It Makes Cents with Kriti Sarav with The WhyFi Matters Podcast


Is your money working for you, or are you working for it?

As Kriti tells us in this episode, there is a shortfall by schools to teach adequate financial literacy information in schools. Growing up, it simply wasn’t taught in her schools, and it wasn’t until she bought a home that she started to see the large world of money for what it is.

The WhyFi Matters podcast is an excellent example of a niched podcast focused on a specific demographic and being the solution to that problem.   If you are thinking of just getting started or looking to niche down more, this episode will help you with the issues that you might be overlooking that are waiting for a solution.

Key Topics:
  • What made financial literacy the focus of your work (1:25)
  • What kind of background did you have growing up with financial literacy (3:01)
  • How did you go about targeting your peers to gain listeners for the podcast (5:32)
  • How have current events shaped the content on the podcast (8:49)
  • How has short-form video content impacted the content creation process (10:31)
  • How would you recommend driving traffic to your podcast (11:37)
  • Advice to someone wanting to start a podcast (15:52)
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Speaker 3 (00:02)
Hi and welcome to Cause Pods. I’m your host, Matthew Passy. Here at Causepods, we have one simple mission to highlight the amazing folks who are using podcasts as a way to raise awareness for good causes and make the world is a better place, whether it’s in their own local community or they’re taking on global issues. Please visit where you can learn about our guest show, their favorite charitable cause. Join our Facebook group with resources for Cause based podcast me anything, a link where you yourself could be a guest here on Causepods. Again, that’s very excited to bring you another episode of Causepods. It has been a while.

Speaker 1 (00:43)
But this is a guest who I’ve been excited to talk to and really glad that we could be sharing her story with you. We are talking you all the way to Chicago, Illinois. We are chatting with Criti Surav. She is the host and creator of WiFi Matters. It is a podcast that is meant to encourage financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and economics in teens. And what makes this project so incredible is that Critty is a teenager herself and is doing an incredible job with the show. So we are delighted to have her here. Chrissy, thank you so much for joining us here on Cause Pods.

Speaker 2 (01:18)
Thank you so much for having me.

Speaker 1 (01:20)
So tell us a little bit, why did you decide that you wanted to launch a podcast that would encourage financial literacy among your peers?

Speaker 2 (01:30)
Right. Well, I knew that I wanted to start a podcast because I love podcasts. But in the beginning of 2020, we had just moved houses. So this was like the first glimpse, at least on my end, into financial concepts. So I just realized that I had such a big gap in knowledge, and I knew that I’d need to be financially literate, even if I’m not going to become like an investor or someone on Wall Street, even if I’m going to be an artist or a doctor. We all have to have these financial literacy skills because they’re going to help us in times like a pandemic, for example. So all of these different factors kind of made me realize that, hey, I have a big gap and lack of financial knowledge, and I know that my peers do as well. So I decided that podcasting about it would be like a really good platform for a me to learn, but also share this with my peers around me. And it’s interesting because only 21 out of 50 States actually require financial literacy education to graduate, so that’s less than 50%. And I think that’s kind of telling because these life skills aren’t being taught in the classroom.

Speaker 2 (02:50)
So I have to somehow step in and in the smallest way possible, sort of help out the community and help teenagers become more financially literate.

Speaker 1 (03:01)
Did you have good financial literacy courses in your school coming up, or was this a gap that you personally noticed and are trying to fill no. Yeah.

Speaker 2 (03:10)
I personally noticed this. My relationship with money before I started WiFi Matters is very one dimensional. Like I would just use money and spend it. I’d use my parents money and spend it. I didn’t understand anything about credit scores, interest rates, how to save, how to budget, these very fundamental concepts that they’re going to take you pretty far. So it was a personal thing. And then I was like, this is impacting, like a broader set of people. Another thing that I want to touch on is in my family, my grandma, who lives in India, she was never exposed to financial concepts like investing. And she still to this day is very dependent on others around her. And I can see how she’s kind of caged in and not able to do what she wants to do with her life even at this age, because she has a lack of financial education, because she doesn’t understand the power of money. And it’s not her fault. It’s just the society that she was raised and the society that she lives in. But I realized how she’s becoming way more dependent on those around her. And for my mum, who lives in the US now, she immigrated here, but she was also never really exposed to these concepts and she was never exposed to the power that money has.

Speaker 2 (04:39)
And she lives vicariously through her parents. Right. But one thing that she was very adamant about for me at least, is to become more financially literate and savvy so that I can’t experience that independence when I’m older. I think another big important cause for me is like the economic empowerment of women, especially like those who are in India villages in India as well.

Speaker 1 (05:06)
Because otherwise they’re just in these situations where they can’t really get out of very broad audience that you’re trying to help by sharing the importance of financial literacy and the lessons that you’ve taken away. I’m wondering why you’ve talked about your grandmother, you talked about your mother, but this platform was really to talk to your peers. How have you found it in terms of trying to get your peers to listen, engage, follow through? Do you find that your generation is generally interested in podcast content, in this kind of educational content, or not really seeing a lot of engagement there?

Speaker 2 (05:50)
One thing I do want to point out is that I have taken WiFi Matters and made a club in my school for financial literacy. It’s like the only type of financial education that we have. But also part of WiFi Matters. We do host financial education workshops and we partner with different organizations and help their cohort of children. So I see the impact in that. But in terms of engagement with the podcast, I can’t tell who’s actually listening. Like, it could even be the parents of these children who are listening. But I do want to say that I recently put out a survey and I was interested in Gen Z and their relationship with podcasts. And one thing that I realized was interesting as I asked them what topics are you most interested in learning about? And a lot of them said current events, current events, news, things like that. So they do want to be educated. They do want to be informed. And obviously financial literacy, though it’s not like a current event, it’s relatable to it’s some sort of education podcast. Right. But what they actually listen to and what they end up listening to and what’s on their feed are like TikToker podcasts and these influencer podcasts.

Speaker 2 (07:06)
So I really noticed this disconnect between what Gen Z listens to and actually what they want to listen to. And I think I noticed that at least for myself and with WiFi matters, like engagement. They like it when I have a really cool guest or something on the show, but I don’t know how much they’re engaging with the actual matter. And I have parents who email me, just not the children and the kids who are like emailing me about how this either helped them or impacted them in a certain way. And I think this goes into this sort of desire to be educated, but actually just end up listening to like a Ticktocker talking about, I don’t know, TikTok drama. So I think it’s important. What I’ve been trying to do is making it more trendy and more fun because financial literacy, economics, they can be boring concepts for other people. At least I find financial literacy to be very boring. But I do love and have a passion for economics and entrepreneurship. But making it at least as trendy or as fun as I possibly can has been my goal. Instead of kids having to read some long article by some random person.

Speaker 1 (08:32)
You know, I wonder if you mentioned the interest in current events and I wonder if what has been going on in the world as you and I are talking precipitous volatility in the stock market coming off of the pandemic, the massive inflation that we’re seeing, the rising gas prices. I’m wondering if those issues and maybe the generation who you are talking to and targeting because when they were young, many of their parents probably went through struggles during the financial crisis and lost a job, lost the house. I’m sure more and more people in your generation have been impacted by financial issues and I wonder if tying it to that would kind of empower them or want them to be more empowered to have control over their finances versus previous generations.

Speaker 2 (09:24)
No, I totally understand what you’re saying. And that was one of the reasons why I started WiFi matters, because I was seeing this personal effect of the pandemic recently, moving houses and this longer history in my family. And then obviously right now I’m listening to a lot of podcasts about the economic impact of the war in Ukraine, and I actually want to hopefully do an episode on my podcast about it. So I do tie it back to like, hey, this is actually important. You’re going to be experiencing a lot of the long term effects of the pandemic, of the great resignation. Like, all of these different things that are impacting your parents right now are going to still impact you in the future. And I think people are more aware, like, they do realize, like, hey, a global pandemic can literally you can have a job and then one day you can’t have a job. I think people are aware of that. It’s just a matter of getting them to actually come down and listen or read or watch videos that will help them in the long run.

Speaker 1 (10:31)
So are you doing stuff on TikTok to draw attention to the podcast into your efforts in general? And if so, I guess what a lot of people listening to this probably want to know is what are some best practices? What should we be doing? How should we be leveraging the more, like, short form video platforms to drive traffic to our podcasts?

Speaker 2 (10:53)
Right. I don’t do anything on Tik Tok personally, because I don’t know, I just don’t feel comfortable on TikTok. It’s not my thing, really. And I know that a lot of when I say TikTok podcast, I say, like, Ticktalkers have amassed this huge following, and then they go on Spotify and talk about dating or something like that. Although I do think I do believe that having TikTokers, there are certain Tick talkers out there. And if you want to attract an audience towards podcast, me anything sphere, having them talk about actually important things might be a good idea.

Speaker 1 (11:33)
Having the experience and the ties to this generation, what would be some advice that you can give others about driving traffic to a podcast, getting through to folks who are more interested in a lot of short form content creation and social media?

Speaker 2 (11:53)
Well, I think TikTok is a big thing, but with any new app, getting onto that app right when it starts, I think it’s a great that’s what you have to do. It’s all about getting there on these new apps as soon as possible. And then those creators that have been on these apps the longest are usually the ones that experience the most gain and followers. The podcasting industry is tough because I read an article in Bloomberg that said that all of the top podcasts in the top 25 are more than like seven years old. You’re not seeing any new podcast or new creation coming in. And even in the range from 25 to 50, the top podcast, there’s only three that are less than two years old, and one of them is by Michelle Obama. So it’s really hard for me to compete with these older podcasts, these adults, because if I were to gain as much traction or downloads if that’s how we’re measuring the success of a podcast. I should have started podcasting when I was six, and that’s just not possible, right? So, I mean, I could but.


Speaker 2 (13:12)
But I think even Spotify, the CEO of Spotify, is just like, how are we going to get new hits? We’re investing. We have put so much money into this. They’re like, they’re confused, too. I do think I’ve put myself in this position, or at least in this space where there’s just so many new podcasts, there’s so many new content, and there’s not enough new listeners. So I have to understand that that’s in the space I’m in right now. But I’m hoping that maybe I’m going to be doing a talk at podcast movement. And hopefully podcast movement can do something where they have built in mentorship programs or have a conference just for young podcasters. It’s like I was saying, if I was early to the scene of podcasting, I would have hopefully had a bigger impact. But it’s not like looking at philanthropy where there’s impact philanthropy. I think this is a little different because even my words might be impacting a small like 100 people, but they’re still impacting them nonetheless. So I don’t really want to hop on the Tik Tok bandwagon. There are a lot of TikTok influencers who are on the fintech, and I really do like what they’re doing.

Speaker 2 (14:40)
That’s their thing. I think her name is like Taylor Price or something. She goes at the handle Priceless Tay. There’s a big TikTok or finance community, which is really great on the app because I think it also helps more people realize the impact of financial literacy. And also you have Stepmobile, which I interviewed on my podcast, and they basically are investing their banking app for teenagers and their startup banking app. And they partner with TikTok influencers and celebrities like Charlie Demilio and Will Smith and these celebrities then on Instagram or TikTok, they promote financial literacy. In that sense, there are different ways that we can get more people into financial literacy. Social media, taking advantage of technology. And this younger generation is definitely the way to go.

Speaker 1 (15:38)
Though, just in general, because you’ve been doing this for a while. You have a podcast, you’ve grown an audience. You’ve got a great looking website, which everybody should check out. It’s WiFi Matters. The Y is in the question. W-H-Y. Fi, what would be your advice to somebody else looking to launch a podcast and looking to inform their network or their community about a cause that’s important to them.

Speaker 2 (16:05)
So I think when you’re starting a podcast, there’s, like three things that you could speak to, something you’re passionate about, something that you don’t know much about, and then something that has affected you personally. When I first started WiFi Matters, I did the last two, and then I added on what I’m passionate about because I just wasn’t vibing with the content. Like, I wanted to speak to something that I could speak about for hours upon hours without stopping. I think just finding something in those three categories or even all those categories is really important when you’re figuring out what you want to talk about. Also, there isn’t necessarily if you want to start a podcast, there isn’t really one comprehensive guide to starting a podcast. There are different forums. And I think if you’re a teen podcaster out there, I want to start a podcasting forum or a discord group because we’re not on Facebook for teen podcasters. In a lot of these groups, there’s adult podcasters, hopefully creating something like a comprehensive guide because there’s a lot of variables when it comes to podcasting. That’s something that I’m thinking about doing. My mom always says try to create and not consume.

Speaker 2 (17:25)
I was consuming a lot of podcasts, so I decided, why not create one? And it’s honestly been really amazing experience because you’re learning a lot. It’s a very intellectually stimulating thing that you’re doing. If you’re podcasting and you’re putting your voice out there, which I think is like the biggest thing, I’d say go for it and find a topic that speaks to you. I guess if you also need any help, you should reach out to a podcast or you can reach out to me, be like, hey, I’m trying to start a podcast. You have any recommendations on what microphone to use? Even I’ll be there. If you want to start a podcast and I can help you.

Speaker 1 (18:04)
Once again, folks, the website is WiFi Matters. Whyfi Kriti’s email is right at the bottom of there. So if you do want to connect with her and ask her these questions, she will be available. And if you do go ahead and launch that community for teen podcasters, let us know and we’d be happy to share it and let others know about it. Kristi Sarav, the creator and host of WiFi Matters, thank you so much for joining us here on Call Spots today.

Speaker 2 (18:28)
Thank you so much for having me.

Speaker 3 (19:01)
Thanks for listening to this episode of Causepods. If you’ve been inspired by the work of our guest, please check out the show notes to this episode in your podcasting app there you will find links to their show, their website, their podcast links on Apple, Google Spotify, as well as a link to support the charity that they highlighted here in this episode. You will also find a, a way to subscribe to this show on your favorite podcasting app, how to sign up to be a guest on the show, and a link to our Facebook group, which is going to have special resources just for the folks who are podcasting for a good cause. And I can tell you right now, we’ve got one great deal from our friends at Pod page, but you’re only going to learn about it and get that special deal if you are a member of the Facebook group for causepods and before I go, I should say thank you in particular this show is edited and produced by Ben Kilowatt of the Military Veteran Dad’s podcast and what a great job he has done and all this is made possible because of the great support that I received from Shannon Rojas once again if you want to learn more go to Thank you so much and we will see you next time on cause.

Speaker 3 (20:09)

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