A Changing World
The last year, with its attendant horrors and upheaval, has changed the way we live. However hard everyone prays for a return to normality, the reality is that life will not return to how it was before terms like coronavirus, lockdown, social distancing and pandemic became part of our everyday vocabulary.
Superficially at least, some aspects of life may soon give the impression that normal service has been resumed. People will start going out again, bars and cafes will fill with people, the sky will fill with planes and the roads will go back to being as congested as before. Some optimists even talk of a post-Covid boom – for those businesses that have survived, at any rate.
But the way we live will change. Fewer people will commute to work five days a week. Concerns about public health are likely to continue to be a priority for many, as the trauma of the last year lingers on. We are finding ourselves entering a different world from the one we knew before.
The experience of lockdown and a largely frozen economy hasn’t been all bad. Many sectors, not just those considered essential or those largely web-based before Covid struck, have seen unprecedented growth. The record profits posted by the likes of Amazon and Netflix have caught the attention of the media, but they are not alone in reaping the benefits of having billions of people stuck at home with little to do.
Taking It in Hand
As the days, weeks and months have drifted by, many have turned to investing and trading as a way to pass the time and make some money. The cryptocurrency sector has seen explosive growth and not just from institutional investors. Millions of retail investors have also piled money into crypto, having found themselves with the time needed to dig down and find out what it’s all about.
But it’s not just crypto that has seen a flood of new investors. The stock market has also seen a deluge of retail money, helped in the main by the appearance of a new breed of user-friendly and competitively-priced investment platforms. The best-known of these is Robinhood, which launched its app back in 2015 to ‘provide everyone with access to the financial markets, not just the wealthy.’
Whereas traditional investment platforms charge high fees to execute trades, Robinhood offers a commission-free service via its app. The company boasts over 13 million users and was recently valued at $8.3 billion.
A host of other similar apps have sprung up, all offering investors the chance to get involved in the markets without having to shell out hundreds or even thousands of dollars in fees. As a result, millions of people who until previously had felt shut out of the stock market have been able to slowly amass investment portfolios.
This paradigm shift was beautifully illustrated by the recentGameStop affair. Here a horde of retail investors, largely organised through the wallstreetbets forum on Reddit, piled in to buy shares in the troubled US games retailer thereby driving up the price and wiping out the massive short positions taken by many hedge funds. It seemed as though an army of individual investors had risen up to challenge the might of Wall Street.
The rise of Robinhood and its imitators has not been without controversy and the ability for users to trade with leverage on many platforms has caused many to voice their concern. Trading and investing may have become democratised, but the risks remain.
The Growth of Personal Finance
Once upon a time, people left their monetary affairs in the hands of others. Financial advisors, accountants, brokers and the like were entrusted to manage portfolios and investments. The age of fast internet has changed that. The professionals are still in business, but many millions of small-scale, part-time investors are taking matters into their own hands. After all, why pay someone a hefty retainer when you can do the necessary research yourself?
Personal finance is big business and, over the last year especially, interest has surged amongst people eager to take charge of their money. Whether it’s investing or trading or both, there is a growing hunger for knowledge, guidance and tips on how to strike it rich. There is a wealth of information out there and one of the most popular places to find it is on good ol’ YouTube.
As with crypto, there are plenty of channels discussing personal finance and, as with crypto also, there are good ones and not-so-good ones. It can be hard to figure out which ones are best, as many of those with high numbers of subscribers are little more than get-rich-quick moonboys, or those merely eager to boast about how much they’re worth.
So, we’ve gone out into the wilds of YouTube to find you ten of the best personal finance channels out there. If you’re managing your own finances then doing plenty of research is vital if you’re to find the right places to put your money. This lot have all enjoyed a great deal of success and are sharing their knowledge through high-quality, informative content.
Top 10 Personal Finance YouTube Channels
1. Andrei Jikh
There’s no getting away from the fact that an awful lot of the personal finance gurus on YouTube tend to be absurdly young. Andrei Jikh is a prime example – without the beard it’s doubtful he’d even be able to open a bank account on his own.
At first, it can seem a little disconcerting to see such youthful faces talking about investing and making money. After all, it’s natural to assume that older, wiser heads are more likely to offer sound advice, having presumably made their fair share of mistakes and learned from them over time.
Warren Buffet is a prime example in this regard. He’s been in the game for decades and is consequently one of the richest people on the planet. He will have forgotten more than most of us will ever know about making money.
Well, for one thing, YouTube is not really the sort of place you’d expect to find a grizzled old investor complete with two-tone shirt and red braces. It’s a young person’s game these days and hey, if someone has made a lot of money through their own smarts, then who are we to quibble about how they look like they should still be in high school?
Andrei Jikh has certainly done alright for himself and can be comfortably said to be better off than most 32 year-olds. Born in Russia, to parents who were circus performers, he moved to the US with his family when he was nine after his father got a job with Cirque du Soleil. His first great passion was cardistry – tricks and illusions with playing cards – which he still puts to good use in his videos.
It’s probably Jikh’s background as a performer that makes him such a natural in front of the camera. His style is engaging and fast-paced, with plenty of humour (and card tricks) thrown in for good measure. It’s served him well too, gaining him 1.42 million subscribers to date since he started the channel in 2019. After a slow start, he reportedly made $100,000 in his first year and hasn’t looked back since.
Jikh’s channel is home to a wide range of videos covering all manner of topics. Stocks, trading apps like Robinhood, passive income, real estate, Teslas, thoughts about the markets and yes, even crypto are all covered plus a whole lot else besides.
There are also a fair few card trick videos in there too, if you’re keen to see how Jikh started out (some of which are pretty damn cool). Perhaps Jikh’s greatest strength though is his natural aptitude for being on camera. His presentation skills are second to none and he’s able to make you feel as though he’s in the room with you.
Like all the best YouTube channels Jikh’s is ad-free, so his videos play without pesky interruptions. The main attraction though is Jikh himself: fast-talking and funny, he clearly knows his stuff and has the lifestyle to prove it.
Many such YouTubers can come across smug and full of themselves, but Jikh has enough charisma and enthusiasm to avoid any such pitfalls. He’s happy to admit to his past mistakes and to the fact that he’s not the richest YouTuber out there by any means. We like his style.
2. Coin Bureau
Ok, so there’s no getting around the shameless self-interest here, but hey. We at the Bureau are proud of what we’ve got going on and what we offer our loyal subscribers: thoughtful, well-researched and wholly impartial advice about crypto.
There are plenty of moonboys out there more than happy to shill whichever coin or token they’re holding, without going into much detail about why it’s supposedly such a nailed-on cert to make you rich. Right from the start, Guy knew that wasn’t the way he wanted to go with Coin Bureau and he’s stayed true to that ever since.
The focus is all about education – with a bit of entertainment thrown in to keep things from getting too heavy. Guy loves nothing better than getting right down into the nitty-gritty of a crypto project and quite often we have to edit some of his videos down to prevent them from getting seriously long. The aim is to help viewers with their own research, as they decide whether or not a project is worth investing in.
It was a steep learning curve when the channel started out, with any number of different disciplines to get to grips with. Progress was slow at first, but Guy and the team persevered, in part because of their belief in what they were doing and in part because they quickly realised that they loved it too. Through late nights, repeated reshoots and the occasional piece of news making a freshly edited video out of date, they kept going.
Several hundred videos and over 650,000 subscribers later, the channel is still growing strong. Subscribers seem to love the fact that they can get an in-depth knowledge of a project they’re interested in, from a respected and trustworthy source. The fact that a lot of Guy’s predictions have come true has also helped a little bit too, we reckon. There’s no getting around it, Coin Bureau is the best crypto YouTube channel out there: free of hype and free of ads too, as it happens.
The majority of Coin Bureau’s videos are naturally crypto-focused, but Guy does occasionally explore other areas relevant to personal finance. He especially enjoys exposing the tricks and scams that some of the big beasts of mainstream finance like to indulge in, all with the aim of making the case for crypto as part of a balanced portfolio.
As subscriber numbers have climbed, so too has the number of places where you can follow Guy on his journey through the cryptoverse. He’s now active across other platforms besides YouTube and is showing no signs of slowing down.
3. Graham Stephan
“What’s up Graham, it’s guys here.” Another fresh-faced American success story is at number three, but he’s got the highest subscriber count of all, with over three million to his name. Those are impressive numbers and Stephan deserves them: he’s made himself a lot of money, he turns out the videos like clockwork and he’s an entertaining guy to spend time with.
Stephan is a native of Los Angeles and got started on the road to riches when he went into real estate aged 18. Having not made it into college, he dedicated himself to selling houses and found he had a knack for it. From there he progressed to YouTube in 2016, where he started by making videos about making money from real estate.
Fast forward to now and his impressive output has expanded to cover all manner of other topics, including stocks, the markets, crypto, Teslas (his ride of choice), the stimulus and his responses to the output of other well-known YouTubers. He’s been so successful in this that he’s launched two additional channels, The Graham Stephan Show and The Iced Coffee Hour, both of which have some pretty decent subscriber numbers themselves.
Although his videos may give the impression that he leads a pretty high-end lifestyle, Stephan claims to save the vast majority of his income, with outgoings largely limited to the essentials (mortgage, bills, insurance etc). This strategy, combined with healthy revenue streams from YouTube, real estate and a few other related sources, saw him become a millionaire by the time he was 26.
He keeps his subscribers updated on the make-up of his portfolio, as well as giving them a glimpse into his lifestyle. His girlfriend, Savannah Smiles, herself an up-and-coming YouTuber, also makes a few welcome appearances too.
4. Meet Kevin
May 2020 was probably a pretty forgettable month for most people out there, as the pandemic ensured that the majority of us were locked down with nowhere to go. But Kevin Paffrath and his wife Lauren had plenty to celebrate, as they banked over $1 million in monthly income for the first time.
Like a lot of personal finance YouTubers, Kevin started his career as a realtor. He and Lauren – who knows a thing or two about the real estate business herself – bought a rundown house in 2012 for $305,000 – using the bulk of their savings with only $8,000 leftover for renovations. After managing to turn a healthy profit, they realised where their future lay.
Lauren now runs their real estate business, while Kevin devotes himself mainly to pumping out the content for his 1.5 million-plus subscribers. He works a 12-hour day most days and it shows in the sheer number of videos he creates, on all manner of finance-related topics. It’s not unusual for him to post several videos a day and they rack up some impressive viewing figures too.
Some friendly advice from Graham Stephan helped Meet Kevin monetise his channel back when he was starting out and he hasn’t looked back since. He and Lauren now pull in north of $6 million a year, with over $7 million in their investment portfolio, as well as their property empire. Needless to say, the obligatory Tesla sits on their driveway.
5. Jordan Page, FunCheapOrFree
Personal finance on YouTube is not confined to videos about how someone has made a boatload of money. Sometimes it’s not all about how money is made, but how it is managed and made to go further. This is where Jordan Page comes in, with her channel devoted to budgeting, frugality and general good financial sense.
Jordan makes a refreshing change from your more stereotypical personal finance YouTuber and her focus is on making every penny count – a necessity for her seeing as she’s a mother to eight – yes, eight – children. Her admission that ‘I’m willing pretty much to do anything to save a buck’ may sound extreme, but she is as good as her word. She’s not too proud to ask neighbours for any leftover food and once managed to bake cookies on the dashboard of her car.
Jordan’s channel is much more focused on providing for a family than on making gains in stocks or crypto. It may not be what a lot of people are looking for, but there’s a lot of sound advice to be found there and Jordan’s always-positive, can-do persona always keeps things entertaining.
It’s an approach that has netted her nearly 900,000 thousand subscribers, though the demands of such a massive family seem to have slowed her output down somewhat. Her videos appear roughly once a week, as opposed to the daily or even twice-daily output of some of the other gurus on this list. That said, they probably don’t have eight kids to look after, so we should perhaps cut her some slack.
6. The Financial Diet
Another great channel that features minimal amounts of real estate chat is The Financial Diet, which has been around since 2015 and boasts nearly 900,000 subscribers to date. It takes a refreshingly different approach to things and states that it ‘talks about personal finance in a way that doesn’t make you want to curl up in a ball and cry.’
The Financial Diet is different from a lot of the other channels on this list, as it features a range of presenters and breaks its videos down into specific categories. Chelsea Fagan fronts matters but is joined by a wide variety of guests who contribute their expertise on all manner of topics.
This the place to go to find videos that explode some of the myths around finance and that take a sceptical look at some supposed fixes that don’t work. In other words, it’s a channel that isn’t afraid to take a contradictory view of many of the fads and nonsensical ‘life hacks’ that seem to be everywhere these days. This alone makes it well worth a sub, but there’s plenty of down-to-earth, useful advice to be found there too.
7. Debt Free Millennials
Millennials are a much-maligned generation – accused of being obsessed with social media and financially imprudent by boomers who grew up in a world of affordable housing and job security. While there may be plenty to mock millennials for, there’s no denying that they’ve been dealt a pretty crappy hand when it comes to money.
The price of a decent education has skyrocketed in recent years and those entering the jobs market – assuming they’re able to get a job – find themselves weighed down under the burden of student debt, along with all the other crippling expenses that modern life imposes. And most of them can forget about owning their own home anytime soon into the bargain.
Debt Free Millennials host Justine Nelson is on a mission to help her fellow millennials navigate their way out of this hole. Despite earning $37,000 a year, she managed to pay off her $35,000 student debt in under three years and her channel is full of helpful ways in which viewers can do the same.
There’s no sugar-coating the fact that Justine has had to work hard to achieve her goal and she doesn’t offer easy fixes to others. But her videos are full of sage advice and her easy, conversational style makes them a pleasure to watch. She doesn’t go in for much fancy production either, but her content is all the better for it.
As well as getting out of debt, Justine also covers other aspects of personal finance, so you can figure out what to do with all that extra cash you’ll have lying around once all those pesky debts have been consigned to history. Her channel may have only a little over 30,000 subscribers – pretty small compared to most on this list – but that just makes it more of an undiscovered gem.
8. Nate O’Brien
Obscenely youthful and photogenic American alert. Yes, we’re back to those clean-cut gods of the personal finance space with another who has managed to rake in over a million subscribers to his channel.
Nate O’Brien has the usual array of videos that deal with topics like investing, side hustles and passive income. But he also has a strong minimalist streak running through him too and, like any self-respecting personal finance channel, conspicuous consumption is nowhere to be found.
A visit to the channel can also yield a lot more viewing pleasure than just finance talk. Other notable videos include his thoughts on books, motivation, productivity, phone usage and keeping a journal. The whole thing is a bit more off-piste than some of his pretty boy compatriots and all the better for it.
9. Wealth Hacker – Jeff Rose
Jeff Rose is a veteran of the YouTube personal finance space, having been around since 2011. His channel is all about ‘teaching you insanely actionable wealth building, investing and online marketing strategies.’ It’s brought him nearly 370,000 loyal subscribers and over 26 million views for his videos.
Rose is a US military veteran who served in Iraq and retrained to become a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) on his return from active duty. His quest for financial freedom is inspired by the debt struggles that his parents endured while he was growing up, which he believes contributed to his father’s death.
Rose’s channel has a range of videos on most of the usual topics we’ve come to expect, with a lot of recent content devoted to the much-anticipated stimulus checks being issued in the US. He’s a little older than most of the faces we’ve seen on this list and his perspective is generally a little more worldly-wise and informed by previous hardships.
Besides the YouTube channel, Rose also runs financial education courses, writes for the likes of Forbes and Business Insider and has featured in the likes of USA Today and the Wall Street Journal. His successful blog can also be found here.
10. Jack Chapple
This YouTuber mixes things up a bit, as he combines the familiar talking-to-camera approach with some well-produced documentaries for which he provides the voiceover. Canadian Chapple has been doing his thing since 2016 and has over 470,000 subscribers and close on 50 million views for his videos.
This channel is a good one to go to if you’re looking to understand some of the financial forces at work in the world today, as well as for the usual content about investing, side hustles and stock market plays. Chapple’s macro view of economic issues gives a useful and thought-provoking insight into how our lives and finances are shaped by events beyond our direct control.
It looks like his documentaries may be the future for Chapple, as they have been racking up the views and seem to be taking up most of his time these days. A perfect complement to all the other, more personalised advice that’s out there on the Tube.
It’s On You
The popularity of these and other channels shows that there is a growing realisation amongst millennials – and others – that financial self-reliance and responsibility are more vital in today’s world than ever before. Many of the certainties and safety nets of the past are gone forever and young people have little option but to wise up or face a lifetime of financial struggles.
It’s heartening to see personalities like all of those above preaching the doctrines of hard graft and good sense. Not everyone will be able to achieve what they have, but some sound advice and good examples are being set.
The era of conspicuous consumption is going to have to come to an end if we and future generations are to enjoy any sort of worthwhile future. The people on this list have realised that and are spreading the word, helping millions of others along the way. The message is clear: it’s a big, bad world out there and you need to look out for yourself. Better make a start.
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