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It's our royal duty to provide you with some entertaining and enlightening free content while we go do internet-grandma vacation things.

Bitch-Approved Podcasts for Your Summer Vacation

We’re going on vacation! This is a thing that not everyone can do, but everyone deserves—so consider this your friendly reminder to help shift the culture by taking a break of your own!

We would never leave our beloved Bitch Nation with nothing to do for two weeks. So it’s our royal duty to leave you with some entertaining and enlightening FREE content while we go do internet-grandma vacation things. Like gardening and criticizing television shows made for a much younger demographic.

That’s why we’re highlighting some of our favorite podcasts, in both money-related and non-money-related categories. Because you know what I won’t be doing for the next two weeks? Listening to any of the money podcasts. Sorry about it. When I’m off, I’m off!

Tee hee! Tee hee!

So: what kinda podcast would you like to listen to?

Our Five Favorite Serious-Business Money Podcasts

If you answered…

“I want to hear some snappy stories about financial news and the economy, and I want it to be informative, but kinda light, with no big, anxiety-inducing bummers.”

We answer…

Planet Money

Length: 10-30 minutes

This twice-weekly NPR podcast was started in late 2008, after the financial crisis casually knee-capped the American public. “What the fuck!” we all cried. “What happened to my knees!?” Planet Money was there to help explain economic issues in plain language with engaging, almost hand-holding stories. And they’ve been there ever since! This is a no-brainer, especially if you have money in the market and need help understanding what’s causing your investments to go up and down. (Just assume it’s China. The answer is probably always China.)

If you answered…

“I want to hear cerebral, science-driven deep-dives into socioeconomic topics that make me sound freaking smart when I talk about them at a party.”

We answer…

Freakonomics Radio

Length: 45 minutes – 1 hour

The Steves (Journalist Stephen Dubner and economist Steven Levitt) use research, data, and expert interviews to upend some pretty fundamental misconceptions about the way our world works. Some are social (“Are the Rich Really Less Generous Than the Poor?”), some are political (“How Much Does the President Really Matter?”), some are hypothetical (“Would a Big Bucket of Cash Really Change Your Life?”) and some are deliciously petty (“Do More Expensive Wines Taste Better?”). I whip the shit I learn on Freakonomics out here all the time, and people assume I know what day of the week it is. And I totally do. Ignore the fact that last Thursday’s post went up on Friday. Ignore it, I say!

If you answered…

“I want to hear candid, vulnerable, deeply personal stories on the kinds of topics that people don’t traditionally talk about.”

We answer…

Death, Sex, & Money

Length: 20-40 minutes

Exactly what’s on the box. Anna Sale is a fantastic interviewer. My favorite part of the show is when someone says something really, really rough, and Anna makes a “hmm” or an “oh” sound that is just brimming with sympathy and compassion. I want to make a sound board out of those noises, and play them to self-soothe. (Hi, I’m not a creep!) Our readers will enjoy her series on class (“Opportunity Costs: Money and Class in America”) and student loans (“Our Student Loan Secrets”).

If you answered…

“I want to hear someone who’s super accessible explaining wait-but-why money topics for young people and the young at heart, but by ‘young,’ I might mean ‘socialist.'”

We answer…

Bad With Money with Gaby Dunn

Length: 1 hour

Gaby’s third season is about to wrap up, and she knocked it out of the goddamn park this year. Really interesting interviews on topics that are urgently important to young people. Unlike almost all of the other podcasts featured here, Dunn is not an expert in this field. This makes her show incredibly accessible. There is nothing I love better than hearing a brainy five-degree policy wonk explain how some major system works, only to have Gaby burst out with “But that seems sooooo messed up!” Said wonk, in response, almost always becomes electrified. “I know, isn’t it!? That’s why I research this!” You can’t get such clear, passionate interviews any other way.

Also we were on one episode. “Oh, so you just want to suck up to Gaby because she had you on her show, eh?” False. We just told you: we were already on her show. That means she’s the only one on this list we aren’t sucking up to! It’s actual, factual radio gold.

If you answered…

“I want to hear inspiring, accessible career and wealth management advice from awesome women of color who know exactly what is going on.”

We answer…

Brown Ambition

Length: 45 minutes

A lot of the podcasts up to this point talk about “big picture” economic and finance topics. But Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche and Mandi Woodruff of MagnifyMoney host a weekly discussion on a wide range of topics that feel bite-sized, actionable, and inspirational. The hosts are honest, engaging, deeply knowledgeable, and have great chemistry. I would not describe this show as “only” for women of color (I’m white!) but it’s likely particularly refreshing and validating to young women who have a hard time connecting with the Dave Ramsay set.

Our Five Favorite Unserious, Nonbusiness, Fun Podcasts

If you answered…

“I want to hear fascinating, original af documentary-style storytelling while also experiencing some ASMR tingles.”

We answer…

Criminal

Length: 20-40 minutes

Phoebe Judge has the radio voice I affect for five minutes before getting tired and reverting back to my brassy Midwestern realness. This impeccably-produced podcast examines crime from an anthropological perspective. The crimes discussed can be anything: a wrongful conviction, a runaway slave, vandalized ancient trees, a stolen pedigree poodle. Some episodes are funny, some terrifying, some heartbreaking—but the quality is always impeccable.

If you answered…

“I want to hear someone else in therapy, because I want to get better at understanding myself and others, or at least that’s what I tell myself. Really I’m just shamefully nosy.”

We answer…

Where Should We Begin?

Length: 1 hour

Guys… let Esther Perel into your heart. Listen well as this compassionate genius counsels anonymous couples through one-time sessions on fascinating topics. This is one of the rare podcasts I will listen to twice. I am not ashamed to admit that sometimes I make my husband listen to part of an episode so we can pause and Monday morning quarterback the whole thing. (I’m looking at you, guy who refuses to become friends with anyone he isn’t sexually attracted to. YES, THAT WAS A REAL THING!) It’s entertaining, intimate, and incredibly enlightening.

If you answered…

“I want the sweet, cathartic release of listening to two average feminists rant to each other about the patriarchy while defining terms we take for granted in our rigid social structure and occasionally breaking into song.”

We answer…

Hags

Length: wildly inconsistent

In my head, Riley and Nicole are the big sisters I never had (even though I’m pretty sure they’re younger than we are), gently taking me under their collective wing to let me know that a) this sexism stuff is not all just in my head, b) there is still much to learn and we could all stand to treat each other better, c) it’s hard out there for a Hag… or a Bitch for that matter, and d) rats are actually pretty cool. Their conversational style and occasional interjections by token human male Alex make for a delightful and hilarious romp through the words we never think about in conjunction with feminism… and why we really should.

If you answered…

“I want to hear the sound of sitting in a friend’s living room, eating junk food, shitting on something that deserves to be shat on, but it’s not too rough or mean, more Parks & Rec than 30 Rock, and also there’s a cat.”

We answer…

The Worst Bestsellers

Length: 1 hour – 90 minutes

A gently rollicking review of terrible books that somehow manage to sell well, hosted by Ravenclaw Kait and Hufflepuff Renata. They cover every genre, from James Patterson to Stephanie Meyer. The tone is chatty and super casual—Renata’s cat Duarte makes frequent cameos, howling his opinions in the background. One longstanding segment pits The Rock against Wolverine in a fan fiction battle to see who could most improve the book, which is… important. If you love books, and you love hating things that suck, you need Worst Bestsellers in your life.

If you answered…

“I want to hear compelling true crime storytelling that doesn’t glorify violence or commodify victims.”

We answer…

Casefile

Length: 1-2 hours

<rant>

I’ve been on a true crime spree lately (reading about them—not committing them). But I really struggle to find true crime podcasts that handle the subject matter responsibly. What I enjoy about true crime is the hunt and the chase; I am emphatically not entertained by the raped/mutilated bodies of women (or children) or ugly simplifications of mental illness.

Other podcasts had a bizarrely upbeat tone I found to be completely fucking disrespectful to the real victims of these crimes. Some blatantly admired themselves as producers of this content. I tried to listen to Sword and Scale, and was completely revolted by the host reading breathless fan mail for his own show in-between salacious descriptions of the rape of a child. I was not even mildly surprised to hear he’s since made himself unpopular by being both a judgmental asshole and a pervy creeper.

That’s why I fucking love Casefile. The anonymous Australian host consistently delights me with detailed, tension-filled stories that focus on the “good” parts of true crime: communities coming together to seek justice for the wronged. He humanizes the victims—tells us about who they were, what they liked, how their friends described them. If victims were sex workers, or drug addicts, or mentally ill people, the host lets that information be casual and secondary. It’s a really, really respectful way of handling an inherently problematic genre.

Other true crime podcasts are all like “this unsuspecting prostitute had her head cut off with a machete, go to our website for photographs of the crime scene, and pick up some merch while you’re there!” I’m not here for it. If you need a true crime fix, ethically source that shit.

</rant>

That’s it, y’all! We’ll be back in two weeks. Please remember us the way we want to be remembered: shipwrecked with coconuts for bras.

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5 thoughts to “Bitch-Approved Podcasts for Your Summer Vacation”

  1. THANK YOU for this list, I’ve got many new podcasts to go subscribe to and you’ve also reaffirmed my confidence in my good taste in podcasts because YES to Planet Money, Criminal, and Death, Sex, & Money. I’m especially excited to listen to Gaby Dunn’s podcast. Enjoy your summer!

  2. Wooo enjoy your vacation! Also damn you, because I’ve got a whoooooooole bunch of podcasts to subscribe to and a billion hours of episodes to catch up on now. If y’all haven’t heard of Real Talk Radio, that’s one that I listen to that I absolutely love (and also need to catch up on). Death, Sex, and Money sounds similar to it (but with way shorter episodes).

  3. Cool list, one thing I struggle with is getting accurate representation – podcasts seem very male dominated, and the recommendations are always >80% male.

    Another shout of for Hags – despite being very different from these ladies living the acting life in LA, I so get them 100%.

    1. Invisibilia is an excellent alternative to Freakonomics Radio, and is produced and hosted by three rad women! Less economic in its focus, but overall similar feeling.

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