Apr 02, 2022

NGPF Podcast (Classic): Michelle Singletary reflects on three decades as personal finance columnist at the Washington Post

 Michelle Singletary just shared insights from her 25 years writing the Color of Money column in the Washington Post so we thought it would be a great idea to repost the podcast. Here are a few excerpts from her latest column

  • Power of marketing: "I no longer underestimate the power of marketing, which conditions Americans to be consumers. Masterful marketing campaigns encourage overspending and the accumulation of debt."
  • Attitude toward debt: “In theory, certain loans make sense. Without mortgages, most Americans couldn’t afford to purchase a home, which for many households ends up being their biggest asset. I recognize that business loans have helped people follow their passions and create small businesses. But what we need in America is not more cheerleading of debt but more caution.”



  • 0:00~1:40 Introduction
  • 1:40~2:52 Writing about personal finance
  • 2:52~5:43 Favorite column
  • 5:43~9:32 Lesson on saving from Big Momma
  • 9:32~12:58 Intersection of race and finance
  • 12:58~15:47 Experience as a columnist at the Washington Post
  • 15:47~16:15 A word from NGPF
  • 16:15~17:46 Making concepts consumable
  • 17:46~23:28 Behind the scenes look on writing with consumers in mind
  • 23:28~27:25 Don’t trust and verify -- looking out for scams
  • 27:27~30:50 Trading individual stocks on apps versus investing in index funds
  • 30:50~39:43 Message for students
  • 39:43~40:50 Conclusion



  • "It is a privilege to be able to write for The Post and this position, so I try to write columns that help people understand policy, economics, debt, credit, investing from the perspective of that person [that might need help understanding]."


More awesome NGPF podcast guests can be found here


About the Authors

Tim Ranzetta

Tim's saving habits started at seven when a neighbor with a broken hip gave him a dog walking job. Her recovery, which took almost a year, resulted in Tim getting to know the bank tellers quite well (and accumulating a savings account balance of over $300!). His recent entrepreneurial adventures have included driving a shredding truck, analyzing executive compensation packages for Fortune 500 companies and helping families make better college financing decisions. After volunteering in 2010 to create and teach a personal finance program at Eastside College Prep in East Palo Alto, Tim saw firsthand the impact of an engaging and activity-based curriculum, which inspired him to start a new non-profit, Next Gen Personal Finance.

Ren Makino

Ren started interning at NGPF in 2014, and worked part-time through high school and college. With his knowledge growing alongside NGPF, he joined the team to work full-time after graduating from college in 2020. He is also the producer of the NGPF podcast. During his free time, he likes to try out coffees from different roasters across the world.

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