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For women, by women: Finance influencers say they’re part of a powerful new generation of investors

Business Insider Australia logo Business Insider Australia 7/21/2021 Bianca Healey
a person wearing sunglasses talking on a cell phone: Queenie Tan is part of a new generation of finance influencer who speak to largely female audiences. Queenie Tan is part of a new generation of finance influencer who speak to largely female audiences.
  • A combination of economic uncertainty sparked by the pandemic, higher earning power, and an explosion of finance content created by women has led to a surge of women turning to the stock market.
  • In the past two years, more finance content created by women for women has emerged, investment banker and author Danielle Ecuyer said.
  • Young ‘finfluencers’ say their audiences are highly engaged because women are seeking to gain financial literacy from “diverse voices.”
  • Visit Business Insider Australia's homepage for more stories.

An influx of women into the investing space since the start of the pandemic is the result of an explosion of finance content created by women, finance influencers and experts say.

According to the recently released Australian Stock Exchange's 2020 Investor Study, the past two years have seen an influx of younger investors to the market — along with an improvement of the gender balance of new investors.

The study found a quarter of recent new investors were aged between 18 and 24, with as many women as men saying they intended to start investing.

This, compared with current Australian investors, of which 58% are men and 42% are women.

Similar data from Finder shows that around 2.5 million Australians overall started investing for the first time during the pandemic.

It also found an uptick in women jumping into cryptocurrency, with an increase in crypto-invested women from 7% in January to 11% in June of this year.

Danielle Ecuyer, a former investment banker and finance author, told Business Insider Australia that she believed a culmination of factors since the start of the pandemic had accelerated already existing trends.

Ecuyer, citing a statistic out of the US suggesting that around 15% of investors are new investors, said the pandemic pushed people to reevaluate their approach to wealth generation.

Danielle Ecuyer standing in front of a window posing for the camera: The pandemic pushed people to reevaluate their approach to wealth generation, said an investment banker and author Danielle Ecuyer. The pandemic pushed people to reevaluate their approach to wealth generation, said an investment banker and author Danielle Ecuyer.

“You had the stock market falling over, you had to work from home and interest rates crashed to all time lows,” she said.

“There's been a general recognition by people and women that popping your cash in a bank account on deposit is not really going to generate the returns that you may want.”

Kate Browne, a spokesperson for Finder, told Business Insider Australia the surge in women investing follows trends the company is seeing with millennials across the board.

“One of the main reasons we’re seeing people turning to investing at the moment is because the cash rate is so low, so putting your money in a savings account is not going to do much for you in terms of getting a good interest rate,” Browne said.

Where young people had traditionally seen home ownership as the main means of investment, those locked out of the property market were increasingly looking toward the stock market.

She said this combined with the democratisation of investing through technology and apps that removed the barrier to entry and enabled micro investing; depositing small sums of money, and and robo-investing; which enables automated investments, have resulted in the expansion of the investor class.

Browne said she has witnessed the explosion of finance creators tilt the scales toward women-driven finance content.

“I have been watching this change in real time,” she said.

“I think even two years ago, we didn't see as many influencers as we do now,” she said. “And what I’ve observed is a lot of them are young women.”

Aleks Nikolic, a lawyer by trade, runs the Instagram and TikTok accounts Broke Girl Wealth with an audience of 31,500 and just over 9,000 respectively, where she shares information and insights around investing and money management.

She thinks that for many millennials, “perhaps the first time for our generation,” the pandemic was the first experience of a disaster where they thought “I could lose my job.”

She said the wider availability of financial content over the past few years comes from millennial women closing the gender pay gap, getting married and having children later, resulting in more disposable income — at the same time as a generation of women were using social media as a means of making money.

“It's kind of a bit of a perfect clinching moment,” she said.

“I do think in a way there was almost a financial enlightenment for women seeing other women,” she said.

Along with the rise of content, including podcasts like She’s On the Money, which feature women speaking directly to other women about money, Nikolic said the growth of micro-investing platforms like Raiz and others that are geared towards millennials and Gen Z are also marketed in a more “gender neutral” way.

Women dominate ‘finfluencing’

Queenie Tan started her TikTok, Instagram and Youtube platforms Invest with Queenie in 2020, just as the pandemic hit.

While her audiences on Instagram and Youtube are healthy, at 21,300 and 18,500 respectively, Tan said a slate of posts on TikTok that went viral helped propel her to 66,600 followers on the video sharing platform.

Tan said she has a keen understanding of what her audience is looking for. Her audience on Instagram — which is similar to TikTok — is 65% female, with 56% of those women aged between 25 and 30 and 23% aged 18 to 24.

“I do surveys on my audiences just to get their feedback,” Tan said.

And what the young female following she’s cultivated tell her is that they’re looking to gain financial literacy from someone who’s talking to them on their level.

“Something that pops up over and over again, is talking from my own personal experience,” she said.

“So just being honest and open and telling people what it was like for me to go through particular things like investing for the first time and buying a home for the first time.”

Tan said the content that performs best are videos around “looking rich versus actually being rich” and breaking down the realities of what growing assets actually looks like, along with demystifying concepts like compound interest and inflation.

Nikolic said her audience is also overwhelmingly millennial and Gen Z women and 81% female, with the majority aged 25 to 30. She said her audience, which is mostly Australian, responds best to content that’s about “transparency around money.”

“My net worth posts are really popular,” she said.

“Most of my content is focused around; how do you take this really dry financial concept, put it into a really nice Instagram graphic and then put it in front of an audience that's actually going to consume it?”

But Nikolic doesn’t think the success of the fresh raft of women creating finance content on social media is because they’ve created pleasing millennial pink social media graphics.

“I think for too long a lot of information has been getting kept behind a paywall,” she said, whether that’s been through financial advisors or finance content targeted at men.

A lot of what she shares is “just factual information,” she said. “It's actually not financial advice to explain to someone like ‘what is superannuation?’ What's the compulsory contribution?

“That's the law and publicly accessible information.”

a person posing for the camera: Finance influencer Aleks Nikolic says her audience is overwhelmingly millennial and Gen Z women. Finance influencer Aleks Nikolic says her audience is overwhelmingly millennial and Gen Z women.

Tan thinks the reason her content has resonated is that she’s “not talking to young people in a judgmental or condescending way.”

“Overall, I think that the more diverse voices that we can hear on social media” the better, she said.

“Ultimately what I tried to do was make it a safe place to ask questions, and nothing is a stupid question,” Nikolic said.

“I just put the information for free in front of people in a way that was digestible and that wasn't patronising.

“And in a way that didn't shame people for, you know, for debt, or for spending money, or any of those things.”

The risk of crypto

Those creating finance content online form a disparate group, from the likes of Tan and Nikolic, to influencers pushing pump-and-dump schemes and spruiking crypto tokens.

The result has been a rise in voices calling for greater regulation around finance content online. This includes corporate watchdog ASIC, which has said it is monitoring influencers giving formal financial advice without a licence,

Tan said she supports greater oversight as she thinks it will enhance the integrity of good actors in the space.

“There are many positive people in the space,” she said, and she feels there’s a clear difference between spruikers and those providing tools for financial literacy.

Nikolic said her concerns around greater regulation are that it will dissuade more women from joining her.

“Where I see the line is I don't want young women who are being transparent about money to disappear out of fear of regulation,” she said.

“ASIC has a really tough job in regulating the really egregious misconduct, on the one hand, and clarifying the regulation. But then on the other hand, recognising that it should be a values based approach.”

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