NerdWallet's Smart Money Podcast

NerdWallet's Smart Money Podcast
Your guides for money help

Is it safe to travel right now, and how to handle a collections to improve credit
Aug 3 • 28 min
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 an old debt typically doesn’t help your credit, and may lead to a lawsuit. As always, send…
Losing your health insurance, and setting financial goals
Jul 27 • 31 min
Losing your health insurance can expose you to medical bills that could bankrupt you. Most people can get subsidized coverage through Also, setting financial goals requires thinking about what’s most important to you and then making a…
COVID impulse spending, and building credit while paying debt
Jul 20 • 19 min
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. As always, send us your money questions! Email or…
Tax returns are due, and how to get started creating wealth
Jul 13 • 21 min
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. As always, send us your money questions! Email…
The wealth gap, and how to cope with variable rate student loans
Jul 6 • 17 min
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…
Setting money goals at milestone birthdays, and scoring big bucks with bank bonuses
Jun 29 • 21 min
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…
What a recession economy means for you, and how to handle an inheritance
Jun 22 • 20 min
In this episode, Sean and Liz give tips for managing your finances in a recession. Then they answer a listener’s money question about how to handle an inheritance — and whether you owe any taxes on it. As always, send us your money questions! Email…
The pandemic is changing our financial lives, and what to know about refinancing now
Jun 15 • 21 min
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…
Make your donations go further; Plan for new baby expenses
Jun 8 • 21 min
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…
Is identity theft protection worth the cost?
Jun 1 • 22 min
Can identity theft protection services really protect us from identity theft? No, but they can serve as an (expensive) early warning signal. Most people should first consider some free ways to reduce the chances of becoming a victim, such as credit…
Is Bitcoin a safe investment?
May 26 • 21 min
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…
I got laid off! What should I do with my retirement fund?
May 18 • 23 min
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…
Where have all the 0% offers gone?
May 11 • 15 min
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. As always, send us your money questions! Email…
How can I buy my first home in an expensive city?
May 4 • 19 min
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. As always, send us your…
Where’s my coronavirus relief check — and how should I use it?
Apr 27 • 14 min
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…
How should I spring-clean my finances?
Apr 20 • 14 min
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. As always, send us your money questions!…
Help! I owe the IRS!
Apr 13 • 14 min
You were expecting a tax refund — but wound up owing money. Changing tax laws and the gig economy mean many taxpayers who traditionally got money back are now having to pay. Sean and Liz help a reader navigate paying a tax bill, as well as steps for…
Coronavirus Special Edition, Part IV: The CARES Act and Your Student Loans
Apr 6 • 14 min
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. As always, send us your money…
Coronavirus Special Edition, Part III: Coronavirus and Your Portfolio
Apr 2 • 10 min
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…
Coronavirus Special Edition, Part II: Saving, Budgeting and Travel
Mar 30 • 10 min
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. As always, send us your money questions! Email…
Coronavirus Special Edition, Part I: Mortgages and the Market
Mar 26 • 11 min
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. As always, send us your money questions!…
How can I brace financially for coronavirus?
Mar 23 • 13 min
The economic impact of the novel coronavirus and the COVD-19 disease it causes is likely to be profound. Sean and Liz discuss how to cope with the potential financial fallout. As always, send us your money questions! Email or call…
My credit score randomly dropped — a lot. What happened?
Mar 16 • 13 min
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. As always, send us your money…
What’s the best way to save for a down payment on a house?
Mar 9 • 13 min
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. As always, send us your money questions! Email…
How can I get into the travel credit card points game?
Mar 2 • 14 min
Want to get the most points from your travel credit card, 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…
Are Roth conversions a good idea?
Feb 24 • 10 min
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. As always, send us your…
What’s the best way to do a spending fast?
Feb 17 • 14 min
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…
Should I invest or pay off my student loans?
Feb 10 • 11 min
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…
How do we manage money as a couple?
Feb 3 • 12 min
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. As always, send us your money questions! Email…
From the archive: “What’s the best way to rack up travel rewards quickly?”
Jan 20 • 10 min
We’ll be back in a couple weeks. In the meantime, here’s how you can use these winter months to rack up the credit card points to fund your summer travel. And be sure to send us your money questions! Call or text the Nerd Hotline at 901-730-6373, or…
From the archive: “How can I pay off my debt faster?”
Jan 6 • 12 min
We’ll be back in a few weeks, so here’s an episode from our archives that can help you tackle your holiday debt. In the meantime, send us your money questions! Call or text the Nerd Hotline at 901-730-6373, or email Talk to you…
Happy New Year from the SmartMoney team!
Dec 30, 2019 • 0 min
Thanks for a great 2019! We’re taking a little holiday break but will be back in 2020 with loads of new episodes for you. In the meantime, send us your money questions! Text or call our Nerd Hotline at 901-730-6373, or email us at
How can I (actually) keep my new year’s money resolution?
Dec 16, 2019 • 14 min
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.
What are your best tips to save on family holiday travel?
Dec 2, 2019 • 13 min
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.
Does Black Friday live up to the hype?
Nov 18, 2019 • 14 min
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…
Which accounts can make me the most money?
Nov 4, 2019 • 13 min
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…
How much house can I afford?
Oct 21, 2019 • 14 min
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.
How can I pay off my debt faster?
Oct 7, 2019 • 11 min
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.
How do I buy a used car?
Sep 23, 2019 • 14 min
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.
How can my credit score save me money?
Sep 9, 2019 • 13 min
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.
Should I refinance my student loans?
Aug 19, 2019 • 13 min
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…
My prescription drug costs are wrecking my budget. What can I do?
Aug 5, 2019 • 12 min
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…
What’s the best way to rack up travel rewards quickly?
Jul 22, 2019 • 9 min
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. For more, visit:…
Am I saving enough for retirement?
Jul 8, 2019 • 9 min
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.
Welcome to NerdWallet’s SmartMoney podcast!
Jul 1, 2019 • 0 min
Welcome to NerdWallet’s SmartMoney podcast, where we answer your money questions — in 15 minutes or less. Wondering how to start investing? Or which credit card is best for you? Maybe you just need some budget help. Whatever your question, turn to…
Travel-Hack the Holidays
Nov 12, 2018 • 12 min
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.
Inside student loan scams
Aug 16, 2017 • 15 min
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.
What’s a side hustle and should I start one?
Aug 9, 2017 • 12 min
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.
I want to invest. How should I start?
Aug 2, 2017 • 13 min
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.
How to get out of debt: Interview with The Debt Free Guys
Jul 26, 2017 • 19 min
The Debt Free Guys, John Schneider and David Auten, reveal how they paid off over $50,000 in credit card debt, and the need for personal finance education in the LGBTQ community.
Is a travel credit card right for me?
Jul 19, 2017 • 15 min
From application, to acceptance, to acquiring and using points, NerdWallet card sharks share tips on finding the right rewards program.
How do I prioritize my budget?
Jul 10, 2017 • 15 min
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.