Episode archive

Nerdy Business: Building the Right Team

Starting a successful business means building the right team — and knowing when not to cut corners when hiring employees and partners.

This episode, Sean and small-business Nerd Rosalie Murphy talk with Mariyah Saifuddin, co-owner of IT consulting firm Innovative Solution Partners. She shares what she’s learned over 20 years in business, from choosing the right vendors to continually diversifying your customer base. Read more

Summer Travel Tips and Conflicting Financial Priorities

Flight cancellations, rising gas prices and a surge of travelers — this year, summer travel might be more expensive (and headache-inducing). To start this episode, Sean and Liz share their tips for making the most of summer travel this year.

Then they answer a listener’s question about how to balance conflicting financial priorities. Read more

Nerdy Business: Setting Your Business Up for Success

Taking a side gig to a full-time job is a big — and daring — jump.

This episode, Sean and small-business Nerd Rosalie Murphy kick off the new Nerdy Business series, where they interview business owners about how they got to where they are today and the lessons they have for other entrepreneurs.

Sean and Rosalie talk with Theresa E. Gonzales, owner of 5-E Leadership and Marketing and host of the podcast “Latinas From the Block to the Boardroom.” She discusses how she identified a target market and leveraged her expertise to grow her consulting work into a full-time business. Read more…

Why Are Homes Pricey in the U.S. and Abroad?

The home affordability crisis isn’t just an issue in the United States. This episode, Sean hosts a roundtable discussion with Nerds from Canada, the U.K. and the U.S. to explore what is driving up home prices in each country — and what consumers can do about it. Our countries might have more in common than you think. Read more…

Queer Money Talk

LGBTQ+ people face a number of unique personal finance challenges, including higher rates of poverty and a wage gap. As a wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation is enacted across the country, how can members of this community protect their money to strengthen their personal resilience?

This episode Sean and Liz talk with David Auten and John Schneider, also known as the Debt Free Guys and hosts of the Queer Money Podcast, about how LGBTQ+ people can improve their personal finances while following their morals. David and John also talk about their experience paying off credit card debt. Read more

Small Business Inflation, and Sign-Up Bonuses

Inflation is hitting everyone’s budgets — including those of small-business owners. To kick off this episode, Sean and Liz talk about how inflation is impacting small businesses, and how you can still shop local as prices climb.

Then they answer a listener’s question about the smart way to earn sign-up bonuses while protecting your credit score. Read more…

Taking On the Racial Wealth Gap

The racial wealth gap was created and reinforced over centuries. Can it be solved in our lifetime? In this episode, Sean and Liz talk with journalist Kimberly Atkins Stohr about her series for The Emancipator about solving the racial wealth gap. Read more…

What’s Up With Eggs, and Home Improvement Projects

Eggs — why are they so expensive right now, and what can you do about it? To start this episode, Sean and Liz crack open the factors driving up egg prices at the moment. They also share their tips for making groceries more affordable, including whether you should start your own chicken coop.

Then they talk about how to approach home improvement season in 2022. Materials and contractors can be expensive and hard to come by, so you might need to get creative to accomplish your goals. Read more…

Nerdy Deep Dive: How to Reduce Child Care Costs

Child care can be a strain on many families’ budgets — but there are opportunities for you to minimize the cost.

In Part 2 of this Nerdy deep dive, we talk with two of our own Nerds to highlight existing financial resources for parents at the federal and state level. We also discuss personal finance strategies that can help parents think long term, even if money is tight at the moment. Read more…

Recession Prep, and Lightning Round Money Questions

A recession is (maybe) imminent. To start off this episode, Sean and Liz talk about how to prepare for a recession, including how to think about investing.

Then they answer a number of your questions in a lightning round. This time they talk about how to grow money, buying cars and travel credit cards.
Read more…

Nerdy Deep Dive: Why Is Child Care So Expensive?

Child care costs are pushing budgets to the brink. In the first episode of this two-part Nerdy deep dive, we go behind the scenes to untangle one of the largest budget items for many families.

By listening to this series, parents and listeners of all stripes will become more aware of the system and know how to take advantage of supports that currently exist — while the fight for widespread policy changes continues. Read more…

Giving Family Money, and What’s Happening with Inflation

Your family or friend needs money in a pinch. Do you help them out, or tell them to look elsewhere for cash? To start this episode, Sean and Liz discuss different approaches to giving loved ones money.
Then they talk about all things inflation — what’s driving it and when it might slow down — with Darian Woods from NPR’s podcast “The Indicator from Planet Money.” Read more…

Get Creative About Money with Paco de Leon

If traditional money advice doesn’t work for you, then you might want to consider a more creative approach.

In this episode, personal finance Nerd Kim Palmer talks with Paco de Leon, author of the new personal finance book, “Finance for the People.” She is also an illustrator, musician and founder of a financial education firm and bookkeeping agency. De Leon shares how to take a visual and creative approach to budgeting and making money decisions, including why — and how — to write a letter to your own debt.
Read more…

Nerdy Travel Diaries: Using Points to Fly in Luxury

You can fly abroad in business class on points alone — if you know how to play the points game. To wrap up our Nerdy Travel Diaries series, Liz talks with travel Nerd Elina Geller about her strategy for booking international business class flights. Read more…

Fruitful Yard Sale, and When Not to Refinance

Want to get rid of your junk and earn a buck? To start off this episode, Sean and Liz give you tips for a successful yard sale, including how to make your wares look more appealing to buyers and how to price items.

Then they answer a listener’s money question about when it doesn’t make sense to refinance a mortgage. Read more…

Nerdy Travel Diaries: Anniversary Getaway to Costa Rica

After two years of sitting on credit card points and staying at home, you might be in a great position to book some luxurious international travel.

In this episode of our Nerdy Travel Diaries series, Sean talks with NerdWallet travel editor Kevin Berry about his recent trip to an all-inclusive luxury resort in Costa Rica that he booked with points. They also discuss how you can use points to book your own international vacation. Read more…

New Student Debt, and a Couple’s Money Baggage

Student debt cancellation may be on the horizon. But a new generation of graduates is set to take on another load of burdensome debt. To start off this episode, Sean and Liz talk with NerdWallet data writer Liz Renter about her new report on the debt high school graduates may face — and how they can mitigate it.

Then Sean and Liz answer a listener’s question about how to get past the money baggage in their relationship and manifest an exceptional financial future together. Read more…

Nerdy Travel Diaries: Scrimping and Splurging in Japan

Traveling to Japan can be both expensive and intimidating — but it doesn’t have to be. In this episode of our Nerdy Travel Diaries series, NerdWallet travel writer Sam Kemmis shares how he crafted a vacation in Tokyo that included both luxury amenities and cost-saving travel hacks. Read more…

Bitcoin 401(k)s and Choosing the Best Crypto

Crypto is coming to 401(k) accounts. Should you add it to your portfolio? And which crypto is the best to invest in right now?

In this episode, Liz and Sara discuss how to think about investing in crypto, including how to understand which type will help you reach your financial goals. Read more…

Nerdy Travel Diaries: Weightlifting in New Mexico

The Travel Nerds know how to get the most from any trip — whether they’re staying in a luxury hotel on credit card points or finding the best airfare.

To kick off this Nerdy Travel Diaries series, NerdWallet travel writer Sally French shares how she saved money on a trip to New Mexico for a weightlifting meet. One tip? Make sure you know where your credit card points have the most value.
Read more…

Small Business Benefits, and Buying a Hybrid

Shopping at small businesses may offer more benefits than you know, including access to exclusive deals and insider information. To start this episode, Sean and Liz talk about the benefits of shopping at small businesses.

Then they answer a listener’s money question about whether switching to a hybrid vehicle is a smart financial move right now. Read more…

Protecting Your Privacy, and Front-Loading a 401(k)

Maxing out a 401(k) is a great step toward saving for retirement, but have you ever thought about front-loading your plan? In this episode, hosts Sean Pyles and Liz Weston talk with investing Nerd Alana Benson about the pros, cons and potential pitfalls of front-loading your employer-sponsored retirement plan.

Sean and Liz also talk about how to protect your privacy from companies that want to (literally) track your every move. Read more…

Student Debt Cancellation Debate, Part 2

Is student loan cancellation the key to liberating those crushed under burdensome debt, or a potentially-ineffective political ploy?

In this two-part Nerdy Deep Dive into student loans, Sean and student loans Nerd Anna Helhoski explore how taking on huge amounts of student debt has become the norm in America. They also discuss what’s shifting now in today’s student debt conversation.

In Part 2, we speak with two experts — each falling on one side of the student debt cancellation debate. Read more…

Save at Weddings, and Vet Mortgage Lenders

Wedding season is picking up steam. Are you — and your budget — ready? To kick off this episode, Sean and Liz talk about how you can save money attending weddings this year.

Then Sean and Liz answer a listener’s question about the risks of going with the mortgage lender your real estate agent recommends.
Read more…

How We Got to $1.75 Trillion in Student Loan Debt

Student loans are a tool, as well as a dreaded financial reality, for most Americans who attend college.

In this two-part Nerdy Deep Dive into student loans, Sean and student loans Nerd Anna Helhoski explore how taking on huge amounts of student debt has become the norm in America. They also discuss what’s shifting now in today’s student debt conversation. Read more…

3 Spring Money Tasks, and Debt Payoff Options

With spring in the air, money tasks might be the last thing on your mind. To kick off this episode, Sean and Liz talk about three easy tasks to knock out so you can have your money on track while you go enjoy the warmer weather.

Then they answer a listener’s question about different ways to take care of their debt. Some routes can save you time and money — others can make a difficult situation worse. Read more…

Single-Income Couples, and When to Use Your HSA and FSA

Going from a two-income household to a one-income household is not solely a financial challenge. But this change also creates opportunities to strengthen your relationship and set clear expectations. To start off this episode, Sean and Liz discuss how to manage finances in a one-income household.

Then Sean and Liz answer a listener’s money question about using HSAs and FSAs. Both can cover health care expenses, but only one can be used as an investment vehicle.

Read more…

The Fed Interest Rate Hike, and What’s a Credit Card Authorized User?

The Federal Reserve is raising interest rates. To explore what it means for you, Sean kicks off this episode with a roundtable discussion about how the rate hike could affect mortgages, day-to-day finances and credit cards.

Then Sean and Liz answer a listener’s question about how making family members (or friends, for that matter) authorized users on your credit cards can help them boost their credit. Read more…

Single-Income Couples, and When to Use Your HSA and FSA

Going from a two-income household to a one-income household is not solely a financial challenge. But this change also creates opportunities to strengthen your relationship and set clear expectations. To start off this episode, Sean and Liz discuss how to manage finances in a one-income household.

Then Sean and Liz answer a listener’s money question about using HSAs and FSAs. Both can cover health care expenses, but only one can be used as an investment vehicle.

Read more…

How I Got Here: Tori Dunlap of Her First $100K

What does it take to save $100K by your mid-20s? Just ask Tori Dunlap, founder of the blog Her First $100K and the “Financial Feminist” podcast.

In this episode, Sean interviews Tori about how she got to where she is today, the lessons she learned along the way and her advice for you to make the most of your finances.
Read more…

Combating Inflation, and Saving for Retirement Amid Climate Change

Gas, groceries and just about everything else are getting more expensive. Sean and Liz share tips for protecting your purchasing power, including cutting expenses and using a savings account that earns interest at the rate of inflation.

Then they answer a listener’s question about whether saving for retirement is worthwhile in the face of the climate crisis and other calamities. Read more…

Why to Sell Your House, and Managing Investment Fees

Selling your house right now might sound like a great way to inject unnecessary stress into your life. But it could also be very lucrative, if you do it right. To start this episode, Sean and Liz talk about how and why you might want to sell your house.

Then they answer a listener’s money question about how to manage fees on investment accounts. Read more…

The Tax Episode

Taxes: You’ve got questions about ‘em, and we’ve got answers. On this episode of the podcast, Sean and Liz answer a number of listener money questions about filing taxes this year, including how to navigate capital gains, when to hire a tax pro and knowing what you owe. Sean and Liz also discuss how to reduce your tax obligation through credits and deductions. Read more…

Building Your Financial Smarts With Bola Sokunbi

Taking charge of your own financial education can help you get ahead and avoid classic money mistakes.

In this episode, personal finance Nerd Kim Palmer talks with money author and educator Bola Sokunbi about her book, “Clever Girl Finance: Ditch Debt, Save Money and Build Real Wealth.” Sokunbi discusses how her mom taught her about money growing up, financial mistakes she made and learned from, and why she says it’s so important to have a side hustle. Read more…

Credit Union Perks, and Getting Into the Housing Market

Where you bank can have a big impact on your community. To start off this episode, Sean and Liz talk about the benefits of credit unions, including how they can offer lower rates on loans and higher rates on savings accounts — while keeping your money local.

Then Sean and occasional co-host Sara Rathner answer a listener’s money question about how to get into the housing market. Read more…

Stock Market Shakiness, and Car Buying in 2022

Has the recent stock market shakiness left you feeling jittery? To start off this episode, Sean and Liz talk about how you can manage your anxiety — and your portfolio — in moments of volatility. Turns out, sometimes doing nothing is the best thing you can do.

Then they answer a listener’s money question about buying a car in 2022, including when the market might calm down a little. Read more…

No-Spend Month, and Making Money While Raising Kids

A no-spend month can help you reset your money habits and save cash. To start this episode, Sean and Liz kick off their no-spend month challenge and talk about how you can craft a plan that works for your lifestyle and budget.

Then they answer a listener’s question about how to earn more money while raising kids. Read more…

Make a Plan to Achieve Your Dreams

Knowing what you want from your life and your money is one thing. Actually knowing how to make it happen is another. In this episode, Sean and Liz interview Andrew DaCosta, a pilot who has sky-high ambitions, but needs some help to get them off the ground. Read more…

Making Your Dream Life

Living in a van, traveling the country and working wherever you want might sound like an odd dream, but that’s the life NerdWallet travel writer Sam Kemmis designed for himself. To continue our series about financial dreams, Sean and Liz talk with Sam about his experience and his tips for making your dream life. Read more…

COVID Tests, and Reversing a Credit Score Drop

Finding (and paying for) COVID tests is overly complicated. This episode, Sean and occasional co-host Sara Rathner start off by talking about how you can navigate getting COVID tests right now. They also talk about avoiding COVID testing scams.

Then Sean and Sara answer a listener’s question about how to reverse a credit score drop. Read more…

How Nerds Choose the Best, and Paying for College

Sifting through financial products can be a pain. That’s where NerdWallet comes in. Our Nerds just released the 2022 Best-Of Awards so you can find the best products for your money goals.

To kick off this episode, Sean and Liz talk with the head of the NerdWallet Content team, Hanah Cho, about how you can make the most of the Best-Of Awards and how we approach editorial independence. Then they answer a listener’s question about how to pay for college. Read more…

Saving for a Dream Retirement

Vacations across the world, spending quality time with your friends and family and — most importantly — not being obligated to work a 9-to-5 job: Your retirement is supposed to be about freedom. Getting to that point takes time, money and focus.

To continue our series about financial dreams, Sean and Liz talk with personal finance YouTuber Marissa Lyda about how she plans to save in 2022 for her dream retirement. They also discuss how she’s made a full-time job out of YouTubing. Read more…

New Money Resolutions, and Strategizing Debt Payoff

It’s not too late to make your money resolutions for the new year. To kick off the episode, Sean and Liz discuss why you might want to take time to detail what you want out of your money in 2022. They also give tips to help you achieve your goals.

Then Sean and Liz answer a listener’s question about how to balance paying off debt while achieving other financial goals like saving for a down payment on a house.
Read more…

Buying Your Dream House

What would you do to buy your dream house? Move across the country? Maybe even purchase it sight unseen? That’s exactly what one Nerd did.

To kick off our series about financial dreams, Sean and Liz talk with a Nerd who bought her dream house. They also discuss how you can buy your dream home, including preparing your finances and mindset for such a big purchase. Read more…

What Our Listeners Accomplished This Year, Part 2

We asked listeners to share their financial achievements in 2021 — and so many answered the call that we made two episodes out of it. Maybe some of their stories will inspire you in the coming year.

Read more…

What Our Listeners Accomplished This Year, Part 1

Did you buy a house in 2021? Maybe you got a new job or finally hit a big savings goal. We encouraged our listeners to brag about what they did with their money this year — and so many answered the call that we made two episodes out of it. Sean and Liz also share what they accomplished in 2021.

Read more…

Countering Uncertainty, and Building Wealth Early

The best time to start building wealth was yesterday. The second best time is today. This episode, Sean and Liz answer a listener’s question about how to start building wealth early.

Before they get into that, Sean and Liz discuss how to counter today’s uncertainty. Focusing on the fundamentals and tapping your support system can help. Read more…

Why to Question Your Bills, and Making the Most of a Raise

Question your bills. Otherwise, you might be paying more than you need to for things like healthcare, car insurance and even bar tabs. To start off this episode, Liz and Sean talk about how to scrutinize your bills.

Then they answer a listener’s money question about how to manage their finances after getting a big raise, including balancing saving for retirement and paying down debt — and how to avoid lifestyle creep.
Read more…

Travel Tips, and Finding the Right Financial Advisors

Traveling during the holidays can be a drag, but it doesn’t have to be. To kick off this episode, Sean and Liz talk about recent trends in holiday travel. They also discuss how they’re approaching holiday travel and how to get back in the swing if you’re a little rusty.

Then they answer a listener’s money question about how to find the right financial advisors for their needs. Seeking qualified experts is only one part of the puzzle — you should also search for financial advisors who put your interests first. Read more…

Holiday Shopping Trends, and Self-Employed Retirement Options

What’s your plan for holiday shopping this year? To kick off this episode, Sean and Liz talk about NerdWallet’s latest holiday shopping report, which explores how shoppers are navigating — and paying for — this unusual holiday season. They also discuss how they’re approaching shopping this year.

Then they answer a listener’s question about retirement account options for self-employed workers. While these workers have a number of options to explore, the choice that is best for them may depend on how many employees they have. Read more…

The Benefits of Being Boring with Your Money, and Why to Make a Will ASAP

Your money doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful. To start off this episode, Liz Weston and occasional co-host Sara Rathner discuss the benefits of being boring with your finances.

Then, Liz and co-host Sean Pyles answer a listener’s question about whether to make a will, including why setting it up isn’t as complicated — or time consuming — as you might think. Read more…

3 Crypto Questions, and Improving Credit to Buy a House

With crypto back in the news, you might be tempted to climb aboard the hype train. To start this episode, Liz and Sean talk through 3 questions you should ask yourself before jumping into the world of crypto.

Then, Sean and Liz answer a listener’s question about how to improve their credit with the goal of buying a house, including whether a balance transfer credit card would help.
Read more…

Holiday Shopping Scams, and Paying Off Law School Debt

Scammers are cooking up new ways to swindle your money from you. Two of their tactics this year? Social media ads and hyper-targeted emails. To start this episode, Sean and Liz talk about scams shoppers might encounter this holiday season and how to avoid them.

Then they answer a listener’s question about how to pay off $200,000 in student loans. They also touch on the likelihood of student loan forgiveness and recent changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Read more…

What People Get Wrong About Credit, and Self-Employed Budgeting

Do you know the right way to manage your credit? To kick off this episode, Sean Pyles and Sara Rathner dig into a few common credit myths — and how people can confidently raise their credit.

Then Sean and Sara answer a listener’s money question about how to get a grip on their budget with an irregular income.
Read more…

Finding a New Job and Rent vs Buy in a New City

More people are leaving their jobs, but it’s important to set yourself up for success when looking for your next gig. To start this episode, Sean and Liz discuss how to put yourself in the best position to land your next job.

Then Sean and occasional co-host Sara Rathner answer a listener’s question about whether to rent or buy when moving to a new city. They also get into how to make friends in a new city. Read more…

Nerdy Deep Dives: Investing, Part 3

What’s your risk tolerance? Investing always carries the risk of loss — but can also build your wealth. How you choose to invest may mean the difference between high-risk investments with low returns or lower-risk investments that have greater returns.

In the final episode of the three-part deep dive into investing, hosts Sean Pyles and Alana Benson talk about some different investing strategies and how they compare when it comes to risk and return. Learn about buy and hold versus day trading, and which may actually make you more money. Read more…

Haggling Tips and What’s Driving Volatile Car Valuation

Negotiating can save you money and help you earn more over the course of your career. To start off this episode, Sean Pyles and Liz Weston give their favorite tips for haggling, whether you’re shopping for a mortgage, negotiating a salary or shopping online.

Then Sean and occasional co-host Sara Rathner answer a listener’s question about why the value of their car keeps changing. They also discuss whether now is a good time to buy a car. Read more…

Nerdy Deep Dives: Investing, Part 2

You’ve heard of stocks, bonds and mutual funds. But do you know how to use them to build wealth? In the second episode of our three-part deep dive into investing, hosts Sean Pyles and Alana Benson discuss each of these investment vehicles and help you understand their pros and cons. Read more…

5 Financial Tasks for Fall and Kid Debit Cards

With fall officially here, how ready are you feeling for the final quarter of the year? Sean and Liz give you five financial tasks to take on this fall, including checking in on your money goals for the year and how to optimize your retirement savings.

Then Sean is joined by occasional Smart Money co-host Sara Rathner to talk about kid debit cards — when they’re useful and whether there are any risks with these products.
Read more…

Nerdy Deep Dives: Investing, Part 1

You know you should start investing, but do you know the best way to get started? In the first episode of a three-part deep dive into investing, hosts Sean Pyles and Alana Benson explore how to get into the investing mindset, do a bit of myth-busting around investing and discuss how to actually get started. Read more…

DIY Investing and Lightning Round Money Questions

DIY investing has had a splashy year, but it might not be right for everyone. To start this episode, Sean Pyles and Liz Weston talk about DIY investing — what it is, how it works and potential risks.

Then, you sent us your money questions, and we’re answering them — back to back to back. In this episode, Sean and Liz take on some of your questions in another lightning round. They give you their take on questions like how to increase your salary throughout your career, whether you can have too many credit cards and how to manage your credit score. Read more…

Lifestyle Creep and Booking Cheap Travel

Lifestyle creep — where your growing expenses outpace salary increases — can deflate your budget and prevent you from building wealth. To start this episode, Nerds Sean Pyles and Sara Rathner talk about how to determine if you’re succumbing to lifestyle creep and how to be more intentional about your money, while still enjoying the finer things in life.

Then Sean and Liz Weston answer a listener’s three-part question about whether to pay off student loans while they’re paused, what to do with their savings and how to find the best deals when booking travel. Read more…

Delta Spending Habits and Marriage vs Mortgage

How has the delta variant of the coronavirus changed how you’re managing your money? To start this episode, Sean Pyles and Sara Rathner talk about how they’re adapting to the latest chapter of the pandemic and what you can do to increase your financial resiliency.

Then they answer a listener’s question about how to manage competing financial priorities
use their savings — whether they should put it toward a mortgage or a wedding. Read more…

School Supply Shopping Tips and Breaking Bad Money Habits

With supply chain issues and uncertainty about whether classes will be in person, virtual or a hybrid, back-to-school shopping this year poses unique challenges. To start this episode, Sean Pyles and Sara Rathner give the Nerds’ favorite tips for how to save when buying school supplies.

Then Sean and Sara answer a listener’s question about how to break bad money habits with the help of personal finance Nerd Kim Palmer. Read more…

Home Affordability and Unmarried Partners Buying a House

If you’re jumping into the housing market, know what you’re getting yourself into. To start this episode, Sean Pyles and Sara Rathner talk with NerdWallet data writer Liz Renter about her new home buying report, including how first-time home buyers should navigate the market.

Then Sean and Liz Weston answer a listener’s question about how to buy a house with a partner when you’re not married. To do it right, know your budget and how your credit scores affect your financing options.
Read more…

Job Scams and Maxing Out Roth IRAs

More Americans are job hunting, but more are falling for job scams, too. Liz and Sean talk about how to spot and avoid scams in the job market right now. Then they answer a listener’s question about the best way to max out a Roth IRA. Read more…

Getting Ahead of Your Next Money Crisis with Michelle Singletary

It’s a matter of when — not if — you have a money crisis. No matter your financial circumstance, preparing for an emergency can help you make smart moves under pressure. This episode Liz and Sean talk with Washington Post personal finance columnist Michelle Singletary about how to manage a money crisis and how her experience as a Black woman informs her writing. Read more…

Health Insurance Deadlines and Getting the Best Car Insurance Rates

An important deadline looms for getting health insurance on the ACA exchanges. Liz and Sean discuss what you should know, even if you already have health insurance. Then they answer a listener’s question about how to find the best rates (and coverage) when shopping for car insurance. Read more…

Rethinking Credit Reporting and Lightning Round Money Questions

Credit reporting is flawed. Liz and Sean discuss what the issues are and how they can be fixed. Then they answer a number of listener questions back to back in a lightning round of money questions, including managing taxes while working remotely and how to find a high yield savings account. Read more…

Combating Inflation and Risks of Small Mortgage Lenders

Inflation is on the rise, as your budget has surely noticed. This episode, Sean talks with investing Nerd Alana Benson about what’s happening and what it means for your finances. Then Sean and Liz answer a listener’s question about the potential risks of going with a smaller mortgage lender. Read more…

Midyear Money Check-In and Managing Finances Abroad

How are your 2021 money goals coming along? Now that we’re halfway through the year, Sean and Liz talk about how to do a check-in on what you want from your money this year. Then they answer a listener’s question about how to manage their finances abroad, including how to save money on conversion rates and using credit cards strategically. Read more…

Savings Tips and Updates to the Child Tax Credit

We all want to save more money, but actually doing it can be a challenge. This episode, Sean and Liz share their favorite tips to make saving easier, including how to save with purpose and how to trim expenses. Then they answer a listener’s question about changes to the Child Tax Credit, and whether that should influence FSA contributions. Read more…

When Travel Insurance Is Worth It and Buying an Electric Car

With more travelers taking to the sky, should they be booking travel insurance? Liz and Sean discuss. Then they answer a listener’s money question about how to buy an electric car, including how to negotiate with salespeople and how to take advantage of financial incentives for electric vehicles.  Read more…

Crypto-Earning Credit Cards and Short-Term Investing

Credit cards are hopping aboard the crypto hype train, with some offering rewards in cryptocurrency. Sean, Liz and Sara discuss what they are and their risks. Then Sean and Liz answer a listener’s question about how to approach short-term investing. Read more…

Buy Now, Pay Later Loans and Getting Started Building Wealth

You’ve probably seen the offers when shopping online: Break up your purchase into smaller payments over a few weeks or months. But are buy now, pay later loans a good deal? And what’s the catch? Sean and Liz break it down. Then they answer a listener’s question about how to get started building wealth. Read more…

Big Purchases and Overcoming Money Guilt

On this episode, Liz starts off by talking with credit card Nerd Sara Rathner about how to manage a big expense on a credit card — including how to earn the most points and avoid paying interest. Then Sean joins Liz to answer a listener’s question about overcoming money guilt. Read more…

Free Health Insurance and Finding Scholarships

Sean and Liz explain a provision in the American Rescue Plan that qualifies millions of Americans for free or lower cost health insurance. Then they answer a listener’s questions about finding and applying for scholarships to reduce the cost of higher education. Read more…

Pet Scams and Buying Different Home Types

If you’re in the market for a new pet, scammers may have you in their sights. Sean and Liz talk about common pet scams and how you can avoid them. Then they answer a couple of listener questions about buying different home types, including new homes, existing homes, condos and more. Read more…

Air Travel and Collections Accounts on Credit Reports

More travelers are taking to the sky as vaccines roll out. Sean and Liz discuss how to find affordable flights as ticket prices climb. Then they answer a listener’s question about how long a collections account stays on your credit report — and how to mitigate any damage to your credit score.  Read more…

Cannabis Investing and Too Much Cash

Cannabis investing — specifically in ETFs — might seem like a savvy move to break into a budding industry. But there are unique risks to investing in cannabis. Sean and Liz discuss the pros and cons with investing Nerd Chris Davis. Then they answer a listener’s money question about whether you can have too much cash in your accounts.  Read more…

Pandemic Savings Goals and Taxes on Inheritance

Find yourself saving more cash during the pandemic? On this episode, Sean talks with banking Nerd Chanelle Bessette about what people are doing with their pandemic-driven savings. Then, Liz and Sean answer a listener’s question about when you owe taxes on an inheritance.  Read more…

Spring Cleaning and COVID Taxes

On this episode, Sean and Liz talk about how they’re approaching spring cleaning their finances this year, including tidying up their digital lives. Then, they answer a listener’s question about how to manage filing taxes in the age of COVID — including whether you owe taxes on your stimulus.  Read more…

Procrastination and Paying Student Loans vs. Investing

Fear of making mistakes can fuel procrastination, but that can be costly when you’re putting off important money tasks. One task that may be OK to delay, however, is paying off student loans.  Read more…

Redlining, and Paying Off a Car Loan

Past discriminatory lending practices helped lead to the racial wealth gap. Also, paying off a loan could ding your credit scores, but there are better reasons not to rush to pay off certain debts.  Read more…

GameStop Lessons and Talking About Money With Your Partner

Here’s how the GameStop frenzy worked and why your 401(k) probably wasn’t affected. Talking about money with a partner can feel awkward at first, but gets easier. And shared goals require discussion. Read more…

Jackpot Windfall and Extra COVID Cash

Your money goals and habits may need to change when your life does, whether because of a windfall or a more gradual shift. Read more…

How to Buy a House in 2021

The residential real estate market will continue to be competitive, but more homes likely will come on the market as the pandemic wanes. Read more…

Buying Crypto and Dealing with Debt

Don’t put more money into cryptocurrency than you can afford to lose. Meanwhile, some debt forgiveness may be coming for student loans, but you also should have a plan for the rest of what you owe. Read more…

New COVID Scams and Easy Money Goals

Ambitious money goals, like buying a house or saving for retirement, can take a long time to reach. But there are plenty of smaller money goals that can improve your finances quickly. Also, beware of COVID scams that could cost you. Read more…

How You Can Achieve Money Goals in 2021

The pandemic forced many people to put financial goals on hold, but also changed some of our money habits for the better. You may be able to use those changes to improve your financial position this year. Read more…

Listeners Share Money Lessons From the Pandemic

2020 was a year of challenges — and opportunities. In this episode, listeners share the money lessons they learned over the past year, including why savings is more important than ever and the benefits of debt payoff. Read more…

Charitable Giving, and Using Savings to Pay Student Loans

Everyone can deduct $300 in charitable contributions this year, even if they don’t itemize. Also, don’t be in such a rush to pay off student loans that you drain your savings. Read more…

Pandemic Money Lessons, and Saving for a Down Payment

The pandemic taught us the value and limitations of being prepared. Also, how much to save for retirement, and how to do it, depends on your individual circumstances. Read more…

What Biden May Do for Your Finances and How to Make Money

Consumer protection will see a revival in 2021, but student loan forgiveness and pandemic relief are still question marks. Plus, what to do if you need to get your hands on some money (relatively) fast. Read more…

The Holiday Shopping Episode

We’ll shop differently, but we’ll shop. Many stores will be closed on Thanksgiving, but the Black Friday deals have already begun and many retailers are announcing what will be on sale when. Read more…

Holiday Travel and Giving Money Advice to Family

The two things we should rethink this holiday season are travel and offering financial advice to family members. Either should be done cautiously, if at all. Read more…

Open Enrollment and HSA vs. FSA

Picking health insurance is a pain, but the right choice can save you serious cash. Also, a health savings account can be a great option if you can handle a high deductible health insurance plan, but it’s not for everyone. A traditional plan with a flexible savings account could be a better fit. Read more…

Financial Stability and Identity Theft

Feeling financially unstable? Taking actions such as saving more or spending less can help, but also consider what financial stability means to you and what areas of your finances make you nervous. Also, you can shore up your defenses against identity theft, but anyone can become a victim. Read more…

Remote Work Burnout and Saving for College

As the pandemic drags on, we need to consider ways to thwart work-from-home burnout. Also, a 529 college savings plan can be an awesome way for new parents to save for future education costs, but it’s not the only option. Read more…

Sudden Retirement and Finding Lost Money

The pandemic seems to be pushing more people into early retirement. Also, finding a missing 401(k) can be a little trickier than tracking down other unclaimed property, but you can do it without paying someone else a fee. Read more…

Reducing Taxes, and Picking the Best Investing Platform

Boosting your retirement contributions and using flexible spending accounts or health savings accounts can help you reduce your taxes. Also, the right investment platform depends on how you want to invest and how much help you need. Read more…

Unequal Employment Recovery, and the Case for Used Cars

Unemployment is down, but not all workers are benefiting equally. Also, buying used cars can save you a ton of money, and today’s more reliable cars mean you won’t face big repair bills for a while. The sweet spot: cars that are 2-3 years old. Read more…

The Psychology of Debt, and When to Refinance

Tight supplies and steady demand are driving up used car prices, but Many people have mixed feelings about their credit cards, with some actually calling them “evil.” Also, low interest rates could be a good reason to refinance now, even if you just got your mortgage last year. Read more…

Used Cars in Short Supply, and Shea Couleé Talks About Money

Tight supplies and steady demand are driving up used car prices, but you can still save money. Speaking of saving money, the winner of RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars is saving some of the $100,000 prize money to buy a house. Read more…

Fake Reviews and Saving ‘Too Much’

Learning how to spot fake online reviews can save you money. Speaking of saving, you shouldn’t avoid retirement accounts from a fear that you won’t be “liquid” enough. You typically can borrow or withdraw retirement funds in an emergency. Saving a big chunk of your income while you’re young can give you a great start. Read more…

Renters Are Struggling, and What to Do With an Old 401(k)

Renters are far more likely to be struggling in the pandemic than homeowners. Also, don’t put off a 401(k) rollover. If you want to move money out of an old employer’s plan, ask if your new employer will take it or consider rolling over to an IRA. Read more…

Buying Local, and Emergency Loans

Buying local could help a favorite small business survive the pandemic. Meanwhile, people who don’t have savings may be tempted to take out emergency loans to cover unexpected expenses. But these small dollar loans can come with high interest rates and short repayment terms, leading to a debt trap. Read more…

Pet Costs and Extreme Couponing

Pets can cost a lot more than you think. Pet insurance can help, but it’s not for everyone. Likewise, extreme couponing can pay off for the most dedicated adherents, but there are easier ways to use coupons to save. Read more…

Lower Mortgage Rates, and Moving During a Pandemic

August is shaping up to be another record month on the mortgage front. Here’s what it means for you. And if you want to move apartments right now, look at your goals and know how to move safely. Read more…

How to Travel Safely, and How to Handle Old Debts

Air travel brings you in close contact with others, sometimes for hours. A road trip may be a better option. Also, handle old collection accounts with care. Paying old debt typically doesn’t help your credit, and may lead to lawsuit. Read more…

Losing Your Health Insurance, and Setting Financial Goals

Losing your health insurance can expose you to medical bills that could bankrupt you. Most people can get subsidized coverage through HealthCare.gov. Also, setting financial goals requires thinking about what’s most important to you and then making a plan. Read more…

COVID Impulse Spending, and Building Credit While Paying Debt

Spending more impulsively because of the pandemic? You’re not alone. Also, different debt payoff methods have their merits, but paying off small balances first can help your credit. Read more…

Taxes are due, and how to get started creating wealth

The IRS has payment plans if you can’t pay what you owe on July 15. Also, the steps to building wealth are simple, even if they’re not easy: spend less than you earn and save or invest the difference. Read more… 

The wealth gap, and how to cope with variable-rate student loans

Discrimination affected wealth creation and opportunity in the U.S., leading to vastly different median incomes, unemployment levels and homeownership rates. Also, people with variable-rate student loans can struggle to predict what their future payments will be, which can make budgeting difficult. Read more… 

Setting money goals at milestone birthdays, and bagging big bucks with bank bonuses

As you approach your 30s, 40s or beyond, let the milestone birthday be an excuse to set some new money goals. Also, some banks will pay you to open a new bank account, but you need to look beyond the bonus to see if you’ll pay more in fees or collect less interest. Read more… 

Prepping your money for a recession, what to do with a $10,000 inheritance

We’re in a recession, which means it’s time to boost your savings rate if you can and preserve your access to credit. Increasing savings and paying down debt are also good uses for the inheritance that listener Alice recently received. Read more… 

Make your donations go further, and how to plan for new baby expenses

In this episode, Sean and Liz start off by discussing how you can make your donations to social causes go further.

Then, they answer a listener’s money question about how to plan for expenses as a new parent. Kim Palmer, a Nerd with a lot of first-hand experience managing baby costs, joins the conversation. Read more…

The pandemic is changing our financial lives, and what to know about refinancing now

In this episode, Sean and Liz discuss survey results that show how money habits are changing as a result of COVID-19. Then, they answer a listener’s money question about whether home improvement projects can help home refinancing odds — and if it’s still a good time to refinance. Read more…

Is Bitcoin Safe?

People who invest in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies need to be ready for a wild ride. Values can soar and plunge, plus there’s no guarantee you’ll get your money back. Cryptocurrency is more of a gamble than an investment, and shouldn’t be more than a small portion of your overall portfolio. Read more…

I Got Laid Off. What Should I Do With My Retirement Fund?

Getting your retirement account squared away is just one of the many tasks facing the newly unemployed, but it’s an important one. Rolling the money into an IRA could be the best choice, particularly if your former employer isn’t allowing the new “coronavirus hardship withdrawals.” Read more…

Where Have All the 0% Offers Gone?

It used to be easy for people with good credit scores to get 0% balance transfer offers. As lenders pull back, those with credit card debt may need alternative plans to deal with their balances. Read more…

How Can I Buy My First Home in an Expensive City?

Being a first-time homeowner can be daunting, especially in a pricey market like Southern California. Chris Browning of the Popcorn Finance podcast has questions about what to expect, and he turns to the Nerds for some answers. Read more…

Where’s My Coronavirus Relief Check?

Most American adults are eligible for government relief checks of $1,200, but many are still waiting for their money — plus the usual advice about what to do with a windfall doesn’t apply in a crisis. Sean and Liz discuss how to find out where your payment is and put it to the best use. Read more…

 

How Should I Spring-Clean My Finances?

Don’t stop with your closets. Spring cleaning your finances can be just as satisfying, not to mention more lucrative. Whip your budget into shape, check your credit and make sure your investments are on track. Read more…

Help! I Owe the IRS!

 

You’re expecting a tax refund — but wound up owing money instead. Changing tax laws and the gig economy mean many taxpayers who traditionally got money back are now having to pay the IRS. Sean and Liz help a reader navigate how your taxes, even if you can’t pay in full, as well as steps for avoiding a tax bill next year. Read more…

 

Coronavirus Special Edition, Part IV: The CARES Act and Your Student Loans

The economic stimulus package gave millions of student loan borrowers some important breaks, but people are confused about what they are and what they have to do. Sean and Liz get the scoop from student loan nerd Ryan Lane. Read more…

Coronavirus Special Edition, Part III: Coronavirus and Your Portfolio

Nauseating drops in the stock market can be hard to endure, but most of us should try to do just that — and even invest more, if we can. If you need the money within five years or you’re losing sleep, though, you might need to get at least some of your portfolio to safer ground. Read more…

Coronavirus Special, Part II: Saving, Budgeting and Travel

 

The coronavirus pandemic has scrambled people’s travel plans and their budgets. Here are the most important things to know now about emergency funds, spending plans and travel in the coming months. Read more…

Coronavirus Special, Part I: Mortgages and the Market

Mortgage rates dropped and then soared, making life difficult for people who wanted to refinance and buy homes. Mortgage and real estate Nerd Holden Lewis explains why that happened and what the future may bring. Read more…

“How Can I Brace Financially for Coronavirus?”

The economic impact of the coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease it causes is likely to be profound. Sean and Liz discuss how to cope with the potential financial fallout. Read more…

“Why Did My Credit Scores Suddenly Drop?”

Unexpected credit scores drops are the worst — especially when you’re trying to do everything right. Sean and Liz dig into the details of how credit scores work to help a reader whose scores dived seemingly without reason. Read more…

“How Should I Save for a Down Payment?”

Many first-time home buyers wonder how to save for a down payment and where to put the money while they’re saving. Sean and Liz talk to mortgage and real estate authority Holden Lewis about the options. Read more…

“How Can I Maximize My Travel Rewards?”

Want to jump into the travel credit card points game, but don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered. In this episode, Sean and Liz talk with travel Nerd Sara Rathner, who offers up her insider tips about how to get the most points from your travel. And if you want to become a savvy traveler but don’t care about travel credit cards, we’ve got tips for you, too. Read more…

“Should I Convert My IRA to a Roth?”

Roth conversions can give you a big tax advantage in retirement, but they’re not right for everyone. Sean and Liz talk with retirement Nerd Andrea Coombes to help you figure out if you could come out ahead with a Roth conversion. Read more…

 

“Can a Spending Fast Save Me Money?”

A spending fast can help you save money — fast! The idea is to hit the pause button on non-essential spending for a set period, usually a month. Sean and Liz are veterans of spending fasts and have some tips for how they work, what to watch out for and staying motivated. Read more…

“Should I Invest or Pay Down My Student Loans?”

Should you invest or pay off debt? This question can get especially tricky when you’re talking about investing in your company’s stock versus paying down your student loans. Sean and Liz help a listener who wants to know if she should exercise her stock options or focus on paying her $90,000 student loan debt. Read more…

“How Should We Manage Money as a Couple?”

Yours? Mine? Ours? Managing your money as a couple can be stressful and there’s no one right way to do it. Sean and Liz offer some strategies for figuring out what will work best for both of you. Read more…

“How Can I (Actually) Keep My New Year’s Money Resolution?”

 

New Year’s money resolutions are common, sure. But keeping them is a whole different story. In this episode, Sean talks with Nerd Kim Palmer about the best tips that can help you actually achieve your money goals in the new year. Read more…

 

“What Are Your Best Tips to Save on Family Holiday Travel?”

 

Holiday travel can be expensive — especially if you’re traveling with family. But you have options to make the cost more manageable. In this episode, Sean talks with travel Nerd Sara Rathner about how you can save on family holiday travel costs. Read more…

“Does Black Friday Live Up to the Hype?”

Black Friday might seem like the best time to get the biggest deals of the holiday shopping season. But is the shopping extravaganza all it’s made out to be? The answer: Sometimes. In this episode we give you the tips to get the best holiday shopping deals, including when and where to shop. Read more…

“Which Accounts Can Make Me the Most Money?”

 

You can make money just by putting your cash into the right account. Which account to choose depends on a few factors, though. In this episode, Sean talks with investing Nerd Arielle O’Shea about the best ways to make money off of cash you have sitting in a bank account. Read more…

“How Much House Can I Afford?”

Think you’re finally ready to buy a home? Here’s how to know how much house you can afford with your budget, what you might need for a down payment, and how to think about the emotional aspect of homebuying.  Read more…

 

“How Can I Pay Off My Debt Faster?”

Want to pay off your debt fast? You can, with a bit of know-how. In this episode, Sean Pyles and Liz Weston break down how you can find the payoff path that might work best for you and your debt. Read more…

“How Do I Buy a Used Car?”

 

Buying a used car can be confusing. Should you shop around a used car lot, or are the online classified ads a better route? With the help of NerdWallet car-buying whiz Philip Reed, that’s the debate Dayana and Sean settle this episode. Read more…

 

“How Can My Credit Score Save Me Money?”

Sure, you got a high credit score — but how can you make the most of it? Sean and Dayana talk with NerdWallet all-star Liz Weston to see how you could use your high credit score to save thousands of dollars. Read more…

“Should I Refinance My Student Loans?”

 

Refinancing student loans might save you money — if you’re a good candidate. But that’s not the only way to help manage your student debt. In this episode Dayana and Sean get to the bottom of when student loan refinancing is a good idea, so you can see if it’s right for you. Read more…

“My Prescription Costs Are Wrecking My Budget. What Can I Do?”

Having Type 1 diabetes can be expensive. Just ask Paloma Kemak, aka Glitter Glucose on Instagram, who pays over $1,000 a month for her insulin. Dayana and Sean talk with her about her experience living with diabetes and offer tips to help manage the costs. Read more…

“What’s the best way to rack up travel rewards quickly?”

You can rack up travel credit card points quickly — if you know the right tips. In this episode, Sean and Dayana give you the inside scoop so you can earn points and miles fast to fund a vacation on credit card rewards. Read more…

“Am I saving enough for retirement?”

Here’s how to know if you’re saving enough for retirement — and what to do if you’re behind, or haven’t even gotten started yet. Dayana and Sean explain easy steps to help you set aside a pot of gold to spend in your golden years. Read more…

“How do I travel-hack the holidays?”

Want to make holiday travel a little less hectic? Dayana and Sean get the scoop from NerdWallet’s travel-hacking expert, Joe Cortez, to give you the insider tips to do just that. Learn how to cut lines, make the most of your Priority Pass and more. Read more…

“How should I prioritize my budget?”

Wants versus needs. Spending versus saving. You can have it all (even the fun stuff) by following a simple budget to direct your dollars wisely. Read more…

“Is a travel credit card right for me?”

From application to acceptance, to acquiring and using points, NerdWallet card sharks share tips on finding the right rewards program. Read more…

How to get out of debt: Interview with the Debt Free Guys

John Schneider and David Auten discuss how they paid off over $50,000 in credit card debt, and the need for personal finance education in the LGBTQ community. Read more…

“I want to invest. How should I start?”

We dive into the basics — getting financially ready, finding a good first investment, how to wade in safely and get over the fear of losing money. Read more…

“What’s a side hustle and should I start one?”

There are a lot of side gigs out there. (Nerds took some for a test drive!) Here’s how to tell which ones are worth it and which are scams. Read more…

Inside student loan scams

Are companies that offer to reduce or eliminate your debt legit? We hear Selina’s story about what happened with her $60,000 student debt and tell you how to get real help. Read more…