Tuesday 23rd July 2024

It’s time for financial firms to embrace finfluencers

Young people get the blame for their own financial habits, but a panel of experts say it’s a lack of financial education and outdated communication from financial firms that is responsible.

A group of young financial influencers or ‘finfluencers’ got together for the Young Money Roundtable to discuss the current generation’s financial habits and the influence that social media has on them.

The panel discussion, hosted by Mouthy Money co-editor Edmund Greaves, on behalf of MRM Communications and in partnership with Sesame Bankhall Group revealed some eye-opening views on young people’s financial habits.

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The crux of the discussion revolved around young people’s motivation to improve their finances and the several short- and long-term issues that hamper them from building their wealth.

With financial firms failing to interact with young people and providing accurate financial education to them, a new trend of finfluencers has blossomed on social media who give financial advice to the younger generations.

The panel included finfluencers, media figures and young financial professionals, including:

  • Hayley Millhouse, Managing Director at OpenMoney
  • Holly Nardi, Investment Consultant at Redington and Founder of Get Woke Not Broke
  • Laura Purkess, Money Mail Reporter at the Daily Mail
  • Ola Majekodunmi, Founder of All Things Money
  • Sam North, Market Analyst at eToro and co-host of eToro’s Digest & Invest podcast

The rise of finfluencers

The group agreed that established financial firms have been using the same means of communication for years and have struggled to adapt to the social media sphere.

A lot of companies are clueless, scared and risk-averse from making mistakes on social media. However, they need to learn to communicate with the youth through their means of communication.

Holly Nardi says: “Old-school firms sometimes seem to assume they know what language young people want to hear but get it wrong. It’s critical to involve young people. Don’t try and bridge the gap yourself.”

Laura Purkess adds: “They should involve young people who know how to not make those mistakes. Growing up with social media has taught them how to be relatable.”

Young people turn to finfluencers online because of the ease and convenience with which they can find their content and learn to better manage their money from someone just like them.

Hayley Millhouse sees a difference in how generations think, adding: “Some firms are going to have a reality check. They’re realising that they’re going to be left behind.”

As young people increasingly approach finfluencers for financial advice, there is increasing awareness that a shift of focus needs to happen from companies, which are turning to finfluencers for marketing and content creation ever more.

The panel agreed that finfluencers and financial firms coming together will make financial advice more accurate, relatable, and digestible.

Current critical issues

The panel shared concerns that short-term pressure from issues such as the cost-of-living crisis could majorly impact long-term financial goals for young people.

Young people are struggling to pay exorbitant rents and struggling to save up enough to invest for their future. That’s why they’re looking for someone relatable, trustworthy, and engaging, according to Ola Majekodunmi.

She says: “Social media is doing so well because it’s an Average Joe talking about investing. It’s much more relatable.”

Finfluencers provide jargon-free advice without dumbing it down and are building communities of people who have experienced or are experiencing similar issues.

Sam North believes it’s important to be able to trust a community to go to and feel safe to share your thoughts.

He says: “It’s great that social networks exist to share those experiences because there will always be someone that’s gone through it before, or someone who’s going through that right now.”

The negative side of social media was another point of discussion where unrealistic expectations are glamorised and information sourcing remains unverified.

The panel agreed that the system is lacking when it comes to financial education – from schools to businesses and the Government. As these bodies take a backseat, people decide to support one another with financial advice and combat money issues.

While building wealth from the early stages of a young person’s life is crucial, correctly learning how to build that wealth is equally important. Financial institutions need more engagement with younger people to understand and attend to their needs according to the panel.

Working with them will promote responsible and accurate information for the youth and maybe, it is time for financial firms to finally embrace finfluencers.

Laura Martin-Jones, Head of Group Marketing & Events at Sesame Bankhall Group, comments on the panel discussion and agrees that it is time the financial services sector stops talking down to the youth and appreciates their need for stability and guidance.

She says: “This means not pandering to stereotypes, having a presence on social media platforms, and working with trustworthy finfluencers to promote responsible messages to young people.”

Read the Young Money Roundtable report here

Richa Ved

Richa is a young Indian graduate from Warwick Business School, aspiring to find her niche in the media industry. She has a passion for writing and a keen interest in financial affairs. If you don’t find her working, she’s probably having a pizza (her favourite!) and a pint of beer somewhere.

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