People who want to learn about personal finance have more tools than ever before with the growing popularity of blogs, podcasts, and more. One of the best resources that individuals can use to learn more about taking control of their finances are TED Talks, a series of presentations providing unique insight on a particular subject by individuals who are regarded as experts in their field. Over the years, a number of inspiring TED Talks have fallen under the umbrella of personal finance. Some of the best include the following:
Keith Chen’s Could You Language Affect Your Ability to Save Money?
While individuals probably have not thought about it before, the ways in which they use language actually impact their saving habits. As Chen explains, this phenomenon stems from that fact that people tend to see the future as something far in the distance. When this occurs, individuals feel less pressure to save right now because there will always be time down the road. Chen encourages people to use futureless language, which helps people understand that thinking about the now is what gets us to the future. In other words, the future is only a possibility when we properly manage our money in the present. This concept sounds complicated, but Chen does an incredible job of making the idea accessible and motivating people to take control of their finances today.
Shlomo Benartzi’s Saving for Tomorrow, Tomorrow
An expert in behavioral economics, Benartzi uses this talk to explain how people often frame saving money as a loss because it requires that they cut their spending. Due to loss aversion, people thus become less likely to save their money. In a sense, saving involves pain, because spending would be much more fun. To counter this idea, Benartzi introduces the idea of “save more tomorrow,” which helps people prepare for retirement without undergoing the pain of saving. This plan involves allocating a certain percentage of each raise that employees receive to saving in a 401(k) or a similar account. Tying saving to raises removes some of the sting of increasing savings since it eliminates the feeling of deprivation.
Cameron Herold’s Let’s Raise Kids to Be Entrepreneurs
Many people want to know how they can raise their kids in a way that encourages them to make the best decisions about their money. Herold is an entrepreneur and youth coach who demonstrates how parents can use entrepreneurship to make kids financially responsible. In the talk, he explains that children who do not perform well in the classroom often respond to business training that can lead to great financial habits down the road. An allowance, says Herold, trains children to think of life in terms of having a job and receiving a regular paycheck, an idea that can actually run counter to entrepreneurship. A better approach is having children take initiative with tasks around the house and then negotiate a pay rate. While kids will not get a regular check, they will learn that they can always look for opportunities to earn more money when necessary.
Adam Baker’s Sell Your Crap, Pay Your Debt, Do What You Love
Baker speaks from his own personal experience in this moving TED Talk. Facing a mountain of debt, including student loans, a car payment, and credit cards, Baker realized that he was living life according to a script provided to him, and now how he wanted out. After taking a step back, he redefined his idea of success as the ability to travel abroad with his family. With this new goal in mind, he reframed his finances and took control of his spending to move closer to it. Once he realized that he was making purchases just because the people around him were doing the same and not necessarily because he needed to, he freed himself to get what he really wanted out of life. Baker’s life choices challenge us to look at our own spending and ask what we are getting out of it and, more importantly, what we want to get out of it.
Alexa Von Tobel’s One Life-Changing Class You Never Took
For the most part, students in the United States receive no personal finance education during high school or college. Individuals typically learn from their parents and friends or, more often, figure things out on their own through trial and error. Von Tobel explains the importance of obtaining a financial education and how having a basic understanding of money can avoid a host of problems down the road. She provides a case study of a typical recent college graduate who makes many financial mistakes and traces how these missteps create problems later in that person’s life. This talk is extremely important for individuals in high school and college, and it speaks to the need for a larger societal change in how we educate people to take control of their finances.
Michael Norton’s How to Buy Happiness
Most people believe that money cannot buy happiness, but social science researcher Michael Norton wants to change their minds. Norton argues that people are not spending money in the right way if their goal is happiness. For the most part, people see money and spending as a selfish thing because typically people spend money on themselves. If, instead, we spent money on others, we could actually buy happiness. He created an experiment in which one group of participants spent money on themselves and another group gave money away. The group that gave their money away was significantly happier.