For those you of you who learn better by listening than reading, we have a great resource to share from the FDIC, the “Money Smart” Podcast Network. The brief podcasts are presented like the old radio programs with multiple voices and sound effects to keep listeners engaged, but the content is spot-on and is especially helpful for parents who could use some help explaining important concepts such as checkbook balancing. They are really good!

The podcasts are organized by primary topic (Banking Basics, Checking Accounts, Savings/Spending Plan, and the Basics of Borrowing Wisely). Terry and Daryl host a lively and informative series of audio sessions that are about 10 minutes long. You can stream the audio, or download to listen off-line. Here are some of the tips we thought were especially good:

  1. Prepare yourself financially for a disaster: From the Basics of Banking section is a very timely segment to make sure you are prepared financially for natural disasters. You have to think through the money part of a disaster because bills continue to be due even during disasters! Don’t assume internet, phones or ATMs will be working. How would you continue to pay your bills and protect your credit even during an emergency? This podcast discusses some really good advice taken from a provided Emergency Financial First Aid kit, delivered by a guy who should know.
  2. Balance Your Checkbook. Even smart people have a hard time balancing their checkbook. It doesn’t take that much time, and staying on top of it can protect you from the liability incurred from ID theft or fraud! It’s true that the bank keeps a record of all the activity, but the bank may not recognize transactions that you have not approved. Listen to how a heart surgeon got the help he needed in the Balance Your Checkbook segment. (He also learned why his checkbook balance differed from his bank statement.)
  3. Finance a Purchase with a Loan. This segment from the Borrowing section has tons of great advice in less than 15 minutes. Listen to the advice from a borrowing expert at a State Fair booth. For example, when is a loan a good idea, and when is a loan a bad idea? What’s the best way to shop for a car loan, and bargain with the dealer? Listen carefully to get the answer, and hear why buying a car with a credit card is a big mistake! One of the best parts was the discussion of why financing a car for extended term can present a real risk. A variety of loan types, and their pros and cons, are also well-described.

There are many more segments we could recommend. (Be sure to listen to Finding Money to Save and download the links.) To see all the available podcasts from Money Smart browse to Click on Info Booth to see the full list of audio files, transcripts and other resources for each segment.

It’s not just Peoples Bank who puts work into helping your family thrive. The FDIC has put extensive effort into these informative Money Smart podcasts. We think they are very well done and will be helpful, especially to people new to money management. We would love to hear what you think about them!