TED Talks offer a convenient, free way to learn from experts in a variety of specialties. Don’t miss these 10 TED Talks on finance.

In 1984, two design artists got together for an event called TED. Short for technology, entertainment, and design, the goal was to show how the three elements converged.

Although that first gathering, which included a demonstration of compact discs and e-books, lost money, the founders didn’t give up. Six years later, the TED Conference debuted, becoming an annual event that attracted a wide variety of people.

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Today, you don’t have to attend a conference to enjoy an insightful lecture. TED Talks launched online in 2006, providing free content in both audio and video form. Featuring inspiring and insightful lectures from some of the best minds in the world, these lectures cover a wide range of topics. One of those topics is finance.

For Millennials, TED Talks can be a great source of education. I’ve pulled together 10 of the best TED talks on topics like saving for retirement, investing, and finding out what’s important in life.

Three psychological tricks to help you save money

Whether you realize it or not, your financial habits are connected to your own way of thinking. Behavioral psychologist, Wendy De La Rosa, studies this connection and breaks it down for listeners in her TED Talk, Three psychological tricks to help you save money.

De La Rosa discusses some observations she’s made through various trials. Using that information, she offers some tips on how you can work with your own psychology, rather than against it, to reach your financial goals.

How does the stock market work?

Before you invest in the stock market, it can help to learn how it all works. Educator Oliver Elfenbaum’s TED Talk, How does the stock market work, goes all the way back to the beginning of trading in the 1600s to explain.

Through this TED Talk, you’ll learn about supply and demand, the variables affecting a stock’s performance, and how investing impacts a business’s success. The information will boost your confidence as you decide how to invest.

Saving for tomorrow, tomorrow

Shlomo Benartzi is a unique type of economist. He explores how psychology and technology influence the greater economy.

In his TED Talk, Saving for tomorrow, tomorrow, Benartzi discusses the obstacles all of us face in saving for retirement and comes up with an interesting take on how to overcome them. The key is to save a little today, increasing that amount incrementally with every pay raise you receive.

The battle between your present and future self

Another behavioral economist, Daniel Goldstein, discussed how today’s behavior influences our financial future.

Goldstein’s talk, The battle between your present and future self, was an inspiring look at something psychologists call a commitment device. This term simply refers to the decisions you make in advance that keep you grounded in the future.

Commitment devices are necessary, Goldstein says, because temptation is inevitable. If you’ve made a financial commitment to take your lunch to work every day, you’ll be better able to resist the offer to go to lunch with your coworkers when you’re invited.

The new American Dream

Today’s parents believe their children won’t be better off than their generation was. Journalist Courtney E. Martin sees opportunity in that, though. She believes it’s time to take another look at what all of us think of as “the American dream.”

In her talk, The new American Dream, Martin discusses the importance of redefining what work means. The biggest danger is not achieving the American dream, Martin believes. The biggest danger is in achieving a dream you don’t believe in.

How to buy happiness

Harvard professor Michael Norton knows money can’t buy happiness. But spending on others can benefit you emotionally, and he has the data to back it up.

In his TED Talk, How to buy happiness, Norton describes how having money can be socially isolating. Giving money away, on the other hand, connects you to other people. But if you give that money to others and ask them to spend it on other people, too, that happiness spreads.

How I learned to read—and trade stocks—in prison

At the age of 17, Curtis “Wall Street” Carroll was sentenced to life in prison. While behind bars, he educated himself on the stock market, then put that knowledge to work helping others.

How I learned to read—and trade stocks—in prison is Carroll’s account of what studying the stock market taught him about responsibility. He also discusses an organization he founded, Financial Empowerment Emotional Literacy, which teaches others the financial skills he learned.

What you weren’t taught about making money

Sarah Potter is a professional options trader who specializes in teaching others about investing. Her TED Talk, What you weren’t taught about making money, discusses how to realistically apply the financial advice you see to your everyday life.

In the talk, Potter emphasizes that financial literacy is something you learn from many areas of life, not just economic education. As an options trader, many of the skills she uses every day come from the education she received in other areas.

Less stuff, more happiness

The title of writer/designer Graham Hill’s TED Talk says it all. In Less stuff, more happiness, Hill introduces the concept of editing your life so that you surround yourself with only the things that make you happy.

The key to Hill’s plan is to design your space for the way it will be used the majority of the time. Instead of buying a bigger house for the few times a year you have guests, for instance, he suggests keeping your home functional for the people who use it every day.

The investment logic for sustainability

Most of the country is concerned about the environment, which makes Chris McKnett’s TED Talk especially relevant right now. He ties sustainability into finance through his role as senior environmental, social, and governance investment strategist for Wells Fargo

Through his talk, The investment logic for sustainability, McKnett theorizes that by supporting sustainable solutions, both investors and the planet benefit. McKnett believes that investors can build a portfolio that incorporates sustainable solutions, along with their other assets.


Through TED Talks, you have access to a wealth of expertise in the form of short, inspiring, and informative lectures. These lectures are a great way for you to learn without the expense and time it would take to attend a conference or take a class. For the full library of TED Talks, visit TED.com.

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About the author

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Stephanie Faris has written about finance for entrepreneurs and marketing firms since 2013. She spent nearly a year as a writer for a credit card processing service and has written about finance for numerous marketing firms and entrepreneurs. Her work has appeared on Retirable, The Motley Fool, MoneyGeek, Ecommerce Insiders, GoBankingRates, and ThriveBy30. Learn more about Stephanie on her website or find her on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter.