Financial challenges are facing many Americans as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic, especially Millennials. They make up the biggest share of listeners of the podcast How to Money, and they’ve given hosts Matt Altmix and Joel Larsgaard plenty to talk about. So much so, that they now release two episodes a week.
“With the different bills that were being passed, we felt it was important to go ahead and get that additional episode to be able to cover topics that were a little bit more timely,” said Altmix. During a presentation to advertisers on Thursday, he said the Atlanta-based podcast has put more effort to create time-sensitive shows, giving listeners advice they can immediately put to use. “We felt that was really important and a natural next step for us,” said Altmix. Recent shows have focused on topics such as negotiating tactics when talking to bill collectors, applying for credit cards while having frozen credit, changing careers, and finding an affordable used car.
The hosts say the podcast aims to be different than the traditional financial advice talk show on radio or cable television. “Our generation needs a different kind of personal finance show that speaks to them differently,” said Larsgaard. “The old school financial gurus have a different way of presenting information and it needs to be repackaged. It’s not that the advice has necessarily changed, it just needs to come from a different voice and we felt we could bring that.”
How to Money launched in November 2018, pairing Larsgaard, a producer on the syndicated financial advice show hosted by Clark Howard, and wedding photography business owner Altmix. The intentionally no-frills podcast isn’t the first time the best friends have paired for a show. They previously hosted the Pour Not Poor podcast that merged their ongoing love of beer and their financial savvy.
“In the personal finance world there can be a lot of jargon. It can be pretty off-putting and getting a lecture from your dad,” said Larsgaard. “We want to present information that is really helpful in an accessible way that makes people feel like they’re hanging out with two best buds that are having a good time.” That means cracking jokes and recording the show over a different beer each episode. The topics, while serious, aren’t stuffy, said Larsgaard. “At its core it’s teaching, and it’s helping, but it’s energetic and it’s fun too,” he said.
Altmix said that comes from the basic idea that the best podcast isn’t a success unless someone will listen to it. “We always talked about personal finance in a way that we think is approachable and maybe a little bit entertaining that connects with folks. Money isn’t something that’s normally exciting to talk about, and so do that in a way that’s interesting is really important,” said Altmix. “We always chose topics that we know are interesting and are going to appeal to a wide group of folks.”
Will Pearson, COO of the iHeartPodcast Network, said the company had weighed whether to delay Thursday’s advertiser presentation considering the events of the week. But he said they ultimately decided that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in recent months looms too large and there is arguably a need for a show like How to Money more than ever. “We thought this is one of those conversations we should still be having,” Pearson said, “with record unemployment and the challenges that people are facing across America right now.”