Five Social Influencers That Financial Services Professionals Should Know

From teachers and preachers to thinkers and thought-leaders: Here are five hot follows financial professionals should keep tabs on.

Personal finance has been an American obsession since Benjamin Franklin’s 1737 almanac offered “Hints For Those That Would Be Rich,” including this pearl of wisdom: “A penny saved is two pence clear.”

The torrent of advice hasn’t stopped since, whether it’s Suze Orman talking on PBS about retirement planning or Dave Ramsey shouting at callers to his radio show to spend less and pay off their debts. Today, social media is producing a new generation of influencers, offering a diverse choice of views about the world of banking and personal finance.

Following the dialogue and debate fostered by influencers can help refine your strategies and sharpen how you position and distribute your messaging. They can also supplement and lend context to the traditional, industrial-strength resources you rely on for competitive intelligence, brand awareness and reputation management.

Here are five names to follow:

Humphrey Yang: Explainer for the Robin Hood Generation

Yang has millions of devoted followers across such visual platforms as TikTok and YouTube and on longer-form venues like Substack. Fans are drawn by Yang’s personal finance explainers that make complex ideas digestible.

Despite Yang only being in his mid-30s, Gen Z trusts the former financial advisor even more than famed value investor Warren Buffett, born in 1930 at the start of the Great Depression. A 2023 poll from Consumer Affairs asked respondents, “Which social media financial influencers or gurus do you follow and trust?” Buffett was voted No. 1 with Baby Boomers (those born after World War II) while Yang won out among Gen Z — those born from 1995-2009 — with 33% ranking him No. 1.

Yang is direct when he answers such puzzlers as, “What is the No. 1 wealth killer no one talks about?” Spoiler: He says it’s your car, noting that many Americans buy a nicer vehicle than they can afford, seeking social status. For other questions, such as “Is it better to buy or lease a car,” his answer is more nuanced: It depends on your unique circumstances.

Tiffany Aliche: Multimedia Financial Education Powerhouse

Tiffany Aliche, a.k.a. the Budgetnista, is a personal financial educator and author of the best-selling book Get Good with Money, which was also made into a Netflix documentary. The former teacher is known for getting big results: her Live Richer movement says she has helped more than two million women save, manage, and pay off their debts, and she convinced lawmakers to pass a law that put financial education on the syllabus at all New Jersey middle schools.

Growing up, Aliche’s father taught her how to budget and save and to talk openly and honestly about money — something she credits as a foundation of her subsequent success. Aliche was the first black woman to appear solo on the cover of Money magazine and has been featured in such mainstream media outlets as Good Morning America, the TODAY show, The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

Tori Dunlap: Champion of the Marginalized

Like Yang, Tori Dunlap boasts millions of loyal followers and subscribers across social media, from TikTok to Facebook and Instagram. She began blogging about finance at 22 and saved her first $100,000 by 25, founding her financial education company Her First $100K and authoring the book Financial Feminist. Dunlap, who turns 30 in July, posts about such things as negotiating an improved salary, paying off debt, savings and investing.

A recent CNBC article noted that “Dunlap’s money-focused education platform (is) targeted at women and other marginalized groups.” Dunlap told CNBC she wants to empower women: “People want to feel seen and they want to feel heard,” she said. “This kind of identity-focused personal finance is one hundred percent necessary, and is the future of personal finance.”

Dig deeper into financial education:

Josh Rincon: Want to Be a Millionaire?

Josh Rincon says he is on a mission to help you become a millionaire. “Millionaire. Sounds like a far-off dream, right? It’s actually more realistic than you might think,” Rincon says on his YouTube page. “With hard work and intentional planning, you can become an everyday millionaire. One way to do that is by using a little money magic called compound interest.”

When he’s not making videos making complex ideas easier to understand, Rincon works at Avance Latino, a financial education non-profit. for secure financial futures. Millennial Magazine wrote that Rincon, “His mission is to empower people to build generational wealth through financial education in an entertaining yet relatable manner. Josh’s wit and passion for his work make him a powerful advocate for wealth management.” Rincon can also be found on TikTok, Instagram and Twitter/X.

Joshua Brown – Still Too Cool for School

A popular commentator on stock markets and investing, who also happens to be very funny, Brown is chief executive of registered investment advisory firm Ritholtz Wealth Management and founder of the blog The Reformed Broker, but shuttered both the blog and his Twitter/X output in late 2023, writing, “I’m not that guy anymore. I have evolved” and hinting that a new blog might be coming soon. Brown still regularly appears on CNBC, offering a philosophy based on the notion that most investors should allocate to low-cost index funds rather than trying to pick individual stocks and posts on LinkedIn.

Brown is known for his pop culture references and for trying to make investing, and talking about investing, fun. For example, Brown wrote in one recent LinkedIn post, “Hey kids, the Holy Grail of Investing is actually market-cap weighted index funds and lose your brokerage password. There, I just saved you twenty years of … aggravation. When you turn 45, call us and we’ll show you all the stuff that keeps you rich.”

Brett King: Endlessly Extending the Industry’s Horizons

Kings’ stock in trade is unpacking big over-the-horizon ideas for banking and financial services professionals, but business generalists will find him relevant too. If you are wondering how artificial intelligence might reimagine banking for a new generation or what American banking behemoths can learn from Chinese fintech innovators, look no further.

The Australian futurist and author co-founded mobile banking disruptor Moven and wrote several books. His writing includes the books “Bank 4.0: Banking Everywhere” and “Never at a Bank and Augmented: Life In The Smart Lane”, which examines how four themes (AI, experience design, smart infrastructure, and health tech) will change society and reimagine financial services in particular. His breakthrough book was Breaking Banks, and for those keeping score, his output includes volumes on Banking 2.0 and Banking 3.0, too.

King’s outlook is optimistic, seeing technology as something that gives countless millions of people around the world access to vital and life-changing banking services. “By 2030, we could witness greater positive gains in improving everyday citizens’ financial lives than in the past half-century combined if common purpose and principled technology stewardship lifts all boats,” he said in one recent interview. His latest thoughts can be found on Twitter/X and by subscribing to The Futurist podcast. (Watch out for an upcoming contributon from King on The Financial Brand)

Mark Egan has held leadership roles at Brookfield Asset Management, Allianz Global Investors, Guggenheim Partners and Bloomberg. Egan began his career at Reuters, where he worked as a journalist for nearly 20 years and won two Reuters Journalist of the Year awards. He has a Masters in economics from Trinity College Dublin and lives in Montclair, New Jersey.

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