: So how can podcasts help people? If they’re listening to them all the time what makes it different than reading a blog post or watching a video?
Bethany: For one, it’s accessible when you’re doing other things. It’s harder with a video. A lot of times I’ll turn on a video and just listen to the sound because I’ll be doing something around the house or driving. It’s one of those things that you’re able to listen to when—I’m a big multi-tasker and I feel like I’m learning while I’m doing something else. And it’s one of those where you’re able to add this personality through your voice in a way that maybe you don’t in video. If you’re having a phone conversation with someone you can’t tell them that you’re waving at them. That’s the only way that they’ll know that you’re waving at them is because you tell them. Podcasts are very similar. You have to use different language. You have to use different descriptions. You have to define a look or something like that. You don’t have nonverbal cues. Everything has to be verbal. And so it’s completely different than watching a video because you can’t smile. You can’t make gestures or anything like that. I think as podcasters, the people who do it really well are the ones who are able to capture those nonverbals in a verbal way.
Tom: That makes perfect sense. You have to tell the person you’re waving at them. Even in personal finance that matters. You have to explain it to them. You can’t show it to them. You can’t write it down for them.
Bethany: Exactly. Some of my favorite podcasts are just people having conversations and you feel like you are just a fly on the wall during their conversations. And when it comes to those nonverbals, sometimes like you don’t even realize what they’re doing by using that language or describing it to you. You’re able to picture them where they are. It’s like a book. If you have a video, you see them where they are. They’re at their desk or they have a backdrop. One of the podcasts I listen to—I literally picture them sitting on the couch together just talking to each other over a cup of coffee or glass of wine. I think that’s my favorite because I feel like I’m there. I get to hang out with them and be a part of this conversation. It’s so fun—and they’re my friends even though they have no idea who I am.
Tom: That’s something I found funny. I’ve been blogging for over a decade. I’ve been podcasting for over a year and people will come up to me and say, “I love your podcasts.” I’d quote them but I don’t remember exactly what they said but it was basically that they know me more.
Tom: After that long of blogging, people never did that.
Bethany: Blogging is a little different because it’s like text as opposed to a conversation on the phone. I feel like podcasting is a phone conversation. Because out of a text you can’t… you’re not supposed to have arguments in texts because you don’t know how they’re saying it or what they’re saying. Something could be perceived differently in a text versus verbal. But in a podcast you’re able to convey those things as opposed to a blog post. I totally understand that because people feel like they’re hanging out with you. We’ve had similar experiences where people come up to us and say, “Oh my gosh, I feel like I know you, like we’re best friends.” I genuinely love those conversations because we are friends. One of my other favorite things is that I do feel like we have friends. It’s been so rewarding to have people contact us who are strangers, we don’t know them. My family doesn’t listen to my podcast so it would only make sense that strangers do. That’s okay though. That’s a different story for a different day. We once had a woman we offered to send a postcard on our show. I said, “I have this postcard. Let us know if you want it.” And she went to our Instagram page and messaged me, telling me she wanted that postcard. I had no idea who she was. She was a complete stranger and I thought what a cool, fun experience that is to be able to connect with someone through something like podcasting.
Next up is Chris Browning, a financial analyst by day and host of the award winning, Popcorn Finance podcast by night. Let’s listen to my conversation with Chris…
Tom: Hi Chris, welcome to the Maple Money Show.
Chris: Hey Tom, thanks for having me on.
Tom: People are already listening to podcasts who are listening to this show, but what can they really get from it? I find there’s a very personal connection compared to some of the other mediums. Do you think that too?
Chris: Yes, I think there’s something unique about having someone’s voice in your head going around with you that creates this personal connection where you feel like you know the person.
Tom: I was saying that the Bethany. With blog posts I’ve been doing for over a decade, you get e-mails and stuff. But once I started doing the podcast people realized I was a real person who was having conversations with me. And, I’m sharing more things on the podcast than I would in a written form because I’m able to admit screwing things up or having a particular problem. It’s a little bit different. It’s like podcasting is a conversation.
Chris: Yes, it’s a conversation. That’s a great way to put that.
Tom: What can people really learn from podcasting? What makes it a different medium than other things? One thing I find is I can’t get too deep into numbers with podcasts. It’s one of the things that bother me because sometimes I want to break things down and work with a table of numbers and I can’t do that. But on the plus side, does it make it simpler?
Chris: Well, I think you’re definitely right in that you can’t get into the numbers too deep on a podcast. There are some shows I like where they start doing math and it’s really hard to math in your head while someone else is doing the math. So I agree with that. But it’s great for that personal connection. Just as for you, that’s a great platform to write on. I think the audio of the podcast is like a supplement to that. If you want to get heavy into the numbers, you can always direct to where they can do that. But a podcast is a great way for people to get to know you as the host and also to build that connection. What I love about the podcasts is that you can take them with you. You’re not bound to like sitting there. If I’m reading something and happen to be sitting at a desk or I have a book with me and I’d be very stationary… I haven’t tried walking and reading but I don’t think it would go over too well.
Tom: No, it doesn’t because I’ve done it. Sometimes I’m staring at my phone too long or trying to walk down the sidewalk or something. It doesn’t work well.
Chris: So many bad things could happen but with a podcast you can do whatever you want (while you listen). I wash dishes, clean the house. I can drive to work. I can do just about anything. It’s a way for me to gain information and knowledge or even just reinforcing ideas, but I can be doing literally anything else at the same time which is not really possible if I’m watching a video or trying to read something. To me, that’s why it’s my preferred platform or medium to consume content.
Tom: Yeah, I’ve been doing a lot more too and for the reasons you mentioned; washing dishes or driving to work. It’s something where I feel like I’m multi-tasking. Calgary to Edmonton it’s about two and a half hours three hours of a drive and I listen to podcasts, non-stop. It feels like multitasking. I need to learn and be doing something more productive than just driving.
Chris: Yeah, exactly. Like you, I’m learning and not just sitting here wasting time. I might as well utilize this time with something else. I agree. I love the fact that it is serious multi-tasking.
Tom: How do you consume podcasts? I’ll mention how I do, first. I subscribe to some shows but I don’t automatically download them. I very specifically pick out (every two weeks or so) particular topics. Do you do that or do you do binge every episode of the show? Or, is there something else I’m missing—another option?
Chris: I can’t do the picking of individual episodes because I’ll forget. I have a horrible memory and I would just forget about a show completely. So I’d definitely go with the subscription model. I subscribe to all the podcasts that I want to listen to on a regular basis with the exception of a new show. In that case, I’ll download one episode to see if I like it. And if I like it, then I’ll subscribe. But then I end up having 100 episodes in my queue of podcasts because I’m subscribed to all these shows and I get overwhelmed. So there are downsides. Something I would do if I could remember would be to actually go back and download episodes for the new ones that come out.
Tom: Yeah, I’m very scattered with those. Sometimes the list will be two weeks or sometimes a month and I’m scrolling through this list of hundreds of episodes. It’s not a full subscription but they’re at least in my player. If it was some of the fiction-based podcasts which I don’t listen to, at least then there’s possibly a certain order to it. But with non-fiction, things like personal finance, some topics just don’t apply to you. I kind of work through them like that. What do you take away from podcasting? How does a podcast help you in a way that’s different then than other formats?
Chris: I think the big thing is it’s one that I’ve stuck with because it is so easy to pick up and listen to and I can take it with me while I’m doing other things. I don’t feel like I have to give up other items, chores or tasks in order to listen to a podcast. That’s probably the biggest thing. But for me, a lot of it is reinforcing topics or things I’ve learned so I don’t forget. I’ll learn about something or hear about something and forget about the next day. But there are certain shows I listen to on the finance side of things… I love economics and some of its concepts can be really complex. But the fact that I can walk around and listen to it over and over helps reinforce these topics. I can hold onto it and grasp the information. And there is no way I going to read the same article more than once. I’m going to get bored and won’t read it again. But a podcast I can listen to multiple times or even maybe listen to other things on the same topic that helped reinforce it. For me that’s probably the biggest thing; it’s a way of locking in some information that I’ve picked up over the past several months or whatever.
Tom: I believe was last year you were the best new personal finance podcast for the Plutus Awards. Have people reached out to you to say how you’ve helped them? Are there any interesting stories there on times where your podcast directly helped someone where you’ve heard that back?
Chris: One comes to mind. There was a guy who sent me a message. I think it just even like a casual mention. Someone had talked to me at a FINCON conference about the service called dave.com I think. I’ve never used it and I’m not promoting it or anything like that. But basically, it allows you to get a micro loan for a very low fee (something like a dollar) to help you cover a gap in your pay. This guy wrote saying he has very irregular pay. He doesn’t know if it’s going to be a normal amount or drastically lower. And he ends up with these situations where his cash flow is just—there is a big gap and he has no way to cover it (or least not an affordable way). And so I just threw that service in there. I don’t know why. And he said, “You know, I’m really happy you brought that up because this is kind of something I was looking for because I hate these paying points in my budget and I didn’t really have a good solution. I tried it out and it’s really worked for me.” And it was just from just a casual conversation I had with someone over a recording and it ended up helping someone. That was probably one of the coolest experiences I’ve had doing a podcast.
Tom: I’ve had people say they like the podcast. I did an episode on the Smith Maneuver which is a Canadian thing (for sure) but basically it’s the idea of how to make your mortgage tax deductible. Ours aren’t tax deductible in Canada. You have to basically convert it over to an investment loan, cycling the money through paying dividends and everything. But a lot of people have said this helped change their plans. They’re really into this. It’s great timing. I had the author of the Maneuver come on the show. He’s releasing a new book and everything so I think I really helped people catch on to this possibility that went beyond the main topic which was having an emergency fund or something like that. It was something that was a little less common sense. You actually had to tell someone about it or else they wouldn’t have known about this idea.
Chris: That is really cool. I’ve never been to Canada, unfortunately, but that sounds like a really tangible, concrete thing someone can do to help improve their finances. Like you said, it’s not common knowledge. I didn’t even know that (the Smith Maneuver) was a thing.
Tom: Most Canadians don’t. You just get your mortgage and pay it. You don’t get any tax deduction on the interest and that’s it. Whenever you can teach someone something that changes their life… Like you said, the person listening to your podcast, if they’re picking up some little tips that could just potentially change everything for them. That’s a big impact out of a little podcast.
Chris: And because I think podcasts are so easy to consume, the chance of that happening are higher. I feel like people are moving away from reading as much as they used to. YouTube has become extremely popular but it’s not something you’d just watch all the time. And so I think podcasts what a great medium to teach these topics and for people to be able to pick up information in whatever situation they’re in. And they’re free so you can’t beat that. As well, it’s easily accessible. I think it’s a great format for this type of information.
Tom: Yeah it’s everywhere. It’s on demand. It’s only the topics you’re going to care about that you subscribe to. I can see how that beats any video where a lot of times, sure, you’ve got it on your phone but it’s just not quite as portable as podcasts. Like if you’re mowing the lawn. How do you really watch a video without cutting your foot off?
Chris: It’s probably a horrible idea. Just like walking and reading. But it is a horrible idea, for sure.
If you’ve been around the personal finance community for awhile, my next guest needs no introduction. Philip Taylor, otherwise known as PT Money, is the founder of FINCON, North America’s premier conference for personal finance content creators. He’s also hosted a few podcasts of his own over the years. Here’s my chat with PT…
Tom: Thanks Phil, for being on the Maple Money Show.
Philip: Man, it’s a pleasure to be here.
Tom: I wanted to discuss podcasts. It’s a great medium to have a conversation compared to a blog. A blog sort of says, “I am the authority writing a post on the topic,” but here we can kind of just talk it out a bit. You’ve done podcasts in the past. You don’t have one currently running which is a shame. How do you prepare a podcast so that it will help people? How do you go through the steps of interviewing a guest and coming up with something that helps someone change their finances?
Philip: My last podcast was called Masters of Money. What I did with that was create a story-arc style question and answer format. I really kind of stuck to those same questions regardless of the guests I brought on. I sort of massaged them a little bit so they were slightly different for the guest—for what their story was. But essentially, I wanted to start at the low point. When was the sad part of the story where you’re beaten down, you can’t win in life where you only have up to go? That’s where I started the story. And we ended with, “How does it feel now that you’ve kind of reached this point in your life?” So they can kind of look back over that journey again one more time. It had a nice little bell-curve to it with mixed in tools and tips and tricks along the way. I felt like it told a good story-arc for people. To me, in the personal finance space, that’s what can win for people because they can then see themselves in that same arc regardless of where they’re at. Maybe they’ve already had their low moment and they’re starting to build themselves out of it. They can then follow this story to say, “Oh, I can be like that person. I can’t wait to get to that finish line.” It’s motivating in that sense. And it’s also a perspective for a lot of people who come into the financial space saying they’re not a money person, a money expert—that they’re not good with money. We hear that a lot. Most people at some point in their life weren’t good with money. If you hear that story arc over and over and over again then all the excuses go away. All these people from all these different backgrounds have had the same trajectory, fixed their financial situation and improved their life. If I can see that evidence—and it’s not just PT telling you that you can do it, but it’s really evident in people’s stories, I think people can then insert themselves in that and it empowers them to say, “Okay, no more excuses. I can be like these people. I can join this tribe who has conquered this thing in their life. I can become that money person. I can become that money expert for myself.” That’s probably square one of how I kind of tried to frame it. Ultimately, I think as a host you have to be really interested in that story. You can’t just sort of serve up those questions week after week and go on autopilot. That’s why I really ended that show, because it got to a point where I felt like we had kind of told all the stories. I felt as though I had conquered this topic a little bit and decided to move on to something fresh. But I had empathy for the audience. I understood who my audience was person—the person who could put themselves on that story arc. Then I was interested in that guest to the point I felt like I was drawing the deeper, richer, information out from them.
Tom: It’s interesting how you said you stopped the show because it would have been too much of the same thing. There are a lot of stories out there on how people paid off $50,000 in debt. Especially with student loans in the States. It’s not as big an issue in Canada. But ultimately, a lot of people have had debt issues. And making that relatable, I think a podcast is a great way for that. With a blog, I’ll mention if I’ve had money issues in the past and stuff. But getting these different stories and talking to different people every week brings a whole different dynamic to it. There are people that have had different issues that I haven’t had and on a blog it was very one person, and now I’m sharing stories from everyone.
Philip: Yes, it’s a great way to tell multiple stories and bring other voices into the conversation. Absolutely. It inspired me as a host to put myself back in those situations again and to think back to see how far I’ve come. One of my favorite episodes was ultimately me sharing my story at the end and thinking back through my own journey as all my guests had. It was a really cool project to produce. And I heard from a lot of listeners that it was impacting them. So, I would encourage anyone who’s got a voice or a story to share to get out there and share it.
Tom: It’s good hearing back from people. Is there a specific time you remember that someone contacted you to tell you this really changed something for them? Is there an action they took that your podcast really helped change someone’s life?
Philip: You put me on the spot with that. Through the years I’ve certainly had people reach out. Literally, last week I had someone reach out to me to let me know that he and his wife officially had reached a point of financial independence. He’s been following my blog for five or six years now through the years. I featured him in his story a long time ago. But it was sort of an incomplete story. So for him to come back and show me the current result which financially was an “end” from a financial independent standpoint was really cool for him to share. That’s the kind of story you want to hear as you’re doing this—that people are attaching themselves to your story, or they’re sort of following the general conversation out there and seeing success. For them it was getting rid of their debt, getting to a place with their retirement savings such that they could stop worrying about new income coming in. It was really cool for them. Congrats.
Tom: I know as podcasters we can look at it like in terms of how many downloads we got in a given week. But it’s important to remember that those downloads are actual people and we’re actually improving their finances. We’re not fiction podcasters. We’re actually giving someone something they can act on and those numbers start to really mean something.
Philip: I agree 100 percent. And especially with the topic of money because most people in their general everyday life with their family, friends, co-workers—they’re just not talking about money. They just don’t do it and it’s either because it’s still a taboo subject or it’s impolite or there’s some shame around it or whatever. So to be in on a conversation about finances and hear from someone like Tom who’s willing to open up and have that conversation, to build that level of trust and get in their ear is a pretty special thing that only happens in a medium like this. I think stories are what win with personal finance media. I’m a big believer in that. You can look at the markets all day long. You can write the generic “How to get out of debt” articles or whatever, but with a story attached to it—the real personal stuff that people aren’t daily interacting with naturally out in society, that’s the special sauce we can give them to really have an impact on them.
Tom: The thing I like most about stories too is when you meet that one person and know exactly who they are. If that story really lines up with that person’s life then you’re going to make an even bigger impact. Stories certainly make it interesting for anybody listening but if you really sync up with a certain listener it’s going to make a big difference.
Philip: In my own life, I started listening to Dave Ramsey to fix my financial situation. I read David Bach’s, Automatic Millionaire, and I set some of the things in motion that ultimately would give me success. But it wasn’t until I found personal finance bloggers and podcasters who were really telling granular details about their personal finances and really opening up the books that it blew me away. It had this challenging effect to me to say, “Okay, here’s this average guy in the US who’s doing this thing. He’s doing it. And in a way, he’s putting a challenge out to me over here that I could be that person too. I could do that too.” That was all I needed. The David Bach’s and Dave Ramsey’s were good. They were a great starting point with good systems to kind of help move me. But to sustain me for very long-term growth, I needed to be talking about money more regularly. And that’s what blogs and podcasts have done for me. They’ve put me in a conversation where there’s a touch-point I can always go to have those money conversations or answer those questions. And in your everyday life, again, that’s just not something you get. It’s really special, this medium.
Tom: Yeah, I agree. Personally, how do you consume podcasts? Are you downloading every single episode? Are you picking certain ones? How do you kind of shape that for yourself?
Philip: I’m mostly a podcast “on the road” guy. When I’m traveling, getting on the plane, that’s when I have six or seven I’ll dial up. On occasion I’ll go for a walk around the neighborhood and do one. But typically in my everyday life, I don’t consume them. I’ve subscribed to all the personal finance podcasts just because they’re my people. I look for the ones that are a little bit ahead of me in their financial life. Dough Roller from doughroller.net is a show that for the past few years I’ve really paid attention to because Rob is literally only five or ten years older than me and going through some things that I know I’ll be going through down the road. I look for people who are a little bit ahead of me in this stage of life. Then I’ll look for topical type podcasts that are really in a niche. For instance, I listened to a couple of events-based podcasts since I produce an event. I dabble in real estate so I’ve got a couple of those on dial. And then just a couple of general entrepreneurship type shows, just to hear from other business owners and about their success stories—how they built things. And on the personal side, I’m a fan of true crime so anything new, true crime, I’m all over. And I’ll binge listen to those. So yeah, a little entertainment but a lot of personal productivity too.
Tom: That’s very similar to me. I’ll listen to it in the car or if I’m mowing the lawn. Whenever I’m moving in one form or another where I’m not going to be reading a blog post. I’m not going to be working. I’m not going to be doing anything else. I’m not watching a video. So yeah, podcasts are great when you can just sort of throw the earbuds in and get going. Well, thanks for being on the show.
Philip: Pleasure being on, Tom.
I’d like to give a big shout out to Bethany. Chris, and PT for joining me to discuss how listening to personal finance podcasts have helped each of them in their personal finance journey. You can find the show notes for this episode at maplemoney.com/podcastmovement. Last, but not least, thank you for supporting this podcast. The regular feedback we get from listeners is what helps the Maple Money Show get better week in and week out. If you have the Apple podcast app on your phone I’d love for you to pull up the Maple Money Show and give it a quick rating. Even better, leave a review and let everyone know what you think of the show. Be sure to tune in next week as I present another special episode of the Maple Money Show recorded live from FINCON in Washington D.C.