We filter through dozens of episodes each week to identify the best investing podcasts. Below are our favorites.
Podcasts are reviewed by Validea co-founder Jack Forehand. If you want updates when we add new podcasts, follow us on twitter at @practicalquant.
Standard Deviations - Dan Egan
It is widely accepted that our behavior significantly detracts from our investment returns. What is not widely accepted, though, is what to do about it. Much of the debate about behavior in investing tends to get bogged down with complicated theories and academic terms. This podcast is unique in that it avoids all of that and instead focuses on actual real-world solutions. It features Dan Egan, who is the Director of Behavioral Finance and Investments at Betterment, and is on the front lines of implementing solutions to behavioral problems for investors. They discuss why having faith in your investment strategy is so important, how making pain a virtue can increase the odds investors will stick with their investment strategy, and why thinking one step ahead can improve decision making. It is easy to say that you will improve your investing behavior. It is much harder to do it. This podcast will help educate you on how to change that.
i3 Institute Podcast - Rob Arnott
Any short list of the greatest quantitative investors of all time would have to include Rob Arnott. The strategies developed by his firm Research Affiliates are currently used in the management of almost $200 billion in assets. This podcast is one of the best I have heard on quantitative investing. They tackle some of the most difficult debates in quant, including whether it is possible to enhance returns with factor timing and the balance between producing the best long-term returns and being able to stick with a strategy during extended down periods. They also cover a wide range of other quant related topics, including the small-cap premium and why most of it comes from a small number of stocks, why companies with higher dividend payouts actually tend to have higher earnings growth, and the challenges of multi-factor investing when most of the factors are expensive. Being a successful quantitative investor requires a constant process of learning and this podcast has a lot to offer to enhance that process.
Super Investors - Eric Townsend
We have featured several podcasts recently that made the bullish case for cryptocurrencies. This podcast is one of the most compelling I have heard that makes the counterargument. Eric Townsend is a hedge fund manager and the host of the popular MacroVoices podcast. His new book Beyond Blockchain makes the case that distributed ledger technology will be world changing, but it won't be the current batch of cryptocurrencies that will benefit. In this interview, they discuss why governments and central banks are likely to use the technology to create their own digital currencies and why those currencies are likely to be the ultimate winners given the power these entities have. This could result in the technology ultimately giving them more power, not less. They also talk about why proof of work will likely be superseded by a superior, more efficient technology with less limitations. Even if you are a Bitcoin believer, it is important to understand both sides of the argument. This podcast explains why things may play out differently than the bulls think.
FT Alphachat - David Autor
There is so much misinformation out there on trade. When this misinformation is used to inform policy decisions it can lead to significant unintended consequences. This podcast provides an excellent overview of trade with David Autor, who is an Economics professor at MIT. They cover a wide range of trade related topics including the role of China in trade, the impacts of globalization in industries like Steel, and why automation can cause job losses in specific industries, but gains for the economy as a whole. As the US struggles with trade policy, it is important to understand the facts. This podcast provides them.
The Meb Faber Show - David Rosenberg
Analyzing where are in the economic cycle can be a very complicated process. There are so many variables and moving parts that the process is an inexact science at best. But that doesn't mean it isn't important to try to understand the process that goes into evaluating the economy and the variables that matter. This podcast offers a take an where we are in the economic cycle, but more importantly if offers a framework for analyzing the economy and the most important things to look at. It features David Rosenberg, who is the Chief Economist at Gluskin Sheff and Associates. They discuss why we don't see recessions until after the fact, why the yield curve and unemployment rate may be the most important economic variables, and where David thinks we currently are in the economic cycle. If you want to learn more about how to analyze economic cycles, this podcast offers some good lessons.
Trillions - Chris Hempstead
Most investors are using ETFs in some capacity in their portfolios, but very few understand how they actually work. The behind the scenes system that allows ETFs to trade very closely to the value of their holdings is one of the most interesting things about them. Underneath the surface, market makers are constantly pricing the securities in each ETFs portfolio to determine its value and to set a fair price for investors to buy and sell the ETF, and are creating and redeeming shares of the ETF in response to investor demand. The process runs so smoothly that investors rarely notice, but it is essential to making the product function. The interview takes an in depth look at this process with Chris Hempstead of Deutsche Bank. They discuss how ETFs work and how market makers match buyers and sellers to keep the market running smoothly. If you have used ETFs, but want to learn more about what goes on behind the scenes, you will enjoy this discussion.
The Meb Faber Show - Eric Falkenstein
One of the most difficult anomalies in investing to understand is the outperformance of low volatility stocks. Finance theory tells us that lower risk should lead to lower returns, but this anomaly seems to fly in the face of that. In this podcast, they have a detailed discussion on why this is, and why the situation may persist in the future. They also talk about why factor timing is so difficult, and why cryptocurrencies may be a better long-term investment than many think. There are few opportunities in investing to get more return with less risk, but low volatility stocks may offer that and this podcast does an excellent job explaining why.
All About Your Benjamins - Mike Philbrick
One of the most difficult things for investors to get their arms around is the relationship between pain and success. Investors want a smooth ride, and they want their portfolios to do well when their friends' portfolios are doing well. But successful investing requires that you accept that both of those will not occur at times. Or as Mike Philbrick from Resolve Asset Management explains it on this podcast: successful investing requires you to be comfortable being uncomfortable. This discussion delves into that topic in detail. They cover why career risk and home country bias can stand in the way of long-term success, and why relentless rebalancing is crucial. The willingness to have your portfolio look different than everyone else's and the ability to stick with your plan during tough times are both keys to long-term success. This podcast does a great job explaining why.
Odd Lots - Angus Champion de Crespigny
The most common evaluation you hear from investors who have looked at cryptocurrencies is that they feel the assets themselves are overvalued, but are bullish on the blockchain in general. It is the easiest argument to make. After all, how can you argue against a decentralized, secure system that allows any group of people or entities to transact with each other? Private Blockchains, which allow companies to track things securely amongst themselves are considered particularly beyond reproach. But this potential hasn't translated into real world uses, and there is reason to believe that potential may not be realized. This podcast makes that case with Angus Champion de Crespigny, who previously advised companies on blockchains, but has now become skeptical of the uses of them. They discuss why companies coordinating amongst themselves and trust are bigger issues than technology and how that limits the future potential for blockchain technology, and how the blockchain can't fix issues on the data that is sent through it. If you want to hear the other side of the usual pro blockchain argument, you will find this podcast very interesting.
The Maven Money Podcast - Daniel Crosby
Human beings are not wired to be good investors. The same instincts that have allowed us to survive when other species have failed can work against us when it comes to growing our portfolios. To compound the problem, most of us fail to recognize these issues in ourselves and tend to think they only affect everyone else. This is an excellent in-depth interview with Daniel Crosby, author of The Behavioral Investor. It looks at the biases that impact us as investors, and what we can potentially do to help minimize them. The first step in fixing any problem is to recognize it exists, and this podcast might open your eyes about how your behavior may be hurting your investment returns.
Invest Like the Best - Cliff Asness
Any short list of the best quant investors of all time would have to include Cliff Asness. He is the founder of AQR, which has been at the forefront of quantitative research for many years and manages over $200 billion. This podcast covers a wide spectrum of quant and factor-based investing related topics. They talk about why a better strategy you can't stick with is not a better strategy, why AQR feels the value factor is best utilized within industries, and why having an economic basis for strategies will continue to be important as machine learning takes hold. If you want to learn about factor investing, there is no better person to learn from than Cliff Asness and this podcast is a great way to tap into his insights.
Capital Allocators - Michael Lombardi
There might not be a better proving ground for leadership skills than the NFL. Trying to get a 53-man roster of players as well as the front office and support staff required to run a team all on the same page and working toward a common goal is a very challenging task. Michael Lombardi has been a general manager and executive for several different teams and has worked with some of the best leaders in football history, including Bill Walsh and Bill Belichick. In this interview, he talks about the leadership skills he learned from them, including the importance of preparation, why it is important to focus on doing a few things better than everyone else, and why combining greatness with work ethic is the ultimate formula for success. Regardless of whether you are a football fan or not, we can all can learn from the leadership skills required for success in the game. This podcast offers many of those lessons.
Masters in Business - Ray Dalio
Debt crises have been a consistent part of world history. Despite the fact that they have occurred in different times and in different places, there are many commonalities among them. Studying those commonalities, both in terms of what causes debt crises and the best policies to deal with them, offers an opportunity to learn from them, and hopefully improve future outcomes. That analysis is the topic of Ray Dalio's new book Principles for Navigating Big Debt Crises. In this interview, they discuss the stages of the debt cycle, why the shadow banking system often plays a role in debt crises, and the role debt crises play in political polarization, among many other interesting topics. There is no better way to improve the future than to learn from the past. This podcast offers some great lessons on how we can do that.
Super Investors - Jonathan Tepper
The United States has always been considered the example other countries aspire to become when it comes to capitalism. As more and more industries are dominated by a select few companies, though, capitalism doesn't appear to be working as well as it once did. This podcast takes an in depth look at this issue with Jonathan Tepper of Variant Perception. They look at the potential impacts of consolidation and a variety of other topics, including whether current record profit margins are sustainable, and the future outlook for inflation and interest rates. The impact of consolidation will play a big role in determining the future for both corporate profits and our economy going forward. This podcast offers an excellent look at what that impact might be.
The North Star Podcast - James Clear
We all have things we want to do to improve ourselves and make our lives better. The logistics of doing it often trips us up, though. This interview will help to address that. It features James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits and an expert in finding ways to develop and maintain good habits. They talk about why our need for instant rewards can stand in the way of developing good long-term habits, how positive habits can help you benefit from compounding over time, and the importance of mastering the art of showing up. If you have things you want to change in your life, but you aren't sure where to begin or how to maintain your discipline once you do, this podcast will help you get going in the right direction.
Off the Chain - Murad Mahmudov
Having an intelligent opinion on Bitcoin is a tough thing to do. The technology behind it can be difficult to understand, and the variables that will determine its future success are very difficult to predict. As a result, I have avoided being either bullish or bearish on it and have instead just tried to learn as much as possible. This podcast was very helpful in that learning process as it presented the bullish case for Bitcoin in the most clear and concise way I have seen. They go through all the major reasons Bitcoin could change the world, including why its limited supply could be its most important feature, and why it could be much better than fiat currencies in combatting inflation. They also address the bearish arguments and discuss why the ability to issue new supply via forks may not be the issue many think it will, and why volatility early in its development may not be a bad thing. Whether you are a proponent of Bitcoin and think its headed for huge things, or a detractor and think its worthless, or, like me, you are sitting on the sidelines, learning as much as possible about this new technology is certainly beneficial. This podcast does an excellent job presenting the bullish case.
The Maven Money Podcast - Dan Egan
Investors tend to focus most of their attention on what they invest in. But the reality is that investor behavior tends to have a much greater impact on long-term returns than what is in a portfolio. This is an excellent interview with Dan Egan of Betterment, who is at the forefront of studying investor behavior and trying to find ways to improve it. They talk about the danger of only sharing your investing successes, why lifestyle creep is much easier to prevent than undo, and why investors would be better off spending their time trying to better themselves than trying to beat the market. Most investors are quick to acknowledge the biases and mistakes of others, but fail to recognize their own. This podcast offers some good ways to avoid that.
Macro Musings - Don Boudreaux
The consensus among economists is that trade wars tend to end badly for everyone involved. And that belief has been proven correct throughout history. But many also believe that trade needs to be fair, which necessitates trade battles between countries at times. As we all try to wrap our arms around the current trade disputes going on in the world, it is helpful to have a primer on trade policies and their economic impacts. This podcast offers a great overview of that topic. They talk about a variety of trade related topics, including the benefits of free trade, why trade deficits aren't the negative they are often depicted as, and why trade is not a zero-sum game where someone has to lose. As we weigh the impact of our current trade disputes with China and other countries, this podcast offers an excellent look at the potential outcomes and what they might mean for our economy.
Trend Following - Howard Marks
Howard Marks has done a series of interviews recently to promote his new book about market cycles, and all of them have been really good. This interview is unique, though, in that it is the most focused on the process Howard uses to determine where we are in the market cycle at any given time. Many interviewers have asked Marks to tell them where we are in the cycle, but in many ways that misses the point of the book. The goal of the book is to offer a framework for investors to make that determination for themselves across a variety of points in the cycle. In the interview, they talk about the criteria that can best help identify where we are in the market cycle, why governments may need to be more proactive late in market cycles in the future, and why it is important to read outside your area of expertise. In investment management, process is often more important than outcome and this interview offers an excellent look inside Marks' process.
The Jolly Swagmen Podcast - Kevin Rudd
The 2008 Financial Crisis wreaked havoc throughout the world, sparing almost no one from its effects. But several countries were able to weather the storm much better than others and to get through it with only minimal effects. Australia was one of them, as it was one of only three countries to avoid a recession in the aftermath of the crisis. This is an excellent interview with Kevin Rudd, who was the Prime Minister of Australia at the time. They take an all-encompassing look at the crisis, what caused it, and the thought process behind Australia's policy responses, including Australia's decision to stand behind its banks when foreign capital dried up, and the role fiscal stimulus paid in avoiding recession. So many mistakes were made leading up to and during the crisis by governments throughout the world, and those errors have been analyzed in every way possible. This podcast offers an opportunity to learn from a country that did things right and avoided many of the problems that affected the world during that period.
Invest Like the Best - Howard Lindzon
With so much data and computing power available these days, a large percentage of investing is done with numbers. Whether it be value or momentum or new AI powered systems, the tendency of many is to remove emotion from the process and let the data guide you. And there is good reason for that because those types of approaches can be very successful. But for those of us who follow these types of systems, it is also important to recognize that investing success can be achieved in many different ways. This podcast is a great example of that. Howard Lindzon is a very successful early stage investor who uses a very unconventional approach that is unique in that it focuses on what is happening now vs. what might in the future. In this episode, they discuss his approach to investing and the diverse set of investments it has led him to. They also talk about what he sees in current trends, what he looks for in founders, and the importance of being a little bit weird. If you want to learn about outside the box thinking, you will find this podcast very valuable.
Capital Allocators - Michael Schwimer
Many people view professional baseball as a glamorous pursuit where everyone makes millions of dollars. The reality, though, is that only a small portion of players who are signed by professional organizations ever see the major leagues. Most spend their careers in the minors making very low salaries riding buses from city to city in hopes on one day achieving their dream. Michael Schwimer, who spent significant time in the minors himself, saw an opportunity in this to both develop a business and help out some of these prospective major leaguers. Out of that came Big League Advance, which is an investment firm that invests in minor league players in exchange for a percentage of their future earnings. The process of identifying which players to invest in is the topic of this podcast conversation and also involves a very interesting combination of advanced baseball analytics and investing. In the interview, they discuss the metrics that have proven most successful in identifying the best players to invest in, as well as the pitfalls he has run into along the way. If you like sports and investing, this podcast offers a very interesting combination of both.
Macro Musings - Rob Kaplan
With rates coming off historic lows and the increased use of quantitative easing, and the desire to understand the impact of the unwinding of both, more people are paying attention to the Federal Reserve's policies than ever. This podcast offers a unique opportunity to get an inside look at the inner workings of the Fed and the factors that govern its policies. It features Rob Kaplan, President of the Dallas Fed. They discuss the process used by the Fed to determine appropriate monetary policy and take an inside look at what happens at FOMC meetings. They also talk in detail about how Fed policy is shaped, including whether nominal GDP targeting would improve upon the current policy of inflation targeting and what the neutral Fed funds rate should be in the current climate. If you are interested in Fed policy, you will enjoy this interview.
All About Your Benjamins - Daniel Crosby
Many investors think the most important thing that determines their investment results is what they hold in their portfolio. But the reality is that their own behavior has a much bigger impact. Studies have shown that this impact could be as much as 3% per year on average. This podcast discusses the behavioral mistakes investors make with Dr. Daniel Crosby, author of the new book The Behavioral Investor. They discuss the major categories of investor biases, and why your ego is your biggest enemy in investing. They also talk about why a good financial advisor is worth much more than their fee, and why it is a bad idea to make major investing decisions on an empty stomach. The first step in conquering investment biases is understanding what they are. This podcast is an excellent resource for that.
Off the Chain - Josh Brown
For financial advisors, answering client questions about cryptocurrencies can be a challenge. On one hand, it is a new and very risky asset class and requires significant study just to know the basics. On the other, not having an answer at all or dismissing them all together isn't an acceptable answer. This is an excellent discussion with Josh Brown of Ritholtz Wealth Management that helps to answer these questions. They discuss the high-level details of cryptocurrencies and the factors that will impact their future as an investment. They also talk about bubbles and how short supply can play a big role in them getting out of control in the short-term. If you want a balanced take of crypto and its potential future, this is an excellent podcast to listen to.