Money can be hard to understand. A lot of it’s complicated and nebulous and a lot of us don’t like talking or learning about it. (Even though we love having it. Lots of it.)
That’s why those who are the most successful at teaching about money are those with the best personalities. Maybe it’s the manic flailing of Jim Cramer or the no-nonsense attitude of Suze Orman or – in the case of Jean Chatzky – a friendly, personable way of teaching that makes you think that maybe you actually can understand this money stuff after all.
We’re big fans of Jean’s. You may remember her from our Superheroes of Personal Finance series (rumor has it she makes a cameo in the director’s cut of Captain America: Civil War) or maybe you’ve seen her in small-time publications like Forbes, Bankrate, Time, and SmartMoney, on a little show I like to call the Today Show, or in one of her many books.
Or, more recently, you may have heard her on her podcast HerMoney.
HerMoney bills itself as "a podcast for women, by women, about money." As you can tell by its title, it doesn’t hide the fact that it’s geared toward the unique financial challenges faced by women, and that really makes it stand out against a seemingly-endless wave of other financial podcasts. That’s always been one of Jean’s strengths in general: her focus on helping women has long been her calling card.
And HerMoney isn’t just about money. It’s about everything that surrounds the topics of money and women: challenges in the workplace, social stigmas around gender and money, parenting, and more. HerMoney isn’t about, say, a 401(k) vs an IRA. It’s about creating a lifestyle of understanding money.
The other thing that makes HerMoney stand out? An unending stream of interesting guests.
While we could definitely listen to Jean talk solo for half an hour each week, each episode is like a who’s who of the biggest names in personal finance and business. Whether it’s celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis, fellow personal finance guru Dave Ramsey, or fitness superstar Jillian Michaels, every guest has unique insights on family, life, money, and career.
Need proof that you should be listening to HerMoney? Check out these three episodes for a taste of the financial and career advice you can get from Jean and her stellar lineup of guests.
Episode 5: Joanna Coles, Editor-In-Chief Of Cosmopolitan On Sex, Money & Power
Women need to know their own value
How can you empower women to be confident about money?
Jean’s interview with Joanna Coles is first on this list because it really encapsulates the best of everything HerMoney: one part career, one part money, and stories and advice tailored toward women.
Joanna Coles is the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan (and a former mentor on Project Runway All Stars), and being in such a position of power means she brings an interesting perspective to the discussion of money. There were two things I personally found compelling. One was about anxieties that women have around money – the fear of ending up "underneath the Brooklyn Bridge," as Joanna puts it – and the idea of empowering women when it comes to money, because it clearly encapsulates what Jean is working toward not only with the podcast but with her career in general. Giving women the tools to be in control of their money opens up a lot of opportunities and provides them a lot of freedom.
The other, which sprung out of empowering women, was the conversation on women negotiating and knowing their value in the workplace. That’s where Joanna’s position as editor-in-chief came in: not only has she had to negotiate, but she’s also often the one whom others are trying to negotiate with. Being on both sides of the table, she’s seen how people don’t recognize their value and therefore negotiate poorly, and it makes her think how well (or poorly) that person would negotiate for the team and the company.
For listeners who are particularly interested in the intersection of career and money, Joanna Coles’ episode is a great place to start.
Episode 9: How I Found $1,000 & Learned About Grit From Ad Aces Linda Kaplan Thaler And Robin Koval
GRIT: "Guts, Resilience, Initiative, and Tenacity."
How do you distract yourself from spending?
The episode with "ad aces" Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval is less directly about money than some of the other episodes of HerMoney, which makes it a nice change of pace. Linda and Robin are the authors of Grit to Great, and in this case grit stands for "guts, resilience, initiative, and tenacity."
That doesn’t mean that the advice can’t be framed in terms of money, though. Forming good habits can apply to a lot of things, like budgeting or not spending all of your money on Uber rides, and setting goals is obviously a must when it comes to your finances.
Linda and Robin also advocate a "30 second timeout" to reframe temptations and impulse buys. The idea is to distract yourself by either doing something else – having a conversation instead of eating a cookie – or doing some mental tricks like imagining a cockroach swimming in that chocolate mousse you really want to eat.
Again, a lot of this episode isn’t specifically about money habits, but you’d be surprised how much "grit" you can apply to your budget, retirement, and financial goals.
Episode 8: Your Money, Your Kids. The Opposite Of Spoiled With Ron Lieber
How do you teach kids with "invisible money"?
Do we teach boys and girls differently about money?
This episode is especially great for parents, as Jean and journalist and author Ron Lieber talk about allowance, college, and how to teach kids about money in an age where it’s mostly invisible thanks to Uber and Venmo. It’s a challenge we all face, but parents with young (or even not-so-young) children are having to raise them in a time when they barely know physical money at all.
And since HerMoney centers around finance for women, the conversation about how we teach boys and girls about money is particularly interesting. Boys get lectured about saving and investing, while girls get lessons on spending habits. That can have long-term affects on how we view money and can lead to the sort of misconceptions Jean tries to dispel every day.
Near the end of every episode, Jean asks her guests to rank power, fame, love, and money. Most choose love first, but it’s interesting to see how the others rank. (I like to place bets on how each guest will rank these values, so if you need yet another reason to listen, I need people to join this pool.)
One final note: come for the great guests, say for the great Q&A; at the end of every episode. Jean goes through a lightning round-style of listener-submitted questions, answering questions on everything from IRAs to credit card tips.
HerMoney is only a few months in, and with 11 episodes (as of this writing) it’s not too late to catch up. Listen to those SoundCloud episodes, but then make sure to subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Pocket Casts, or any of the other approximately one trillion podcast services so you’ll never miss an episode.