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Bottom line: Penny | Master Your Money, or Penny, is a financial literacy app and podcast platform. Users get advice from knowledgeable contributors with real-world experience. Some users may not like the audio-only format, and the educational content varies wildly.
|iOS app rating||4.7/5 stars|
|Android app rating||5/5 stars|
Penny is a financial literacy app that helps users learn through audio. Listeners can browse hours of audio content in a range of finance topics, from how to pay off debt to starting a business. But Penny isn't just a series of dry classroom lectures.
The content in the Penny app unfolds as a series of interviews with people who have the advantage of experience, telling you their stories and offering topical advice. The presenters are good at leading the discussion and the guests are ready to share their expertise. Even if a topic is outside your field, you may find yourself listening anyway.
Each album is broken down into easy-to-manage tracks that mean you can listen for a few minutes or an hour. You can navigate Penny much like your favorite music streaming app, saving and sharing tracks and following contributors you really like.
Penny exclusively offers audio content, without articles to read or hands-on lessons to complete. In fact, you don't even need to be looking at your device.
Instead, Penny is set up like a music or podcast app. This means you don’t have to actively have your phone awake -- or even on you to listen. You can pop in your airpods, press play, and listen while you get in some cardio at the gym. Or you can listen during your commute.
The Penny app hosts a wide selection of material for its listeners. The broad topics include small business, real estate, savings, debt, stocks and options, careers, and even startups.
Each category contains a series of "albums" from contributors on various topics, with albums containing individual "tracks." In practice, each album is similar to a single podcast or conversation, while tracks act more as timestamps or bookmarks than individual lessons. Track and album lengths vary a lot, so you could blaze through tracks as short as one minute -- or kill an hour finishing a complete album.
One nice thing about the Penny app is that it’s easy to find your way around. Material is organized using a traditional artist-album-track interface. This makes navigation fairly intuitive, as most of us are used to similar interfaces.
Just as you'd see in your favorite music streaming platform, you can save and share tracks or albums with a tap. And you can make sure you know about the latest additions by following favorite categories or contributors.
Although the content on Penny can be quite informative, it isn’t very educational. For an app that calls itself, "Financial Literacy & Money Management," most listeners probably won’t come away from any given album ready to tackle their personal finances.
In other words, Penny is less like a class taught by a teacher and more like listening to a conversation between knowledgeable acquaintances. If you want to learn how to actually manage your finances or are looking for step-by-step instructions to solving a financial problem, Penny is not the app for you.
The Penny app is all audio. If you’re a more visual learner or someone who has trouble concentrating on pure audio, you’re out of luck. It's also not accessible for anyone who is deaf or hard of hearing, as there are no subtitles or transcripts.
Ultimately, one of the things that makes Penny easy to use also highlights a better alternative: Since it feels like a curated series of podcasts, why not just use your favorite podcasting platform to find similar information?
One thing that may bother some users is the limitations on the controls. For example, you can't choose which part of the track to play while in an individual track. Instead, your option is to repeatedly push the buttons that let you go forward or backward by 15 seconds. While this likely isn't an issue in shorter tracks, it could get irritating in longer tracks if you leave in the middle and don't want to replay half the track.
Similarly, the app offers a button to increase play speed -- by up to 2x. But there's no way to reduce play speed below 1x. In some topics with a lot of jargon -- say, business or real estate -- speeding up may not be as useful as slowing down, especially since you can't pinpoint your place in the track.
If you want an app for all ages: World of Money is a simple financial education app that organizes content by age group. Young students can learn basic concepts like the history of money, while older students learn more advanced topics like taxes and investing in stocks. But for adults interested in some more obscure topics like real estate investing, Penny may be the better pick.
If you want an app with hands-on education: Investmate is a financial literacy app aimed at beginning investors who want to learn key terms and practice trading on the stock market simulator. Investmate is strictly investing content, however. So Penny may provide a broader scope of content.
All this content is available to you for free. You don’t even have to register an email address to get in. While you can choose to create an account with Penny to sync favorites across devices, you can forgo it entirely and just jump straight into the content.
The Penny app is best for auditory listeners who want a friendly introduction to a wide range of financial topics. More of a podcast hub than anything else, the content on Penny is more conversational than educational. So it makes for easy listening while performing other tasks. Along that line, folks looking for a more comprehensive financial education will likely find Penny lacking.
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