Episode archive

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…