Episode archive

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…

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…

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…