Meet the Millennials With Money
By Kate Bartlett
Boomers like to accuse millennials of splurging so much on avocado toast and almond milk lattes that they’ll never be able to afford to buy a house. All the while, many younger people envy the relative ease with which previous generations could save and enjoy a middle-class lifestyle. For them, financial security has been made even more elusive by the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.
But that doesn’t mean all 20- and 30-somethings lack savoir faire when it comes to making cold, hard cash. Quite the opposite: There is a growing number of millennial and Gen Z investment gurus with a keen knack for finding new ways to earn a buck. In today’s Daily Dose, we present you with the fierce new femmes of finance, the hottest money influencers on social media and the game-changing investment whizzes emerging from Malaysia to South Africa.
FEMALE FINANCE GURUS
Money & Mimosas
Never mind the money — you had me at mimosas. This millennial-targeted platform caters to independent contractors, creatives and members of the precarious “gig economy.” Set up by entrepreneur Danetha Doe, it offers tips on issues faced by the self-employed workforce, such as running a business remotely, setting up a retirement fund and learning best accounting practices. But perhaps its standout feature is hammering home — to a cohort not known for planning — the notion that envisioning the future is key. For San Francisco-based Doe, whose background is Jamaican and Ghanian, that means establishing a long-term financial strategy and sticking to it. It’s advice such as this that’s seen her featured in the Ashton Kutcher-produced web series Going From Broke and in a host of national publications. COVID-19 has hit millennial wallets especially hard. These are exactly the people Doe is trying to help.
Hand It Over
Known online as “Investing Latina,” New York-based finance expert Jully-Alma Taveras knows how to get women of color paid. There’s nothing unusual about her using Instagram to post advice on setting up an emergency fund and negotiating for higher pay. But Taveras’ words of wisdom — invest in the companies you buy from and be consistent in contributing to your nest egg, to name two — have seen her featured on CNBC and in TIME magazine. Taveras, a native of the Dominican Republic, has also led workshops at Google, Nasdaq and the White House’s National Economic Council, among other places. Establishing an online community of 40,000 people through Investing Latina has been one of her smartest moves. Taveras’ goal, she says, is to make women more financially savvy: “Because women have entered the workforce and are making more money than ever before, becoming financially powerful through investing is the next step.”
Fight the Patriarchy
Retire young with $6 million in your pocket? Tell us more. Tori Dunlap, 26, has become a sensation online by doubling down on the idea that financial education not only can be a form of protest but should be. “The patriarchy has told us that money is taboo, but that’s a narrative perpetuated by racist, sexist, ableist systems that profit off of inaction,” she tells Yahoo! News. And her 1.7 million followers on TikTok seem to agree. Dunlap shows them how to put themselves first when it comes to saving and paying off debts. Some claim to have paid off tens of thousands of dollars of debt after following her financial advice. So how did she get started? First, her parents imbued in her a strong sense of financial responsibility as a child. She then decided to save $100,000 before the age of 25 and set up a company, Her First 100K, to advise women how to negotiate for better pay. Imagine what she’ll accomplish by age 30.
THE MONEY MEN
Hip-Hop Stock Doc
Texas-based Eric Patrick, the founder of Black Market Exchange, has been dubbed the hip-hop stock doc. Why? Because his atypical method for explaining the world of finance involves music. “Whether I explain that choosing a broker is like choosing a music streaming service, or elaborate on how a company’s IPO is like Lil Wayne dropping another Dedication or No Ceilings mixtape,” Patrick tells Black Enterprise, “your boy has got you covered so you can understand the stock market and start investing with confidence.” Another Black finance guru to watch is Anthony Copeman, a certified financial education instructor who founded the site Financial Lituation and created an animated cartoon series, $hares, to help millennials better understand money. Copeman sees the Black dollar as “The opportunity to break generational curses and build generational wealth.”
Still in his early 20s, this self-described “personal finance nerd” from Minneapolis is firmly a Gen Z money guru. Crider’s first — “somewhat illegal” — foray into the world of money happened in high school when he started a flipping business. Crider’s podcast, Young Smart Money, and YouTube channel, where he mixes clips from the TV show South Park with tips about how to improve your credit score, have received over a million views and listens. He’s also a co-founder of Investing Simple, a platform that offers advice on playing the stock market and trading cryptocurrency. With an easygoing nature, his videos and podcasts succeed in turning difficult-to-understand concepts into accessible conversations aimed at college students. Don’t miss Crider’s fascinating YouTube video titled “How I Flew to Thailand for $20.”
You might not have heard of the username, but you’ll certainly have heard about the chaos he caused. Keith Gill, 35, was the trader on the WallStreetBets forum who basically launched the GameStop phenomenon in January when he took to Reddit and started a market rally that drew the attention of hedge funds and even Congress. The long-haired dad from Massachusetts thought the stock was undervalued and talked up the video game company on social media, where he goes by “Roaring Kitty” and “DeepF—ingValue,” and an army of day traders followed his lead. Gill says he made millions of dollars from GameStop shares and options. He became a hero of sorts to amateur traders, but after the frenzy, which saw GameStop’s share price rocket by as much as 1,700%, the trading app Robinhood controversially barred trading of the company.
It hasn’t been easy for South African entrepreneur Samke Mhlongo to get to where she is today. Raised by her grandmother, who made the financial decisions at home, and later burned by a costly divorce, she learned to put money front and center in her life. But out of the difficulties came opportunity. Today, not only is she CEO of a personal wealth management consultancy, The Next Chapter Wealth Partners, she’s also a magazine columnist for Bona and a resident finance expert on one of the country’s leading talk radio stations, 702. The Johannesburg-based former private banker started early, doing research as part of her MBA program on the factors contributing to South African women’s over-indebtedness. “My definition of financial independence is simple: guaranteed freedom of choice,” Mhlongo says. “I believe the African millennial can reach this point by guaranteeing a steady flow of income that can withstand changing political regimes [and] economic fluctuations.”
No Money Lah
Forget song and dance routines and cute animals; TikTok videos attached to the hashtag #investing have garnered over a billion views. A recent study by brokerage firm Tiger Brokers, which caters largely to clients in Asia, found that 35% of Gen Zers worldwide are now investing in exchange traded funds (ETFs) using apps like Robinhood. In Malaysia, 26-year-old Yi Xuan, who runs a blog called No Money Lah (lah is a common Chinese exclamation), has gained thousands of followers on TikTok. What makes him viral? Sharing his wealth of knowledge on Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs), companies that own and operate income-producing properties. “There is no holy grail to quick wealth in investing or trading,” Chin writes. Instead, he urges followers of his blog to spend time learning about investing and trading to build up their skills.
Dennis Liu spent half his life in China before moving to Canada and now goes by the username “VirtualBacon” on TikTok. He posts videos mainly about the cryptocurrency market and non-fungible tokens and boasts about a quarter of a million followers. What was once a hobby has led Liu to found BaconDAO, a company that connects blockchain startups with smart money and advises crypto-investors and NFT artists. His advice for money-hungry millennials? For now, watch out for a Bitcoin short squeeze and “market whales” in search of a quick buck by trying to manipulate cryptocurrency values. Why listen to him? Liu started off his crypto career buying Dogecoin as a joke long before Elon Musk made it a household name.
- Kate Bartlett, OZY Author Contact Kate Bartlett