Written by Spotloan

TED Talks are a great way to pick up insightful information quickly, whether you’re feeling motivated to learn or you need that little bit of inspiration to help you keep going. Bringing in various industry and cultural thought leaders, TED Talks are accessible and digestible video and audio seminars that let you learn something new and useful for your life in the time it would take you to watch an episode of your favorite TV show. 

With so many TED Talks having been recorded over the years, it should come as no surprise that there are plenty that speak to the topic of money, whether they talk broadly about the economic systems that we participate in or more specifically about personal finance, budgeting skills, and financial motivation. Here are just 6 of the top TED Talks about money to help impart you with some serious financial wisdom:

Courtney Martin: The New American Dream

Journalist Courtney Martin opens her TED Talk with a fairly depressing statistic: For the first time in US history, most parents no longer believe that their children will be better off than they themselves are. We assume that every generation will be more prosperous than the one that comes before it, and Martin works to break down this assumption and tackle how we move on from this new deflection point.

Martin speaks to a generation that feels disconnected from the idea of the traditional “American Dream” of big paychecks and bigger houses, and asks us to reframe and redefine what our dreams are, both personally and professionally. This TED Talk is perfect for helping anybody who feels stuck chasing an impossible future, helping us reorient ourselves towards a life that will make us truly happy.

Michael Norton: How to Buy Happiness

Speaking of happiness, social scientist Michael Norton uses his TED platform to interrogate that age-old adage, “Money can’t buy happiness.” We often intuitively understand that money can serve to isolate us from our peers and our communities, leading to people with inconceivable wealth but no personal fulfillment. 

But Norton’s hypothesis is that money itself is not the root of unhappiness, but that the ways we use and spend it makes all the difference. Norton studied the difference between people who spend money on themselves vs. spending money on others, and discovered the immense possibilities for improving our happiness that comes when we don’t hoard our own money, but choose to spread the wealth around and encourage others to do the same.

Shlomo Benartzi: Saving for Tomorrow, Tomorrow

Economist Shlomo Benartzi has a deep understanding of how our shared psychology works to influence our behavior towards money, particularly when it comes to saving. The name of Benartzi’s TED Talk comes from the tension between our collective understanding that we need to save money for retirement, and our seeming reluctance to actually put it into practice.

Benartzi breaks down this tension and talks us through the common obstacles we encounter when thinking about saving for the future – then taking it one step further and giving us the tools we need to start saving today, rather than always putting it off until tomorrow. For anybody who’s ever felt like they just weren’t able to start saving, no matter how much they wanted to, Benartzi’s Ted Talk reminds you that you’re not alone and walks you through beginning your saving journey.

Daniel Goldstein: The Battle Between Your Present and Future Self

Picking up where Benartzi leaves off, behavior economist Daniel Goldstein looks at the issues we have with saving and posits it as a “two-selves” problem: Within each of us we contain two versions of ourselves, one oriented towards the future (our “future self”) and one oriented towards the present (our “present self”). Our future self knows we need to save money now so that we have more of it later, while our present self knows how satisfying it can feel to spend now to better our lives in the moment.

Goldstein works to resolve this two-selves problem with tools and tricks to help us overcome this friction using “commitment devices,” which are decisions or purchases that serve as a buy-in to keep us committed to our future self over spending recklessly in the present.

Alexa Von Tobel: One Life-Changing Class You Never Took

Alexa Von Tobel serves as the founder and CEO of Learnvest, a personal finance website, giving her a unique perspective on how to help regular people control their finances rather than letting their finances control them. Von Tobel acknowledges that over half of all Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck, and that most people make most of their financial decisions without much eye towards future financial stability.

Rather than chastising or shaming, Von Tobel offers a simple 5-step plan to achieve financial security and control over your money. These lessons range from how to control debt to the importance of negotiating your salary to maximize your earnings, and serve as accessible, memorable takeaways that stick in your mind every single day.

David Burkus: Why You Should Know How Much Your Coworkers Get Paid

Author and management researcher David Burkus uses his TED Talk to break open one of the biggest taboos in professional society: discussing salaries openly and honestly. Burkus walks us through why pay transparency and talking openly about how much we make with our coworkers can help employees by identifying and countering potential discrimination and encouraging workers to know their worth.

But – importantly – Burkus also talks at length on why pay transparency is a good thing for organizations themselves. He explains that, contrary to popular belief, openly sharing salaries doesn’t throw organizations into disarray or lead to a rash of quitting, but actually encourages workers to work harder, leaves them happier with their jobs, and makes them less likely to leave the company. For Burkus, pay transparency isn’t just nice to have, but is crucial for the long-term health of every employee and every business.

Spotloan: A Smarter Way to Borrow

Now that you’ve watched these great TED talks and hopefully gained some valuable financial insight, what’s the next step? At Spotloan, our focus on financial literacy is meant to help every one of our customers build towards a more stable future. And if you need a bit of help, our simple online application process can help you qualify for the money you need, even if you have bad credit or need a same-day loan. All you have to do is go fill out our application to see if you qualify, and you could receive a decision within minutes. Fill out our application now!