The Unexpected Emergence of Personal Finance TikTok

When you think of personal finance, what springs to mind?


Kevin O'Leary of Shark Tank fame? Dave Ramsay yelling into a podcast mic? Finance bros tracking their Bitcoin? Unfortunately, these are the images we're constantly bombarded by. So they're the archetypes overwhelmingly represented in personal finance.

But it's not all Chads in down vests and dad-types shaming you about your financial faux pas, the personal finance world has grown increasingly dynamic and diverse.

With the rise of social media, the importance of financial literacy has entered the mainstream, as essential information is no longer confined to impenetrable, official documents. Instead, educators have changed their approach and are making the intimidating world of managing your money far less scary.

Through graphics, memes — and other whimsical mediums — online financial advice that's geared to younger generations is more and more common.

Now, with the help of TikTok — an app unique for wildly popularizing previously niche subjects — personal finance talk has become ubiquitous.

Who's Doing the Talking

The beauty of social media is its power to democratize. Though TikTok has been criticized for promoting those its algorithm chooses — and has even resulted in strikes from Black Creators demanding to be given more credit — it's also granted platforms to people with different experiences and backgrounds.

When it comes to financial advice, TikTok makes it super relatable. No longer is advice restricted to "skip your morning latte" and "quit that avocado toast" or other millennial-shaming behavior. These days, young people directly advise their peers by sharing sympathetic experiences.

From debt repayment to financial freedom journeys, people are engaging with the obscure realm of finances in a charismatic way.

Financial Feminists … But Don't Call Them Girlbosses

One huge TikTok sub-movement that's emerged is the Financial Feminist movement, which urges women specifically to take charge of their finances.

However, this isn't a repeat of the early 2010s Girlboss Feminism or even Corporate Feminism which encourages women to rise up within an established system. This is a whole new ball game.

By empowering women to speak to each other, personal finance is no longer a shame game. Instead of scrolling through Reddit threads that mock people who support the trappings of the patriarchy like makeup or highly feminine clothing — which are often deemed necessary for society to take one seriously, if not by Reddit bloggers — women learn from other women about how to manage their lives.

There's also information about unlearning feminized behaviors, helping women break out of socially coded patterns that hold them back from asking for help, asking for more, or asserting — and believing! — their true value.

Financial Feminism takes into account the wage gap, talking about gendered norms and systems that prevent us from living financial lives equal to our male counterparts.

Even more radical, however, are accounts that incorporate intersectional politics and social commentary. Instead of merely assessing the numbers, they examine the social structures and hierarchies that cause people to treat their money differently and radically affect how they live their lives.

From educators like The Financial Diet and Amanda Holden of Dumpster.Doggy to wealth-building experts like Tori of HerFirst100k, female finance gurus are taking over every niche.

@thefinancialdiet

#greenscreen spreadsheets are life #organizing #budgetspreadsheet #personalfinance #spreadsheets #spreadsheettricks #fairplay #fairplaylife #chores

@dumpster.doggy

girls and money

These little communities have become hubs for financial empowerment for marginalized genders with the mission of helping them know themselves better, do better — and have fun while doing it!

The evolution of Gen Z personal finance TikTok

Over the years, as the TikTok machine has taken over every facet of our lives — becoming Gen Z's preferred platform for search, shopping, and social activism — more and more niche subcultures have risen just to fade away. However, personal finance TikTok is still going strong, now with a new class of Gen Z faces documenting their pursuits of financial freedom.

This is the generation that spawned phenomena like Girl Math — which is essentially embracing sunk cost in real time and making your money fit your lifestyle, not the other way around — and Little Treats — aka Gen Z's Treat Yourself mantra. So it should be no surprise that many new creators are finding creative ways to approach their money and make financial literacy not just accessible, but fun.

Vivian of YourRichBFF is an ex-Wall Street girlie and millionaire who reached viral fame with her "big sister/BFF" content, shamelessly claiming the title of "rich" to destigmatize women earning the big bucks — and talking about it!

@yourrichbff

Do you want to be Rich AF?! Well here's the book for you. #finance101 #financetiktok #finance #money #moneytok #books #nonfiction #personalfinance #personaldevelopment #career #investing #wealthy #wealthymindset #rich #job #budget

But most Gen Z finance TikTokers are earlier than their careers. Many of the oldest Gen Zs have graduated college and entered the workforce. And they're documenting that transition on TikTok. The popular "Day in my Life" TikTok format has been adopted by the personal finance set for "What I Spend In a Day" videos, especially in major cities, to track and show their realistic cost of living for early-career professionals.

@alexisbarber_

xoxo #whatispendinadaynyc

Another popular Gen Z TikTok format is the "Payday Routine' where creators show not just how much they earn, but what exactly they do with it. With many of their audiences practicing budgeting for the first time, these videos demonstrate how creators distribute their paychecks from checkings to savings to debt payoff.

@itslexilarson

Payday & budgeting routine on a $58k salary!!! 🤪🫶🏻 im not claiming to be a money expert I just like to share bc I think talking about money & salary transparency is important. Also ur stinky #salarytransparency #paytransparency #paydayroutine #paycheckbreakdown #budgetingroutine #genzbudgeting

What the evolution of personal finance on TikTok shows is that there's always room for everyone. TikTok is making finances accessible and understandable to Gen Z, and inviting underrepresented groups to claim financial freedom for themselves.

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