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The 10 Best Podcasts of 2017 for Financial Advisors

WealthManagement.com surveyed the landscape of podcasts introduced in the last two years to identify the 10 most worthy of advisors’ time and attention.

In the two years since we last recommended the best podcasts for financial professionals, a new crop of exciting podcasts has emerged. Some of the podcasts we recommended in 2015 are still going strong (Planet Money, Freakonomics, etc.), others have lost their luster or faded away. WealthManagement.com surveyed the landscape of podcasts introduced in the last two years to identify the 10 most worthy of your time and attention. 

How We Rated the Podcasts

The most successful podcasts combine great content with professional production values, appealing speakers, good editing, frequent posting and a great website. No one wants to listen to guests calling in on a noisy cellphone with dogs barking in the background. We looked for relevant production values such as music, audio clips, and interesting transitions. Podcast savvy is our subjective estimation of how easy a podcast is to download and navigate, and how well it integrates with smartphone apps and the web. Our grading system uses a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the highest) to compare the podcasts on five dimensions and then delivers an average. Remember, these podcasts are the best of the best, and all are worth checking out. The scoring may suggest where to start the discovery.

1. Automated Advisor Podcast

The Automated Advisor Podcast is a tightly focused forum that profiles the brightest marketing minds in financial services, discussing such topics as blogging, social media, email and other barriers to new levels of growth. Host Brandon Stuerke elicits from outstanding practitioners a wealth of great advice on how to generate more leads, close more clients, and accelerate the growth of your practice. Episode 7 (“How Books Can Move Your Practice Forward”) discusses the credibility an advisor can accrue by engaging a ghostwriter to publish a book. Average length of podcast is 42 minutes. The website provides a guide with time stamps to each podcast.

Content: 9
Audio Quality: 8
Production Value: 7
Frequency: 8
Podcast Savvy: 7
Average: 7.8

2. Bloomberg’s Odd Lots Podcast

If you like Bloomberg’s BusinessWeek, you’ll probably like the Odd Lots Podcast, which reveals its wisdom frequently and in short bursts. Podcasts are released about twice a week and the concise (average length 30 minutes) episodes drill down on little-considered questions that cast a savvy intelligence on all things finance. I recommend: Episode 17 (“How a Hedge Fund Manager Teaches His Kids About Money”), Episode 20 (“Can Buddhism Save the Global Economy?”) and Episode 23 (“Why Negotiating a Ransom Is the Trickiest Trade in the World”). This is storytelling at its best. When you want a respite from the numbers and breaking economic news, Bloomberg’s well-named Odd Lots Podcast delivers the goods for workouts, walks and commutes. 

Content: 10
Audio Quality: 8
Production Value: 6
Frequency: 10
Podcast Savvy: 7
Average: 8.2

3. Duct Tape Marketing Podcast 

Marketing is the central job of any financial advisor. The Duct Tape Marketing Podcast delivers a comprehensive range of marketing tips, practices and attitudes from many different industries that financial advisors can deploy on their own practices. Host John Jantsch thinks of marketing as a system that taps into customers’ problems. He often interviews authors and other experts, extracting from them the most valuable insights and lessons. The podcasts are tight (15 to 23 minutes), well-produced and best of all, actionable. There’s very little theory and naval-gazing here. The marching orders are to get out there and execute, no excuses. “How to Understand and Solve Your Customer’s Problems” packs a load of great info in under 15 minutes. If your marketing goals need a quick kick in the pants, this podcast may give you the boost you need.

Content: 8
Audio Quality: 9
Production Value: 8
Frequency: 7
Podcast Savvy: 7
Average: 7.8

4. Financial Advisor Success Podcast

For advisors who want to hear actionable details of how other professionals organize their practices, there is no better guide than Michael Kitces and his Financial Advisor Success Podcast. These in-depth interviews (about 105 minutes each) are incredibly revealing about practice management from compensation to referrals. I imagine most subscribers will access this podcast from the desktop where a very helpful website offers time stamps linked to detailed contents of each episode. A full transcript is also provided. Check out Episode 45 (“Compensating Employees for Generating Profit Instead of Revenue”) for actionable advice on how to structure compensation for advisors’ employees and why it’s a good idea to share your advisory firm’s income statement with the entire team. This podcast features focused Q&As with no production bells or whistles. 

Content: 10
Audio Quality: 8
Production Value: 7
Frequency: 9
Podcast Savvy: 8
Average: 8.4

5. How I Built This with Guy Raz 

For advisors who identify as startup entrepreneurs, the How I Built This podcast introduces the ups-and-downs of creating new businesses, narrated in a very compelling way. Presented by NPR’s Guy Raz, the podcast features the highly professional narratives produced by National Public Radio. Advisors who are struggling with or afraid of failure will get a lot of inspiration from these stories of adversity followed by triumph. The first episode features Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, whose lightbulb moment came when she noticed the outline of her underwear showing through a pair of white trousers. Today she is the youngest woman billionaire in America. Rather than showing business people basking in their own brilliance, it reveals the painstaking and sometimes painful process behind their achievements. Podcasts are between 30 and 60 minutes and the website features complete podcast navigation and background detail. 

Content: 9
Audio Quality: 10
Production Value: 10
Frequency: 9
Podcast Savvy: 10
Average: 9.6 

6. I Hate My Boss 

This general business podcast focuses on a topic every advisor faces from time to time: how to handle problem supervisors. Bullying bosses, jealous co-workers, passive-aggressive support staff. All these issues are dissected in style and humor by co-hosts Liz Dolan and Larry Seal. The short (about 10 minutes) episodes feature exclusive interviews with thought leaders who share some of their most difficult and career-defining workplace moments. The episodes deal with fear, loyalty, betrayal, ambition, frustration, burnout, self-denial, and denial. The podcast delivers impactful advice that’s tight, well-produced and packed with humor—ideal for lunch breaks. Before you escalate an interpersonal problem and make it worse, see if giving I Hate My Boss a listen makes a difference. 

Content: 9
Audio Quality: 10
Production Value: 9
Frequency: 7
Podcast Savvy: 8
Average:  8.6

7. Masters of Scale

Masters of Scale, a high-gloss podcast hosted by Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, focuses on how companies scale. All the advice, offered by luminaries such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Airbnb’s Brian Chesky, underscores the challenges of customer service and growth faced by financial professionals. Hoffman’s Rolodex really makes this podcast possible.  The interviews unfold like music-infused detective stories as Hoffman tests high-performance theories with high-performance leaders. Check out Episode 11 with PayPal founder Peter Thiel: “Your goal is not to beat the competition. Your goal is to break free of competition entirely.” The average length of podcasts is 40 minutes. The website offers great background info and full transcripts. Masters of Scale is the first American podcast to commit to a 50/50 gender balance for guests.

Content: 10
Audio Quality: 9
Production Value: 9
Frequency: 8
Podcast Savvy: 9
Average: 9.0 

8. Revisionist History

People either love or hate Malcolm Gladwell. Now the author of The Tipping Point and other bestsellers has channeled his considerable storytelling chops into audio. The result is Revisionist History, with the tagline “Sometimes the past deserves a second chance.” Almost every podcast centers on financial considerations and human behavior, the two main ingredients of money management. History, Gladwell, insists, is rarely presented correctly the first time. Power and privilege distort reality. Revisionist History mixes historical fact and new interpretations. The podcast’s secret sauce is how Gladwell turns serious and complex concepts into thoughtful and digestible stories. The insights are universal. For instance, in a story on soccer, the question is, what matters more? How good is your best player or how good is your worst player? For the answer, listen to Episode 6 (“My Little Hundred Million”) for what economists have demonstrated about Weak Link theory and how the theory may apply to a wealth management practice. I defy you to come away from an episode without a big idea that will make your game a little sharper.  Podcasts average 32 minutes and the website provides useful links for follow-up.  

Content: 10
Audio Quality: 10
Production Value: 9
Frequency: 8
Podcast Savvy: 9
Average: 9.2

9. Succession Link

Most podcasts are educational or entertaining. Succession Link demonstrates how podcasts can be used to support transactions, in this case to connect financial advisors who are interested in buying, selling, or merging their practices. Because these dynamics concern every advisor, it is worth checking out this highly specialized podcast. The podcasts are components of a bigger marketplace. Each episode features profiles of advisories that are seeking buyers or other expansion and succession opportunities. It’s a fascinating peek under the hoods of businesses that may be like yours. Even if you are not in the market for buying or selling a practice, you will learn a lot about how best to present a business. 

Content: 8
Audio Quality: 7
Production Value: 5
Frequency: 9
Podcast Savvy: 7
Average: 7.2

10. Wall & Broadcast

Wall & Broadcast strips the covers off little-understood stories of Wall Street, delivering insightful interviews with industry heavyweights. The three hosts make complicated stories fun and enjoyable. Episode 13 (“It’s Turtles All the Way Down”) focuses on the importance of time, measured in microseconds. The episode demonstrates that few advisors properly understand the function of time at the short end of the spectrum in trading and money management. The helpful website provides a glossary of terms and biographies of the interviewers. Other topics: credit, deregulation under Trump, socially conscious investing, bitcoin. Excellent production values and an ideal average podcast length of 28 minutes makes Wall & Broadcast a good recommendation for commuting.

Content: 9
Audio Quality: 9
Production Value: 9
Frequency: 7
Podcast Savvy: 10
Average: 8.8

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