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.
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.
The Meb Faber Show - Wes Gray
It is widely believed that factor investing is an exact science. Many think that factors like value and momentum are clearly what drives stock returns and that the academic research is in agreement on that. It turns out it is much more complicated than that. Different research papers have identified different factors and while some support value and momentum, others identify other factors that they believe are more explanatory like investment and profitability. It turns out that factor investing may be more art than science. This podcast isn't a traditional one in that it does not involve an interview, but it is just as valuable. It features Wes Gray of Alpha Architect reading an article he wrote on the topic. If you think factor investing is cut and dry, this will open your eyes.
The NewRetirement Podcast - Michael Batnick
The mark of a good podcast episode is that it leaves you with lessons that you can take away and apply in the real world. This podcast offers perhaps the most important lesson any individual investor can learn: beating the market is incredibly hard. There is a tendency for investors to look at their own short-term success, or the success of others, and to think it is the result of skill instead of luck. The reality, though, is that the combination of the extreme competition of Wall Street and our inability to control our own biases makes beating the market extremely difficult. This interview with Michael Batnick of Ritholtz Wealth Management does an excellent job of driving home this point. Michael's book Big Mistakes looks at that biggest errors made by some of history's greatest investors. But the biggest takeaway from it is not the individual lessons from each failure. The biggest takeaway is how hard investing is. If you ever fall into the trap of thinking that anyone can beat the market, keep this podcast episode bookmarked as a reminder of what you are up against.
The Knowledge Project - Atul Gawande
Often the best way to tackle complex problems is to attack them using a simple approach. Breaking big problems into individual steps can take things that seem unmanageable and bring them into the realm of possibility. Atul Gawande has recently been given the job that many consider one of the most difficult in our society - trying to deliver better outcomes and value in healthcare. He was recently named the CEO of the health care venture formed by Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase. Despite the enormity of that task, the process he outlines in this podcast of continual improvement and focusing on simple and obvious changes gives him a great chance for success. In the interview, which was recorded before he was named CEO of the project, they discuss his unique approach to solving problems and his take on the current state of our healthcare system. If you are looking for a better way to tackle the problems you face, this podcast offers an excellent guide.
Behind the Markets - James Bullard
The Federal Reserve has a very challenging job as they try to reduce their balance sheet and increase interest rates at a slow and measured pace, while trying to strike a delicate balance between the potential for inflation or recession. This conversation with James Bullard of the St Louis Fed offers some excellent insights into what they will be looking at as they try to do that. They discuss the factors that have led to the extended period of low rates we have seen, including the increased demand for low risk assets and low productivity growth, and the outlook for those factors going forward. They also talk about the value of yield curve inversion as a leading indicator of recession and the benefits that the Fed's inflation targeting policy have had. There is so much economic data out there these days, and much of it is of little or no value. This podcast will help you focus on the data that really matters.
The Tim Ferriss Show - Howard Marks
Thinking clearly and rationally through the ups and downs of the market is a skill very few investors have. As those who read Howard Marks' memos already know, he is unique in his ability to do that. Marks has consistently followed the Warren Buffet mantra of being greedy when others are fearful and fearful when others are greedy, while at the same time recognizing that no one can get the timing right on market cycles. This interview offers a detailed look into how he analyzes markets and investments. They discuss why recognizing what you don't know is more important that what you do, how to view risk in the context of not just losses, but also missed opportunities, and why price is the most important thing. They also cover some topics he speaks about less often like his view on cryptocurrencies. Regardless of what your current position is on the market, the most important thing you can have is a framework that allows you to properly analyze it. This podcast offers that from one of the best.
Invest Like the Best - Jeremiah Lowin
There is a lot of talk in investing circles about the huge potential impact machine learning will have (and the big impact it is having already). But many investors, including myself, are just beginning to understand what it is, how it works, and what it can and can't do. This podcast is a great step toward changing that. The discussion is a bit technical in nature, but that is to be expected given the detailed nature of the subject matter. They cover the topic from the ground up including the different types of machine learning and what each works best for. They also spend significant time looking at how it is best applied to investing, including how it is best used with time series data, the importance of unique datasets, and how it can be used to enhance human decision making. If you are curious about machine learning and its potential, you will find this discussion both interesting and valuable.
EconTalk - Rodney Brooks
We tend to overestimate the impact technology will have on our lives in the short-term and underestimate its long-term effects. With artificial intelligence becoming more and more prevalent, our inability to accurately predict technological impact has once again come to the forefront. This podcast discusses the differences between our perception of what AI may bring, and how fast it will bring it, with the reality. They discuss a variety of potential uses of AI, including self-driving cars, and how they may develop more slowly than we expect in the short-term, but also bring innovation we can't even fathom over longer periods. If you are interested in a realistic take on what AI will mean in our lives, you will enjoy this discussion.
Capital Allocators - Stephen McKeon
When you ask people about cryptocurrencies these days, you commonly get the same answer, which is something along the lines of "I am bullish on the potential of BlockChain technology, but bearish on the current uses of it." Part of the reason for that is that we haven't seen uses of the BlockChain yet that have an impact on mainstream investing. That is likely to change in the future, though. This podcast does the best job of any I have heard at clearly laying out the case for how this technology could change investing dramatically. It features Stephen McKeon, who is a professor at the University of Oregon and a leading researcher in the space. They discuss how this technology could affect all areas of investing, including stocks and real estate, and how it offers the potential to add lots of additional functionality to the securities of today. If you are skeptical on crypto and have been waiting for a podcast that intuitively lays out the potential use case in investing, this podcast will give you what you have been looking for.
Disruption is one of the most overused concepts in business. It seems these days that everyone thinks they are disrupting something. The true disrupters, though, can both have a huge impact on society and produce significant profits. The tough part is identifying them. This podcast does the best job of any I have heard at tackling this concept. They use Tesla as an example, but the principles they discuss apply to any company that is considered a disrupter. They look at the requirements to be a disrupter and why it is very rare for any company to meet them. They also look at the various parts of Tesla's business, including its cars and what goes into them as well as its technology to analyze whether it truly is a disrupter. Whether you are Tesla bull or bear, or even if you aren't that interested in the company at all, this podcast is well worth your time because it offers an excellent analysis of how businesses can distinguish themselves in the new economy and how challenging it is to be a truly disruptive force.
All About Your Benjamins - Scott Frank
There is a tendency in financial planning to view an investor's future in terms of numbers in a spreadsheet. If you input their assets and income and retirement savings goals, you certainly can develop a financial plan that makes sense. But that process tends to lose sight of what really matters. It is easy to forget that behind that financial plan is a person. And every person has different things that mean the most to them. This podcast explores the concept of Life Planning with Scott Frank, the founder of Stone Steps Financial. They discuss the process he uses to truly understand what is important to a person before developing their financial plan. They focus on the types of questions to ask to get at what investors truly want, as well as how to use active listening to make sure you hear what people are actually saying. The rise of Robo Advisors and automated solutions has certainly been beneficial in many cases, but they can never replace the human connection, and the value of someone actually listening to an investor's needs. This podcast shows the value that type of approach can provide.
Capital Allocators - Michael Mervosh
Some of the best and most impactful experiences in life are ones that are impossible to understand in advance. You don't know what you are getting into or how it will change you until it is over. This podcast offers a good example of that. It features Michael Mervosh and a unique experience he has created in the West Virginia woods based on Joseph Campbell's the Hero's Journey. Even after listening to this podcast, it is still difficult to put what the Hero's journey represents into words, and I think that is the whole point. Those who have experienced it, including Capital Allocator's host Ted Seides, rave about how it changed them, but it seems like a difficult experience to explain. It this discussion, they talk about various aspects of the journey and the principles behind it including the power of replacing "I" with "we", how uncertainty is a doorway and not a problem to be eliminated, and why we should change ourselves relative to what is. It is hard to listen to this podcast and not want to participate in this experience, but even if you don't you will learn a lot from the discussion.
Odd Lots - Howard Schilit
Increasing numbers of investors are relying on factor-based strategies for at least a portion of their investments. With that comes an assumption many have that the inputs into those strategies (the fundamentals of companies) are always correct and can be relied upon to make buy and sell decisions. That turns out to not always be the case, though. Companies can pull many tricks to present a different situation in their reported fundamentals than the reality of their business. This podcast gets into depth on this issue with Howard Schilit, the author of "Financial Shenanigans: How To Detect Accounting Gimmicks & Fraud in Financial Reports." They discuss common tricks companies pull, including why the currently popular EBITDA figure used by many valuation models may be less optimal than standard GAAP earnings. There is a famous saying that when you put garbage into your models, garbage will come back out. This podcast offers some things to look for to avoid that.
Behind the Markets - Leonard Nakamura
There are so many predictions about what the Fed will and won't do. Many of the opinions disseminated by market pundits regarding future Fed policies are not of much value, though. This podcast offers a rare opportunity to hear from someone on the inside. Leonard Nakamura is Vice President and Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Although, as you would expect, he doesn't comment on Fed policy, he does offer insights on many aspects of the economy that will impact their future decisions. They discuss the difficulty of measuring GDP growth and inflation in the new economy as well as many other inputs that impact the economic variables measured by the Fed. If you want to learn more about the factors that impact monetary policy, you will find this podcast very valuable.
The Joe Rogan Experience - Elon Musk
It is always interesting to get inside the mind of people who create true innovations in the world. As Morgan Housel pointed out in a recent article, the expectation that people who change the world will be just like the rest of us is a flawed one. Whether you like him or not and whether you think Tesla stock should be bought or sold, there is no arguing that Elon Musk has created things that are changing the world. He has led the revolution in electric cars and he is leading the way in developing more efficient ways to travel to space. This podcast is a rare opportunity to get inside his mind and to see how he views the world. They talk about his products, but they also deal with issues that affect all of us like Artificial Intelligence and Global Warming. Regardless of whether you agree with him or even like him, we all can certainly learn from him. This podcast offers an excellent glimpse into his thought process.
The Knowledge Project - Ben Thompson
Technology is rapidly changing every aspect of our lives. And that revolution is being led be a small group of big companies who are increasingly getting more and more power over all of us. There is probably no one who does a better job analyzing the impact of all of this than Ben Thompson, who writes the leading technology blog Stratechery. In this interview they cover a wide range of subjects, including the virtuous cycle of technology, how technology has caused the fall of the traditional media and political parties, and why controlling demand is much more important the controlling supply in the new world. For better or worse, technology will continue to change the world rapidly. This podcast offers an excellent framework to analyze what it all means.
Invest Like the Best - Richard Craib
The world of asset management is changing. Fees are falling and computers are taking over. But what we have seen so far may just be the tip of the iceberg. This podcast provides a look at what the future may bring. It features Richard Craib, who is the founder of Numerai, which is a completely new type of hedge fund. The fund provides its market data to any data scientists who want to use it, but it only provides the numbers, not what each field represents. It then runs competitions where data scientists bet on the results of algorithms they create using a proprietary cryptocurrency. The best models are the, used to manage client money. Big data, machine learning and cryptocurrencies are all topics that have dominated investing discussions in recent times. This approach combines all three and could be a hint at what the future of investing might look like.
The Curious Investor - David Kabiller and Jordan Brooks
Superstar investors are often viewed as having a secret sauce that your average investor could never emulate. But when you break down their strategies, it turns out that much of their performance can be attributed to standard investing factors. This podcast discusses several legendary investors and the factors that drove their performance. It also looks at other common principles that have led to their success, such as adhering to their approach through the inevitable ups and downs in the market, avoiding market timing, and the responsible use of leverage. There is a mythical quality to superstar investors, and some of that is well deserved. But much of what has worked for them is also accessible for the average investor. This podcast explains how.
The Meb Faber Show - Tom Dorsey
Technical analysis can seem really complicated to many investors. The reality, though, is that the best market technicians often follow approaches that are very simple. This podcast illustrates that point with Tom Dorsey of Dorsey Wright Associates, one of the pioneers in the field. It offers a great basic overview of what technical analysis is, how it works, and the best uses of it. Many fundamental investors tend to discount technical analysis, but there is substantial research validating its effectiveness. This podcast provides a great primer.
Off the Chain - James O'Shaughnessy
There is a tendency for investors to want to think they have all the answers. This is especially true of investment professionals. Not knowing the answer to something is somehow seen as a sign of weakness. The reality, though, is that investing involves many things that just aren't knowable and the best investors recognize what they don't know is just as important as what they do. This interview with Jim O'Shaughnessy drives home that point. Jim is an investment legend and a pioneer in factor-based investing, but the phrase he uses most often in the interview is "I don't know". They spend much of the interview discussing cryptocurrency, but they also cover a bunch of other topics, including why our wiring as humans is not optimized for investing, why good investing is simple, but not easy, and why human behavior may be the last edge left in investing. Most opinions on cryptocurrencies tend to include a level of certainty about the eventual outcome that just isn't possible to have. This podcast is refreshing in that it just looks at the facts and recognizes that what will happen going forward just isn't knowable.
Trillions - Barry Ritholtz
One of the great things that has come out of the rise of financial blogs and finance Twitter has been the ability for investors to distinguish the truth from the often self-serving presentation of information that used to dominate Wall Street. Barry Ritholtz has been one of the leading figures in that transition. His blog "The Big Picture", was one of the first widely read finance blogs that used an evidence-based approach to look at financial markets. This interview continues that theme and helps to dispel many of the myths people believe about investing and replaces them with the facts. They cover topics like why the arguments against index funds don't make sense, why the active vs. passive debate should really be about high vs. low fees, and why investors tend to overstate the impact of politics on the market. And that just scratches the surface of what they discuss. If you want to get a factual, evidence-based look at markets, this podcast has what you are looking for.
The December 26er Podcast - Tyrone Ross
We all tend to get caught up in the minutia of everyday life. Sometimes that can lead us to lose track of the big picture and what's really important. This podcast was a great reminder of that for me. It features Tyrone Ross, who is a financial advisor and an expert on cryptocurrencies. Given his qualifications, they could have spent the hour talking about those things, but what made this interview great is that they didn't. Instead they tell a story of grit and perseverance, and bouncing back when you aren't able to achieve your life's dream that is truly inspirational. I will save the details for the podcast itself because I couldn't do them justice, but anyone would benefit from this great story. We all face obstacles in life. What you do with them is what matters. This is a great story of the power of overcoming whatever life throws your way.