Updated on: March 12, 2020

12 All-Time Best TED Talks About Money

12 All-Time Best TED Talks About Money

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 the video here or hereDoes 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 the video here or herePay 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 the video here or hereIn 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 the video here or hereWhy 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 the video here or hereWhat 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 the video here or hereRisk 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 the video here or hereDo 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 the video here or hereFinancial 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 the video here or hereDoes 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 the video here or hereIt’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 the video here or hereWe’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 the video here or herePoverty 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.
Samantha Rose

Samantha Rose has been a copywriter with OppLoans since 2018, and developing her writing expertise since 2011. She covers personal finance and financial education, and has interviewed professionals at Jump$tart, Junior Achievement, and state boards of education, among others. She resides in Chicago with her dog, Huey.

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