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12 All-Time Best TED Talks About Money

By
Samantha Rose
Samantha Rose covers financial literacy for the educational arm of OppLoans. Her work focuses on providing hands-on resources for high school and college-age students in addition to their parents and educators.
Updated on March 18, 2021
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Expert talks to educate, motivate, and move you.

Ever watched a TED Talk?

They’re short, powerful discussions delivered by professional speakers in front of a live audience. Speakers share personal experiences or scientific research.

Today, the TED archive contains expert discussions about almost every topic under the sun — including personal finance. The best part? Anyone, anywhere has access to this encyclopedia of knowledge.

Ready to watch? Here are 12 of the best to get you started.

No. 1: 6 Ways to Improve Your Relationship With Money

Speaker: Thasunda Duckett

Date filmed: January 2020

Event: The Way We Work

Where to watch: See Thasunda Duckett’s talk here

Does your money control you? It’s time to take charge.

Taking control of your finances can spur uncomfortable, difficult conversations about your relationship with money. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Thasunda Duckett, CEO of Chase Consumer Banking, talks about how to minimize money shame. We need to be kinder to ourselves in order to start an honest conversation about how to spend and save smarter.

Speaker quote/takeaway

Money is not the end-all be-all. It’s the mechanism to accomplish whatever your goals are. It does not define you. It’s just a mechanism to accomplish what matters to you most.

No. 2: Financial Empowerment

Speaker: Rahkim Sabree

Date filmed: December 2019

Event: TEDxHartford

Where to watch: See Rahkim Sabree’s talk here

Pay it forward.

That’s the concept Rahkim Sabree discusses in his TEDx Talk. Sabree is an author, speaker, financial coach, and advocate for financial literacy. He details how growing up poor led him to change his money story. Anyone can be empowered, despite the struggle to reach financial stability and satisfaction.

Just don’t forget to pay it forward once you become successful.

Speaker quote/takeaway

If you are in a position of knowledge, particularly around personal finance, have that conversation with your neighbor, your peers, your family. This is a conversation that should be had at every dinner table, in every classroom, over the course of every holiday.

No. 3: 3 Psychological Tricks to Help You Save Money

Speaker: Wendy De La Rosa

Date filmed: January 2019

Event: The Way We Work

Where to watch: See Wendy De La Rosa’s talk here

In theory, everyone wants to save money. In reality, we’re spending more and saving less.

Wendy De La Rosa, a behavioral scientist, discusses how we can change our negative money behaviors to improve our financial health. Her talk provides a guide to help revamp our habits — saving effortlessly in the process.

Speaker quote/takeaway

As human beings, we can be irrational when it comes to saving and spending and budgeting. But luckily, we know this about ourselves, and we can predict how we’ll act under certain environments. Let’s do that with saving. Let’s change our environment to help our future selves.

No. 4: Let’s Get Honest About Our Money Problems

Speaker: Tammy Lally

Date filmed: June 2017

Event: TEDxOrlando

Where to watch: See Tammy Lally’s talk here

Why do we hide our money problems? It’s time to change this.

Tammy Lally, a money coach and author, talks about how financial mismanagement is common — yet we’re rarely open and honest about our struggles. Lally shares her personal story about her brother’s unexpected death and the importance of validating others’ financial hardships.

She encourages us to end “money shame” and stop equating our self-worth to our financial lives.

Speaker quote/takeaway

We have to get honest with each other that we’re suffering with money issues, and let’s get real — we have to stop numbing out our pain. In order to uncover the painful parts of your money story and your money history, you can’t be numb.

No. 5: The Future of Money

Speaker: Neha Narula

Date filmed: May 2016

Event: TED@BCG Paris

Where to watch: See Neha Narula’s talk here

What does the future hold for how we access and use money?

Neha Narula, a digital currency researcher, talks about the future of how we buy and sell. Narula discusses our collective fiction about money — and a future powered by Bitcoin and Ethereum.

With the rise of cryptocurrencies, we are eliminating the need for traditional financial institutions, like banks and currency exchanges.

Speaker quote/takeaway

Cryptocurrencies are the first step to a world with a global programmable money. And in a world with programmable money, I can pay anyone else securely without having to sign up or ask permission, or do a conversion or worry about my money getting stuck.

No. 6: Why We Take Financial Risks

Speaker: Elise Payzan-LeNestour

Event: TEDxSydney

Date filmed: May 2016

Where to watch: See Elise Payzan-LeNestour’s talk here

Risk avoidance is both genetic and environmental. So why do we still take chances?

Speaker, Elise Payzan-LeNestour — a Scientia Fellow Associate Professor at the Business School at the University of New South Wales — questions how we decide between safe bets and dangerous gambles. She discusses risky financial behavior through observing a computerized game of chance.

Speaker quote/takeaway

We are lured into gambling even when we perfectly know we should not, because we cannot resist the temptation to seek more reward. More sugar. More cheese. More money.

No. 7: Why You Should Know How Much Your Coworkers Get Paid

Speaker: David Burkus

Date filmed: January 2016

Event: TEDxUniversityofNevada

Where to watch: See David Burkus’ talk here

Do you know how much your coworkers earn? According to David Burkus, you should.

Burkus is an author and associate professor of management at Oral Roberts University. He questions why our culture values keeping salaries secret and why this practice doesn’t benefit employees, companies, or society. By sharing our compensation level, we could solve greater financial issues, like the gender wage gap.

Speaker quote/takeaway

It turns out that pay transparency — sharing salaries openly across a company — makes for a better workplace for both the employee and for the organization.

No. 8: How I Learned to Read — and Trade Stocks — in Prison

Speaker: Curtis “Wall Street” Carroll

Date filmed: January 2016

Event: TEDxSanQuentin

Where to watch: See Curtis “Wall Street” Carroll’s talk here

Financial literacy has the power to impact meaningful change. Just ask Curtis Carroll.

In Carroll’s talk, he discusses his personal journey and the power of becoming financially literate.

Now known as “Wall Street,” Curtis Carroll was incarcerated at 17-years-old. While incarcerated, he taught himself how to read and track stocks.

Now, he is the founder of Project Feel, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting financial literacy through the philosophy of Financial Empowerment Emotional Literacy.

Speaker quote/takeaway

Financial illiteracy is a disease that has crippled minorities and the lower class in our society for generations and generations, and we should be furious about that.

No. 9: Know Your Worth, and Then Ask for It

Speaker: Casey Brown

Date filmed: May 2015

Event: TEDxColumbusWomen

Where to watch: See Casey Brown’s talk here

Does your paycheck represent what you’re worth? The answer is likely no.

We are rarely paid what we’re worth — but rather, what our bosses think we’re worth. Casey Brown, a pricing consultant, discusses how to earn your true value. She shares personal stories to help you learn to better communicate your value and receive adequate compensation for your skills and experience.

Speaker quote/takeaway

No one will ever pay you what you’re worth. They’ll only ever pay you what they think you’re worth, and you control their thinking.

No. 10: Does Money Make You Mean?

Speaker: Paul Piff

Date filmed: October 2013

Event: TEDxMarin

Where to watch: See Paul Piff’s talk here

It’s fascinating what you can learn about social behavior from a simple game like Monopoly — especially when you’re winning and feeling rich as a result.

Social psychologist, Paul Piff, shares his research on how human behavior changes when people regard themselves as wealthy. Hint: Inequality is built on selfishness. The good news is that there is a solution: We must build financial empathy.

Speaker quote/takeaway

How might that experience of being a privileged player in a rigged game change the way you think about yourself and regard that other player?

No. 11: Saving for Tomorrow, Tomorrow

Speaker: Shlomo Benartzi

Date filmed: November 2011

Event: TEDSalon NY2011

Where to watch: See Shlomo Benartzi’s talk here

We’ll save money next week, or month, or year. But the present — that’s too hard.

Shlomo Benartzi — a professor and co-chair of the Behavioral Decision-Making Group at the Anderson School of Management at the University of California – Los Angeles — says a lack of patience is the largest hurdle to saving for retirement. We are programmed to want immediate gratification. So how can we turn this challenge into a solution?

Speaker quote/takeaway

We have to understand why people are not saving, and then we can hopefully flip the behavioral challenges into behavioral solutions, and then see how powerful it might be.

No. 12: Poverty, Money – and Love

Speaker: Jessica Jackley

Date filmed: July 2010

Event: TEDGlobal 2010

Where to watch: See Jessica Jackley’s talk here

Poverty is treated like a dirty word. Rather than confront the stigma, we often throw money at poverty or avoid its reminders all together. Maybe the problem is our attitude.

How can we change our perspective to recenter people in poverty and not overlook them?

Jessica Jackley, the co-founder of Kiva.org, had an aha moment. Her attitude shifted and she began handling microloans that empower people in financial distress.

Speaker quote/takeaway

If we can catalyze a supportive community to come around these individuals and to participate in their story by lending a little bit of money, I think that can change the way we believe in each other and each other’s potential.

Bottom Line

TED Talks are 18-minute discussions with the power to educate and inspire. Check them out!

What is your favorite financial TED Talk? Tell us @OppUniversity.

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